Ebb & Flow Week 6: July 8, 2015
July 8, 2015 | 3708 Views
Recall friends that when we last spoke, internet problems had temporarily interrupted reports from The Outpost, and that I promised more details about the action Port Louis way when they became available. Turns out it has been an action-filled period of late in that area, particularly for Chris Dale (AKA Ol’ Yeller, former Outpost guide and now the Club’s Sales and Marketing Manager) who was up last week with his altogether likeable father, John Dale. Now, where to begin…
First, Chris says that the Halibut fishing was on fire and everyone in the group got into perfect 30 to 55 pound Halis. Flamingo Rock has apparently been the hot spot recently along with the good old Three Rocks Halibut hole where my friend Brad Portlock and I had a memorable session on the anchor a couple of weeks back. After releasing a 220 pound Hali, a 60-pound Ling Cod, another 120 pound Hali, Chris and John reeled up two perfect 132cm (the size limit is 133 cm) Halibut to supply their friends and family with fish and chips for the fall and winter months (those are Chris’s words, not mine – a fish as fine as a Halibut deserves better treatment than beer batter and a deep fryer in my opinion, but never mind).
As is frequently the way between fathers and sons when fishing for these grand pianos, Chris provided the muscle on the big ones while John enjoyed the Haida Gwaii sunshine from the comfort of his bow seat with a coffee and treats from chefs Paul and Steph. Ol’ Yeller also caught the largest Coho of the season so far at The Outpost while on the pick at Flamingo Rock – a beauty 12 lb chrome torpedo. Turns out they didn’t even realize it was on the line as they were too busy dealing with the Hali rods. As guide Carl looked off on the horizon he said words to the effect of “Woah, look at the size of that Coho jumping over there” and immediately thereafter realized it was hooked up to a mooching rod they were running out back. Unbelievably, it was still on the line by the time they noticed. They went on to catch another five Cohos while Halibut fishing. Never a dull moment some days.
Later in the trip, after an hour at Freeman Rock without a single bite they found that the Chinooks were hiding down very deep between 150 to 200 feet and spent the next four hours fighting as many fish as they wanted in the 15 to 25-pound range.
Meanwhile at Langara Island the fishing continues in the superb manner it has all year long, both for guests of The Clubhouse and North Island Lodge, along with a crowd of self-guided interlopers not so affectionately known as “rock dogs.” I’ve seen folks lose fish to sea lions time and again, and not just up north but all over the BC coast. It can be frustrating and occasionally heartbreaking to reel up only the head of what was seconds earlier a good-sized fish. But at times like this we all have to tell ourselves that none of us are above the laws of nature. We can only hope for the best on every outing, bearing in mind that there is always an inherent risk of losing fish to other forms of wildlife. It happens everywhere from Alaska to California, particularly in areas as rich in biodiversity as Haida Gwaii – frequently referred to as the Galapagos of the North. The upside is that we have better opportunities than most other folks to see Mother Nature in full force, which most veteran Club members regard as an added bonus, even if it does mean desperately free-spooling every now and then to give a fish a chance to outswim the far less agile sea lions.
In spite of it all, Clubhouse guest Alan Holmgren landed one of the better fish last week, just a few ounces over 30 pounds with guide Korey. Guide Steve Tenant helped Harold Frysh to a 32 while Screamer and most of the other guides found fish in the high 20’s for their guests, all on the east side and north shore of Graham Island as strong northwest winds have recently restricted access out west. The notable catches included a 31.5 for John Roberts and a 30 for Todd Stanberry. Lots of big Halis at Langara too, as per Martin Halliwell’s 200-pound release and a 170 for Nicolas Garreffa. And gadzooks, what’s the deal with the monster Ling Cod this year?! To wit, Don Roberts released a 40 last week, which is not even in the upper range of what we’ve seen so far this year.
Last word is on the subject of releasing fish. I have long admired the owners, managers, guides and guests of The West Coast Fishing Club for promoting conservation-minded angling. Naturally guests are welcome to keep any Salmon they want provided it is within daily catch and possession limits, but it is increasingly reassuring to see more and more people opting to take pictures of the really big ones and then carefully returning them to the ocean where they can continue their journey to make more big fish. It’s simply a means of preserving the upper end of the gene pool.
Ditto for the Club and its members for joining forces by way of the annual 50-50 draw, the proceeds of which go towards various conservation efforts with local partners. A couple of years back, the Club’s co-founder Rick Grange told me that collective efforts have resulted in the creation and enhancement of various hatcheries and the restoration of spawning habitat in nine different river systems up and down the BC coast and Vancouver Island. Thanks to you, them, and other like-minded organizations and anglers, we are seeing increasing numbers of hatchery-raised fish turning up at Haida Gwaii.
So, to all of you who have contributed to the cause in various ways, thanks and congratulations. Future generations will be grateful.
That’s it for this week friends. Hope you are all having a swell summer.