Target Larger Springs?

Discussion in 'Saltwater Fishing Forum' started by bigdogg1, Aug 12, 2019.

  1. bigdogg1

    bigdogg1 Active Member

    I am curious if anyone wants to share (direct or PM) how they successfully target larger (20#+) Springs? This year off the Ballenas/Gerald area has been incredible for fish in the 10-15 # range (and smaller). We have had almost exclusive fortune with plugs of all sizes and colours but the cookie cutters are almost always in the above mentioned weight class.

    I actually moved to plugs because it seemed to me that when fishing the canal, plugs caught fewer fish but they always seemed to be larger. I know there are multiple variables when using different lures etc.

    The problem is that I am trying to think like a fish and they are always smarter than me...

    I have used larger plugs and still get those that are under-sized. I have thought that if I am successful at 150 on the DR, then going deeper will be better because springs have a vertical size hierarchy from top to bottom.

    Any thoughts on how to target larger spring? Is it simply that larger Springs have been selectively removed from the gene pool and that those that are over 15# are mixed in with all the others but are just such a smaller sample size?
    outbeen likes this.
  2. islandboy

    islandboy Active Member

    Anyone strap anchovy to the plug underbelly?
    Slabbedout likes this.
  3. outbeen

    outbeen Member

    tannerc likes this.
  4. bigdogg1

    bigdogg1 Active Member

    A good friend swears by McDeeps and does VERY well - it just amazes me that one can troll past those the same fish and hit the smaller fish. Funny you said this because I have been trying to capture what a jig does while trolling you are so right - the larger ones are more often caught by jigging for sure!
  5. Slabbedout

    Slabbedout Member

    I used to tie / wrap herring strip or what I could salvage from a mangled bait on to the belly of some bigger plugs with a product i think was called spider string or spider wire that got really tight when stretched

    I found just the thinnest pieces / skin worked best cause it didn’t mess the plug action up. If we caught more fish who knows. But it was something different than what every one else was towing.
    islandboy and ILHG like this.
  6. Slabbedout

    Slabbedout Member

    I think the big ones are just more lazy and hang outside of the pack grabbing the easy meal they are not as inclined to chase something flying by being chased by several other fish
    SpringFever552 and Chuck like this.
  7. Fish Camp

    Fish Camp Well-Known Member

    I woulden't say a big chinook to be lazy .it is big fish eats little fish to get bigger.Lazy fish never heard such a thing.
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2019
    G-Auto likes this.
  8. dmurph

    dmurph Well-Known Member

    I’ve hit most of all my bigger fish trolling slower Including a over 25 off French creek this year trolled slow with a plug, just gas enough t give a little action
  9. ILHG

    ILHG Crew Member

    Agree with dmurph. All my big ones are caught trolling with meat and under 30' with the rigger.

    +40lber this summer with a small "fire cracker" chovie at 24'.
  10. wildmanyeah

    wildmanyeah Crew Member

    Ive come to the conclusion that if you are not getting big fish they simply just are not their. They got big for a reason being aggressive feeders.

    Someone a few years ago posted some information on the likelihood of an age 6,5,4,3 and 2 year old fish being caught. A 6 year old fish had nearly a 90% chance to being caught in a fishery.
    bigdogg1 and ILHG like this.
  11. Birdman

    Birdman Active Member

    I wrestled with this question when I used to guide in Quatsino and it wasn't uncommon to catch and release 20+ springs in a day during a hot offshore bite looking for size.

    Mostly the conclusion I came to was that big fish are not always around, and when they are you need to bear down and fish extremely hard to increase your luck/chances,. Often we would get a push that would go through and a bunch of boats would all get biggies for a day or two, followed by a lull afterward. When you know they are in, you have to go for it, and when you hook one, bear down and have a well organized plan to get it in the boat, and hopefully someone on the rod that knows what they are doing.

    In terms of gear, all of my big fish (40 plus pounds) were on hootchies, either shoreline or offshore, and a fast troll (3+ miles per hour, even when fishing over 200 feet deep). Most of the trollers in our area got their hogs doing that, so that ought to be a good clue when that is the approach for the guys who are being paid by the pound. I figured the best bet was to hook as many decent sized fish as possible and through sheer numbers, sooner or later a big one will be in the mix.

    Certainly when fishing the shoreline though I have noticed bait close to shore and shallow is always a good bet for bigger fish, particularly later in the season, and most people have more confidence in that approach, which is helpful. For whatever reason, likely luck of the draw, I had lots of Tyee doing that but none of my real big ones. Although, again ironically in Alberni inlet, where they are not feeding anymore most of my big fish have again come on hootchies, despite virtually always spending a fair amount of time rolling bait when I am in there too, and probably in terms of pure numbers catching most of my fish on anchovy in there over the years.

    Offshore/deep plugs do help keep off the undersize Chinook and Coho, rockfish, etc. but I've also caught tons of 8 pounds Chinook or Coho on 6 inch Tomic tubbies or 7 inch Tomics, so they really don't target big fish so much as helping keep off some of the throwbacks so your line is in the water more. If you're in an area with lots of mid size Chinook and Coho I personally doubt they are going to do much to improve your chances of only getting a big one. Just my two cents though, I know others have a different opinion on this issue of using "big gear for big fish".
  12. ILHG

    ILHG Crew Member

    Great info. Definitely makes me re think things and my approach. This year I picked up a 28lb while offshore & thought it must be a rare fluke...

    I need to start fishing hoochies... I just dont have any confidence in myself when I try them & never give them a fair go
  13. Aces

    Aces Well-Known Member

    Cut plug herring like how Jackel gets them and how I did before I sold my soul
  14. Birdman

    Birdman Active Member

    I will say this re: bait and shoreline fishing, if the water isn’t dirty and especially if there are lots of boats all doing the same thing, I.e. flasher anchovy, do not be afraid to go plain bait, no flasher, even with small chovies. I don’t know if it always gets bigger but sometimes it gets more as I think they are bored seeing hundreds of similar setups rolling past their faces.
    Irishwolf, ILHG and islandboy like this.
  15. islandboy

    islandboy Active Member

    Today's excitement was having a good size salmon follow my plug/choviebelly right up to the rocks. :oops: Still waiting for the first one on the hook. :confused:
    bigdogg1 likes this.
  16. Fish Camp

    Fish Camp Well-Known Member

    Out of the box.Good on ya .I will try casting a 412 tomic , herring with a trailer hook off the passage rocks and pop it.only problem the weeds get built up on the shovel of the plug.
    islandboy likes this.
  17. ericl

    ericl Well-Known Member

    Location, Location, Location.
    bigdogg1 likes this.
  18. RBL

    RBL Active Member

    Timing and location. Learn the time of year and area that certain runs are passing by. The average size of Springs are getting smaller and smaller so you might need to fish another area where the fish still have some size. I miss the times the westcoast was loaded with pilchards. So many tyees around you would get a few a day.
  19. hippaisland

    hippaisland Well-Known Member

    This... I’ve also caught vast majority of my larger springs in tight to structure or kelp beds. Lot of the big springs taken in 10 years on west side of the Gwaii were “on the inside”. Way less action but they seem to wander into areas with less competition, shallow water and tight to structure and kelp beds.
  20. islandboy

    islandboy Active Member

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