Ebb & Flow Week 3: June 16, 2016
June 16, 2016 | 2799 Views
If you are one of the many who have long considered a trip to The Outpost, may I offer some unsolicited but friendly advice – Go!!!
The fishing in the vicinity of Port Louis where this 14-guest heavenly haven is located has been on fire right from opening day. More about that that in a minute; allow me to first rhapsodize ever so briefly on the immutable joy and exhilaration of being in a place so indescribably…so indescribably….well there you have it, the place is indescribable.
Our trip to The Outpost begins with a helicopter flight that dissects Graham Island and affords views of the high country of Haida Gwaii rather than the magnificent shorelines that captivate our imaginations enroute to Langara Island. The only signs of human contact upon the rugged terrain below are the cut-blocks of timber harvesting, but it’s fascinating to see how rapidly the new rainforest growth reclaims the land, rendering the skid-trails into ribbons of bright green that meander through the slopes and valleys. Suddenly salt water shores appear and we know we are close. Off to the left, the diminutive lodge at the end of a long narrow bay, its dock, and boats come into view. It’s at that moment that the gasping expressions of your fellow passengers confirm their excitement.
It’s an all-hands-on-deck kind of welcome as friendly guides team up to greet us and carry our luggage, and from the moment we begin our gentle ascent up the pathway to the lodge and the elegant dining room that overlooks Port Louis, it’s a classic West Coast Fishing Club experience, beginning with the traditional glass of bubbly on the deck as we breathe the world’s purest air. After brunch we head out onto the water where we have some 15-square miles of ocean all to ourselves – not another boat in sight. End of day is equally spectacular. Owing to its location on the west side of Graham Island, the sunsets here are often…indescribable. I find the period around the summer solstice particularly breath-taking, as does anyone who has seen the sun finally end its 20-hour day as it tucks behind Cox Island. The silhouetted view at dusk of that mound of rock and trees guarding the entrance to Port Louis is as quintessentially Pacific Coast as it gets, like something out of a Ted Harrison painting.
Back to the fishing; the last week has seen six Tyees and counting (remember friends, there are only 14 guests so that number is significant). All of the local spots have been producing, so no need to run down to the equally wondrous waters further to the south. Guests are currently doubling up in many places, including Three Rocks where oodles of fish in the 20 to 25-pound range are voraciously feeding. The Outpost general manager Jordan Knight reported that the area, in typical fashion, is also yielding Halibut and Lingcod aplenty in “comfortably fishable weather.” No wonder veteran NHL defenceman and long-time Club friend Willie Mitchell opted for The Outpost a few years back to host what must have been the world’s greatest pre-wedding bachelor party.
Last week Dale Corman kicked off a friendly tournament among members of Matt Quinlan’s group with a 34-pounder on the first day. Ivan Bebek soon moved to within one shot on the leaderboard with a 33, a trick he repeated a couple of days later. George Brack was up next with another 33, not quite enough to steal victory from the early leader. Then just a couple of days ago first-time fisher Dalan Garner picked up the top fish of the next trip with another nice 33 – some guys have all the luck.
Meanwhile, some 20 nautical miles to the north, Screamer and his guest Todd Gardiner put in a memorable afternoon shift off Lacy Island this week and produced the first plus-40 fish of the season for any lodges in the vicinity of Langara Island – a meaty 45 pounds according to careful measurement of girth and length. At first Screamer wasn’t convinced, but Todd knew from the get-go that he was into a hog. The event is best described by Scream himself, so check out his report on this high-seas adventure, which incidentally was followed by a well-executed release. Nicely done on both the catch and the release boys. Current and future generations thank you too.
Overall, the fishing is improving around Langara Island with guests returning to the South Terminal seemingly pretty happy and satiated for their experience living la dolce vita amidst the marine wilderness. Halibut fishing remains incredibly good with many guests continuing to pick up delectable 25 to 50-pound slabs on a deep troll. Great fun it is to challenge your patience and coolness by gently coaxing these guys to the surface on barbless hooks and 20-pound test line. On Monday some of the guides took advantage of calmer water to venture further out west for Hali-hogs. Word has it that they had some plus-100 and plus-200-pound releases.
Many guests of The Clubhouse and North Island Lodge have been fishing closer to home along the north shore of Graham Island. Channel Reef has been good at times, as has Bruin Bay where last week Jim and Nikki Elsberry jogged over from North Island Lodge on a self-guided mission, ran their lines shallow and picked up a 35 at a mere 18 feet on the rigger. The Clubhouse guest Irshaad Ahmad rang the bell on an identical fish a couple of days earlier. Another guest of The Clubhouse, Bravin Goldade, was two times lucky this week with a 32 and a 30, while Joe Hunt notched one of the best fish of the season for Langara Island with a 38.
Here’s a cute kinda story to finish off. North Island lodge guest Ken Gardiner, who coincidentally registered the first Tyee of the season for The Club in early June of last year, was back out at Gunia Point this week looking for a repeat. This time Ken was fishing with his daughter Alexis, and they were suddenly thrilled to have a double-header on their hands, or so it appeared. A few minutes later they discovered that a particularly hungry and indiscriminate twenty-something-pound Chinook Salmon was hooked up on both lines! Not sure whose number was tagged on that one but as these things go, I’m guessing that Ken acquiesced in the way that fathers do.
Until next week friends, stay safe and well.