Ebb & Flow Week 16 | Sept 13, 2018
September 13, 2018 | 2999 Views
“2018 in the Books!”
By Deepwater Don
Yesterday morning I deliberately took my time ambling up the walkway to the helipad, determined to be the last angler to board the last chopper on the last trip of the season. Stepson Scott asked if I wanted to jump in ahead of him but I declined. He is a fine young man, but I know him well enough to know that this was no gesture of respect for his elders but rather a play for the window seat where he could splay out his 6’ 6” frame. And with both my feet aboard, the door closed, and the rotor speed increasing, the 30th season of fun and fishing came to an end for The West Coast Fishing Club.
As we whisked away, I had visions of the smiling and waving staff members collapsing into an exhausted heap – quite understandable after 120 straight days of signature service.
Although the fishing wasn’t particularly memorable on this last trip, save for possibly the best halibut fishing I have ever seen, it was a memorable September in every other way at The Clubhouse, with live music, complimentary spa service, special guest bartenders, and many memories made on the part of friends and families who had come from far and wide.
First off, there was the Rodriguez group, whose plans to join us for the final trip of the season last year were suddenly pre-empted by a savage hurricane that pounded their home state of Florida. It was a pleasure to meet these friendly folks and to see them finally able to make good on their plans to experience the marine wilderness of Haida Gwaii and the civilized comforts of The Clubhouse. After a tough start to the fishing, Frank and Mary Ellen Rodriguez had a banner afternoon on the final day out at Cohoe Point, scooping up a pair of chinook salmon each and letting two others go. Not sure if some otherwise elusive chinooks had moved in earlier in the day or if guide Korey had some tricks up his sleeve, but it made for a strong finish for this amiable couple. Their friends Ken Moore and Montse Dosta Moore meanwhile hooked on to what turned out to be the largest lingcod of the season, a 60-pound toothy monster with guide Shawn (I think it was Monste who actually muscled the thing into the net).
Then there was John Wesley Harvey the third, fourth and fifth. What a morning this three-generation trio from Seattle had on day two with guide Robin, picking up four large northern coho of up to 15 pounds. More importantly though, it was a trip they will never forget, especially for 11-year-old JWH number five, who was also pretty pumped about lifting a turkey-sized halibut off of the ocean floor. Patti Johnson was similarly pleased to be one of only a handful to guests to pick up a chinook in the plus-20 category. Jackson Stewart had the top chinook of the trip with a 23-pound model caught on day two. The last highlight of the trip, at least on the water, was my friend Diane Rupert’s halibut that her guide Bud estimated to be around 175 pounds, which is considerably heavier than the feisty but diminutive Diane. It was great to see her and husband JB Rupert once again back at their happy place on Langara Island. I have lost track of how many trips they have made, but they very well may hold the club record.
There were a whole lot of other people on this trip whose company I thoroughly enjoyed – too many to mention – but I thank you for all the good will, laughs and camaraderie. I also want to thank the talented foursome of Mick Dalla-Vee, Brent Knudsen, Marc LaFrance and Ian Cameron, affectionately known around The Clubhouse as The Dock Rockers, for three nights of fantastic music. The former three now resume touring duties with Randy Bachman while Ian rejoins Chad Oliver as Ruckus Deluxe, a talented twosome that kicked off the September to Remember trips at The Clubhouse, and who you can catch bringing the house down at the Dubh Linn Gate Irish Pub in Whistler throughout the coming ski season.
Last tyee of 2018? That went to Jennifer Mackie, who was up for the penultimate trip of the season September 6-9. There were an awful lot of big fish caught by female fishers this year and I hope to see more of them next spring when the wild Pacific salmon return once again to Haida Gwaii.
Last thing friends: On behalf of everyone at The West Coast Fishing Club, thank you for the gift of your time during this 30th anniversary season. We sincerely hope that you were thrilled by the fishing and the enigmatic beauty of Haida Gwaii, amazed by the service and comforts of the lodges, and most importantly of all, made indelible memories with the people in your lives who mean the most. I know I certainly did. Until next we meet, please do stay safe and well.
And in the interim, should you perchance wet a line in another region of the world, remember to always, always, always keep a tight line!