Just for the Halibut Derby: Time to roll into Island Outfitters to pick up your tickets – $60 each – for the halibut derby, April 30 and May 1. First prize is $7500; 2nd - $2500; and 3rd - $1000; along with other prizes for fish of any weight.
Remember that halibut are cued by smell so whether you fish bait or not, it is best to have a scent or natural bait on your offering to sweeten it up. And if you are thinking of fishing herring, do add some tougher bait to it such as octopus so that if the softer herring gets sniffed off the hook, you still have something solid for that second chomp.
Pinnacles, benches, canyons and edges naturally concentrate halibut as they are structure where a change occurs. This makes fish stop rather than keep moving. On a flat fish can spread out and be anywhere, but where an edge occurs they can’t spread out anymore and this simple difference concentrates the fish. There is also the factor of an edge having a vertical eddy, and the halibut lie just out of the current waiting for food carried by the current off the edge.
Do be looking for scratchy patches shown by our depth sounder on the bottom, which will likely be needlefish, as herring are mid-water fish not associated with the bottom. If you are using a spreader bar, the short arm gets the weight, the long arm the bait. This is counter intuitive, but the point is to separate the leader from the mainline for the trip to the bottom and the longer the arm, the better this can be accomplished.
In our area there is lots of good structure, including Albert Head, the several benches off Race Rocks, Constance Bank, Border Bank, Darcy and so on. Yes, you can catch halibut on the Oak Bay Flats, but, as noted, the fish can be pretty much anywhere because the Flats have no edge.
And your anchor system should have a buoy on top, which you clip your boat to. The purpose is to avoid a taut connection between bow and anchor which can pull the bow under water, and be a serious career change for anyone so attached.
It goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway, that you should not bring a sizeable halibut on board unless you have a hold you can open the door on and slip the fish in and close. That’s because halibut, whether bonked or not, will thrash about the boat, destroying everything including people. And clean up the slime promptly to avoid people slipping and ending up in the drink.
Also keep a line with a ‘needle’ on one end that can be slipped through the halibut’s gill and mouth, with a preformed loop at the tag end to slip around the fish’s tail. The hogtied fish can be towed in the water for awhile rather than be breaking things in your boat. Good luck.
The current regs for halibut in our area are: Maximum length, 133 cm; Daily limit, one;
Possession limit, two, only one greater than 83 cm; and Annual limit of six halibut per licence.
E-petition 2-270: Nova Scotia has started a petition to get the federal government to take fish farms out of their pristine ocean and put them on land. You will find the province with the most signatures is BC. Please go sign it: https://petitions.parl.gc.ca/en/Petition/Details?Petition=e-270.
Lingcod: In areas 19, and 20-5 to 20-7, meaning our area, lingcod are open for retention from May 1
to September 30, 2016. The rules are: Daily limit, one; Possession limit, two; Size limit, 65 cm; and
Annual limit, ten.
As for rockfish and red snapper: Daily limit, one; Possession limit, two; no size limit or annual limit.
Rockfish Conservation Areas, as in areas you don’t want to fish in, may