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Old 05-31-2015, 01:01 PM   #1
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Gone fishin'

On our annual halibut/salmon trip up the north end of Vancouver Island. First shots on the BC ferry Coastal Renaissance on the way to Nanaimo. Last shots are the results of our first couple days fishing. We have a self-imposed limit of one keeper per day. Halibut limit is one per day anyway. Two weeks left to go
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Old 06-01-2015, 12:08 AM   #2
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One of the ugliest fish on the planet, the ling cod is considered by many to be better eating than halibut. Their huge mouths are ringed with teeth and they eat pretty much anything that comes their way.

This is a fairly average size ling cod for this area at about 15 pounds. A 30-pounder was caught here yesterday and they can get twice that size.

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Old 06-01-2015, 12:12 AM   #3
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Maybe the limit should be one a week! How many personal-serving fillets will one of those fish produce, for goodness sake!
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Old 06-01-2015, 12:16 AM   #4
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Maybe the limit should be one a week! How many personal-serving fillets will one of those fish produce, for goodness sake!
The Halibut t'was but an itty-bitty wee baby
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Old 06-01-2015, 06:41 AM   #5
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If people think anchors are a big deal...get into a discussion of recreational fishing limits and some of their views of commercial fishing.
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Old 06-01-2015, 06:57 AM   #6
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Greetings,
Re: Post #2. Which one is the ugly fish?

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Old 06-01-2015, 07:29 AM   #7
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How does that outboard/trolling motor stay cool mounted that high?
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Old 06-01-2015, 09:12 AM   #8
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Maybe the limit should be one a week! How many personal-serving fillets will one of those fish produce, for goodness sake!
How about letting the Wildlife and Fisheries determine the limit. They seem to be pretty good at it
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Old 06-01-2015, 10:22 AM   #9
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The Halibut t'was but an itty-bitty wee baby
The maximum length of a halibut keeper is 135 cm in BC.
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Old 06-01-2015, 10:25 AM   #10
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How does that outboard/trolling motor stay cool mounted that high?
The kicker is on a mount which raises and lowers. Only lowered during trolling.
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Old 06-01-2015, 10:29 AM   #11
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The maximum length of a halibut keeper is 135 cm in BC.
Just weird they have a maximum (so the larger adults which produce the most eggs can go on producing) but there's no minimum.
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Old 06-02-2015, 03:15 PM   #12
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The Halibut t'was but an itty-bitty wee baby
That's true. A few years ago we caught a 100-pounder (photo). The largest halibut we've seen caught here was 242 pounds. It was caught by two guys in a 16' open skiff who then towed it 16 miles back to this harbor.

The halibut up in Alaska get much larger than the ones in this area.

To answer the "how many fillets" question, we freeze our fish here after cutting them up and the eat them throughout the year. The daily limit of halibut here is one and the possession limit is two. Possession means having anywhere other than in your permanent residence. So we can retain one more on this trip.
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Old 06-02-2015, 03:17 PM   #13
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Nice!!
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Old 06-02-2015, 03:30 PM   #14
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Some random shots I took over the last couple of days.....

The black bear, which was here in the harbor yesterday, is the largest one we've ever seen. The eagles were fishing a "herring ball" that was on the surface. There were at least three times the number of eagles in the circuit as are in the photo along with a lot of seagulls. Very noisy what with the sound of the water in the rip.the chirping of the eagles and the crying of the gulls.

The rest of the shots are self-explanatory.

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Old 06-02-2015, 05:27 PM   #15
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Well, a very rainy day so we decided to give the fish a break. We'll fish in the rain but not if we don't have to.��. For the person asking about trolling motor position, if you really haven't seen one of these mounts before here's ours along with a shot of our fishing boat.

Those of us in the PNW are always whining about debris in the water, right? Well, here's what we're whining about. This stuff came in on the tide last night from Weynton Passage outside the cove. These will go back out tonight and we'll have a new collection tomorrow.

Took some random shots on the boardwalk this morning. The buildings date from the early 1900s when they were built to support the Japanese salmon saltery here and then the sawmill that occupied a good portion of the cove. The house we use is the oldest one here, the Okura House. It's the gray one overlooking the cove above the yellow house.

I did not take the eagle shot. It's by the raptor photographer Rob Palmer. But it's about the coolest photo of anything I've ever seen. It's an eagle catching a fish and after our encounter with the fishing eagles the other day I thought it would be appropriate to show here as it does a far better job of capturing this activity than my shots did.

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Old 06-02-2015, 06:41 PM   #16
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Lets like a great time

Marin, I see your at Telegraph Cove. Nice place. I have been there many years but only in July and August. Whats your thoughts on going in May? Hows the fishing then?

Thank you for the post and great pictures.

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Old 06-02-2015, 08:21 PM   #17
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Depends on what you want out of the trip. We want fewer people so earlier is better for us. The halibut fishing is pretty good and with such low limits it's easy enough to catch what we need. We like to range far afield in our fishing and will run 12 to 20 miles to check out a potential spots. Springs are starting to come in with some pretty decent sized fish among them.

