If you’ve never fished the wild coast of British Columbia, you’re missing out. Particularly for those who’ve spent years — possibly a lifetime — fishing the East or Gulf coast, it’s simply a completely different world that every serious angler ought to experience. Even when things are slow, they’re pretty darn fast. In most areas, there is no such thing as “slow” bottomfishing, by the way, so no angler need ever lack for action. Salmon runs vary in size and timing, however. The past few years have been red hot for salmon; this year much of the coast had cooled, at least by the time we got there in early September. But even so, we had plenty of action. And we did it all with light spinning and baitcast outfits spooled with 8- to 15-pound braid. Fishing that gear up there is, simply, a riot.
We fished Milbanke Sound on the central coast of the province with West Coast Resorts (www.westcoastresorts.com). Most of B.C.’s fly in trips are based on a pretty complete package, including the flight up from Vancouver at least in part by floatplane. That approach makes things pretty easy since you have little to worry about beyond getting yourself to Vancouver; you pays your money and you takes your fishing trip! You’ll read the whole story with full details in an upcoming issue of SPORT FISHING but, to whet your appetite, here are a few images:
Habitat galore gives anglers almost unlimited opportunity to explore island, channels, passes, rockpiles, reefs and pinnacles, with depths often varying wildly and over short distances. A good GPS with navionics or other software adds safety and also helps find/return to submerged structure.
Though bluebird weather is common in the latter part of summer, best to count on some grey/rainy/windy periods. But it takes more than a little wild weather to stop salmon trollers from working the grounds as here, not far from West Coast Resorts lodge.
Sport Fishing contributor Paul Sharman, with www.fishandfly.com based in the United Kingdom, appreciates a vermilion rockfish taken along a steep, rocky dropoff on a little Penn 260 slammer with light braid and a Raider jig with an extra spinner blade added for flash.
My spousal unit, Jackie, and I were pretty happy with a 55-pound halibut that put up a tough battle on 15-pound braid after it slammed a big Storm Wildeye Shad.
About 20 minutes south of the resort, we found good numbers of 10- to 12-pound bocaccio rockfish like this brace near (but not on) bottom in 120 to 150 feet. They pounded jigs and plastic tails and offered a great fight.
While coho (a.k.a. silver) salmon are the primary target in late summer, some fair chinook (a.k.a. springs, locally) remain a good possibility such as this 25-pounder that struck a trolled herring.