Sunday, 19 November 2017

Krippled Fishing Products and Saanich Inlet Fishing History

After last week’s post on flashers used in winter chinook fishing, I got in touch with Butch McPherson regarding his Krippled Fishing Products, one of the originals on our coast, and part of Saanich Inlet Fishing History. 

The following post may be found at:

Krippled Fishing Lures has been in business for over 40 years, first established by long time fishing buddies Jim Gilbert and his partner Jack Robertson in 1962. However, Jim’s involvement in the fishing industry goes back even further than that. His father used to rent rowboats to salmon anglers in Brentwood Bay on Vancouver Island in the 20s, and subsequently raised Jim in a boathouse. 

Growing up in such close proximity to some of the best fishing in the world it’s not surprising that Jim would come to be a salmon-fishing guide by the age of 13.

With 30 years experience guiding salmon fishing excursions Jim earned a reputation as one of Canada’s most internationally acclaimed fishing guides. He reached a career record of 332 consecutive guiding trips without a "skunk" in the early 1970s and has guided celebrities such as Canadian Prime Ministers John Diefenbaker, Lester B. Pearson as well as U.S. President George Bush. Jim possessed a degree in fisheries biology as well as being a noted author, lecturer and accomplished artist. 

In 1962 Jim and Jack went into the lure business, with Jim's fishing knowledge and Jack's contacts in the Orient, through being a 2nd officer for Canadian Pacific Airlines, they started out with their first lure, the Krippled Minnow, which sold 6,000 in its first year. In 1964 Jim worked with manipulating a McKnight spoon, and found that by making the ring holes bigger, the spoon a little wider and using lighter metals he could make the spoon quicker and more erratic. This came to be known as the Krippled "K"Spoon, probably the most productive Krippled lure to date, also in 1964 the Slasher Flasher was introduced, a fish shaped, stainless steel, dodger style blade, designed to attract salmon and make lures more erratic. 

After Jack's tragic death in 1965, Jim continued on, forming Jim Gilbert Ent., which encompassed the lure business, Jim's artwork, books and lecturing. In 1967 the Krippled Herring Dodger was introduced, a narrow, stainless steel dodger, which came in three different lengths, this was followed by the Jim Gilbert Dodger, a wider, stainless steel dodger, which came in five different lengths. In 1970 Jim introduced the Krippled Herring, and later manipulated this lure to accommodate a larger bait. In 1970 Jim sold the boathouse (Gilbert's marina) but continued to guide for another two years. 

In 1979 the Krippled Anchovy was introduced as well as making changes to the Krippled Minnow. Krippled Anchovy to date has sold over one million pieces, and has become the most popular of all the Krippled lures. 

In 1990 the Slasher Flasher was redesigned to be a line-through flasher made of plated plastic. In 1991 Jim Gilbert Ent. sold its lure division to long time employee Butch MacPherson, who worked for Jim for the prior 13 years. Butch brought back the original name Krippled Fishing Lures, and now operates the business from Sooke, B.C. 

Butch would like to acknowledge Jim and thank him for his assistance in the construction of this website.
Butch MacPherson can be reached at:
Krippled Fishing Lures
6871 Talc place
Sooke, B.C.
ph/fax 250-642-3834

Butch has put a lot of text on his site to help in rigging and fishing his products. Here is one text, on bait action. Do go to his site and read all of his information as it can only help your understanding of fishing, and help you catch more fish. Do consider buying something.

Here is one example. There are many more:

Fisherman have used small fish for bait for as long as they have known big fish eat little fish. The Pacific coastal Native Indians rigged baitfish such as herring on bone-barbed hooks and caught any amount of salmon, cod, and halibut. Pioneers on coming to the coast copied and refined the Native's techniques, so that by trolling herring behind a dug-out canoe or row boat (on a basic handline, with a sinker) they could easily catch one's winter supply of salmon. 

In the 30's rod and reel anglers caught salmon by using baits rigged behind a herring dodger, an 8" to 10" flat shiny metal plate which swayed or wobbled when trolled through the water. the swaying motion of the herring dodger caused the bait to sway or dart, resembling a wounded (Krippled) baitfish, an action which enticed salmon to strike.

