The Canadian side of Coyote Bank sits just 11 nautical miles from Ediz Hook, but often times uncomfortably in the middle of the Strait of Juan de Fuca. As you can see, Coyote Bank offers numerous places for halibut to hide. Choosing where to fish, on the U.S. or Canadian side of the border will depend on several factors. First off, to take advantage of the entire bank, purchase a Canadian saltwater license, information below. Once you have your license watch the tides and currents. During an incoming tide, fish the east side of the bank, or anywhere on the bank that offers a uphill slope to the west. Outgoing tides will put you on the west side of the bank.
Halibut put their eyes into current, waiting for unsuspecting baitfish. Knowing this should help you decide the best place to find halibut. Also, some areas only produce during either a high or low tide, so keep track in your fishing logbook.
Depth also remains an important factor where to fish for halibut on Coyote Bank. During strong tides go shallow. These tides push and concentrate bait into the shallow humps, bumps and shallow areas of the bank. Weak tides scatter the bait and force halibut to search for different feed in deeper areas.
Best baits include herring, squid, salmon bellies, sardines, mackerel, octopus or shad bellies if you have them.
Best lures include FAT Squids, Z2 Squids, Brite Bite leaders and leadhead jigs. These lures are available at http://www.halibut.net
I always put a piece of bait on my lure’s hook and fish lures and baits about four feet off bottom.
Best lure colors include ultraviolet, glow, rootbeer, orange/glow and pink/glow.
10-inch FAT Squids come with 9/0 stainless J hooks, but can be switched out for a circle hook.
Anglers that like to hold the rod and jerk to set the hook should use a J hook. For those who like to put the rod in the rod holder and wait will do best with a circle hook. The circle hook should never be jerked. Patience is required when using the circle hook. When you see a bite when using a circle hook let the fish take the bait or lure, wait for the rod to load and bend and line to come off the reel then slowly begin reeling. This should allow the circle hook to do its job.
If you do fish Canadian waters, BEWARE! You MUST call 1-888-CAN-Pass (226-7277) at least two hours prior to entering Canadian waters if you are a NEXUS card holder. Non NEXUS card holders, in other words, most of us, MUST call upon entering Canadian waters. After several phone calls today to Canadian Customs, they did confirm that ANCHORING in Canada while halibut fishing is fine. That’s great news for all halibut anglers. FYI, you can purchase a 1 day, 3 day, 5 day or annual B.C. Saltwater fishing license.
Also note, it is illegal to have firearms or mace aboard while in Canadian waters, so be sure to leave your weapons at home. And gangion rigs with two hooks are not legal. You may have two hooks on the same bait or lure though. Walt, a blog reader and PSA member also points out, “Old misdemeanor incidents that will prevent you from entering Canada when they check the system in Washington,DC. include Pot possession and DUI.” If you aren’t sure if you are welcome and legal to enter Canada just call them. Also note, in some instances they could require you to report to either Victoria or Ucluelet to clear customs. However, my conversations with Canadian Customs officials indicated they rarely would require this. And remember, if you call just before entering Canadian waters, i.e. on the border but still within U.S. waters you should be safe. If they instruct you that you MUST go to either Victoria or Ucluelet, to clear customs simply let them know you will not be entering Canadian waters. Walt says refusing to clear customs when requested will prevent you from entering Canada in the future, and says, “The potential problems far exceed any gain from fishing in Canadian waters.”