I fished with Trailhead Charters – http://trailhead-resort.com/ – in Port Renfrew and had wonderful fishing on Swiftsure Bank. Our boat retained six halibut to 35 pounds; five springs to 19, and six coho to six. Many springs and coho were released, so this was a good one day fish.

On the long ebb tide, the best action was against the trapezoid-shaped closed area wedged against the American side of the strait. The ebb rises from 700 feet bringing nutrients from the deep to the top and these start off the food chain, ending in the predatory fish we caught.

The halibut took a combination of bait and lure. On spreader bars the baited end was Berkeley’s soft, white, plastic, wriggly-tailed blanks threaded onto a lead-head jig. Some lines were baited with large herring and/or salmon bellies. The pencil leads had glow properties; the ball weights did not.

The springs were in the high teens. This means the Fraser 5-2s that should be passing Victoria, are either late or in lower numbers than forecast as we caught no 30- to 40-pound fish. The best colour flasher was the new Kinetic Purple crush from O’Ki. The business end was a Cloverleaf, cuttlefish hootchie. The second colour was an Army Truck flasher and Angel-wing cuttlefish.

We let out tin spoons on the surface 50 feet back. Again, the hot colour was the Kinetic Purple 6-inch, with a Cop Car Glow second best. Though early in the season, most of the coho were on the surface. One nabbed a generic glow-green bucktail on my fly rod. This means coho fishing should be nothing less than phenomenal as summer wears on and the 1.6 million coho, most marked, come to Puget Sound.

There was more to this fishing trip than fish. We had three young lads from New Zealand, Germany and Austria. There is a new program under: www.wwoof.ca/. that matches young people with host businesses, the purpose being to work for room and board for weeks or more, and then for the person to move on somewhere else. One of the kids was in aeronautical engineering, and we managed to make him believe he had to kiss his first fish, a halibut. Then we got him to kiss his first coho.

At the lodge, our chef did a six-course, 5-star dinner in the amber glow of evening. The people were as interesting as the fishing. Jack had walked from Parksville to, yes, Port Alberni, taken the MV Lady Rose to Bamfield and, get this, walked the west coast trail backwards to the pick up across the bay. Iain, a natural raconteur, claimed, and he was big enough that no one disputed him, that he spent his life with his bald head being mistaken all over the world to where he boldly goes as Jean Luc Picard of TNG. Then Monique, a blend of Six-Nations First Nation, Quebec, with a dash of Dutch and English and her taciturn First Nations husband, Peter (she spoke so much, he may not get many words in) told her tales of the ‘Best Hamburger in Paradise’ as deemed by the TC. They run the ‘restaurant’ on the West Coast Trail that hikers from around the world tramp days into the mud and wilderness to rave about. An interesting fishing trip all around.

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