Monday, 30 January 2017

edgy weather

 The clear draft of continental air holds back the ocean clouds at sunset in this photo.
 I'm posting some photos for my distant friends. The clear weather, that teases like the start of spring, is about to step back into winter. 

Friday, 27 January 2017

Fishing, Fast and Slow

 Life is like fishing.

Michael Lewis, ( author of Money Ball , The Big Short, etc. ) has written a new book , “ The Undoing Project , A Friendship That Changed Our Minds “ , about Daniel Khaneman and Amos Tversky. 
Khahneman received the Nobel Prize in Economics in 2002 for their work in Psychology ( Tversky died in 1996 ) .  Khaneman’s  best selling book ,“ Thinking Fast and Slow “ is about how systemic errors in our mental processes effect our judgements.  I hope Lewis' attention makes Khaneman even better known..

 I don’t want to give the impression that I am much of a reader, but certain ideas are very important.  “ Thinking Fast and Slow “ gives a firm grounding to fishing. It carries a theme that is the opposite balancing to the feel of fishing.  Think “Moneyball” in which statisticians have better judgement than baseball Scouts. ( Actually, Lewis wrote Moneyball before he knew about the original source of those ideas. )

But, but , but... I love the feel of fishing, which is all about judgements based on small sample sizes, personal experience, anecdote, and especially intuition. All those things humans do poorly, but with confidence. There is a tension here with the sense of refined deep knowing that comes with repeated cycles, of knowing the signs to look for, knowing what to do. You can trust my intuition, I’m your fishing guide. 

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

small stuff, big stuff, more stuff

 Today there were gulls, ducks, and mergansers feeding on something so small I couldn't see what it was.  That's intriguing that they can get nourishment out of such tiny food.

 At the same time , a couple of humpback whales were feeding toward the opposite side of Discovery Passage.  Again, big animals feeding on relatively tiny food.

 Those two whales so close together might be the Mom and calf photoed in this blog before Xmas. 

 Some more photos of the day.

Sunrise reflected in the windows of Campbell River under Mt Washington's ski peak. 

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

winter fishing report

 Salmon fishing goes all around the year.   In winter fishing we are watching the next batch of chinooks grow. The mature chinooks of last season spawned in the rivers in autumn, died, and fertilized the river with their dead bodies for their eggs buried in the gravel.  In the ocean , winter chinooks are in the middle of their lives, usually growing to 3, 4 or 5 years old.  At this time of year, the most numerous bites are the young ones just about the minimum legal size, 24 1/2 inches, growing fast, and faster by spring. A decent number go up to 11 pounds or so. There will also be some lucky bigger ones, in the teens, and bigger, and we all hope to get lucky.  It sounds like an oxymoron, but we call these fish "winter springs".

 I haven't been out , for a number or reasons. It doesn't help that we are having the longest cold weather stretch in thirty years. I can report , however, that the boats that have been out have had good success. 
A good showing of immature chinooks in local waters is a great sign for spring and summer fishing for these homesteaders that have found good food supplies, like abundant herring, inside Georgia Strait. 

Photo from recent trip by Jeremy with friends Scott and John. 
Photo at top, and bottom, from my boat in previous Januarys. 

In the meantime, I have been tweaking lures, pulling them along the dock. I enjoy this, and I can do it in short breaks. I've blogged about this in the past, and will do again, no doubt. 

Sunday, 8 January 2017

winter weather otter

 I haven't seen otters for a long while. This one came across from Grouse Island to the neighbouring dock at mid day. 

 By late afternoon wet snow was starting again, when another otter came along by the same route.  These guys are fishing every day, regardless of weather. 

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Saturday, 7 January 2017

New Year ; pondering changes

Salmon fishing, and an interest in salmon, keeps one in mind of the passage of time,  the seasons, and the renewal of life.  

 You will have noticed that many of the things in my blog show an abundance of life.  Many species, like Humpback Whales, Orcas, dolphins, even large herring , are more abundant in this area than in recent decades, but it is complicated.  Fishing is still grand, but we know that we need to be responsible custodians of the resource.

