TOFINO, British Columbia, Canada - Following the last few seasons of extremely consistent sport fishing along Vancouver Island’s Pacific Rim region, and considering the 2009 season unfolded to likely be the strongest in the last decade, many would not have thought that the best is yet to come.
Recent indicators for the 2010 fishing season on Vancouver Island’s west coast are pointing towards yet another banner year for Chinook and coho salmon numbers that travel and feed along the nutrient-rich waters of Vancouver Island’s outer coastline.
8CLICK HERE TO READ JAY'S PREVIEW OF THE 2010 SEASON and his prediction for an early arrival of peak numbers of both Chinook and coho off the West Coast of Vancouver Island.
MAGDALENA BAY, BAJA, Mexico - This winter, it seems, could be a big-tuna year for the record books off the Mexican coast. At presstime, the number of 300-plus-pound yellowfin hauled in by Cabo-based anglers was already starting to ring up at a slot-machine rate, and with the San Diego long-range fleet gearing up for the heart of their 15- and 17-day big-game schedules, there’ll be plenty more 200- to 300-plus-pound cows where those came from.
Time for some major tuna tonnage.
“The trophy class of tuna gets bigger every year,” says Capt. Justin Fleck of Excel Sportfishing. “When I first started 12 years ago, a fish over 150 pounds was considered a monster. Now guys are catching 250-pounders, and thinking about 300-pounders. We had 11 fish over 300 pounds last year.”
Here, according to Fleck, are the top five places to find super-tanker-sized yellowfin:
The Lower Banks: If you’re fishing anywhere between Magdalena Bay and Cabo San Lucas this month, you’d better be packing some heavy tackle armament.
“Ninety percent of the big fish come from Jaime Bank, Finger Bank, Morgan Bank, Flathead Bank, Lucitaina Bank … there’s a 90-mile series of deep-water high spots that come up to 600 feet, which is enough to create an upwelling where squid and mackerel and various baits collect.”
Clarion Island Buffer Zone: The area where the current IGFA all-tackle record 388-plus-pounder was caught, and home to some of the biggest fish in ANY ocean.
“Even with the permission to fish some of those high spots in the Buffer Zone, it’s just like you’re fishing the open ocean,” Fleck says.
Hurricane Bank: The Shemada Seamount – aptly nicknamed “Hurricane Bank” because of its location in the eastern equatorial Pacific – is about as far off the ends of the earth as the long range fleet can go, but it’s well worth the 4-day one-way cruise to get there from San Diego.
“It comes up to about 160 feet out in the middle of nowhere, so it basically creates its own eco-system,” Fleck says. “The nearest island is Clarion, and it’s 180 miles west. The fish get there and say there almost year-around.”
Puerto Vallarte: Two primary spots accessed easily out of P.V. - Roca Corbetana and Cleophus Bank/El Banco – continue to kick out yellowfin that challenge the world record.
East Cape: One look at the 383-plus-pounder caught in early November out of Cabo – just 5 pounds off the 32-year-old world record – should give you ample reason to start booking for East Cape.
This story originally appeared in California Sportsman magazine.
DESTINATION NWWC: Throwing the cover off the 2009 B.C. salmon season
TOFINO, British Columbia - In the current economy, closer-to-home fishing vacations are going to be the rule for the summer. Fortunately for us Washingtonians, world-class fishing is available right next door in British Columbia.
Over the next month, NW Wild Country will preview the 2009 B.C. fishing season, from Vancouver to Prince Rupert. We'll hit the Queen Charlottes, Hakai Pass, Rivers Inlet, Nootka Sound, Kano Inlet, Barkley Sound, Campbell River, and several other primo B.C. fishing destinations that belong on everybody's 2009 salmon-fishing calendar. First up: Barkley Sound/Tofino and the Fraser River system:
DESTINATION WILD COUNTRY: Queen Charlottes steelhead beckon ...
MASSET, B.C., Canada - Welcome to the Queen Charlotte Islands, home to wild steelhead, virgin rainforests and uncrowded fishing. And, The Masset House, a B&B located on a secluded harbour of the city of Masset.
During the summer months the Charlottes are chock full of salmon and halibut fishermen, whale watchers, hikers, kayakers and the like, but once winter comes these isolated islands grow quiet and peaceful. The salmon runs have finished, the tempermental winter weather arrives and days grow short.
However, toward the end of November, an incredible run of totally wild steelhead begin their migration up their home rivers, and a relatively small handful of anglers brave blowouts and down pours, snow and ice, brutal winds and bushwacking to have a chance to hook one of these magnificent creatures.
The QCI's amazing steel: Pound for pound, QCI steelhead rival Thompson or Dean River fish for their strength and stamina. Average size fish are 12 pounds, with fish up to 25 pounds or more hooked every year. And these are not your typical winter fish.
Perhaps due to genetics, or the darker water, or the lack of pressure on them, often times they will be found in shallow water: 1 to 2 feet deep. The are exceedingly aggressive towards the fly as well.
Most steelheaders will have to adjust their methods if they want to fish these waters effectively. Classic-looking water often is barren, and it's that slot on the far side that requires a deadly accurate cast underneath overhanging branches that will produce. In a typical week, anglers should expect at least a couple of hook-ups (weather dependent, of course), but during a good push multiple hook-ups per day can and do happen.
Book it now!: Michael & Young Fly Shop is offering hosted trips through Masset House for one week, leaving March 2. For under $2,400 American, you'll have flights from Vancouver, BC to Masset, luxurious lodging, gourmet meals, transportation to and from the rivers, and 6 full days of steelhead fishing.
If you are interested, please contact Michael & Young via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (800) 663-6407. Hustle up: spaces are limited!
WILD BLOG: Salmon paradise found in the Queen Charlotte Islands
SANDSPIT, British Columbia - As I type this, the thumb and pointer finger on my left hand are still sore from furiously reeling an Islander MR3 for three days, with severely ticked-off Chinook and coho scorching line out the other end. The knuckles on both hands still creak and groan when I flex them, the result of fighting fish after fish after ocean-bright, raging, running, slashing salmon.
Once in a great while, a fishery so far exceeds your expectations that you run out of superlatives, and your only choice is to reach for Roget's Thesaurus. How good was the salmon fishing last week in the Queen Charlotte Islands?
Dear reader, may I introduce you to Mr. Roget: stupendous, superb, transcendant, exceptional, superlative, unparalleled, outstanding, magnificent, astonishing, spectacular, ridiculous, sensational, Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!
I could go on and on.
When Northwest Wild Country co-host Bill Hezog and I climbed aboard a helicopter at the Sandspit Airport on Graham Island in northern British Columbia's Queen Charlotte Archipelago, little did we know that 20 minutes later, we'd be touching down on the helipad of the MV Salmon Seeker and preparing to sail into the salmon-fishing Perfect Storm.
Read about it HERE
PODCAST: Listen to a podcast of our on-air conversation with Oak Bay Marine Group general manager Brook Castelsky HERE
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