Saturday, 25 July 2015

from Belgium

Here's Kris, a surgeon from Belgium , with his son and the partners of his daughters. The whole family, eight, are staying at Eric Peterson's Vacation Home near April Point. 
 Yesterday all of them took in a day trip with Campbell River Whale Watching and zoomed way up the straits to take in all the scenery and saw many Orcas. 
 This morning just the men-folk came out, hoping to have a great introduction to local fishing, and bring back fish to cook at the house. Mission accomplished with more to share. 
 Many people like to catch salmon for the thrill, but I know they will also like to eat lingcod for the taste, so I directed some time to that. It is a big year for pink salmon, and we caught one of those, and a 19 pound chinook salmon. There was also the excitement of a chinook that tore most of the line from the reel before the hook came out. 
 There is lots of eating to do now. Jeff, Vincent , Burton, Kris, thanks for coming fishing !  Bon Appetit !  And enjoy the rest of your exploration vacation. 


Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Friends show fishing

Nancy had an exciting introduction to salmon fishing.  Ron and Laura have been coming up to Quadra for summers from California and Arizona for decades.  This time they have their good friend Nancy along. Ron loves to fish but he no longer has a boat, so I've provided the service.  
We started out fishing right in a hot bite. Herring were noisily feeding on the surface.  We hooked two chinooks, lost one, a couple of under size chinooks, and several dogfish. While the bite was on Nancy had a "practice fish" and then landed this beauty. 


Monday, 20 July 2015

a working guide

In addition to guests that connect with me directly, I do provide my guiding service as a subcontractor to various lodges and guide businesses.  I don't post those trips here. Sometimes I may make a mention of a guide I work with, or a larger business.  You get the same effort from me.  For example, yesterday I took out two couples from Burbank California, for Coastal Island Fishing Adventures in Campbell River . All four caught a chinook salmon each. They are very pleased, and they will recommend CIFA to their friends. 

Saturday, 18 July 2015

This could happen

 Tracey was so enthusiastic to get out on ocean and do it all in a half day trip. They had been out to the west side of Vancouver Island , where it was much too rough and windy to consider boating out there. Richard was keen to catch a salmon, and boys, Cam and Arron were up for anything. We gave a couple of popular spots a go and caught a couple of dogfish sharks, and small lingcod. Then we made a run for  a very scenic spot to try.  Beautiful but no salmon there.
 Back to the known area, and still we couldn't find the fish. After a while I turned the boat and taxied  over to a guiding friend and then another, to get the lowdown. As it appeared , fishing was slow, but a few fish were caught, we just missed out . We gave it a little extra time. Near the end , Cam caught a rockfish that the family can have as an appetizer for dinner. at their RV camp.
So, if a reader is wondering if I have been high- grading to tell just the stories of the successful fishing trips, no, and this is the first of my blog guests with no salmon.
After leaving these folks at the dock, I went to the fuel station, and there I met my friend Eiji, whom I talked to on the water. He had one salmon when we spoke, and just near the end of his fishing time, soon after we talked , his guest caught a big one. The guest and wife have come from Japan for over ten years, and so this is an extra special event.
 Eiji showed the fish in his boat at the gas dock. 42 pounds. Beautiful. And ,notably, the scales are loosely attached and growing, a subject mentioned in a previous post. This fish was still feeding and growing like crazy.
 So, it could happen that you might not catch a salmon. Or, you might get the big one. That's fishing.


Friday, 17 July 2015

Michael and Beth bring friends

Michael and Beth are more than regulars. Through fishing we have become friends for years. From Penticton, they are both very, very involved in B.C. tourism and the hotel industry, and travel widely. So, this time they brought their friends Ron and Carol from Arizona, to introduce them to this part of the world, and salmon fishing. 
 I lined up my friend Harley as the other guide, and he also is very involved in BC tourism.  He has been salmon fishing forever. He is an educator by profession, and it shows in his approach to guiding. 
A bonus, unusual sighting today, was a large shark that made two passes close to Harley's boat. Estimated at 5 to 6 feet in length this may have been a Salmon Shark , which is a close relative of the Great White.  And another bonus was a Humpback Whale in our path in the channel on our way back in.  We give it lots of room, to observe , but not disturb it. 
 It was windy this trip , but we worked with it , and although fishing in the stiff breeze was not representative of most fishing trips, a great time was had by all. 

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

family cruise

Shaun and Debra, with sons Cole and Wade. Debra got her interest in fishing while growing up with a father who loves fishing.   However, she also wants a scenic trip that will be interesting for the whole family.  We fished in the north channels, close to shore and cliffs,  Shaun caught the big one, which could impress Debra's father. Debra caught the next one, and that was plenty of fish for their needs. Cole and Wade are of that age when sleeping in on vacation is a highlight, but not today, sorry guys. 
 Early in the fishing I got stuck at the back of the boat for a few minutes taking care of a glitch in the rigger. Instructions to Debra : drive up here, parallel to shore, watch the contour, turn out if it gets shallower, and drive to where the fish are. So she did, the rod shook, and Shaun was into his fish. Good driving!!

We watched eagles fishing nearby, soaring out from their perches, snatching fish of some kind from the surface. At a distance, an eagle landed in the water and, doing the breast stroke, towed it's catch to shore. Eagles do that once in a while with loads too heavy to snatch up and carry.

Monday, 13 July 2015

It's my turn

I pretty much brought my fish in all by myself.  Didn't you, too,  Kai ?  
Yes, well, maybe Grandad helped a bit, Kael. 
 And I caught the most fish.  I got a salmon and a lingcod. 
Are you including all the fish we let go ? Like the dogfish sharks ? And the small lingcod ?  And the small salmon that the sharks ate big bites out of ? that was cool. 
But I won the quiz ! 
 No, we were tied for points. 

