Fishing with Rod For Alternative Species
There's no doubt I am very fortunate to fish a lot. With this, I've been very fortunate to learn the ins and out of ocean salmon fishing, river steelhead and salmon fishing, trout species lake fishing. and even big sport fishing for the Fraser River White sturgeon. Locally with the exception of a Pitt River jet boat excursion for the many species the Pitt River holds or an upper Fraser River Sturgeon fishing trip ... I've been fortunate to see a lot of cool fisheries covering the greater Vancouver and Fraser Valley areas of British Columbia. So what do you do when you want to try something different?
Enter Rodney Hsu creator of the webpage fishingwithrod.com and the Youtube channel that shares the same name. Rods two sites boast some great stats ... his webpage is one of the areas most viewed webpages as an online fishing resource and his Youtube channel boasts 20,000 subscribers and over 8,000,000 views. Nope that's not a misprint ... his views are measured in the millions. So when Rodney contacted me and asked if I wanted to join him in some projects and added that he really wanted to try something new ... I was definitely intrigued.
" I want to try fishing for bottom fish in Burrard Inlet " at first I was a little caught off guard ... I think most people that fish locally in the community I share would be too. We're anglers after the big fish ... the elusive fish ... or the many great table fish ... I kind of wondered a little about the concept ... but as a bit of an explorer at heart and with a very open mind I couldn't help but think of it as a bit of an adventure. Not doubt it would be a great opportunity to hang with and get to fish with Rodney, who like fishing with Mike D from Lunkerville, was on my list of people to fish with as a recreational angler. I could take the time and ask many questions to the man who runs a successful website, is gifted with video production, and who clearly has a few tips and ideas to share about Youtube. With a little more thought and understanding the spirit of his web page, his idea did make sense. To showcase all the aspects of our local fishery to the community. This fishery does exist, I see many people out on the days I fish for salmon in small boats when the weather allows doing this ... I just didn't give it too much thought ... and with so many people showcasing the same salmon, sturgeon, and steelhead material ... I thought a look at a different concept would be a cool idea.
We agreed on a date and the trip was to be a test run for a future video project we would do together, part of this would also include a portion on crabbing. We met up at Ambleside Park and launched at the free launch there. We dropped the crab traps. Rob had brought salmon parts that had been soaking in the Pautzke Crab and Shrimp fuel, which I had elected to try myself the day before and had yielded great results.
With the dense fog in the harbour we decided to stay close to the shoreline and fish close to the traps in an area of the West Vancouver shoreline many of us call " the flats ". The concept was to anchor up ( of course I forgot the anchor ) but with a little improvisation and a slow tide we were able to maintain a very slow drift. Rodney brought some light set ups, mine was an eight foot Shimano Clarus Rod and a Shimano spinning reel. Very nice gear for sure. Rod had the gear pre tied with which was pretty much a miniature version of a sturgeon rig. He had got some fresh bait which consisted of shrimp and herring that he had pre cut into strips. We were sitting in about 40 feet of water ... with the crab traps down it was time to fish. The target species would be Starry flounder, English sole, greenling, spiny dogfish, sculpin, and the odd perch. As Rob would tell me all of these species could be found in the area.
As my luck would have it wasn't long and I had my first nibble. I was surprised at how quickly it happened but I missed the hook set. I let the weight touch bottom again and then another bite happened very quickly ... there's fish down there! I missed again. This time I waited a little longer then set the hook and fish on! The fish tugged pretty well and was a ton of fun on the set up Rod had for me ... I was a little excited because I had no idea what I hooked. The fight was a lot like a trout would feel on a spinning rod. Finally we saw the fish and it was a starry flounder. This fish was actually a decent size and I decided I would keep this one to sample for dinner.
The second fish I hooked up on was an English sole, a great little fight in it's own right. Rod let me know that the English sole is actually a flounder. True soles are only found in Europe and they are identified by the absence of a pronounced tail. Starry flounder and English sole are the two most common flounder species found in the inshore waters of British Columbia. This one was small so we sent it back to the water.
I started to get the hang of things and managed a few more flounder. I was having a ton of fun. Unfortunately Rod was not having the same luck. A few more drops later I felt an aggressive hit and a hard take on the line. I set the hook and the fish pulled back very hard on the light gear. I had to loosen the drag of and let it take a bit a line. What was this fish ? Could it be a salmon taking my piece of Herring ? What a great fight! With a bit of work I managed to get the fish so we could see the silver flashes below the surface. It was a big dogfish and didn't want to come to the boat. It was a ton of fun on the light tackle. I would compare the fight to a two to three foot sturgeon.
Rod was not having the same luck fishing with shrimp and kept getting hooked up with Dungeness crab ... which I did as well. I certainly was having the the fish luck with a few more dogfish and many of the Starry flounder. With a little work Rod did manage to find his way into some flounder. With all the different species flounder, sole, dogfish, crab, and even Rod's large sculpin.,the action was steady and it really was a lot of fun.
I suggested to Rod that this would make a great fishery for people with young kids. Salmon fishing can be a ton of fun no doubt, but for the little ones waiting for the bite and a few fish can make things a little slow. This fishery is good action and each hook up is a new surprise. In fair weather even with smaller craft, this could really make for a good fishery for people to get out and share with their children. I would highly recommend it even when salmon for fishing at the end of the day for a bit or before getting your crab traps. Sitting anchored up in the calmer water fishing with spinning rods really was a fun time.
The fog never lifted and we decide to end the trip by noon instead of spending some time fishing for winter chinook. We picked up the traps and were treated to a bountiful haul.
Each trap had up to a dozen crabs, but only a few were over the legal size limit so the rest were sent back to the water. We still managed six keepers, which would mean a crab dinner for Rob and his family.
I took the starry flounder home cleaned and baked in in the oven ... I had a little crab left over from my trip the day before and mixed the flounder and crab to make a delicious fish taco...man was it good!
I have to thank Rod for the unique opportunity, not only getting out to fish with me but being so generous with answers to the many questions I had about websites, blogging, video production, and Youtube. I learned a lot about all of that for sure, but I also learned to keep my mind open to new ideas. This was a ton of fun. Thanks Rod!
You can check Rod out on Youtube at ..... www.youtube.com/user/fishingwithrod
and don't forget to check out his website at ...... www.fishingwithrod.com