Ebb & Flow Week 10: August 5, 2015
August 5, 2015 | 3512 Views
I’ve decided there is something I enjoy every bit as much as travelling to Haida Gwaii on a fishing trip, and that is taking somebody along who has not had the privilege. I never get tired of the looks on their faces when they buckle in for the helicopter flight, or when they are greeted at one of the Club’s lodges by the world’s friendliest staff, or when they see their perfectly fitted all-weather gear neatly hung in the dry room below a card with their name on it.
And when it comes to the fishing, I never take the first strike. The first chance to play a Salmon always goes to the newbie in the bow chair beside me, and I don’t give a hoot if it turns out to be a 60-plus pound fish like it was a few days ago for first-time Clubhouse guest Douglas Smith, who took the rod five minutes into his first session at the insistence of his host Todd Craigen. Even though Todd may have secretly wished that he was the one doing business with that fish, my guess is that he still feels pretty good about providing an unforgettable experience for Douglas. The one thing that’s for sure is that they will both have something to talk about for years.
And even if your first-time guest or fishing partner doesn’t catch a Tyee, by the end of the first day they will invariably struggle to find the words to describe their impressions of Salmon fishing in Haida Gwaii with The West Coast Fishing Club. It usually boils down to the simple truth that they had no idea how important it was to go until they arrived.
At least, that’s the way I see it, and I’ve had the pleasure of accompanying several friends and family members on these unforgettable journeys. For some it’s bucket list stuff; for others it’s a reward for an accomplishment, or a chance to bond with special people in their lives. And for still others, it’s a partial means of getting past something difficult. I’ve travelled to all three lodges with people who have lost somebody or something, including their health. No matter how you or they cut it, it’s all good – really good.
OK, enough rhapsodizing. Although the number of fish has decreased slightly over previous trips, they continue to be larger with every passing week. At The Clubhouse alone, a total of 14 Tyees hit the board for the trip period of July 30 to August 2, mostly caught along the north side of Graham Island, tight to the shore and in shallow water which often makes for some pretty exciting surface action. (As always friends, I encourage you to read the reports by our man Screamer, head guide at The Clubhouse, whose real-life accounts about the action round Langara Island are often masterfully told.)
While none of those fish topped Douglas Smith’s 61.5 the previous week, it was the largest number posted to date for a single trip. Thomas Doig had the prize hog, a 46, followed closely by a 45 for Frank Terrasi, a 42 for Simon Kaplan, a 41 for Stephen Clark and a 39 for Steve Marsik. Mike Barnett weighed in with a 36.5; Oleg Shingin with a 35; Larry Diduck with a 33.5 and Susan Krever with a 33. Max and William Kaplan both netted 32s, as did Bob Wallis. Rounding out the long list of notable catches were Radek Srubar and Bill Hanus, both with 31s. Once again the bulk of these fish, and all of the largest ones, were photographed and released. Thank you ladies and gentlemen; may the pictures never fade.
Word from down Port Louis way has it that guests of The Outpost have been getting into increasingly large fish too. Bill Zielinski pulled in a 32 last week and followed that up a day later with a tubby 33 to win a friendly derby among members of his group. Trevor Mills made an impressive debut on his first ever Salmon fishing trip with a 32, matched by an identical sized fish for Stuart Anderson. But it was Nick Tosti took home the title of biggest Tyee on this trip with his 35.
Weather and seas permitting, the offshore hunt for Tuna continues at The Outpost. The father and son team of Clay and Allan Dowling, and long-time fishing buddies Paul Drost and Tony Roberts decided to embark on the hour-long drive southwest in search of the blue water. After locating the 60-plus degree fishing grounds and encountering a school of frenzied Tuna hitting bait on the surface, it was time to set up the gear. In a three-hour session the two boats pulled in a dozen or so Albacore Tuna with Clay and Allan each finding a 25 pounder.
The Halibut fishing remains as reliable as ever down that way too, with several spots for guests to choose from depending on the size they are after. Just three weeks to go in the season for The Outpost crew, and unbelievably there are still a handful of spots available for anybody who wants to experience the unique characteristics of that magical little enclave and the 15 square miles of surrounding ocean that guests have all to themselves.
On that note, and at the risk of sounding mercenary, I want to clarify that even though the fishing has been stellar right out of the gate this season, and even though all of the lodges have been operating at maximum capacity, there are still a handful of opportunities to share an untold adventure with someone close to you, especially if you are flexible with dates. Also, don’t write off early September as a shoulder season at Langara Island, because for the past five years it has been anything but for both Chinook and Coho Salmon.
Note too that The Clubhouse is the last lodge to close down for the season, and it’s an amazing feeling to patrol the waters of Langara Island unfettered by other boats in the lingering warmth of September. So don’t give up on setting your hooks on a trip in these final days of summer.
And if you can, take someone special along with you. You’ll be talking about it for years.
Until next week friends…