The winter salmon fishing in Sooke has been good, although lately there have been fewer reports, probably do to some rainy weather and just the time of year. The “local” salmon derby out of Victoria on January 25.
A Sooke boat landed the winning fish, with a nice 16 lb Spring Ocean Dreams. The salmon are deep this time of year and are difficult if not impossible to catch from shore. Those trolling gear from boats with downriggers are definitely most productive in landing these winter Chinooks.
Best salmon baits include hootchies,spoons, anchovy and herring trolled in glow, green glow, or chartreuse glow bait heads near the bottom in 120 to 160 ft of water anywhere from Secretary Island to Otter Point and beyond.
Halibut fishing opened February 1, 1 per person/day, to a maximum length of 133 cm. Local anglers have been preparing; tying heavy 80 to 100 lb leaders, checking anchor systems, purchasing short stiff strong Hali rods, and tough levelwind reels. These Halibut combinations are usually finished off with very thin strong 80 to 100 lb braided lines.
Tip: if you are lining your own Halibut reel, it’s a good idea to use hockey or electrical tape on the base or arbour before you attach and wind the braided line onto the reel. The entire 300 yard spool of line can spin on the smooth arbour ruining an expensive line and possibly losing a great fish.
For terminal tackle, the spreader bar and leader system tied with a 2 lb weight and double hooks works well with the brisk tides and sandy bottoms found in the Sooke area. Best hali baits include a rolling herring, octopus, squid and salmon bellies.
When the tide slows down many anglers report that jigging large spinnow or chrome cod jigs sweetened with bait will bring on more strikes. The Sooke Halibut Derby, the first derby in the new Sooke Saltwater Series, will take place on the 23/24th of May. Crabbing continues to be slow in the Sooke harbour, although some are being caught off the Rotary public pier using chicken or fresh salmon heads, tails and trimmings.