Ebb & Flow Week 15 | Sept 6, 2018
September 6, 2018 | 1015 Views
“The Sounds of September”
By Deepwater Don
Greetings friends from the fireplace lounge at The Clubhouse. It is late afternoon and glorious sunshine is re-emerging after a bit of fog. The view of the riptide waters of Parry Pass is as dramatic as ever. I just finished receiving a luxurious massage from Charlene Fritz, a resident practitioner who has been working her magic for all guests during this special 30th anniversary trip. It (the massage) was a first for me here, and it has rendered me into as blissful a state as can be imagined after the better part of four full days on the sea.
More about the fishing in a minute. For the moment I am thinking about my friend Rick Grange, and wondering just what he had in mind thirty years ago when he proposed building a lodge here on this commanding bluff overlooking Henslung Cove. I know that Rick is the kind of guy who thinks big, but I wonder if even he had any idea just how high he and business partner Brian Legge would raise the bar all those years ago. Did they imagine that The Clubhouse would one day attract some of the finest chefs in Canada? Did they foresee acquiring a couple hundred different pieces of art, including originals by well known Canadian artists and signed numbered prints from the likes of the Indigenous master Bill Reid? For that matter, did they envision taming the marine wilderness so thoroughly as to include spa services, live music, culinary themed adventures or a fishing tournament that would raise millions of dollars for children’s charities?
The point is that it never ceases to amaze me just how extraordinarily comfortable this place is, in spite of its location so very far off the grid. The house has been full on this trip with many couples, some family combinations and some life-long friends, like Mark Bemister and Jim Barazzuol, who have known each other since pre-school days and have been coming up together annually for the entire 30-year history of The Club. Folks on this adventure have come from as far away as Newfoundland, Hawaii and Pennsylvania. The meals – each and every one – have been beyond words, and the evening wine pairings have been carefully thought out. Tim Lambden, bar manager of Vancouver’s uber-popular Nightingale restaurant has been mixing a wide range of tempting cocktails before and after dinner, during which times Kenny Blues Boss Wayne and Yours Truly have been playing an eclectic range of music. The net effect of all this is that The Clubhouse not only looks and feels great, it also sounds wonderful. Simply stated, we are all having the time of our lives.
The weather for the most part has been spectacular as well. On day two we were down to shirt sleeves a few minutes west of Lacy Island on a very fruitful halibut hunt. Best hali fishing I have ever had here. Thanks to our expert guide Paul Jordan, my wife Kim, Kenny and I caught and released several halibut trying to find one each that was under the 115 centimetre limit. We finally did so, and then noticed that guide Korey Fletcher was also fishing in the same offshore region, only he was hunting coho, which we quickly noted were abundant in the 10-14-pound range, with a handful even higher. Monique Mercier, a first-timer, landed a 19-pound model, the largest of the year for The Clubhouse. Overall, we had a fantastic day of fishing and when we got back to the dock we saw many tubs full of beautiful chrome-colored coho salmon.
The chinook have remained fewer in number but the average size has been north of 20 pounds. Two tyees were recorded on the previous trip, one of just over 30 pounds for Christina Abernathy followed by a 29-pound “tryee” for Ted Rerick. Folks on that trip also fared well for halibut and coho, although coho remain for the most part in offshore waters while the chinooks have been found on shallow trolls close to shore on the east side. Two more tyees were recorded on this trip. John Barci picked up a 31 and Frazer Manuel of the Newfoundland contingent grabbed an even 30 to earn membership into the Tyee Club.
Earlier this week saw the shutdown of North Island Lodge but not before 24 more happy campers took advantage of the final lazy days of summer. Dave Matuschewski was one of the many who was up on a client appreciation trip and in his inimitable fashion picked up yet another tyee of 30 pounds on the nose. Brad White and Yash Sharma each grabbed 28’s while the father-daughter combination of Ken and Alexis Gardner found several chinooks in the mid-twenties over at Gunia Point where Ken likes to hunt hogs each time he is here.
Now here is something that caught everyone’s attention all over Langara Island. Apparently last week a North Island Lodge guest and gentleman named Ian McKay landed…wait for it friends… a 22-pound coho! That may not be the largest ever taken in these waters but it is the largest coho I have ever heard of anywhere. Congratulations Ian, that was some fish!
Lodge manager Todd McIntyre asked that I pass along sincere thanks to all guests who joined the North Island congregation this season. I would like to add a tip of the hat to the staff who worked day in and day out since late May to make the 30th season a memorable one for all who ventured here in 2018.
The sounds of September continue here at The Clubhouse for the final two trips with live music courtesy of Mick Dalla-Vee, Marc LaFrance, Ian Cameron and Brent Knudsen, fondly known as The Dock Rockers, The Club’s own house band. Quick shout-out to my musical brothers Ian Cameron and Chad Oliver – AKA Ruckus Deluxe – for wowing the crowd last week. The staff had much to say about how great you guys sounded and the guest comment cards confirm that a wonderful time was had. Nice work guys.
And finally, back to my friend Rick Grange. I hope you are reading this Rick. If you are, I want to remind you again that whatever it was that ran through your head all those years ago when you first fixed your gaze on this place, it has evolved into something far beyond what I think even you could have imagined. Thank you from all of us for seeing and believing what could be done here, and for being a leader in the movement to protect and sustain wild salmon throughout British Columbia. You are an inspiration, and I look forward to sharing a glass with you just as soon as possible in this altogether wonderful place.
Just one more week to go friends, and it’s going to be a great one. On that I am sure. In the meantime, stay safe and well.