Technique: Fish as many rods as you can,
as close together as possible, but without getting tangled
up. And troll is long straight tacks. Use a sounder to locate
the depth and locations of the main schools. Then position
your gear ABOVE the fish, as much as 20 feet or more. The
fish that break away from the school and follow your gear
are the ones we are after. Usually after one or two strikes,
keep trolling, don't stop completely to play your fish, keep
trolling slowly because more than likely the rest of the gear
may load up with the following fish. We usually troll our
gear using downriggers (a must) fishing 35-95 feet deep; the
preferred depth may change year to year depending on the depth
of the thermocline.
Where: If you were to look at a chart of
the Alberni Inlet you will notice a series of narrows, the
fish generally stack up and hold on either side of the narrows,
about quarter channel to the shoreline. When deciding where
to fish, let your eyes to the work. Start at the top of the
inlet, run down (south) and look for groups of boats with
action. The sockeye are attracted to "groups" of
gear, so don't be discouraged by large groups of vessels fishing,
this is a good thing.
Gear: The well known pink hootchie is your
best way to go, there are various version of the same from
manufactured to homemade using surveyor's tape. Here are my
Lure: MP16, MP44 (MP stands for "mini-plankton,
and the number is the colour code). There are a many colours
that are similar to, which are equally as effective. Local
shops will have the "hot ticket".
Hook: Just as important as the lure is the
hook you choose, single is by far the best. Sockeye twist
and spin, so using trebles often works against you. The idea
is to get a good solid hook set (let the virtues of a very
sharp hook do this, since physically setting the hooks on
sockeye result in pulling gear out of their soft mouths.)
A single tied Gamagatsu or Eagle Claw LASER SHARP or ACCUPOINT
hook is recommended, and many prefer red or black over Chrome.
Tandem hooks work too, but these often get tangled up in your
net and are not entirely necessary unless the bite is slow
and you want to make every strike count.
Leader: It is very important to choose a
dense enough leader that will transmit the action of the flasher
to the lure, although 25-30 pound seems over test, this is
ideal for getting the desired performance to the lure. We
prefer an ultragreen or clear line. (Not brown or Chameleon)
Flasher: Hot Spot or Oki Flasher are the
ones to use, in colours red or chartreuse, but usually red.
Avoid the imitation flashers, their swivels are usually poor
quality, I prefer the Hot Spot Commercial version which has
Ball bearing swivels on both ends. Nothing worse than trolling
around for half and hour to check your gear and find they
are all tangled up in a spinned cluster of what now has to
be re tied and re rigged. If you have flashers with regular
barrel swivels, cut them off and attach good ball bearing
swivels at both ends using large split rings.
When: Over the years its pretty much proven
that the big action is early in the morning before the full
sun comes over the hills of the Alberni Inlet and hits the
water. These are tall hills so there are hours of morning
action before this may happen. Usually once the wind picks
up and we start side tracking, we become ineffective. If the
weather says calm, some days the bite just goes on and on.
Sounds exciting? Well it is, so have fun!