Halibut Seeker: MV Salmon Seeker head guide Scott Beckett on one
of the world's best hali fisheries.
its name, the MV Salmon Seeker-Oak Bay Marine Group's floating
lodge in the western Queen Charlotte Islands, BC-is home to some
of the best halibut fishing anywhere in the world. Here's the
what, where and why from Scott Becket, the resort's head guide.
Seeker's pre-eminence as a halibut spot is largely due to its
location. "When you look up the top halibut fishing destinations,
we're pretty much number one," says Scott. "You've got some big
fish coming out of Alaska but the Seeker's location in Kano Inlet
plus the knowledge of the guides put it ahead of pretty much anywhere."
ship's remoteness is one of the most important aspects of its
location. Because the Salmon Seeker is the only resort in the
area there is very little pressure on the local halibut population.
"We're the only ones out there fishing that stock, and that's
really obvious when you look at how many fish our guests bring
in," he says. "Hali are there consistently and in good numbers
all year long."
are three ways to fish for halibut: jigging, trolling and bottom
fishing with bait. Each has its own advantages, and each guide
has his preferred methods. "I find that bottom fishing with bait
is the most successful," says Scott, "especially for guests looking
for big halibut. We use salmon bellies, or salmon heads for bigger
halibut. Oily bait like salmon and herring leaves a much bigger
scent trail, and really attracts the halis."
smaller halibut (also known as chickens, weighing 10 to 30 lbs.)
trolling with herring, spoons or plugs is often preferred. Jigging,
on the other hand, can be a lot of work and has the downside of
snaring more by-catch.
gear is a big part of halibut fishing and the Salmon Seeker is
well kitted-out for hali hunters. "The gear we use is quite good,"
says Scott. "We use 6' Rhino rods and Shimano TLD 20 reels. We
also use braided line which makes a huge difference. Dacron line
put up too much drag, but the Spectra braid line that we now use
is ideal for getting down deep."
the abundance of halibut around Kano Inlet, Scott and his guides
are constantly researching new hali holes. "Take a well-known
area like Freeman Rock," says Scott. "Freeman is a popular hali
fishing area but it's also quite big; we're always finding new
hali holes within it."
the year we take a look at the contour lines on the charts and
sound around any areas that look promising, doing a bit of test
fishing as we go."
technology has made a big impact on research, he says. "If we
find a good spot we just log it on our GPS's chart plotter and
can come back anytime." As for what he's looking for, Scott says
there are two main types of halibut grounds to watch out for.
chicken hali we're looking for deeper water with a flat, sandy
bottom. These are the safe areas preferred by younger halibut,
where they can feed and hide in the sand if needed. These can
be anywhere from 100' to over 400' down."
halibut live in a different terrain. "Older halibut spend time
in reefs and underwater plateaus, anywhere from 130' to 250' deep.
They'll usually hide behind outcroppings on the downward side
of the current where they can catch the scent of the octopus,
rockfish, herring or salmon that they're hunting."
"Halibut fishing has become a lot more popular lately," says Scott.
"GPSs have made it much easier to mark hali holes, so when we
go offshore we're much more successful." The internet has also
played a big role. "You can go on the internet and get a tonne
of information that wasn't available before."
west coast Queen Charlottes halibut fishery is thriving. Not only
do you get some of the best action anywhere, you also get to spend
time in one of the most beautiful areas on earth.
those considering a trip out to the west coast, Scott's parting
words couldn't be simpler: "you'll love it."
Beckett is the head guide at the MV Salmon Seeker in the Queen
Charlotte Islands. He's been fishing since he was three years
old and is about to start his 24th year as a professional guide.
If you'd like to fish with the talented guides out on the west
coast this summer visit www.mvsalmonseeker.com
or call 1-800-663-7090 to check availability.