Ebb & Flow Week 5: June 30, 2016
June 30, 2016 | 2556 Views
A question to begin friends: Have you ever caught a Salmon Shark? No? I thought not.
Neither have I, but I did battle one for a heart-breaking minute or so a few years back while fishing with The Clubhouse’s all-star guide Korey Fletcher. I was convinced that the endless screaming of line meant that at long last I was into a very big Chinook Salmon. Then Korey broke the news: “I hate to tell you this, but I’m pretty sure you’ve got a Salmon Shark.”
Salmon Shark? I had never heard of such a beast. “He should be breaking the line any second now,” he added in the calm and confident manner of professional fishing guides. And just as his voice trailed off, it happened. The rod straightened out and after a few cranks of the reel I was looking at bare line blowing lifelessly in the Pacific breeze.
Salmon Sharks are not uncommon around Langara Island. They are the bulldogs of the Shark family, or for veteran NHL fans, the Tie Domis of Sharks- not real long, but beefy and tough as nails, with a face and teeth every bit as fearsome as a Great White. Apparently their skin is so coarse that they invariably break the line. That’s why it’s rather significant that Brent Doorenball, a guest of The Clubhouse, managed to boat one of these gnarlies this week off Cohoe Point with guide Evan Minigan – five feet of sheer nastiness, but no doubt an interesting diversion.
Fishing has picked up again on this last trip after another few days of hot and cold. Lots of bait again in evidence and lots of fish, including increasing numbers of Tyees of steadily progressing size. Most of the action remains out west on shallow trolls. Wildlife viewing, incidentally, has been spectacular of late, which I always appreciate, even when the Orcas show up in number as they did a couple of days back around Lacy Island. While magnificent and thrilling creatures to watch, Orcas tend to put a temporary damper on Salmon fishing, and understandably so. Heck, if I was a Salmon, I would get lost in a real hurry when things turned black and white.
The biggest fish of this past week was picked up in Bruin Bay by North Island Lodge guest Vic Tuinenga, who was fishing with guide Kyle Alton, a 42-pound chrome lovely that was cleanly released – good goin’ Vic. Fellow North Island guests Gord Hilchey and his fishing partner Frank Burke similarly wanted to release a 38, but with the fish bleeding badly from a swallowed hook, guide Jacob Brunelle wisely advised them to keep it. It happens, but hats off to Gord and Frank for good intentions.
Meanwhile over at The Clubhouse, Henry Koziarski was the leading scorer with a pair of Tyees – a 37.5 and a 34 – both released. Henry’s better half also caught a 32, which made for a particularly memorable trip for these folks. Nobody would have batted an eye if Colleen had kept that 32 but she was eager as Henry to allow that fish to carry on its natal journey to help make more big fish. Other highlights of late at The Clubhouse were a 36 for Mike Stanberry, a 35 for Michael Henry and a 30 each for Mike Throne and Duane Schneider. Halibut fishing remains excellent both in the offshore depths and on the inshore troll. Jon Kaplan and Daniel Berendt both said hello and goodbye to 150 pound ladies of the deep.
Now here’s a heartwarming tale. The late and sadly missed Ron Brown has some classy friends who have honoured his memory for the past seven years with their Reelin for Ronnie Derby at North Island Lodge. The 24 contestants were friends or business associates with Ron at Calgary-based executive search firm Lock Search Group. During their stay they hold a derby and auction to raise money for the Ron Brown Scholar Program which aids students from Isla Mujeres in Mexico where Ron and his family lived until the time of his passing. Ron was obviously a pretty special guy, and having friends like his proves once again that, in life, we truly do reap what we sow. Congratulations to Ron’s buddies for their poignant and profitable annual tribute, which has to date raised over 10,000 dollars for deserving students. Todd McIntyre and North Island Lodge staff are sincerely looking forward to your return next June.
Finally, if you have read Jordan Knight’s most recent report from The Outpost, you know that the fishing has slowed only slightly from the torrid pace that was set from day one, but all that means is that the guides have had to go a bit further afield to find the fish, and find them they did in great numbers at Tian, Hippa Island and elsewhere. And for those that did venture further out from Port Louis, executive chef Stephanie Noel created what I am betting may have been the most spectacular boat lunch ever offered in Haida Gwaii. The meticulously crafted offerings placed in Japanese bento boxes consisted of yellowtail teriyaki, pork and vegetable gyozas, seaweed salad, Salmon tartare and tempura veggies. “Incroyable!” as Steph’s francophone family friends would say. “Formidable! Bien fait!”
But as anyone knows who has discovered a gourmet lunch inconspicuously placed in a plain blue lunch cooler, or for that matter, stumbled upon a Salmon Shark, life is full of surprises with The West Coast Fishing Club. Seems every day that’s just the way things roll – far beyond our wildest expectations.
Until next week friends, stay safe and well.