June 2013

June 2013
June 2013
June 2013
June 2013
June 2013

Pink Salmon or “Humpies”

Information about the ocean movements of pink, sockeye and chum salmon is meagre, but it is known they feed primarily on crustaceans (krill and shrimp). As these species are inaccessible throughout most of their lives, they are of little interest to anglers until they appear inshore on their spawning migrations. Pinks have a two-year life cycle, after they hatch they start there journey to the ocean immediately and always return to the spawning rivers in two years. As they return to their rivers to spawn they tend to hold at the river mouths, bays, and estuaries close to the spawning rivers, and can hold for several days to a couple of weeks, depending on water levels in their spawning rivers.
Pink salmon usually appear about July and taper off by early September when they ascend their rivers. They average 1.3-2.2 kg (3-5 lb), occasionally reaching 5.4 kg (12 lb). At one time pinks were simply an incidental catch taken while fishing for Chinooks and coho; however, growing numbers of anglers now target them intentionally. They have very soft mouths and you must take care not to pressure them too much once hooked. If you are overaggressive when playing them you'll tear the hook out as they put up a spirited fight, which makes them popular with fly-fishers and light tackle enthusiasts.

If spin casting for pinks use a light to medium spin casting rod that is about seven feet long with a matched spinning reel spooled with eight- to 12-pound line with a small pink and chrome spinner attached. Spincasting is one of the simplest and most productive methods of angling for pinks. Fish are usually in river mouths, backwaters and areas where the water is moderate-slow to still where they love to congregate. Literally hundreds can be milling around at one time. When making a cast, retrieve your lure above the fish. Once the lure hits the water, you can start reeling, they usually follow the lure before biting so long casts and the slowest retrieve possible will allow the lure to work properly. Lure selection is simple, spoons, small to medium sizes are best and a selection of styles is recommended. Colour choice is also basic, pink, this can be combined with other colors and metallic finishes but the main theme must be pink and the brighter the better. Spinners work well and have an advantage in still water as they can be retrieved slower and still provide good action. Small and medium sizes in the pink color themes are best.

When fly fishing for Pinks use a nine or 10 foot five- or six-weight fly rod with matching reel spooled with a medium sinking tip line and nine to 12 feet of eight-pound test leader or 4X Florial carbon tippet. Pinks seomtimes will only take a selective few flies such as the small pink and silver Pink Eve, in long shank sizes of from #6 to #2. Whatever fly pattern you use it should incorporate pink and silver or flash with the fly material being on the sparse side. Pinks will actively take a slow-stripped pink colored fly.
Pink Salmon take flies with a soft strike but it’s noticeable if you are slowly stripping the fly line over your index finger. Lift the rod tip at the strike and the pink will set the hook itself as it turns to follow and remain with the school.
Experienced fly-chuckers usually concentrate on fairly shallow waters known to attract salmon and trout, where they can sight cast to fish on or near the surface. In many cases, this is accomplished while wading along shorelines, or by casting from boats which are anchored or tied to a kelp bed.
The east coast of Vancouver Island has many good locations to fish for pinks off the beaches. There are, however, a few spots well known for their productivity and ease of access. The estuaries of the Cluxewe and Keough rivers up towards Port McNeill are incredibly productive. Closer to Campbell River the mouth of the Oyster, as well as Black Creek produce very well, and further south near Qualicum the Nile Creek estuary has a very productive run.
Fly-fishers must employ traditional methods for locating their quarry, this means having tide guides and marine charts for specific areas, and if fishing from a boat, using a depth sounder for locating underwater structure and deep-swimming bait, a Global Positioning System or Loran-C to pinpoint known hot spots and mark those which are newly discovered, and binoculars to monitor the activities of sea birds and fish ducks
You can learn much about new areas by studying relevant marine charts for islands and islets surrounded by shallow water; reefs and shoals rising close to the surface; the mouths of rivers, creeks and bays; or man-made structures like ferry slips, breakwaters, marinas and wharfs. Look for broken, uneven bottoms rising from deeper water, and shallows where kelp beds flourish.
Barbless hooks are mandatory and it is a documented fact that approximately 80% to 90% of all the salmon properly released survive to spawn or be caught again. The pinks that are killed make excellent table fare if cooked fresh and they are excellent smoked as well. They don't freeze well.