In the 40's herring minnows were processed in saltbrine and packed in small glass jars, specifically for sport anglers. By the early 50's fresh frozen herring were available for bait. these baits were netted and packaged specifically to fit into the first plastic bait holder heads, designed to facilitate the rigging of baits for salmon anglers. Sports fishermen for the first time could now combine the simplicity of an artificial lure with the effectiveness of live bait. 

Rigging the bait is simple but controlling its action is another skill which requires some basic understanding. Possibly the most common misconception held by neophyte salmon anglers is the fact that they feel one is successfully fishing if he has bait on the end of his line. What he doesn't understand is the bait must have action. The most productive bait action for salmon, whether it be herring minnow, herring, herring strip, anchovy, or sandlance, is a spiral roll. 

Actively feeding chinook salmon in coastal waters where the tidal current is strong (3-6 knots) usually prefer a bait with a roll which is classed as fairly fast (faster than one revolution per second). These same chinook salmon after moving into inside waters (bays and inlets) with little tidal current, prefer a bait with a slower spiral roll. Feeding coho salmon usually prefer a smaller bait with a snappy, loopy roll. The spiral roll can be controlled somewhat by varying your troll speed - the faster the troll, the faster the bait revolutions, the slower the troll speed the slower the revolutions. 

The curvature of a rigged bait will determine the speed of the revolution and the type of spiral roll. A 'banana' shaped curve in your bait will impart a corkscrew fast roll. A slight curve in only the tail portion of a straight bait will often result in a tight slow roll rate.

When fishing any bait spend some time rigging and observing the bait's action in the water before letting it out. Be prepared to make slight adjustments in your troll speed, hook position, placement, and the actual curve in your bait. Time spent in making bait action changes are often very productive and worthwhile. 

Salmon are not intelligent or smart, but can be very fussy feeders, particularly if there are large amounts of natural baitfish in the area. Salmon do not feed constantly, they appear to have activity or 'bite' periods. Salmon will gorge themselves in these short bite periods and may not feed again for several hours or even days. At such times your bait must be rigged and presented to appear as a wounded (Krippled) baitfish, an irresistible easy prey for some stuffed salmon, who just can't resist that one last bite. 

Learn to observe the slight differences in the bait's action and be able to duplicate this when the bite is on. Fine tuning bait action is one of the main reasons 90% of the salmon are caught by 10% of the anglers.

This text may be found at:

All the text on fishing tips can be accessed from this page:

Sunday, 10 September 2017

Kermode Bear

Jack James was the manufacturer and retailer of Radiant Lures for decades. These were used in Saanich Inlet fishing, as well as other places, and more recently the company changed names to Super Tackle. Matt James, Jack’s son, retails the tackle on his site I asked Jack about the spoons he once had that would glow for hours in the dark, as in a far longer time than other glow lures. 

He sent me home with a few packages of current plankton-sized and halibut-sized hootchies from Super Tackle. Once charged with a light, or even a small LED flashlight, they do indeed glow almost all night long. I put two packages on my bookshelf, and if I wake in the night, there they are glowing away. What this means is that the lures will indeed emit glow for as long as the lure is fishing at depth, not simply for five minutes, as older versions of glow used to do. You should pick some up for your winter fishing that is done at depth beyond the visible spectrum.

Here is an image of some of the Super Tackle hootchies, quite colourful:

Now, to deviate a bit from fishing, in this case Saanich Inlet, when I was sleuthing through the collectibles in Jack James house, there was a wonderful painting of a spirit bear and I took some images of it. It is quite large, perhaps 2 X 3 feet.

Here is what Jack had to say in a note to me when I asked about the painting:

“In 1942-43, during the war – I went to school, grade 7 and 8 at South Park School. Every day after school my best friend and I walked through Beacon Hill Park on the way to beach comb at our log fort in Torpedo Bay. On the way, we stopped at the Kermode Bear’s (Spirit Bear’s) cage and fed her an orange.

