Ebb & Flow Week 7 | July 12, 2018
July 12, 2018 | 2491 Views
Don’t touch that rod – it’s still hot!
By Deepwater Don
Rarely, friends, will I say something as extreme as “the fishing is on fire.” I’ve been cursed by others who used that statement in the past – perhaps you have too – so I avoid using it for fear of raising the expectations of other anglers to dangerously high levels. But there is simply no other way to put it, at least when speaking about the current state of affairs in northern Haida Gwaii.
So here goes. Ahem…THE FISHING IS ON FIRRRRE!!!
Yup, it is. And those of you who have experienced such conditions know what it’s all about: You are getting so many strikes that you switch from cut-plugs to gear. Not only that but it’s tough to get the second line down before the first one goes off, or a fish hits on the way down. Or if you do manage to get two lines down, and then get a third one off the back, they all go off at once. This leaves the guide to manage one of them if you are fishing as a twosome, or if you’re on a self-guided mission, it can get really interesting.
Here’s something else; the hottest action has been the west side, the opposite of what we more typically see when a major run moves in. And it’s not just chinook salmon that have been stacked up a bit offshore from Lacy Island to the lighthouse, but coho too. Lots of them. At times like this you might even want to run a hoochie or a bucktail with no weight just a couple pulls back of the propwash. Nothing like the feeling of a coho smash right on the surface while the rod is still in your hands.
Long-time North Island Lodge guest Ken Gardner is just one of the many wearing a big grin this week. He dropped us a note to say: “Wowie! I have fished for 30 years, and never did I think I would experience what happened on July 8th, 2018!” Ken was fishing with his buddy Ian Mcrae and guide D.J. Shinduke under sunny skies that day, and he calculates that between about 8:30 am and 4:00 pm, they caught 13 coho and 54 springs ranging from 15 to 23lbs. They released almost all the fish but stopped back at Beale Cove just long enough to drop off a couple of keepers, restock the cooler with some refreshments, and then blasted across to Guinea to top the day off with a mid-20s spring which they released.
D.J. sent in his own report confirming that “the fishing is insanely good right now” and that all of his crew, and presumably the gang from The Clubhouse too, are averaging 25-30 chinook in a five-hour shift, mostly in the 16 to 24-pound range, along with coho as big as 15 pounds. Just ask North Island Lodge guide Jason Wilson, who put his guests onto two cohos in that weight class this week.
There have been surprisingly few tyees given the vast numbers of chinook being caught, although it’s pretty much every day that somebody earns a coveted WCFC tyee pin. There have reportedly been a few bigger chinook of 25-32 pounds around Lacy Island.
The top fish for guests of the Clubhouse of late have been a 37, caught and released by Lea Furtney. Mark Smith picked up a 33 on the last trip while Andre Tardif said hello to a 32, followed by a friendly goodbye as he released it back into the dark green depths. Read Screamer’s latest report here.
Halibut you ask? Yes, there are still plenty hitting the docks, and a few oversized mommies going back into the water to lay those precious eggs. Ryan and Bill Hague had a field day offshore out west this week, lifting five off a sandy bottom, ranging in size from a perfect keeper of 38 pounds to a baby grand piano they judged to be a touch over 200.
Meanwhile the congregation at The Outpost has also been enjoying fishing that has similarly picked up incredibly since late June. Most of the action continues to be in the vicinity of Danger Bay, the Chicken Patch and Selvesson Reef, which is where Steve Merritt dropped in and immediately picked up a tyee just over 33 pounds, which was the biggest of the week. The guides have taken advantage of great weather to rip down to Hippa Island this week and reportedly did a lot of business down that way too. Read Jordan’s latest report Outpost here.
Prescott Smith was along for a ride to Hippa and somewhere along the way grabbed a tyee of 31 and change. Interesting story, Prescott is. He is a renowned bone fishing guide (as many of you know, bonefish are one of the most prized sport fish in Florida and Bahamian waters) and a master fly-fisher. He is also a lodge owner in the Bahamas, which means he journeyed a long way to experience the exhilaration of fishing for wild Pacific salmon in the best place in the world for doing so. Judging by the look on his face, the trip was worth it.
Still nothing to top the 43 that Matt Follwell picked up (and released) while fishing with his dad Rod Follwell during the previous week. This means that Matt is still at the top of The Club’s leader board so far this year. I had the pleasure of meeting Matt’s dad – one of Queens University’s most loyal alumni – and his brother Luke at The Outpost in August of last year. Luke, if you are reading this please know that I haven’t forgotten about your kind offer of a boat tour around the Thousand Islands sometime soon.
Well, we are now in the final days of the first half of this 30th anniversary season for The West Coast Fishing Club. That means that it’s time once again for the David Hawksworth and Friends Culinary Adventure at The Clubhouse. Although I’ve never had the privilege of taking this one in, there is no question that it is the most extraordinary offering of gastronomic science and art ever undertaken in these parts, including cooking demonstrations by the most esteemed practitioners from across Canada and far beyond. It begins this coming Sunday, and so to those of you heading north to release your inner chef – Bon Appetit!
Until next week friends, stay safe and well.