Ebb & Flow Week 5 ~ June 22, 2017
June 22, 2017 | 2778 Views
Greetings friends from The Outpost on the shores of Port Louis, Haida Gwaii, where Bluewater Bernard and I have journeyed to again match wits with nature.
Tell me, is it just me who finds the lift-off of the helicopter in Masset to be one of the most exciting moments of the entire experience? It thrills and amazes me every time. Irrespective of whether one is destined for Langara Island or Port Louis, the flight is always exhilarating, although the two journeys are distinctly different. In the first case, we fly to the northwest at low altitude along the beaches and rocks of Graham Island until finally the channel between it and Langara Island come into view.
In the latter case, the journey is to the southwest across the wet tundra-like plain that soon gives way to the soaring forested hills of the island’s northern interior. The sole signs of human touch are just a few skid trails used by loggers to access the deep forests and remove their bounty. Those from the previous year are already grown over with deciduous trees, appearing as bright green ribbons traversing the hillsides, soon to be transformed into a new generation of evergreen growth as the forest of this rain-lashed landscape wastes no time reclaiming what it has lost.
Within about 20 minutes, the sea once again comes into view. The shores visible on the approach to Port Louis are strewn with partly submerged rocks upon which emerald waters crash dramatically and recede in bridal veils of snow-white froth. This is Haida Gwaii at her electrifying and refreshing best.
To the fishing now. Once again Port Louis delivers friends. Although the winds have kept us close to home in the bay the past two days, we are all finding Chinook Salmon in the 15-25 pound range. And my old friend Mike Dusterhoff, who has been a West Coast Fishing Club disciple for over 20 years, has the top fish of the season for The Outpost, a 38 guided by lodge manager Jordan Knight, who subbed in for wunderkid Jonah Smith, who was receiving medical attention in Masset for a hand infection caused by a…fish. Huh? Anyway, Jonah is back now and Mike and his buddy Steve Swenson are back out there right now looking for a repeat.
Bluewater Bernard and I took advantage of good weather and relatively calm seas on arrival day and ventured offshore in search of turkey-sized Halibut with which we will undoubtedly win friends and influence people around our dining room tables. Fresh Halibut is also effective when seeking favours from neighbors – borrowing hedge trimmers, getting help with small carpentry projects, airport rides and the like. After about an hour of relaxing time while guide Carl Archibald did the work at anchor, Bernard and I got exactly what we were looking for – 44 and 36-pound versions, respectively – and headed straight for the check-out aisle.
I should tell you a little about Carl friends, as I have done before in this space. He is atypical in many ways, and rather hearty. Consider for example that he went wake-boarding in the twilight of the summer solstice, in air temperature that forbade lingering on the deck fully-clothed let alone shooting across glacial-temperature waters in a wet suit. But I hasten to say that Carl is not particularly unusual when measured against his peers here at The Outpost. The staff, to a person, are a remarkably upbeat, positive and durable lot when it comes to outdoor ocean fun. They appear to be a close-knit group who work hard by day and play cheerfully in the few precious hours they are able during their marathon 24/7 summer. They are a lovable lot and their mothers are all no doubt proud.
We have one more full day ahead of us and the forecast is calling for lighter winds and calmer seas so Carl, Bernard and I plan to venture further to sea in search of more precious silver. Speaking of silver, I have a small Coho bound for home, so they are beginning to show up. As an aside, Mike and Steve just this minute returned from the bay and reported they doubled up on a couple of 20-somethings along with other smaller specimens and a couple of perfect Lingcod to boot. They are in a happy place sipping ceasars in just a few paces from where I hunt and peck, and I think I just might join them.
But before I go, here are some quick highlights from The Clubhouse and North Island Lodge. Top fish of late went to Scott Hahn with a 33 lb Chinook Salmon; a 31.5 lb for Randy Blair and a 25 lb for Raymond Donahue. A couple of nice Halibut on the board too for Archie Hall a 250 lb release and 125 lb release for Jay Curren. Don Burton retained a nice 57 pounder. Stefanie Johnson managed to take some time away from The Clubhouse store to land a nice Chinook.
Top fish for North Island Lodge were Kevin Chatterton and Mitch Desmarais both with a couple of Tyees of 30 lbs and Bob Fellows with a 29 lb Chinook. In the Halibut category, Andy Mittlestaedt managed a 65 lb. Nice work guys!
Hey, it’s officially summertime friends! If you are headed up here to mystical Haida Gwaii, rest assured you are in for exhilarating and memorable times.
Until next week, stay safe and well.
*Photo credit: Orca shot – Clubhouse Guide, Jacob Brunelle.