To get her to eat these oranges, in the beginning we rubbed our stomachs in a circular motion, to show the bear they were good to eat. After a number of times, this bear, when it saw us coming, would stand up at the cage bars and copy this motion. We had difficulty getting these war-rationed oranges from our parents.

I took pictures of this bear named Ursus Kermode, from Kermode Island, which was captured by a Mr. Kermode with a cub bear. The cub died in captivity in the late 1930s. I sent the picture I took with an old box camera and asked my son to do the new medium in art on his Gilcee (could be, Giclee, as I wasn’t sure of Jack’s hand writing) machine.

He put the picture in his machine and got some outdoor background work. He machine printed his new art medium work, and coloured it as you see. As the colouring paint is very expensive I paid him for it. This magnificent art work is done on Everlasting Canvas. It will last forever. 

I sell my son’s art works, and have sold dozens over the past few years! Matt sells art works on his website. I have a small framed one for sale for $100; however, the one you took the picture of is $5000. 

During our beach combing, the US navy and RCN practiced dropping depth charges off the Victoria waterfront. Many fish and other sea creatures floated up and we often took fish home to our surprised mothers. One day, I dragged a large octopus home – and got grounded for a few days!
Thanks for the reminder of this Spirit Bear. The Island it came from has been renamed..”

Here is the image of the beautiful processed painting:

Sunday, 27 August 2017

The Josephine

Back in the day, Jack James fished Saanich Inlet from his open wooden boat, The Josephine, which is pictured below with Jack and some finny friends in the 1970s. You will note how many more fish there were then, that have sadly not been maintained through habitat restoration by DFO.

Jack, started fishing with Josephine in the ‘50s. Here is what he had to say about Saanich Inlet fishing in its heyday: 

There were 2 major fishing derbies in Saanich Inlet... the Ladder Derby and the Solarium Derby. My brother, Dick and I ran the Solarium Derby which usually brought in $15,000 for the Solarium, which we donated. Most prizes were donated.1st prize that day was a $900, TV combination set, 2nd was a 14-foot clinker built boat, which I won with a 23 lb 8 oz spring salmon. 

As we were fishing out of a rotten old clinker which leaked like a sieve and was direct drive, when the starting gun went off, and because of no gears, we were over the line too soon and the officials turned us back over the line. The hot spots were Chesterfield Rock south side and Misery Bay on the north, however we had a depth gauge and there was a deep drop off just over the starting line. 

When passing over this deep hole, we both dropped our lines and I immediately hooked the seconded largest fish. I was using a Peetz cane rod and a 6-inch Peetz reel with 900-feet of Monel steel line. A new lure had just been produced called a Herring Magic. While brother Dick was using a strip teaser, I fished a whole herring at 140 feet--which did the trick. The locals renamed this hole Poose's Point as I fished there for 30 + years, mostly with mooched herring. As mooching was a bad word in the Inlet in those days, I always faked what I caught my many trophy winners on!! The fake name I used for many years was a Sidewinder.

The Josephine was donated by Woodward Stores on Douglas Street. They sold them for $400, and they were built by Cedar Boatworks in Vancouver. They are still in business in False Creek and I was told the 14 ft now sells for $2500.

My restored clinker has been given to my son and if he wishes to sell it, the price is $2900. It is advertised on line. No takers yet, but have had several offers. It comes complete with the original trailer and the 6th restored 5 horse power Briggs and Stratton!  Good luck. J.J. (nicknamed "Poose ")

PS My son Matthew has the rod and reel and lure that won the boat.

As noted, Jack and family still have the Josephine, and when I was over looking at all his memorabilia, I took a shot of him and her, as well as a whole bunch of other things. The boat is in exceptionally good shape for its age, or even for a new boat.

Fishermen may weather a bit, but not their boats (if kept in the garage, and filled to overflowing regularly with $$ - as we all know). 

And an original arm/jacket patch of the Victoria Saanich Inlet Angler’s Association:

Jack's home and garage are filled to overflowing with memorabilia that would take many peoples' lives to collect but have been put together in Jack's one lifetime. I believe these glass containers originally contained aftershave or perfume

And his collection of licence plates must be the biggest in the world.