August 16th to 19th – Down with Big Tides

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Working in tight at Cape Edenshaw

Working in tight at Cape Edenshaw

Another trip with Escott Lodge, I spent these days guiding Gord, Peter and Steven. These guys were part of a group whose members are all involved in the Oil and Gas industry. Chinook fishing was pretty slow; in part because of the big tides which tend to make it hard to work our tried and true spots efficiently and in part because of a temporary absence of a major run. On the bright side, the Hidden Island area was alive with bait (needlefish) and Coho. The area also produced one nice Tyee. There were a few other Chinook caught on the east side of Virago Sound, and action was slightly better on the west side of the Sound. These little lulls tend to happen a couple of times each year and usually last just a couple of days. Even as I write this summary a couple of days after the fact, the Chinook fishing is improving.

Waiting for the next bite at Hidden Island

Waiting for the next bite at Hidden Island

August 13th to 16th – The Amazing Raphael

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98 lb Halibut

98 lb Halibut

I spent these days subcontracting to Escott Lodge. Dan Escott was hosting a group of 11 construction tradesmen. Of this group, I had the pleasure of guiding George Locke and Jason MacDonald as well as the Amazing Raphael. I call him that because in his time on my boat, he landed a 98 lb. Halibut, a 40 Chinook and a 16 lb Coho, as well as many other fish. Raphael had only been salmon fishing once before – and landed a 47 pounder! Some guys have all the luck…

40 lb Chinook

40 lb Chinook

August 12th 2009 – Hali-Hunting

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When Guy Pulvermacher originally contacted me, he made it clear that halibut was 1st priority and salmon second. I emailed him back explaining that Masset is known for its abundance of halibut rather than the average size of fish (not so with salmon!). He responded that he understood but that he would still like to get into some halibut, regardless of size. When he and his friends Kerri and Janice arrived this morning, we headed out to the sand flats near Tow Hill in order to find a nice hali. We spent the morning drifting while jigging large pieces of salmon off the bottom. The 1st few fish we caught varied from 10 to 20 lbs. Just before we were ready to leave, Guy’s rod torqued over and we all knew he was into a nice fish. After the battle, he had a nice 55 lb halibut in the boat. Mission accomplished! We spent the rest of the day battling coho and came back to the dock loaded up.

August 11th, 2009

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Fished with Larry Smith and his niece Leath. Today was the slowest day I had with members of the Smith group all season, but we still came back to the dock with a few nice Coho and a halibut.

August 6th, 2009

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Erin and I take a break to go fishing

Erin and I take a break to go fishing

Today I fished with Larry and Don, and Larry’s dad. They are staying at Gerry’s Fishing Charters. They brought their own boat, but due to mechanical problems they wound up having to charter two days of fishing. The boys fished  the first day with Gerry who put them into some great Coho salmon and halibut action. On their second day, they fished with me and let me know that Springs were the quarry of choice today. We wound up with 3 nice Chinook and a 45 lb halibut to boot.

August 4th and 5th, 2009 – Smith Group

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For the past two days I have been guiding Riley, Ashton and Regan from Alberta. These 3 are staying at Gerry’s Fishing Charters as part of the Larry Smith group. Larry was part of the Jim Moffat group that I guided in June and has come up with 15 of his family and friends to stay for a couple of weeks to fish and enjoy the Charlottes. During the fishing charters, we landed plenty of salmon including a couple of nice Chinooks. The guys (and girl) also landed their quota of halibut including a beautiful 43 lb slab.

The Grady White and Commercial Boats docked for the night

The Grady White and Commercial Boats docked for the night

Fantastic View from the Cabin at 7 Mile

Fantastic View from the Cabin at 7 Mile

August 1st, 2009

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I fished with Ken, a guest at Escott Lodge today. We were still into the big weather thanks to a continued Northwester, but we managed to land 3 Chinook before we decided to call it a day and enjoy the beautiful weather back in town.

Golfing after guiding in a Northwester

Golfing after guiding in a Northwester

July 31st, 2009 – Big Weather

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Today I fished with Adam Sproule and his dad. Adam is a friend of mine who I have known as a steelheader for several years. This was the first time I had fished with him on the ocean. And what a day! There weren’t many boats out due to the 2-3 meter seas that a building Northwest wind was serving up. We bucked our way up to Wiah point and then turned and trolled back toward Masset with the wind. We landed one nice Chinook in the 20 lb range right off the bat and then proceeded to get into the Coho.

Big Weater Spring

Big Weather Spring

We landed lots more Coho, but the Chinook were hard to hook and harder to land in the big waves. After the tide changed midday, we were driven further and further back toward town with each attempt to run north. We were the last boat out there at the end of the day. Yet another day I’m glad I have the Grady White boat I have. It just proves itself in big water time and time again.

