As we enter the middle days of July, (and of the season!) we’re happy to report that things are cooking along just fine. Fishing has been exceptional lately with incredible amounts of bait and salmon showing throughout the fishing grounds. Herring, in particular, has been the common denominator that draws so much life around it. Besides the extraordinary volume of salmon in the area, Humpback whales, white-sided dolphins and Dall’s porpoise are regular attendees at the party. Anglers who find themselves in the midst of all this excitement return home with stories and memories to share for years.
While the bulk of this bounty is found offshore in what would traditionally have been called the “halibut grounds” it’s nice to see that the inshore fishery is back on track. Regular catches of 20-pound-plus Chinook salmon around the shoreline structure and kelp beds are the preferred pastime of many anglers and they’re happy too. The Tyee bell has been ringing nightly, reporting nice catches of those larger fish in the 30-plus range. Parker Point, Bird 2 and Green Point have been productive lately around the tide changes. Veteran QCL angler John V released a big beauty last weekend that taped out to 39-pounds and yesterday Timothy M brought a big chrome beauty back to the Bell Ringer that tipped the scale at 39 as well. Those are stunning fish guys! Congratulations!
Halibut are completely distributed throughout Virago Sound and we catch them absolutely everywhere. The regular flow of the tides in and out of Naden Harbour push the needlefish around and halibut love to come inshore to feed on them, providing exceptional opportunities to catch giant halibut in shallow water. Many a giant has been played off the deck of the MV Driftwood as she’s anchored up in 40-feet of water at the Mazzaredo Islands. Of course, when you drop your halibut bait to the bottom in search of the perfect 30-pounder you never know what you might find! Such was the case for Sharon & Ward M yesterday when they hooked up with a heavy fish just east of “the Mazz” in 50-feet of water. The excitement of pulling a big halibut up alongside the boat is soon accentuated by the anxiety of how to deal with it! Thankfully in this case, QCL Dock Manager Ryan Ashton was in the area and jumped aboard to help out. Sometimes the fish cooperates and a quick measurement is possible before an uneventful release. Not this time. They did manage to come up with a length of about 60-inches and they were able to remove the hook from the giant’s lip – but at a price! Getting up close and personal to attend to business got Ryan well doused, repeatedly, and he returned to the lodge completely soaked, eager for a warm shower! But the estimated 109-pounder was safely back on the bottom and Sharon & Ward had to drop down and try again for the perfect take home model. Great job – well done!