Ebb & Flow Week 1 | May 31, 2018
May 31, 2018 | 2824 Views
30th Anniversary Seasons Greetings
By Deepwater Don
The first helicopter of the season touched down at The Clubhouse just before 11 am PDT last Sunday, with 12 noticeably happy folks who had likely been anticipating this moment for weeks. Within 30 minutes, another three choppers and 36 more smiling faces arrived. After a quick orientation brunch, they suited up, met their guides at the dock, and fanned out to various locations in the quest for their underwater quarry. And just like that, the 30th anniversary season for The West Coast Fishing Club officially began.
Over the next 13 weeks, thousands of eager anglers will touch down at The Club’s three lodges with their hopes of an adventure far beyond the ordinary. They won’t be disappointed. In addition to memories that will last a lifetime, they will also take home ample supplies of wild Pacific salmon, halibut and other species that constitute the purest form of protein known to humankind.
Don’t you just love springtime in Haida Gwaii?
In keeping with tradition, the season opened with The Clubhouse’s annual Short Notice Club Derby, and as usual, there was an air of serious but friendly competition among the assembled, which included long-time visitors and a few father-son combinations, including Dad Paul Craviotto and son Jay, who have been coming to the lodge since 1994.
Tournament Master Randy Lee will post a complete report of the competition in the days ahead, but at the conclusion of day three the lead was held by Sonny Gallina with a 29-pound specimen, followed by Doug Shigaki with a 25. The first day was a bit slow but the action improved as the guides worked hard to zero in on productive locations and depth. On that note, I was mighty pleased to read earlier this week, head guide Mike Tonnesen’s (Screamer) always entertaining and informative reports, read here. For anyone looking for a truly expert perspective on the finer points of fishing, Screamer’s weekly salvos are a must-read.
Hats off to the guides and staff at The Clubhouse, who have been hard at work throughout the month of May getting things ready for the first guests. Word is that the lodge staff graciously accepted the not-so-ominous task of testing executive chef Rob Ratcliffe’s season menus over the past few days, and perfecting signature cocktails, including the famous WCFC Caesar.
Meanwhile, just one day after The Clubhouse opened for business, the first guests of the year touched down at North Island Lodge. After just two days on the water, head guide D.J. Shinduke reported a bit of a slow start with smaller chinook in the 10-12 pound range but quickly picked up with the first tyee of the season being caught by guest Krista McBay with the help of guide, Graham Obee. D.J. also reported some nice-sized halibut being caught and guests enjoying warm weather.
For the 16th consecutive year, North Island Lodge manager Todd McIntyre oversaw the seven-day journey of the well-appointed floating lodge to its summer anchor in Beale Cove on the lee side of Langara Island. There they were met by commercial divers, who began the rigorous underwater task of securing the lodge and its dock facilities. With that completed, Todd and his crew set about to operationalize power and water systems while the guides changed out lines and readied their boats for the 12 weeks of non-stop adventure that this 30th anniversary season will invariably bring.
Nothing to report yet from down Port Louis way yet, but rest assured that The Outpost manager Jordan Knight and his team have been working sun-up to sundown in preparation for tomorrow’s opening. Watch for reports from Jordan all season long from the sheltered waters of Port Louis and the wild west side of Graham Island.
That’s it for now friends. Please do check back next week for a full report from all three lodges as we move head-on into another season of fun, frivolity and fishing on the mystical waters of Haida Gwaii.
Until then, remember the rule: Tight Lines!