Things change, and attitudes change, too.  In my father's time people thought the Killer Whales were pests, and dangerous ones.  They called them Blackfish,  and we now call them Orcas. He would be very surprised to learn that so many people want to go out on the water just to get a glimpse of one.  I’m trying to share with you my experience of , and appreciation of, all the parts of the salmon world.

 This evening several Orcas appeared in the Passage near dusk. For most of my guiding life it was rare to see Orcas here in winter.  There were decades of a greatly increasing seal population in Georgia Strait, and then the mammal eating type of Orcas showed up a few years ago, and now it is common to see Orcas through the year. I’m showing photos just to show, even though the pictures are not great. 

As of January 1, the senior Orca known as "Granny" was pronounced dead, estimated at 105 years old.  She was "J2", the matriarch of the southern straits J pod, salmon eaters , and deemed to have died, because she was not seen for several months.  My father was born in 1910, so he and she were born at about the same time.  Those two really saw some changes in their lifetimes, and she lived much longer. 

 Looking back into those older times, I feel great respect for the Tyee Club of British Columbia ,which fishes with very simple tackle, in rowboats, under the same basic rules drawn up in 1924 to promote sportsmanship in fishing.  Even earlier than that, Campbell River was known around the world for salmon fishing. 
 Zane Grey , the famous angling writer, heard about Campbell River and made a trek to try for Tyee Salmon himself, in 1919.  On arrival an experienced angler from New York tells him " Fished out long ago ", and the tavern host said he had come fifteen years too late. 
We can only imagine the core bounty that we are working from.  In 2013, Mike Gage, guided by his son Richard, registered a 63.5 lb Tyee in the Club. That fish was determined to be just five years old, so it gives hope that another like that could appear at anytime. 

  The photo at the top of the page is a memory milestone for me.  I was later than most of my guiding peers in switching from the open Boston Whaler to the comfy covered cruisers we use now.  Fish and fishing patterns changed. That fish is the last big one that I know of from Row n' Be Damned, close by to April Point and Quathiaski Cove, guided in what was the earlier standard method, small boat mooching.  It was on my birthday in 1995. 46 lbs. 

 three Orcas showing near Tyee Spit

 off of the rocks just south of Row n' Be Damned

the commotion of seagulls feeding that caught my attention

'tis the next season

The eagles are back in Quathiaski Cove. The season of easy pickings of dying salmon at the rivers is ending, and the season of  ocean scouting for herring, and other fish, and rebuilding nests, is beginning again. 

 There was a concentration of herring here in the Cove in mid November with crowds of several kinds of birds chasing them, but not eagles, That culminated with Humpback whales coming right in close to the docks, feeding on those herring.  ( Look back in this blog for photos ) . Now the ocean surface appears leaner , yet the eagles are here. 
  The photo above shows four eagles at the north end of the Cove,  The nest is directly below the two mature white headed eagles, located just into the thicker foliage where it is obscured. 
  The photo below is taken at the same time by swinging the camera over to Grouse Island. ,  Those two eagles didn't pose nicely for the picture but you can make out that there are two there.  That makes six eagles to see at once.
   This is what it looks like through most of the year, so I presume that these are the local homesteaders. Many more eagles may appear in spring as they pass through , migrating north and spreading themselves out over the north coast. 

Friday, 6 January 2017

As the world turns

2017 has arrived. The days are getting longer. The setting sun lights up the south side of Victoria Peak , which is due west of the porch here in Quathiaski Cove.  In late June the sun will be setting at it's opposite,  northern, limit and lighting the opposite side of the peak.
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Thursday, 5 January 2017

Looking back and forward

2017  !   The beginning of the year is the natural time for looking back, and looking forward.
Looking back.   THANK YOU to everyone who came fishing with me this past year.  There were so many good times shared.  I’ve recorded a few snapshot reminders of some of those great times in this blog. Lot's of wonderful memories.  

Looking forward.  Let's do it again !