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Discussion Starter #1
Help - I see/read that a lot of you fish DEEP with downriggers. Whenever I fish much over 120 feet down, particularly with a flasher, I start getting lots of false releases (I presume) unless I tuck my line so tight in the release that I can't ever break it free. What kind of releases do you use when you fish at 200+ feet? Do you just bring the line up with the ball without "breaking" it free? For Springs is it standard procedure to troll at 200+'?

I'm particulary interested in the Port Hardy area but any thoughts are appreciated.

Thanks, Tod
 

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The deeper you troll the more drag that is placed on your line down to your release. Although you find it tight at the boat think of it as 2 parts the drag from the line to the clip and the fish pulling from your tackle to the clip at the same time. Combination of the two will pull the release loose. We only fish deep in winter ( Northern Georgia Strait) and do bring in the line still connectd to the downrigger ( a lot easier). Port Hardy area in the summer get in close to the beach and not deep at all (50 feet and less)
Follow the locals. In the Campbell River area and Powell River we fish less than 120 through the summer and late evening even the top 30 feet.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the input - I hear talk of deep fishing even in the Summer. I've been up in the Campbell River area in late July, and some of the guides run about 10-20 miles North up through Seymour Narrows to fish at 200' "ish". It seems like a struggle to me but then I don't catch too many fish so maybe that explains it. I run my boat up there from the US and if I catch one fish, I'm pretty much done until we eat it. Great country, just wish it didn't cost so much in gas to get up there! My typical set up in the summer is to run one rod at about 80-100' with a flasher and hootchie and another rod with just a spoon (coyote - maybe with a small flasher) at 40-50'. Of course that is all subject to change depending on what I see going on. I try to throw in a cut plug or a real plug occasionally. I'm also doing more buzz bombing and jigging now. I've found jigging to be very effective and as long as the area isn't crowded with trollers it's a good technique for fishing alone (it's hard to stay out of the way if you're not moving). When I get both downriggers out and I'm by myself and then something "happens" (hangup etc.) it can be a real circus.

When I grew up in the 50's and 60's, very few sport fishermen used flashers. I use them now and I guess they help catch fish but they sure kill the fight of anything other than a big spring. I've tried putting my flasher directly on the cannonball so my line is free with some success.

One "guru" down here used to preach using 150' of DR cable no matter what. If it got shallow, he'd go fast. He wrote articles on this in the 80's or 90's.

I'm planning on being up in the Campbell River and Port McNeil areas from early July until early August and I think I'll set up one DR for "deep" (400' of cable) before I come.

Any other thoughts?

Tod
 

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Tod Christensen said:
.

I'm planning on being up in the Campbell River and Port McNeil areas from early July until early August and I think I'll set up one DR for "deep" (400' of cable) before I come.

Any other thoughts?

Tod

Tod;

Don't get all bent about fishing deep in the summer months. Kisinana gave you some GOOD advice......My guess is that them guides are just trying to get away from the traffic of CR and targeting a specific run of Salmon.

Try working a quiet kelp bed early in the morning (day-break) in about 30 ft of water, hugging the bottom. Then move off of it and work the deeper water around it as the sun comes up (100-150 ft.) in the mid morning. This should get you into some fish. Don't forget to follow the bait. :wink:
 

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i usually set my releases too tight. of all the springs i got last year the 35 was the only one to trip it, better hook sets that way because i use 10'6" med-light rods and find i dont loose too many.
too tight is better than too loose
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Mr Dean - Great advice. I've caught quite a few springs jigging for cod off of kelp beds with candle fish type jigs but it sounds like you are talking about trolling in tight to the kelp. Generally, I've had at least one line down 60+ feet so I didn't get in too close. Sounds like I need to fish the gear shallower and get in closer in the am. I've also done well jigging down sandy drop-offs from about 70 to 150 feet. I have heard that springs are often hunting candle fish/sand lance in the sand. I've caught a few that had noses that were pretty beat up even though the fish were as bright as could be. This was "down here" but it seems like most of the terrain up North is pretty rocky. Also "down here" in Puget Sound, resident winter springs are almost always right on the bottom but in the summer the migrating springs are all over the place - shallow in the morning and deeper as the sun gets up.