July 30th, 2009 Coho Soup

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Coho action continued today.  I was fishing a half day with two guests from Escott Lodge. Scads of Coho were in most of our salmon fishing spots. Slow fishing for Chinook, we landed  just one small Chinook.

July 22nd, 2009

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Edenshaw Spring

Edenshaw Spring

Edenshaw Tyee

Edenshaw Tyee

Fishing with 2 French Canadian guests from Escott Lodge today. We spent the day at Cape Edenshaw where we landed one 30 lb Tyee after an epic struggle. Turns out the fish was hooked by the tail! One of the guys forgot his licence at the lodge, so we had to head back to the dock briefly and then back out into the action. We went back out the cape where we landed another nice spring and several coho before the day was through.

July 21st, 2009 – Fillin’ the Tub

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I fished with Dave Giesbrecht and his family today. On the boat were Dave, his wife, their son and Dave’s Aunt-In-Law. With 4 on board and only one day to fish, we were on the action program. We ended up with 14 salmon and 4 halibut in the tub by the end of the day, with plenty more fish played.

July 19th -20th, 2009

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Today I worked with Escott Lodge again. Basically, we had great action with the Coho and had to work harder for the Chinook (pretty par for the course right now), though we did land a nice one just shy of Tyee status.

July 16, 2009 Crazy Action

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Had a great day today with Russ Stewart from Prince George and his two boys Curtis and Loren. Russ is an avid fisherman (lake, river and ocean) and has fished many places. After a somewhat lukewarm trip to rivers inlet a couple of years ago he decided to give fishing out of Masset a try. Minutes after putting our lines in the water, Curtis got the ball rolling by landing a nice coho salmon. From there, the action was almost non-stop.

Russ and the Boys

Russ and the Boys

The Stewart boys landed a couple of dozen salmon during the course of the day including a couple of Chinooks landed by Curtis and Loren. We then headed for the halibut grounds where the boys quickly got their fish. Russ wanted to try for a bigger hali, so we baited his hook with a whole salmon head. After getting smacked around by smaller fish for about 10 minutes, his bait got smashed by something else and his rod torqued right over. After the battle, Russ had a nice 30 lb halibut in the boat.

July 14th, 2009

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Today I worked with Gerry’s Fishing Charters guiding Father/Son/Uncle team Brian, Brad and John. Brian and John originally hailed from Nova Scotia, but Brian Now lives in BC, where he and Brad run a corporate communications company. We started off the day fishing “Ops” and had a pretty good chunk of non-stop fishing action, picking up lots of Coho and a nice Chinook. In the afternoon we targeted halibut, heading offshore into deep waters. No big ones around today, but we were treated to a great whale show, with Humpbacks porpoising and tailing near the boat. We were anxious to get back to Salmon fishing so we settled for some “Chicken” halibut in the 15 lb class and headed back for salmon at Cape Edenshaw. There, we finished the day by picking up one more small Spring and several more Coho.

July 12th, 2009

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Guided for Gerry’s Fishing Charters today. My guests were Mike Storm and his traveling companion, Geraldine. The water was really rough with the wind blowing in from the Northwest, so we decided to make it a half day. In that time we still managed to land a couple of nice Springs and a few coho.

July 7, 2009 – Guides’ Day Out

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Strange Split-Dorsal Orca

Strange Split-Dorsal Orca

Once in a while when the stars allign, my guide friends and I get a day on the water for ourselves. We get to fish, spot whales, and try out new space aged tackle that we would never dare test on our guests’ dime. We also get to make the same mistakes and lose as many fish as our guests do. Today was one of those days. Two of my friends from another lodge and I (and my dog Rufus) all had a day off so we hit the water for a few hours. The weather was nice and the fish were very co-operative. We ended up limiting out with 12 salmon (coho and chinook mix, with an emphasis on coho) and 3 halibut. The highlight of the day for me was the pod of Orcas that streamed around us as we fished out at 7 Mile point. There were maybe a half dozen residents, 2 of which showed us collosal breaches, coming right out of the water multiple times (Free Willy style). The picture above is of one of the jumpers porpoising near the boat. Note the interesting split dorsal fin. I have already seen this guy once this season. Very cool!

Strange Split-Dorsal Killer Whale

The "Cutting Board" exacts its revenge...

As for the space aged tackle…. One of my friends worked a DART; a sort of cross between a Buzz-bomb and a Rapala by jigging it near the surface as we trolled (and landed a coho with it). The other friend trolled a lure we “affectionately” call the Cutting Board; a blue, decaled curved hard plastic lure seemingly made out of the same material as plastic cutting boards and somehow landed the largest fish of the day (a chinook in the low 20’s).  I won’t be adding either of these two lures to my aresenal anytime soon (except maybe using the DART to jig for coho while hali fishing), but it was still a lot of fun and just goes to show you how agressive our QCI fish can be in the Masset area.

