Ebb & Flow Week 15: September 9, 2016
September 9, 2016 | 2008 Views
You gotta love September stories like this one. As dawn broke last Sunday, the final day of the season for North Island Lodge, Mark Hodge from The West Coast Fishing Club pulled his boat away from the dock and motored off to Gunia Point. With the choppers scheduled to pick up guests just before noon, he and his son Jared and friend Don Fafard were intent on making the most of their last two hours of fishing. It was one of those mystical Haida Gwaii mornings when the water is dead calm, the sun is just making its way over the horizon, and everything feels very fishy.
They worked a well-known area of shallow water and before long they had a 23 in the boat, then an 18 and then the mooching rod out back went off…with great conviction. Mark stood closest to the stern and set the hook on what he already knew was a Tyee and then immediately handed the rod to Don. Don is no stranger to Salmon fishing at Langara Island and did everything right for the next 40 minutes. Run after reel-screaming run ensued, until finally Mark slipped the net under a large fish. Good news, it was a clean hook that immediately slipped out without a drop of blood. As quickly and as gently as possible, they measured length and girth, snapped a couple of pictures and then Mark held the fish over the side for about a minute, gently moving her back and forth. Seeing the gill movement resume normalcy and feeling tension and energy return to the body, he released the magnificent 42-pound Chinook Salmon. And as the late summer sun slowly burned through a thin film of marine fog, they watched her slip unharmed into the depths.
There were other notable catches among guests at The Clubhouse once again last week. On the most recent trip, Ray Brown earned one of the coveted WCFC Tyee pins for a 35-pound specimen he boated, as did Robert Barchard with a 32. Adam Niles moved into first-place tie with Jared Hodge in the Coho category for 2016 as each battled 18-pound scrappers that would have been a ton of fun. There are still scads of Coho being caught up north and I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see a 20 before the season ends on September 14. The prior trip saw two Tyees, a 33 for Craig Ross and a 32 for my friend Jim Reidy, an annual visitor from Seattle who always seems to find his way onto the leaderboard. I should also report that Jacob Forman lifted a 250-pound Halibut off the ocean floor, demonstrating that the larger guided boats are still working the offshore waters out west for anyone who wants to do business with these behemoths of the deep.
And so it goes for guests of The West Coast Fishing Club, who are still out there right now and being rewarded for embracing the inescapable truth that September is one of the most amazing times to fish at Langara Island. Going on past experience, I can tell you friends that it is a wonderfully defiant thing to say no to the end of the season, and yes to more summer fun in one of the most captivating places on earth. To that end, I will again be among the fortunate this coming week, wetting a line with the Dock Rockers and some other privileged souls who will be taking in the final trip of the year at The Clubhouse. The forecast for Masset on Monday and Tuesday is for sunny skies and 18 degrees, which means we will fish in glorious weather by day, and dig live rock and roll by night. And with every other lodge closed for the season, we will have this indescribably beautiful seascape entirely to ourselves.
Now I ask, could there be a better way to end a summer?
Stay safe and well friends, and if you are joining us for this last blast at Parry Pass, remember to keep a tight line!!!