Ebb & Flow Week 9 ~ July 21, 2017
July 21, 2017 | 2651 Views
By Deepwater Don
Greetings friends, from the Pacific shores of supernatural British Columbia. We begin with the news that a new record has been set at The Outpost, but it’s not what you are thinking.
Although still unofficial and pending verification by The West Coast Fishing Club Archives and Records Committee (we’ve located one member and are now looking for the other guy), it’s a new record for “the most-seasoned-angler” to ever visit one of The Club’s lodges. That angler is a 92-year-young gentleman named Bill Britch, who last week rode the high seas outside Port Louis in a 22-foot Boston Whaler along with his family members, who appear to have made a lot of lasting memories in the inimitable way families do on such adventures. Not sure how Bill made out on the board but it would surprise me to no end if he didn’t do business with a whole lot of wild Pacific Salmon and Halibut, as has pretty much everyone else who has ventured that way this season.
What I do know for sure is that his grandson, Kris Britch, boated the top Chinook of late at The Outpost with a 34-pound version, bettering by just one pound the top Chinook ever caught by Kim Gordon, who is his former colleague with the wonderful team of people who brought the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games to Vancouver (Kim is also my wife and favourite fishing partner, so I had the pleasure of meeting Kris on numerous occasions during those heady days leading up to 2010 – I know, I know, I’m such a name-dropper). Way to keep the line tight Kris. It looks like you, Grandpa Bill and the rest of the clan had the time of your lives – well done!
Judging from more recent reports, the fishing is rather spotty at the moment, which as all anglers know is an inevitable occurrence from time to time anywhere we drop lines. Word from Langara island is that “pockets of Chinook” are being found around the island, with the guides spending most of their time out on the west side where they have not only had the most success, but have also managed to avoid sea lions that have been a bit pesky this year. Not surprisingly, it’s during slack tides that the bulk of the action is occurring, with the most recent trip yielding a half-dozen high twenties.
The Coho have thinned out somewhat as well, a temporary phenomenon I am certain, but are still being caught up the east side of Langara, and in particular offshore of Andrews Point. There are reports of a lot of juvenile herring around, which the guides contend often draws in some nice Chinook, especially near the kelp and in tight to shore.
There is a confirmed report of a 60-pound Chinook, retained unfortunately, at a neighbouring lodge, which does provide hope that some good-sized fish are beginning to appear – take heart friends, the year is barely half over. That said all the guests have fish to take home, and the weather for the most part has been spectacular.
Earlier today The Clubhouse staff bid farewell to a full house of fisher-foodies who took in the 11th annual David Hawksworth & Friends Culinary Adventure (watch for a full report on this gastronomic extravaganza in the days to come by well-known food writer and ardent angler Jacob Richler). The event included cooking demonstrations, a lighthouse helicopter tour and a beach discovery tour to finish off a week in which guests not only dined like royalty, but wined as such too, thanks to incredible pairings by international sommelier Mark Davidson, who has been a welcome fixture at this event along with Chef Hawksworth himself from the very beginning. Mark’s frequent fishing partner, guest chef Dino Renaerts, boated one of the top fish of the trip with a 27, matching an identical model by guest Nate Lewis. Top fish among the culinary crowd went to Levi Strom with a 29-pound Tryee. The trip prior saw David Bustos and Mitchell Hart lead the way with fish that weighed an even 27.5 pounds. Honourable mention for that group at The Clubhouse went to William Robertson with an even 25. Top Halibut at The Clubhouse last week were raised up, measured and released by Tony Tikuisis (140), John Lefas (130) and Etienne Mortin (110), all of which I am guessing were found out west of Lacy Rock. By the way, special belated birthday wishes go out to Case van Diemen, whose discriminating diner sons, Chad and Ryan, chose the culinary adventure to celebrate their father’s 70th – tasty move boys.
Guide Bryce Belyea celebrated his birthday by helping guest Danny Langlois catch the 2017 season topping Chinook weighing in at 47 lbs.
Highlights from North Island Lodge are as follows: Mike Welsh briefly held the record so far this year for top Chinook with a 40, guided by veteran DJ Shinduke, who has been killing it week-in and week-out on this, his 25th season at North Island Lodge. Congratulations DJ, you’ve helped create some special times for countless members of the North Island Lodge congregation over the years. Most recently that would include Kevin Huber and Skip Chatfield, who both boated 30’s under DJ’s guidance. Kade Kirichenko took second spot this week among North Island guests with a 36, helped along by fishing partner and long-time self-guided guest Craig Mckay. Meanwhile Larry Wong picked up a 33 on a self-guided mission at the Aquarium. Last mention goes to Mike Mckay, who said hello and goodbye to a 191-centimetre grand piano Halibut that would have weighed right around the 200 mark.
We end on a sad note. Some of you may recall a Father’s Day themed feature I wrote last month about my friend and long-time guest Paul Schaap, who almost exactly a year ago went on the fishing trip of a lifetime to North Island Lodge with his instantly likable 90-year-old father Dirk Schaap. Sincere condolences are in order to the Schaap family from The Club, and in particular from the staff at North Island Lodge, who reportedly treated Dirk in a manner that true gentlemen richly deserve. Paul sent me a note a few days back to say that Dirk passed away peacefully on July 6th in hospice, where in his final days he flipped through the pages of a binder that Paul had made for him that contained numerous poignant pictures of their bucket-list trip the year before.
Their story proves once again that these privileges and adventures that we share in the marine wilderness with those who are closest to us are not just about fishing, friends. They are never just about fishing.
Until next week, stay safe and well.