June 29, 2009 – Smith/McGeachy

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Kristen McGeachy with a QCI Salmon

Kristen McGeachy with a QCI Salmon

Today, I guided Bruce and Lynn Smith and their niece Kristen. Bruce and Lynn are visiting their two nieces who are working and living in Masset. Kristen runs Northern Bod Personal Training (www.northernbodpersonaltraining.com) here in town and her sister co-manages a bed and breakfast out on north beach. Sounds like a good excuse to come out to the Queen Charlotte Islands to me! We had a great day out on the water landing 5 Chinook salmon, 1 Coho and 1 Pink salmon and releasing several smaller halibut.

June 15-18 Jim Moffat Group – Salmon, Halibut …and Elephants!?

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CFS Masset a.k.a. "The Elephant Cage"

CFS Masset a.k.a. "The Elephant Cage"

The final group led by Jim Moffat arrived at Gerry’s Fishing Charters late on the 15th, and we had them in the boats and on the water as quickly as possible. The Chinook salmon had been congregating over towards the shallow sandy flats between Venture Banks and “Ops” (a giant radar ring antenna known locally as “The Elephant Cage” ) for the last few days and even though we only got to fish a few hours, we had plenty of action. Fishing right off the bottom provided some great Chinook fishing with plenty of fish played and landed by all boats.  This area is not particularly noted for its Chinook and fishing, but hey… sometimes the fish are where they are! On the way home, Jack, Jim, Barry and I found ourselves in the midst of a pod of about a dozen Orcas. Very cool anytime, but with the heavy fog and diminishing light, it was a surreal experience! On the 16th, the rain had stopped and the fog had lifted, so I took the crew out to do a bit of halibut fishing offshore. The guests quickly got their limit among plenty of feeding Humpback whales and we were off to fish Salmon at Cape Edenshaw. It was one of those spectacular days where we managed to stay on top of the fish for hours by moving in and offshore with the tidelines (and the bait). In addition to the fish we kept, we released many Chinook in the 20lb range. A great day. Day 3 was much the same as day 2, though the commercial trollers who started up on June 15th were starting to make a noticeable (though temporary) impact on the fishing. We landed 6 Chinook and several coho. The last day was a “mop up day” of sorts. We were largely targeting coho to max out limits. We boated 8 coho and lost many others, before targeting and getting our final Chinook and Halibut. The boys were tubbed out! Thanks to Jim, Barry, Jack, Chris and Ryan for a great trip!

"Let 'em Run!" Jack showing us how it's done

"Let 'em Run!" Jack showing us how it's done

Nice Spring at the Boat

Nice Spring at the Boat

"The Box" at the end of the day

"The Box" at the end of the day

June 14 – Great Day with the Lotimer Family

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Heather Lotimer's Chinook Salmon

Heather Lotimer's Chinook Salmon

Today, Graham Island Sportfishing had the pleasure of taking Jim Lotimer and his family out for the inaugural voyage of our new Grady White fishing vessel. The weather started out choppy, but settled right down and Jim, Jane, Heather and Suzanne experienced some great Queen Charlotte Islands Fishing. Within 5 minutes of dropping our lines, Jane christened the new boat with a beautiful Chinook salmon. The action remained steady all day, though Heather and Suzanne had to depart early for a helicopter tour of the island courtesy of some friends met earlier on their trip. Fishing highlights included a 40ish lb. Halibut landed by Jim and a beautiful 28 lb Chinook brought in by Heather. Suzanne did great as well, playing and landing some awesome fish.

The Lotimers rounded out their Queen Charlotte Islands adventure the next day with a Kayak trip to the Haida Village of Yan, lead by Masset local Colin Camire.

Jim with a QCI Chinook

Jim with a QCI Chinook

Jim Lotimer is the President of Lotek Wireless Inc. (www.lotek.com), a company that creates the technology used by biologists to track and monitor animals (including Salmon, of course) within their environment. Jim and his family took a great interest in the fish we caught and the environment we were fishing in. The Lotimer group was a pleasure to guide and hopefully our paths will cross again.

June 9-13 Starting off the Fishing Season

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The season started off by working with Gerry’s Fishing Charters to guide two trips with the Jim Moffat/Rick Quigley group. These are a great bunch of guys who hail from Ft. St. John and Calgary. The first trip started slow and steady, with each boat landing 2- 4 Spring Salmon per day (with several more hooked) in the 18-20 lb range. The second trip enjoyed some bigger fish and improved action with a couple fish weighing in just shy of the Tyee mark. Both groups saw some good halibut fishing with plenty of fish weighing between 20 and 50 lbs hitting the dock. A couple of early Coho were found off of 7 mile point.