I missed my annual visit to my family’s home in Bliss Landing, British Columbia last year as my daughter was born in March and I was enthusiastically adjusting to fatherhood. This year I carved out some time and made plans to spend some days up here with my father and two college friends from Portland. While the fishing has been consistent, the size of the fish we’ve been catching has been disappointing with only two keeper Chinook coming home with us in four days of fishing.
I’ve asked my Dad before if he thinks that are luck is a lack of experience or a lack of fish, and in his mind it may be both. Well, I think that we would both agree that our collective experience is no longer a limiting factor. Everything involved, at least on the technical side of things, is dialed in. Downriggers and their attached lines spend more time in water. Our trolling gear is fine-tuned and tackle mostly limited to what we now know works. There’s very little, and I can say at this point that this is true for all of the fisheries I participate in, “riff-raff” or novelty tackle in the tacklebox. We’ve become better and faster at recovering from and avoiding malfunctions that in previous years stymied or ended the day’s angling. With that said, fishing has been slow and this has been stated by others online who see fishing near us and by the staff of the tackle shops I frequent while up here. Knowing that others are in the same boat does help ease the feeling that is is not us, but them.
We have had some success with our two keepers coming aboard and some very nice wild Coho being caught and released. Our two keeper Chinook were caught
at around Sarah Point, but we’ve gotten into hot bites of undersize fish at Sutil Point, Grant Reef, Mystery Reef, and off of Kinghorn Island. Almost all of the fish landed have been on the same flasher/spoon combination that was suggested to us by a young buck at Marine Traders in Powell River. Normally and despite purchasing suggestions from tackle shop employees I’ll wave off these acquisitions as novelty or last-ditch, but in this case I owe credit where credit is due. At least in the case of the spoon he recommended which was a black/green Silver Horde Coho Killer. I used his flasher suggestion as inspiration to choose my own.
Humpback Whales Off Hernando Island
In our run from Sutil Point to Grant Reef on a day before the smoke really came in we spotted some whales approaching us. We were quick to see they were bigger than Orcas and cut the engine as two humpback whales cruised by. The whales circled back to our boat and the following video is the amazing encounter.
A personal favorite documentary short that provides insight into what it may be like to grow up among generations of rod builders and steelhead anglers in British Columbia
From the Vimeo description:
“What if fishing was so important that you would change your life to pursue it? You would focus your entire life around it and raise your family to appreciate every aspects of the sport for themselves. “A Steelhead Family” walks you through a few days in the lives of the Clay family (Bob, Jed, Kaili, Kathy & Kateri), who have done just that. Headed by bamboo rod builder Bob Clay, this accomplished steelheading family makes the sport of spey casting look easy while illustrating the importance of the survival of these great fish in BC, Canada. A true fishing family in one of the last wild Steelheading strongholds left on earth.”
Created, edit, directed and produced by: Andrew Hardingham – Ubiquitous water Media”
Todd is making the best HD fishing videos that highlight PNW steelhead and salmon fly and centerpin fishing. Here is his latest via Catch Magazine
A neighbor up at Bliss Landing recorded this encounter they had with an Orca one morning and I can’t even imagine what the whale is trying to communicate with this seemingly threatening behavior. I would have very likely required a change of pants. The two men in the boat were on their way to set some crab pots off of Savary Island. This is a crabbing location I am very familiar with and just finished pulling my own pots out of there less than two weeks ago.
Jade and I had an amazing trip to my father’s summer-house in Bliss Landing BC. We were up there from June 16th through the 24th and were lucky enough to share time at the house with my Dad before he left on 20th, leaving us to our books and oysters. While he was there we spent many hours in his fishing boat setting crab pots that returned more crab then we were legally allowed to keep, prawn pots that held over a hundred, delicious spot prawns, and I also managed to reel in a nice size ling cod while we were trolling for salmon. The spot prawns were the big winner as far as I’m concerned. They are beautiful, medium size prawns that don’t require any de-veining as they spend their wild lives in some of the cleanest water in the world and taste like lobster. We saw Orca whales and Jade and I saw a young black bear scatter up a tree about ten feet from our golf cart (the preferred mode of transportation while on the property). I already miss the easygoing life we had for the short time we were there and hope to make it up again later this summer. I’ve posted most of our photos on my Wild Coasts Flickr.