We start with good gear, there is a lot that can go amiss when landing a big fish and good solid equipment eliminates most of it. Our standard is Islander MR-3 reels, the best quality mooching reels available, attached to Fenwick 10 ½ rods, lots of action and control. Trylene Big Game line couples us to some Gamakatsu barbless hooks and we are ready.
Using our Scotty downriggers we clip up the line and drop to the secret depth of the day and start our troll. Instead of the big ugly in line flashers we normally use a series of triangular flashers known as a daisy chain. The triangular flashers are less drag in the water and do an excellent job of attracting the fish to the bait. Our flashers are attached to the canon ball on the downrigger, when the fish bites the line disconnects from the clip and the flasher stays with the downrigger. This means no additional drag from in line flashers which is one of the main causes of losing that fish. Barbless hooks are “the law” in Canada. We use Gamakatsu hooks which are super sharp and by keeping line pressure on the fish, the fish gets in the boat.
We do use lures such as spoons and plugs, however most our fishing is done with Anchovy and Herring, it’s a natural bait that looks and smells right and produces. Anchovy are hooked up in a “Head rig” that holds the bait in place and produces a spin which simulates a wounded fish. The herring being much larger can be hooked up in a similar manner or used as a “cut plug”, this is achieved by cutting the herring head off at a compound angle which causes that wounded spin effect making the herring a fishing lure. The cut plug aside from being effective is a West Coast tradition and in the right conditions very productive.
We can always use the heavy gear for jigging Halibut if you prefer. Or we can use a method that is almost unique to our area because of the shallow uncluttered seabed. We troll for halibut using salmon gear. Presentation is the same except we run a few feet off the bottom. It’s very productive and it’s a blast. A 60 pound halibut on salmon gear is sheer fun. If you think a Chinook salmon can spool line you want to see what an angry Halibut can do.