Fishing deep is the key in the early season, the water clarity is pristine, using your downriggers just off the bottom at depths averaging 42 to 50 meters. Fishing on the banks located offshore you will find great action for feeder Chinooks and halibut in some reliable spots like Portland Point, Clifford Point, and Rafael Point. When you can locate the fish, simply stop and switch to using drift-jigs of the same size and colour as the bait. An anchovy or herring in a teaser head, with or without a flasher for early-season baits can make your trip a trip to remember.
Another dependable method for both species is glow or translucent hoochies, and 6- to 7-inch spoons, 6 to 8 feet behind your favourite flasher.
Leader lengths vary from 5 to 7 feet for natural baits, 38 to 42 inches for hoochies, and between 4 and 5 feet for the right spoon action. Don’t forget to try a Tomic plug # 602, 500, or 232.
Watch for large schools of pilchards. When they are present, spoons and plugs often out fish other gear types, and you will be rewarded with fantastic action for Chinook in the 10- to 25-pound range. Time your outing around a tide change. Fish are feeding aggressively in the hours before, during, and after a tide change, so for best results be sure to schedule a fishing trip to take advantage of at least one tide swing.
Halibut that started their inward migration during February should continue increasing in numbers throughout the summer. They typically range in size from chickens (15 to 30 pounds). For halibut, rig a spreader bar with a single no. 16/0 circle hook or two no. 8/0 to 10/0 J-hooks in tandem. Try fresh bait like a strip of salmon belly, herring, pilchard, chunk of octopus, or a shish kebab of two or more baits. Also worth a try are Berkley Power Bait Saltwater Grubs in white or glow.
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- Island Fisherman
- February 12, 2018
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