Up for a bank job?
Relax, FBI guys, we’re talking about fishing for blackmouth on the humps of the eastern Strait of Juan de Fuca.
That’s the subject of much of Tony Floor’s March newsletter, out today.
The fishing affairs director for the Northwest Marine Trade Association writes:
The north end of Middle Bank, the south end of Hein Bank, Coyote Bank, and Salmon Bank have been the most popular fishing areas by anglers willing to run to these underwater sand and gravel habitats in search of baitfish and chinook salmon. Predominately, ebb tides on the fore-mentioned banks produce the best fishing and catching results.
To be successful on Middle Bank, for example, look for an outgoing tide, fishing a downrigger five feet of the bottom, in 120-140 feet of water, with a plug cut herring spinning about 25 feet behind the downrigger ball. Money! I start on the northeast corner, trolling west to the U.S.-Canada line, and turn south on the northwest corner following the contour of the bank for a mile or two. Repeat the strategy on the ebb tide to slack. When the current begins to slow down, heading toward slack, is when the blackmouth go on the bite. Women and children are not safe.
Coyote Bank, adjacent to the U.S.-Canada boundary line, located on a northwest, southeast line between Victoria and Dungeness Spit is my favorite place to fish in March. If five boats show up to join you, on an ebb tide during flat water conditions, that’s a crowd.
The technique is identical to my description above on Middle Bank. Start on the east end of the bank, in 110 feet of water and troll west, down the bank, following the depth contour to 140 feet and repeat.
Abundance of baitfish is uncommon here, but do not let that fool you as the chinook salmon will be in the neighborhood. They cruise, I believe, on or around the bank, in search of small schools of sandlance and a rare plug cut herring. A very light tap-tap-tap on the end of the rod tip, followed by reeling down hard and fast until the rod buries into the water and it’s game on. Always fish with the current on these banks and it is
mandatory to stay within 10 feet of the bottom; five feet is perfect.
As much as I like to fish these banks in the eastern Strait of Juan de Fuca, March weather can be very unstable. I am looking for winds in the eastern Strait forecasted at 5-15. It is fishable at 10-20, barely, but uncomfortable and inefficient. Pick your days. The fish will be there.