Pink Eve developed by Barry Thornton

Hook: Mustad 34011 #2 to #6 stainless steel.
Tail: Pink FisHair or polar bear fur.
Body: Oval, silver tinsel.
Wing: Pink FisHair or polar bear fur.

Cathy’s Coat developed by Barry Thornton

Hook: Mustad 34011 #6
Thread: Red monocord
Tail: Pink polar bear or bucktail
Body: Florescent red Lazer Wrap over flat silver tinsel
Beard: Pink Krystal Flash
Wing: 50/50 white and pink polar bear or bucktail with a few strands of pink Krystal Flash

Pink Handlebar

Hook: Mustad 34011 or 34007 (Stainless steel) sizes 2-6
Thread: Clear Mono or Hot Pink
Tail: Pink Crystal Flash with Polar Bear or Edge-Bright (Edge-Glo)
Body: Pink Edge-Bright (Edge-Glo) or Laserwrap.
Underbody: [Optional] Silver Tinsel or Holographic Tinsel

Huxley’s Run: 

The death of a fellow angler is a fly sort of thing. One thinks lightly dressed thoughts at first that, said departed, is now fishing in a better, peaceful place. And then one turns to a heavily dressed thought process, one that goes deep into the pool of death.
And so it was with my friend Fred. He had moved away and I lost touch with him. The next thing I knew an acquaintance came upon me on a river’s private fishing, sidled downstream to where I was glaring at him, put up his fly and said, “Too bad about Fred,” he said, with the matter of fact manner of a man who never really knew a man.
At my silence he told the story. Fred, it seemed, had got the big “C”. It hadn’t been long, so this story went. My Acquaintance would miss Fred, he said. “Fred was an angler’s angler.” I swore I could see a tear in the corner of his eye. “He had such a great sense of humour and was so generous. He was always willing to help out young anglers, always great with enhancement volunteering.”
And then followed a recounting of everything Fred, surprisingly most of it I never knew. I say surprising because I knew Fred probably better than most. On and on the Acquaintance went, “Fred” this, and “Fred” that, interspersed liberally with “Fred and I.”
I tuned out. His droll was numbing. My grief was great. Then I picked up a part of his unending yammering that made me bristle.
“What did you say?” I asked.
“You know, the Sage six weight rod? I’m pretty sure he had a Hardy reel on it?” continued the Acquaintance. “I imagine that sort of treasure would be lost in the estate, totally unappreciated. I was thinking of asking the family if I might, well, have it — you know, something to remember Fred by.”
Did I gurgle or growl? I’m not sure to this day.
“Of course, I would be willing to make a small donation to one of Fred’s enhancement causes, or directly to the family,” he continued. “I doubt there is much real value to it, except perhaps for sentimental reasons.”
On it went. I tried to digest it all but it was like a shot of single malt that goes down the wrong pipe. You try as hard as you can to stop from coughing your cookies, but Mr. Christie always comes calling.
Then I realized I was talking to The Poacher. Things started to become clearer. The Poacher was well named. He never, ever went on a second fishing trip with any sane angler. That was because on the first trip, if his never-ending yapping didn’t drive you crazy, his surprise “kill” of a “bleeding fish” in a closed season or area, scared the crap out of you.
It had happened to Fred. Fred had disregarded the stories about The Poacher and took him fishing on one of Fred’s favourite rivers. Things seemed to be fine, especially since they decided to split up and meet back at Fred’s truck — to which both had keys for safety reasons. Fred got back to find The Poacher waiting for him. Then Fred opened his trunk to stow his waders and saw the steelhead.
From what Fred told me, he threw the wild steelhead further in the bush than he did the The Poacher.
With a seeming fresh breeze blowing, I waited my chance and asked, “How did you hear about Fred?”
“Email,” said the Acquaintance. “Funny, I had phoned and phoned and then emailed, oh, about a hundred times and finally I get a response, an email back saying that he had passed away last week.”
“An email?” I asked.
“Yes, from his wife, using his account before she closed it out, she said.”
The drive home was a pleasant one. I looked up Fred’s phone number and called.
“How’s the wife?” I asked the lifetime bachelor.
“You talked to The Poacher? Did he ask about the rod?” I’m sure I heard ice clinking in a glass.
“You know that’s a dangerous thing you did?” I said.
“Not really,” he said, an immeasurable depth of humour in his voice. “What can go wrong?”
“Well,” I said, “You can end up dead for one thing.”
“Which is better than having to fish with The Poacher,” said Fred. “Now…details, details…”

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