Gearing Up for Vancouver Saltwater Salmon Fishing

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Gearing Up for Vancouver Saltwater Salmon Fishing

Salmon Fishing Rods

Rods for saltwater trolling can range from 8’6”-11’, with 10’6’ being the most common length. These rods can vary greatly in price depending on the types of materials being used in the construction of the blank, quality of the components, where a rod is made, and what type of warranty the rod has, are all a factor in the price.

You can get out on the water with a good salmon trolling rod starting at $39.98, and they can go up to the top of the line custom built Sage rods going for about $699.98.

Salmon Fishing Reels

Single Action “mooching” type reels dominate our local waters market. These reels are a pleasure to play fish on and hold up very well to the harshness of the ocean environment with very little maintenance needed.  Starting in the $100 range, the Shimano 4000 GT and the Daiwa M-One UTD are great reels that will provide reliable performance to make sure the salmon end up in the cooler.  Those that want to upgrade, the Trophy XL Tyee QR’s have been an awesome machined reel in the $300 price range.  Smooth and sharp looking, many of these have become our favourite reels for this price range for our customers.  Islander and Abel reels are our top end ocean Salmon reels; just one turn and you can feel the quality in the craftsmanship of these reels.  Islander MR2 and MR3’s are made on Vancouver Island, and needless to say, they know how to make a reel built for BC salmon.

Fishing Line for Salmon

Monofilament (common fishing line) is the standard out in the ocean, with the most common strength being 25 or 30 lb.  Berkley Trilene Big Game is an excellent choice for an abrasion resistant and rugged mainline. As well, Berkley’s Pro Spec line has been very well received a very thin line for the pound rating it has. Maxima Ultragreen is one of the most popular lines sold in our shop for a reason –  it has long been known as one of the best lines produced.  For those who want a visible line,  Stren Clear Blue Fluorescent in 30lb has been very popular. This line will look crystal clear indoors, but outside, will light up a bright fluorescent.  Since we are most commonly using a flasher when fishing, we recommend a bearing swivel with a McMannon Snap. This will help reduce line twist and allow for quick removal of your gear at the end of the day and a quick set up for your next day out.

Salmon Trolling Flashers

There is a never ending assortment of flashers are available on the market today.  From glow, holographic, silver, gold and a wide variety of different UV colours. It seems everyone has their own favourite and each flasher will all catch a salmon at some time or another.  One year to the next or one location , there can be a “hot” colour.  You’ll see some reliable choices from Hot Spot and Oki Tackle in the photo below.

Salmon Fishing Spoons

Simply put, spoons catch fish!  They are very low maintenance in that they will always be fishing correctly, where as unlike bait, it could have an improper roll or blown out belly.

Locally, Green/Glo, Irish cream, Homeland Security, Kitchen Sink, Cop Car, Cookies & Cream and Army Truck are all colours that you can fish with confidence.  Leader lengths can vary from 4-6ft in length and can be tied on 25-40lb test.


A hootchie is a plastic squid looking lure that has the merits of a spoon. They catch fish and are low maintenance.  There is a greater importance in your hootchie’s leader material and length compared to spoons or other salmon lures.

You will want to use 40lb test leader material in order to transmit the correct action from the flasher to the hootchie, as well as a length of about 33” of leader in order to achieve that perfectly transmitted action.


What salmon wouldn’t want to eat an anchovy or a herring?  Always a reliable fish producer, our baits are generally brined and cured to maintain perfect colour and durability. There are many ways one can fish an Anchovy or Herring. The most common way would be to put the whole baitfish in a teaser head. Another way is to use a teaser head mechanism called a Jughead Shaker which allows the use of an un-brined bait, and will give the bait a more life-like appearance. When using Herring, another typical technique is to cut-plug the herring which involves removing the head of the herring and part of its body with an angled cut, giving it a rolling action.

Scents and Dyes for Salmon Fishing

Salmon can smell and some of us stink!  The use of scents can only help your chances, not only do a lot of scents have bite stimulants to make our targets a little hungrier but the masking of human odours is huge!  Some people actually do emit a smell that repels fish, adding scents to your baits or lures is highly recommended, scents can be either and oil, gel, or a paste and they do come in a variety of flavours with herring and anchovy being popular. Dying your baits has become popular the past few seasons, if you want glowing chartreuse anchovies you can make it happen!

Tight Lines,

Brian Braidwood

1 comment

  • by Alexis Tull

    Very informative
    I’m wanting to buy a trolling rod and reel for my husband. He’s been fishing for many years and needs an upgrade.
    Something nice. It’s for his 65th birthday.
    And solid suggestions. He fishes mostly in the Vancouver area.

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