My family set down some new roots with the purchase this past spring of a second home on Whidbey. The island is surrounded by multiple marine areas, all with separate and regularly changed in-season regulations and I plan on wetting a line in all of them throughout this summer and hopefully into fall. Without a boat and shore-bound, all of the photographs will be of fishing from the beach using rotator/hoochie combinations, lead jigs, buzz bombs, and big spinners occasionally.
This post will document my limited fishing endeavors this summer and fall. With a new addition to our family this past spring, I’ve been understandably called upon to spend more time at home. This means no BC trip this year, but more focus on beach fishing and new additions to my rod and tackle collection as I focus on landing salmon closer to home. Luckily its a pink year and I’ve had some friends pass off some knowledge they’ve gained past summers hooking coho from the beach.
I spend the bulk of my summers up in British Columbia at my family’s home in Bliss Landing. Bliss is on the inside passage of Vancouver Island, about one mile south of the entrance to Desolation Sound at Sarah Point. We can harvest clams, oysters, trap crab and prawns, and fish for multiple species of rockfish and salmon. During my last trip, from August 1st through the 10th I was loaned a 14 foot tinboat which was outfitted with a downrigger for trolling. When I have others in the boat we normally simply jig for salmon with Pt. Wilson Darts and Buzz Bombs, but when I am alone I troll for salmon. I caught the 13 lb Chinook salmon above with a green flasher and black & white Luhr Jensen “Cop Car” or “Cookies & Cream” spoon. There is an oyster farm in a small bay about one mile north from Bliss that is home to what I have called “Fred’s Hump”. The name comes from the owner of the farm who was once the caretaker at Bliss Landing. The “Hump” comes from an underwater rock formation that juts up from the sea floor on the southern side of the bay. It gets relatively shallow in the bay, ranging from 100 ft to 35 ft, and I have hooked salmon jigging there on multiple occasions. Last Friday I spent some time at the Hump throwing buzz bombs to gauge if there were any salmon lingering in the area. After an hour of casting and catching shaker salmon I hooked into something big which immediately spit the hook out as I was re-calibrating my drag (I was using my Temple Fork steelhead casting rod which only had 10lb test line on it). At about sunset, say maybe 8:30, I dropped the trolling gear in the water to 85 ft and almost immediately had a strike. I played the fish delicately on a new Islander mooching reel and landed the lunker after the second swipe of the net. It wasn’t the only salmon I landed this summer, but it was the first out of a tin boat by myself.
I spent the summers of my youth in the late 80’s/early 90’s on Lopez Island in the San Juan Islands. My family had a home at the mouth of Fisherman’s Bay and my brother and I had a long leash, with my parents allowing us to essentially bike and hike the extent of the island at our leisure, as long as we were home by dinner. We fished crab, ling cod, and salmon with minimal achievement in those times. I asked my Dad if he thought that the reason we were so sporadic in our salmon fishing in those days was because of our technique or the because of the bad fishing…and we agreed it was likely both. Crab we never seemed to have problems with.