I've caught springs 20+ miles off of Ucluelet (admittedly over a "hump" but still 230 feet deep). Ever heard of people fishing humps like that up by Port Hardy or Campbell River (I haven't studied the charts to see if there are any candidates)? Might be interesting to try. Maybe the next time I'm crossing the Strait of Georgia or out in Queen Charlotte Strait I'll stop in the middle and watch the sounder for a while to see if anything is stirring down there.

Based on what both you and Kisinana said, I won't worry too much about fishing ultra deep. It's hard enough keeping trolling gear straight in 100+ feet and going to 200+ will just make it harder.

Thanks again
 

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Next time you head North about 12 miles southeast from Campbell River are Grants Reef and Sentry Shoal. Try hitting here as the sun goes down, find the bait and you will find springs at the surface chasing them. Same area in the middle of the day in the channel between the 2 reefs you can find springs at 150. As I said before talk to the locals where ever you are and marine/fishing stores and you can usually get the goods on whats biting, how deep and best times. Check your boat voltage and check the speed others are catching fish at, as well as direction travelled when hooked. All these things have an effect on catching fish. Best voltage for springs is around 0.625 volts between your deepline wire and the negative of your battery. Best quick fix is to add more zincs to your boat if too high.
 

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I always give the release lips a squeeze with my fingers to make sure the line is embedded in the plastic before I toss it over and start lowering my gear. I also usually have the line going through the snap at a slight angle so it is further in at the top of the snap than at the bottom, it helps compensate for the angle of the line out past the snap and from the snap to the rod. I havent had a premature trip in years unless I didnt loosen my drag enough before lowering. The biggest mistake I see SO MANY people do is not reeling down to the snap, further, yes further, and then applying a solid SLOW pull to get it out, jerking it only works the action on your rod and if you use a light-med action rod like I do, you dont accomplish much. The4 more you reel in the less you have to reel after the release lets go, and you can apply your hook set that much sooner as there is less slack to reel in, and that is where most guys lose their fish, especialy if the fish is coming up and towards the boat.
 

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Never down rigged before and taking it all in. How well does two lines to one down rigger work or is this too much hassle? Just picked up a scottie power and eager to give it a whurl, also what about the lines in the prop? I guess it would be good to start circling gently into the rigg and maybe cut the motor?
 

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Never cut the power to the motor in a turn, sure way to send your deep line through the prop if in chop or strong current. I always make a sweeping turn if I have both downriggers out I make a turn that is 2X as large as the shallower deep line as a minimum. I run 1 line on each downrigger it is a lot less hassle if you get a fish on. Most of the time you can calculate how deep your cannonball is by using a 3,4,5 triangle. If your downrigger says 100 feet you are about 80 feet down and 60 feet behind the boat. This is because of drag on your cannonball and wire and it does not hang straight down.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Another variable is the cannon ball weight. A twelve pounder hangs straighter than a ten pounder. Also, your speed affects the depth. A good way of getting a gage on this is to troll at your normal speed etc and slowly go into shallower water (hopefully a sandy smooth bottom). When you hit bottom you have a data point. The ratio changes with the amount of cable you have out but it's pretty easy to figure out when you get a couple of points. The 80% rule is pretty close.

Generally, you should bring the DRs up when you get a fish on. I usually troll forward slowly while the gear is coming up (I use Cannons and they are auto up/auto stop). The fish usually swings back out of the way and comes up, especially coho. I've caught fish leaving the DRs down but there is definitely a risk involved, especially with springs that often go down instead of up. The thing that can get sticky, especially when you are alone, is if you are running two DRs and it gets worse if you are running multiple lines off of each DR. If you can break the lines free, they will come up to the surface and just "trail along". Not a sure thing but they usually stay out of the way. I know one guy in California (used to catch lots of salmon offshore) that runs six lines off of two DRs by himself. Too tough for me. I agree that one line off of each DR is pretty doable and probably effective. You can run two rigs, each at a different depth. If/when I get all of the gear up, I put it in neutral and enjoy the fight. Of course if you have a buddy on board a lot of this will be taken care of. I fish alone alot hence the suggestions.
 

