Hippa Island is located on the West Coast of the Haida Gwaii, British Columbia about 40 miles south of the Northern Tip. The story of how the Charlotte Queen picked Hippa Island as our favorite fishing spot began in 1992. The predecessor of our operation was the Charlotte Explorer which began fishing these waters looking for “the best spot.” Being a ship it was mobile and began with the objective of “following” the fish in remote uncrowded locations.
I fished Englefield Bay, Hippa Island, Otter Passage, Hakai Pass, and Dundas Island. Of anywhere Hippa Island quickly became the hands down favorite. The fishing was consistently outstanding for Salmon, Halibut, and bottom fish. There were no other boats in the vicinity, and finally there was Hippa Island which afforded good fishing in its Lee if it wasn’t possible to fish outside waters. Our shareholders and operating partners have been fishing here since 1992. We are convinced that we could fish here for a lifetime and still not discover all of the structure and nuances of this remarkable fishery.
We keep it simple. The vast majority of the time we “Motor Mooch” with 6 ounces of weight on a “slider”, an 8 foot leader and a piece of brined herring. With the aid of the “CHART GPS” units in each boat we set up drifts over pinnacles or known structures. Usually we start the drift with our lines out between 11 to 30 pulls. (This varies with the time of day and depth of feed spotted on the depth sounders)
The key to this type of mooching is to keep an eye on your rod tip! Often the first sign of a a “bite” is a slight “tap, tap” on your rod. Stop the boat, strip out and WAIT, (LET YOUR BAIT FLOAT FREE) Let your fish enjoy its “last supper.” Strike only when the fish takes its first run.
Frequently during the course of “the drift” or placement of your boat we encourage the use of the “HIPPA DROP”. This is letting your line free spool down through bait balls (marked on sounder) or on the flats where Halibut are known to reside. As we typically employ this method in water depths of between 150 to 250 feet we find we catch Chinook on the drop, or on the retrieve. At the same time we are fishing for Halibut, Ling Cod or Yelloweye Rockfish. We often say that with each piece of herring we expect to come back with at least teeth marks!
All of our methods and locations are thoroughly covered in a booklet handed out upon departure on our charter to Sandspit and a complete fishing orientation upon arrival at the Charlotte Queen.
While downriggers are available, we have found over the years that our simple methods generally produce more fish than you can imagine!