I went out yesterday as the low tide in Victoria was 11.30 AM and I wanted to fish from Constance Bank as it pushed across Royal Roads to the east. Pink fishing is often better on the flood. I had some new gear in from Gibbs to try out. Their Madi and Lemon Lime flashers have been hot in the Victoria area – Cadboro Point to Sheringham Point – for several months this spring and summer.
My intention was to run through some of their Coho Killer spoon colours along with the Yamashita N224R squirt with a silver mylar insert and clear bead I put in. This squirt has a predominant pink stripe set in a pattern of clear, glow frons (the hue of Purple Haze fronds).
Four miles south of Trial, I assigned the gear to 61 to 71 feet for ball depth, with clips five feet up, in the only tideline for miles. The line petered out and I pushed my rpm up to 800 to cover, with the ebb, the distance to Constance Bank. While I did get a double header at one point, it was clear that the featureless water, meaning without tide lines, held few fish in highly localized, easily seen spots. By speeding up, I was rocketing along as high as 5.8 knots over ground.
As pointed out last week, it is speed over water that is the important consideration – and GPSs don’t measure that speed – engine rpm becomes a proxy for how fast you are moving. Leader length on the squirt was 34 inches; on the silver Coho Killer, 36.
Tidal action became clear on the west edge of Constance where it drops from about 70 feet to as deep as 348 feet. Within the currents caused by several hundred feet of water column compressed to only 70 feet, water must speed up, and change direction. The upwelling causes surface currents, along with a vertical eddy on the west side of the bank. Note that that eddy is more important to fishing chinook on the 140 foot ledge and halibut. Fish unrelated to bottom structure, but only to surface structure, i.e. tide lines, are unlikely to be in the vertical eddy; this means coho, pinks, sockeye and chum.
From thence forth, it was constant action in the tide lines at the tide change. When one fish was played and released, and rod put back out, then a fish was on the other rod. One unlucky fish got to come home with me for dinner because it came in completely wrapped in leader, with both singles embedded in the fish, and a big tangle. I would likely be wearing those hooks in my fingers, and opted to bonk the unlucky fish.
I released fifteen pinks, with, surprisingly, nine on the silver Coho Killer, and six on the N224R squirt. One would expect more fish on the pink lure, rather than straight silver spoon. Also, my speed over ground, showed clearly that the tide was still ebbing to the west. I assumed that the Race Rocks current reached low later than the Victoria tide, and the table, once home, confirmed that the current change was 1:08 PM. So a major bite, even before the flood started pushing the fish east. Good to know on another trip.
I should add that I opted to stop fishing to avoid harassing them any longer. In other words, the bite would likely have extended for many hours after I quit. Another unlucky fish came in with big chunks of flesh ripped out of its side. The size of the mouth suggested a harbour seal. I was surprised that a fish with such a serious wound would still be willing to bite at something, and interested in feeding.
All three flashers have a bluey, pinky hue that changes as you turn the flasher. This is the same as a Roadrunner spoon that I use in more remote spots, and I am betting it is a good reason why they are hot. Gibbs calls it Moonjelly and the Madi shows it off well. The third was Purple Onion.
It should be added, that like any quality flasher, each comes with a sound ball bearing swivel on both ends, something that is very important in a bait set up. When you add a large quality ball bearing swivel to the mainline and the top end of the bait leader, that makes four such swivels in the tackle; four being the best insurance for a consistent, fishy spiral on the bait. In addition, once gear has been used in saltwater and salt gets into the inner workings, it is better practice to err on the side of more rather than fewer ball bearing swivels.
On hootchies, on the other hand, it is flasher snap transmitted to the plastic bait that gives it a yanked figure eight pattern that stimulates fish to chase. In other words, a quick changer, or a figure eight knot is all that is required. Note that you should be using split ring pliers to open the quick changer, so that leader knot is slipped on without being frayed. The point being: you want your killer hootchies to last as long as possible, before they break off. As mentioned last week, you do not change a killer plastic bait’s leader because that normally eliminates the chemistry that makes the one a killer in a tackle box of ho hum producers.
If the stars align, I will be on my annual fly fishing camping trip to the North Isle for pinks for the next two weeks, and hence, no columns. On my return, I will try out more of those Coho Killer spoons. I am told the green splatterback has been good on the Oak Bay Flats for chinook – where there are needlefish rather than herring.