Last weekend, Dwayne and I set out to take some pictures of the ladies fishing in the Women’s Fishing Derby. We finished up with a bit of time to spare, so you can bet that we were going to drop the lines down for an hour or so. Weeks of watching weigh-ins at our dock had me eager to go fishing for the first time this season, and I was not disappointed. It wasn’t just the Spring I got to take home (thanks to the Army-Truck hoochie you see above) that had me thrilled at the experience, but the education I received along the way that made the trip worthwhile.
I hadn’t realized the expertise required to fish in the area—I have typically found myself observing a quiet yet incredibly-focused fishing guide carefully selecting their spot, direction, hoochies, etc. But why did they end up where they did, and use what they used? Lucky for me, Dwayne was able to relieve my lifelong curiosity. He took me through the intricacies of the favourite spots such as the green can, the lighthouse, and the hump. In his Weekly Fishing Report, it’s all about the Hump, a fishing area just off the southern tip of Quadra Island. As you’ll see, it takes more than just a boat and some fishing gear to see results out there:
If you want to be a successful Campbell River saltwater angler you need to know how to fish “The Hump” effectively, especially once the Lighthouse becomes subject to its annual July 15th closure. When the tides are light, fishing The Hump is as easy as driving your boat to the top of this underwater mound and dropping jigging gear down to the bottom. A Buzz-Bomb at 150 ft. can be absolutely deadly here and will land anything from salmon to halibut and ling cod, as well as rockfish and dogfish. But trying to fish this way in anything but dead calm water will turn you into everyone’s favourite enemy. Your line will start to trail far behind you when the tides start to build and this will leave you at risk of tangling your jigging gear with the downrigger lines of a trolling angler. This is never a good thing, unless you are a big fan of cuss words.
Traditionally the prime time to troll The Hump is on the ebb tide, with the focus on the last half of the ebb. Start out in the deeps to the south east of The Hump and drop your riggers down anywhere from 170 to 260 feet. Fishing this deep can be challenging but it is necessary if you want to hook up consistently. When your tack takes you to the point where you can look straight up Hilchey Avenue and the Lighthouse lines up with the smoke stack from the old mill, keep a close eye on your rods as this has been one of my most productive spots ever since Painter’s guide Trevor Mahalak pointed it out to me a few years ago.
To be a truly expert Hump fisherman you need to learn how to fish the flood tide with the CCD or “Cross Current Drift”. This is not for the faint of heart because the swirling currents of the Hump flood have earned the nickname “The Washing Machine”. Set up North West of The Hump with your stern facing toward town, give your accelerator a good twist and drop your gear down carefully. Dropping too quickly will leave you with a tangled mess of flashers, hoochies and leaders. Troll twice as fast as you think you should and then double your speed! Plugs work well in this type of fishery but nothing is immune to the Washing Machines’ hunger for gear. But stick with it because this flood tide has given up some truly big fish.
Until next week, tight lines and keep on fishin’