However there is no question the salmon fishing gets better as the summer progresses. The orcas are not here yet-- they tend to show up in early July. There are humpbacks, Pacific Whitesides and Harbor porpoises here now.

The latest we have stayed here is July 5 and even that was getting a bit too crowded for our taste.

This time of year the place is just getting underway. The store is open but with shorter hours. Gordy and his guys are completing a lot of maintenance and renovation projects to be ready for the main season. Tourists from Europe are starting to show up (TC advertises heavily in Europe and Scandanavia) but the big waves of groups are still some weeks away. The whale watch and grizzlie tour boats have just started operating.

So I would say if what you want is the best fishing and a lively experience, come in later July or August. May is pretty laid back and quiet.
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Old 06-03-2015, 04:43 AM   #18
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Marin,
As usual a great report.
like the Halibut fishing. Are they just slabs or do they put up a good fight.
What depth of water do you catch them in.
Cheers
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Old 06-03-2015, 07:38 AM   #19
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Just a note on fishing techniques and laws. I heard that a few homeowner in Texas were sited for using gill nets recently. They were actually fences in their yards and caught tons of fish as the flood waters receded.
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Old 06-03-2015, 07:22 PM   #20
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Marin,
As usual a great report.
like the Halibut fishing. Are they just slabs or do they put up a good fight.
What depth of water do you catch them in.
Cheers
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Depends on your definition of "fight." They are very strong and a large one can take line out like you wouldn't believe. But they aren't dramatic fighters like salmon, trout, steelhead, marlin, etc.

We hooked one today that was the strongest halibut I've ever encountered. I could stop her between runs (the big ones are all females) but I couldn't get any line back in to speak of. Then she would take off again. I could feel her shaking her head from time to time to try to get rid of the hook, a typical halibut behavior.

When I started worrying about her taking off all the line from the reel (Penn Senator 4/0) I had my wife start the boat and we tried following her as I reeled in. This worked for a bit but I suspect that between our and the fish's maneuvering we got the steel leader around a rock or something on the bottom. I feelt a couple of scraping jerks and the fish was gone. When I reeled in the steel leader had broken about halfway along its length.

We have no idea how large she was. She most certainly would have been too large to legally keep. But it would have been nice to get her to the boat for a photo.

In terms of depth halibut can be found from ten feet down to 300, 400 or even more in this area. The big one we hooked today was in abut 180 feet and then ran for deeper water. The maximum depth in the channel here is a bit over 1,000 feet. I don't know if halibut go that deep or not.

I use 80# braided Dacron line because the Penn Senator series of reels are not level-wind reels--- you do the level winding by moving your thumb back and forth as the line comes in. Our other halibut reel is also a big Penn but it has a level wind so it's loaded with a new-technology carbon fiber line. It's very thin and would probably cut my thumb up if I had to level wind it manually. I prefer the Senator because it has a faster retrieve and big handle so I continue to use "old technology" Dacron.

Regardless of the kind of line you use, it needs to have as little stretch in it as possible, preferably none. This is because it's the only way you can feel the weight hitting the bottom. Even in 300-400 feet of water, I can tell if I'm fishing over a softer bottom (mud or sand) or rock by the nature of the "shock" transmitted back up the line. That's why the Dacron or carbon fiber line. Monofilement fishing line has so much stretch to it there is no way you would ever know if the weight was tapping the bottom. (I know this because this is what I started out using for halibut many years ago. I very quickly learned better).

In this area people fish for halibut with jigs or bait. I used to use jigs because you don't catch any or many unwanted fish with them like rockfish or cod. However, after observing the kind of results people get with bait we switched over despite the fact it's harder work. In this area, bait outfishes jigs by a considerable margin.

So, exciting to catch? Not particularly other than the anticipation of seeing how big it is. A fair size to big one can be a lot of work to pump up to the surface, however. They remind me a bit of the aku (yellowfin tuna) we'd catch in Hawaii when I lived there. You catch them on the surface but they immediately sound and take half a reel's worth of line out with them. Then you pump them up to the top at which point they generally do it again and take most of the line you just worked so hard to get in back out again.

And then, of course, you have to get a halibut into the boat. In Alaska they shoot the big ones first before hauling them on board. They don't warrant that here, but we use a gaff designed for halibut and then you have to be very quick about stunning them right away or they can break stuff in your boat including you as they thrash around.

The fishing itself is a lot of work. You bounce a pound to a pound and a half jig or spreader bar weight off the bottom for up to several hours at a time. You can lose a lot of gear this way so besides the bouncing there is a fair amount of hauling your gear up to re-bait it or replace a jig that snagged on a rock that you had to break off, and so forth. I would not describe halibut fishing as any sort of relaxing.

The photo is the view from the driver's seat while halibut fishing. Unlike the photo, the rod is constantly in motion, moving the jig or bait up and down and tapping he weight against the bottom every few seconds to make sure the rig is working within a foot or two of it. The bend in the rod is from the weight at the other end of the line.


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