Fishing Report for Nov. 21, 2017

Bob Meyer

Tuesday, November 21 2017

In the 1970s, 80s and 90s, Gabriola and Nanaimo had the reputation as the best spots to winter fish for chinook in the whole Gulf. In the 70s and early 80s I was strictly jigging (out of a 12 or 14 foot aluminum boat), so winter fishing was very difficult. Jigging with monofilament at 200 feet is a lot of work, and could only be accomplished with no wind and minimal tides. Once I started downrigging in the late 1980s the fishery became accessible, and results were amazing. We typically bottom bounced in 220 to 250 feet of water off the Grande, using herring strip as bait. 

When I started charter fishing, only manual downriggers were available. To hit bottom in 250 feet of water with a (then) 10 pound ball, you had to let out 300 feet of wire. We frequently boated 15 to 20 fish (including three or four legals and lots of undersized release fish), with lots of doubleheaders. Which was a lot of cranking. When electric downriggers first came on the scene, the commercial fishermen exerted their influence on DFO, and termed it to be “commercial fishing.” So you had to have a doctor’s certificate to allow you to use electric downriggers, as you were “disabled.” Lots of charter fishermen had these certificates, and I remember one instance where Paul Gray was stopped while on fishing charter by DFO without his medical note. They made him go to shore and retrieve it before commencing fishing. I just persevered with the manuals until electrics became legal for everyone a couple of years later.

The 2000s showed various cycles of chinook in the winter, some good, some poor; 2016 was the worst winter chinook fishing I have ever encountered here. Nanaimo has some serious fishing addicts, and Jack was going out day after day with no results. It was really tough sledding, with no bait to be found anywhere. But 2017 has been incredibly productive, there were tons of herring off Thrasher, and the fish held there for three months. The reason the fish were there were the herring. Just another reason to stop the ridiculous commercial herring fishery in the Gulf. Feed the fish, feed the birds, feed the mammals. Not a difficult concept, DFO.

Good fishing!   

Bob Meyer is the owner/operator of Silver Blue Charters. 250-247-8807,