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Go Back   SailNet Community > Out There > Destinations > Pacific Northwest & Alaska
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Old 07-27-2013
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Help I can't catch fish!

Hope this belongs in this forum.
How do I catch salmon or halibut from my sailboat out here near Sidney without a fish finder or down rigger? Any pro tips? I have caught only an errant sea cucumber so far haha.

Also we have tried but failed to glimpse Orcas in Haro Strait but unsuccessful...any tips?

Thanks in advance.
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Old 07-27-2013
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Re: Help I can't catch fish!

Well I have not had luck with Halibut but have caught yellow eyes and ling cod and tons of Silver salmon and Pink salmon. When I fish for Halibut I just jig with a squid jig with a herring attach. I don;'t anchor because I have no way to pull up 500 feet of rode and anchor. I use motor a little to keep me from drifting to much.

Silvers I troll about 2 to 3 knots and use large flasher followed by a diver followed by small squid usually dark green with a small herring. Use different size divers depending what depth the fish are at. Its hard to keep boat speed down with sails to troll for Silvers so I motor usually.When Silvers are there I am there to fill freezer so sailing takes a back seat.

Pinks I spin cast at fresh water inlets with a pixy and troll with a pixy when sailing. If you keep boat speed down you will catch more but when sailing I just throw out the pixy if pinks are around i pick one up occasionally. I usually just throw them back so don't care if I catch any or not. Good luck ask me more if you want more info. Greg
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Old 07-27-2013
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Re: Help I can't catch fish!

I feel your pain, brother! All my fish comes wrapped in plastic from the cooler at the local market. It's an easy catch, but no thrill.
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Old 07-28-2013
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Re: Help I can't catch fish!

Do you attach the herring directly on the squid jig? Do you buy those herring from the tackle store (preserved) or fresh from bait shop?
How do you know how deep to go when trolling with the diver?
Should I fish underwater structure? Like 500' water going up to 80' and just jig on top or troll around the area?
Anyway thanks for the tips...I will get some bait and try that.
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Old 07-28-2013
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Re: Help I can't catch fish!

I get frozen herring from sportsman warehouse usually. Or t the place that sets up the charters. Cheaper there but usually closed when I get there and head out.

Yes you attach the herring right to the jig. For halibut drop it all the way to bottom and just jig up and down bouncing on the bottom. if you have good enough fish finder to give a good bottom picture supposedly they sit behind mounds in the bottom so have to know which way any current is going. My fishfinder is not that accurate. Fish from 100' to how ever deep you willing to reel up from. If ya have it spend the money take a halibut charter you will learn a lot. I don't have the time to get to where the good halibut fishing is. The charter guys have fast boats and it is 4 hours for them. It be 2 days for me. But people do catch them all the way into Port of Vadez but not very often. I don't have the patience to sit there all day and not catch anything.

As far as depth for salmon its trial and error. If they are jumping fish high. If not fish low. And ask around at the charters and tackle shops, they usually will give good local info.

Where I sail there is a very small King run in early April. I am never there that early.Pinks run mid June to mid July. Silvers run around Labor Day (end of August). There is no run of reds unfortunately, as they are my favorite. You really need to ask around to find out when they are around and where they are.
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Old 07-28-2013
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Re: Help I can't catch fish!

We fished for Salmon in BC waters for many years, mostly north of Campbell River. There are many rig set ups, with or without flashers. Cut plug herring are used by many fishermen:


Some use lures, spoons, plugs, or hootchies behind a flasher. Almost as many combinations as you can imagine. We used a 6 oz "banana" trolling sinker and about a 6" to 8" leader with a double hook rig baited with a cut plug herring almost all the time. Many of our fish were hooked after kicking the motor out of gear and letting the boat come to a stop. You can fish pretty deep using this method, sometimes called "motor mooching". Suggest you don't do this if using downriggers, which I hate to use, you will get massive tangles.

If you can find a guide or charter fishing the areas you want to fish, I think it is well worth the money. You can learn a whole lot in a short period of time instead of hit & miss on your own.

For bottom fishing, plastic jigs tipped with bait have worked for us. Again, lots of possibilities.

Paul T
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Old 08-25-2013
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Re: Help I can't catch fish!

Thanks for the tips...today I caught 5 ling, 1 3' shark, 1 kelp cod (the one with torquise spots)?, and a nice 12lb Chinook!

I CAN catch fish I guess.
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Old 08-26-2013
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Re: Help I can't catch fish!

Are you sure it were a shark,not a dodfish, which I believe is not a true shark. BUT, could be wrong. Caught more of them than salmon!

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Re: Help I can't catch fish!

I guess it is called a spiny dogfish but shark sounded cooler lol
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Old 08-26-2013
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Re: Help I can't catch fish!

Re: whales, I have seen them once off my boat in 4 years of sailing here. If you want to see orca, go out with one of the whalewatching boats. If you are lucky enough to see them from your own vessel, stay well away and follow the rules, there are significant penalties for not doing so.
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