But, who got in the most pictures ? 

But , who got the biggest one ? 

Thanks, Grandad.  Are we having cod fish and chips for dinner ?  And can we take some salmon home to Edmonton ? 
 That was fun ! 


Sunday, 12 July 2015

birthday surprise !

Tricia planned this secret well in advance. Chris on the other hand was awakened very, very early in the morning.  Surprise ! We're going fishing ! Happy Birthday !
Leaving the dock a little after 6 am, we chose to go north , especially because it was a bit windy from the south.  It looked pretty flat on the ebb with the wind and current coming the same direction. I even nosed the boat towards the Cape for a few minutes just to get a feel of it, and it didn't take going far to feel a roll coming in. There would be a short window and then it would get rough when the flood started. Not for us. 
Off we went travelling through nice conditions, and settled in to fish in very sheltered waters behind the islands.  There was a little rain, but not enough for rain gear, and sometimes a beautiful mist to feel like you are in the clouds in the mountains. 
The salmon were cooperative. 

Back on the south side of Campbell River town you might look out and think it is too rough to fish, but look at this water, calm and lovely.  


Friday, 10 July 2015

green pastures

 In from Grand Prairie, Norm has come to Quadra to attend a wedding, so why not squeeze in a morning fishing.  We had some action and then the wind came up against the tide so we retreated into the more sheltered water in Discovery Passage. And what do you know, the second choice spot produced this beauty. Well played, Norm !

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

from the wine country to salmon country

Justin and Gina, with son George, come at this time to take a fishing vacation before things get busy at the Napa vineyard.  Uncle Scott is their usual guide, but I'm substituting for today. 
What a lovely day !  We're up in the channels north of Campbell River, in the Stuart Island area at Dent Island. Great company, the weather is perfect, and fish are biting . We boat 3 of 6 bites, which keeps everyone on their toes. 
These fish will be enjoyed over many meals back in California, with toasts of Laird Family Estate Wines. 

Monday, 6 July 2015

Fishing for delicious

So, besides salmon, Katie wanted to know, what else is there ?  She really prefers the white-flesh fishes for eating. With no bites for the first hour, Grandad Bob and Uncle Bob seemed more content to wait for a salmon, and hey, there's a bite. We lost the first one and boated the second. Then we moved to a different location, changed a lure on one side, and sent a deep line down. 
What do you know, up comes a Pacific cod. A good sized one. These have tender white meat, close relatives of the Atlantic cod. And then another. Katie you've got a knack for these. " I'm fishing for delicious ! ", she lets us know. 
 Soon I was thinking and steering back for salmon, but Katie does it again and up comes another cod, all three nice large ones.  Actually, Bob senior was taking the wheel quite a lot while I was in the stern with the gear, so maybe he should get some credit for finding the fish. 
 Next Katie caught a lingcod. I have to explain that most of the fish that are called cod are not actually cod. Those first three are cod, but the lingcod is of the greenling family. Oh well, it is a different kind of delicious. 
Back on track, another chinook salmon grabs on and puts up a good fight. Bob's got the salmon technique down. Three generations of specialists. The team brings back two salmon, three Pacific cods, and a lingcod. 
Delicious ! 

Friday, 3 July 2015

scales and prints


Those mature chinooks migrating in from the north require some real fishing. As I noted in the previous post about Claude's Tyee, they are no longer feeding. Or at least they are being very careful about it. Their priority now is getting home to spawn. The body cavity that has room for an expanding stomach to put food in gradually becomes full of eggs or milt, so eventually there will be no room for food, and the fish will be living off of stored energy in fats and oils. We catch salmon along this continuum from fish that are eating and growing like teenagers, to cautious returning veterans.

One of the interesting features of these maturing fish is that the scales become tight and flatten smoothly to the body. This is in contrast to the rapidly growing fish that have growing scales with rougher and open edges that often come loose when they are netted.  You can see examples of this in my last recent posts, with a photo showing a fish with many scales knocked off.

Someone who cares a great deal about the exact features of the scales is my friend Eiji Umemura who makes prints of fish.  His work is exquisite in quality and detail. Eiji actually inks the fish and transfers that image to fine cloth.  This makes a work of art that is also an exact image of the fish. He paints the eye in by hand and adds some more careful details such as spots. This is a wonderful alternative to taxidermy. You can learn more about Eiji and fish prints at his website . Also , he is an excellent fishing guide who speaks Japanese and English.

Thursday, 2 July 2015

Tyee Bright Fish

Claude was hoping for one of these. When we headed north we knew we were heading away from the very fishy Georgia Strait. This is like a different game at the casino. Instead of the active feeding fish, we were targeting  the incoming mature chinooks. These fish will almost always have empty stomachs and are in their prime and migrating to their home rivers. These are truly bright fish which will soon add some bronze to their silver. 

We didn't expect many chances, but hoped to get a lucky big one. This one made 30 1/2 pounds , so it is a Tyee, a nick-name for a salmon over 30 pounds. It was a strong fight and well-played , Claude. 

 This chinook has a different look than the fish being caught just a short distance to the south. It is most likely from the Fraser River eastern interior plateau, with it's short nose and no spots on it's tail. In the past these " Stubbies" were mistakenly thought to be Columbia River fish which they resemble, and probably share a genetic distant past in the area that divides between those two watersheds. This fish hadn't been feeding, but she couldn't resist a last easy little snack that required no effort to chase down. 

We took a tissue sample , and one from a coho which we released, and expect to find out eventually, from DNA analysis , which rivers they are heading home to.  

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

special fish

Dale and Blaine are going to be taking these fish far upstream to home in the Canadian Rockies. They enjoyed catching them, of course, but next these fish are will be served at wedding where they will be shared and enjoyed in a special way. Cheers !