In Baja Mexico I am an experienced fish assassin, but until recently I was a Vancouver Island fish slaying virgin. Not that I caught any fish on this particular trip, but I tried!
I checked local fishing reports and the area around Oak Bay seemed like a good local spot to try for some spring salmon. There was better fishing further west towards Sooke & Port Renfrew, but I didn’t have the time to drive that far and until I get rid of my kayak fishing rust I want to stick close to home.
I parked at the Oak Bay Marina. You don’t need a boat ramp to launch a kayak, but there is a fair bit of paddle and fishing gear to haul to the water so being able to rig the yak at your vehicle and pull it to the water on a cart is handy if not absolutely essential.
My kayak is a 14′ old Necky Dolphin sit-on-top that’s 12yrs old. I bought it new when Necky Kayaks was a Canadian company and they made their boats in BC. The company has since been bought by Ocean Kayak in the US and this design is no longer made at all. Too bad because it’s proven to be a very capable recreational boat for me. It handles rough water well and can carry enough cargo for some light touring.
This kayak has been with me on a lot of Baja adventures. It’s a great fishing platform because it’s stable allowing you to confidently fight your catch when you hook up and it still paddles efficiently to cover ground to hunt for fish. The roto-molded plastic hull is rugged enough to haul over rocks or accidentally run into something in the shallows without any damage.
I don’t have a waterproof camera at the moment so I wasn’t able to document my fishing mission from the water. My main goal was to make sure all my gear worked and iron out any kinks in the system when there was no pressure to accomplish anything. I checked the weather and tides so I wouldn’t be battling any wind, waves or current. Once away from the marina I just headed out into the Straight of Juan de Fuca to an area there were some fishermen in powerboats trolling.
I saw some bait fish jumping, but didn’t get any bites. My rod is a medium action spinning setup and the large sinking weight the fishing store sold me to get the salmon flasher and lure down to where the fish are was a bit too much for my gear. In Baja I use the same gear to troll small Rapala lures so it’s not shocking that it’s not ideal for salmon hunting off Vancouver Island.
I won’t spend much time talking about fishing gear until I sort out what works and have some salmon to prove it. Here is a link to a good PNW salmon fishing resource if you are keen to learn more from someone who actually knows what the heck they are doing.. ;)
My buddy Sean has the same kayak and has expressed an interest in fishing with me. Hopefully we’ll have some yak fishing tales to tell this fall.