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Hey Tod, when you go up north near Port McNeill do you ever fish off of donegal on malcolm island? We go up there every year in AUgust, and quite often we just let our downriggers down until they hit the bottom because it is so flat and predictable there. Then we just bring them up a couple of feet and try to stay in the same depth. You catch the odd halibut trolling this way as well, and it is especially effective later in the day. Last year we got 13 springs one morning doing this on a cloudy overcast day.
We have caught a lot of fish in that area, but I wouldn't recommend doing this anywhere else, due to unpredictable rocky bottoms.
You can stack your lines, but when you start getting alot of bites especially with coho/pinks it gets to be a pain reeling in the line all the time
In regards to getting the line caught in the prop just extend the boom out as far as it goes, and we have never had a problem. More likely you will tangle your lines if they are at the relative same depth with flashers, so I recommend 10-20 feet of seperation.
Good luck...
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I've fished a little off of the east side of Malcolm island but can't remember if it was off Donegal head. Generally I have ended up quickly over on the mainland side - Wells Passage etc. This year I'm taking the boat up and my wife is joining me after I get there. I will have three or four days to fish (depending on the Strait of Georgia and Johnstone Strait conditions) before she and our other guests get there. Then we have plans over in the Broughton's. I left all of my charts on the boat so I can't look at Malcolm island in detail. I think Donegal Head is the SE corner right?? Anyway, I'll try it. I will be there Mid July so not sure how the timing works with the runs - who knows?.

Since the fish coming down the inside have dropped off so significantly in the last ten years, I was thinking of fishing more up at the North end of Vancouver Island (weather permitting). It seems like the West coast is as good as ever and the fish have to come from somewhere so I figured they must pass around the North end of the Island. Any experience or rumors that would support this??

I'd like to catch a spring or maybe a halibut when our guests are with me. They are not really fisherman so it would be a big deal to them. When they are with me we will be over by Echo Bay in the Broughtons. I was thinking that fishing the island near the inlet to Knight Inlet would be a good choice. Any thoughts?

Thanks for the info.
 

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Tod Christensen said:
Thanks for the input - I hear talk of deep fishing even in the Summer. I've been up in the Campbell River area in late July, and some of the guides run about 10-20 miles North up through Seymour Narrows to fish at 200' "ish". It seems like a struggle to me but then I don't catch too many fish so maybe that explains it.
I have been a guide in the Campbell River area for 15+ years now. It has been my experience that anyone telling you to fish at 200+ feet north of Seymour Narrows is selling you a load of seagull you-know-what. As a general rule the fish are in the top 150 feet and are usually between 70 and 120 feet. The deep fishery is just south of Campbell River off Cape Mudge. Most of the time down there the fish are just barely off the bottom, between 180 and 300 feet. To get this deep we typically use 15 pound cannonballs off the Mudge due to the strong currents.

Before you go fishing check the fisheries office or the tackle shops for closures and regulation changes. There is a possibility that an area around Cape Mudge may close to all fishing for July / August.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Tillicum - Thanks for the input and I'm glad to hear it. To me, the deeper you fish with downriggers, the harder and less enjoyable it is. Everything has to be near perfect or you will get false releases. If you get a wad of weed on the wire it's a much bigger deal to bring up and put back down. Sounds like I don't need to buy that 400 foot long DR cable!!. I'll stick to the top 150' with DR and maybe use jigs if I want to try deeper.

Thanks.
 

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Tod Christensen said:
I've also done well jigging down sandy drop-offs from about 70 to 150 feet. I have heard that springs are often hunting candle fish/sand lance in the sand.
I know of guides in the Campbell River area that INTENTIONALLY drag their DR balls in the sand to stir up the needle fish. The idea being, the free swimming bait fish bring on the feeders.

Dinsdale
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Dinsdale - Sounds kind of radical but pretty interesting. I've heard of dragging the ball to attract halibut too, but my experience base isn't sufficient to get a feeling as to whether this works. It seems like you would "spook" the fish but..... Probably worth a try. At least you KNOW you are on the bottom!
 
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