Mar/Apr 2010

Mar/Apr 2010
Mar/Apr 2010
Mar/Apr 2010
Mar/Apr 2010

Loving Langara

By Janice Stefanyk

Located at the northernmost tip of Graham Island in the Queen Charlottes is Langara Island. Nestled in Cloak Bay the MV Charlotte Princess is in the heart of some of the best fishing in the Charlottes. The migrating salmon actively feed on the abundance of bait fish in the area. This year was a banner year for salmon with the waters literally teaming with fish. It was hard to get down through the coho and pinks to where the lunker Chinooks lay. That was no problem for me as I would rather play a crazy, acrobatic coho than a Chinook any day. I also prefer the flavour of coho, and those in the 8- to 10-lb range are the best tasting in my opinion. Consequently, I had more than one discussion about my lack of interest in the elusive Tyee back at the ship.

The MV Charlotte Princess is a refurbished 135-ft luxury yacht with 30 well-appointed state rooms all with en suite washrooms of which a few have full-sized bathtubs in which to relax and soak those weary muscles. The meals on board are of the highest quality and feature plenty of choices. Every dinner started with appetizers, salads and an entrée followed by a delicious dessert. We enjoyed rack of lamb, prime rib, king crab, New York strip lion, and sumptuous roast of pork just to mention a few. Breakfast is served à la carte starting a 5 a.m. For lunch you can have either a packed lunch to take out to the fishing grounds, or come back to the ship for hot soup and a number of made-to-order lunch items.
All of this is just the backdrop for some of the best fishing you will ever experience. The choices are varied; you can fish for salmon in the morning or halibut in the afternoon, and as an added thrill you can play for hours catching black rockfish (black sea bass) off of the kelp beds. These fish run to 10-lbs, and pound for pound they fight better than many other species - besides, they are excellent eating as well. There are many lingcod lurking in the depths. The largest on our trip was 50-lbs; the biggest one I have ever seen. That is one of the added bonuses of Langara Island, you never have to go very far to fish, and many times some of the best fishing is in sight of the ship.

We had awesome weather and seas for our trip; no rain and almost flat calm water for the entire four days. This good weather made it possible to fish all areas around the Island. We had an incredible first day: coho like crazy, bountiful pinks and a 20-lb Chinook, a 32-lb halibut when we fished off of the lighthouse, topped off with a plump yelloweye rockfish to round out our day. Back at the ship we realized that everyone had had a banner day and the dock crew was busy well into the late evening processing all the catch. It doesn’t get much better!

Our second day was just as spectacular. We chose to fish in 50-ft of water around Bruin Bay, just 10 minutes from the ship. I fished with a cut-plug at 17 pulls and Larry dropped his right to the bottom. I played and released three coho and a few pinks. About the time Larry was ready to bring his gear up a bit, he got a heavy strike and line started to peel off his reel. He expertly landed a 19-lb Chinook: and all that before lunch.
We were so close to the ship, we decided to return for a hot lunch. They told us the hamburgers were amazing, we certainly would have to agree.

We choose to fish Cohoe Point after lunch. I had a stellar afternoon with two coho in the fish box and nine pinks and three coho caught and released. I was too busy to notice how Larry was doing but he was having an equally good time, and we went through an awful lot of bait in a couple of hours. Time to call it a day. Cocktails and conversation waited back at the dock.

Day three dawned with a heavy blanket of fog. All the boats had to be lead out single file by the fish master with the aid of his GPS. We opted to get a later start and by the time we left the dock at 7:30 a.m., the fog had lifted and we made it to the fishing grounds in 15 minutes. We fished Cohoe Point in the morning, again lots of catch and release action with both coho and pinks. At 11:15 a.m. we picked up our salmon gear and headed for the lighthouse. We geared-up for halibut and had our limit in no time with an added bonus of a nice yelloweye. All that fishing and we still had time to make it back to the ship to drop off our catch and have lunch on board. Wow! Hard to believe we had to go back out and do it all over again in the afternoon and I really looked forward to returning after a few hours to watch everyone arriving with their catch. It's also a great opportunity to get some great clutch-and-grin photographs. Over the years, many of our fishing friends have graced the cover of this magazine.

Day four, our last day on the water and another almost flawless day. I can’t believe our luck this trip: perfect weather and outstanding fishing. Larry wanted to hunt for a Tyee, so we headed out for the kelp beds along Bruin Bay. I was having fun playing with numerous smaller fish and he was seriously stalking the “big one”. On a turn toward the shore it hit and his reel peeled off line. I quickly reeled in my line and took over the navigation. At one point I had to chase the fish till he could get back some line. As he regained control over the fish, the drift was taking us dangerously close to the kelp and I’m trying to keep the boat headed out to clear water without yanking Larry's hook out of the fish's mouth. The battle went on for more than 25 minutes; the tide was ripping and kept dragging us back into the kelp. Finally his fish came into view and with it a large piece of kelp wrapped around the line. Knowing that I wouldn’t have the strength to bring in both, I offered to man the rod as Larry carefully netted his prize. It wasn’t the Tyee of his dreams or the biggest Chinook he had ever caught, but with all of its 23-pounds, it had the best fight per pound than any he has ever landed. It was the perfect ending for an awesome Queen Charlotte adventure.

For more information contact Oak Bay Marine Group


Mar/Apr 2010
Huxley’s Run: 

If you read Huxley’s Run in the last edition of this fine publication you will remember my young friend Brent Marin. If you didn’t, I simply told the tale of my woeful fishing on the Gold River and Brent’s seeming delight in my inadequacies. Well, revenge, they say is a dish best served cold.
On this January evening there was a knock at the door. My wife answered it and she ushered Brent in. His brow was pushed down in what looked like pain. He held something in his hand and came walking to where I sat. “You’ve got to help me with this,” he said.

I became deeply concerned. Brent had been fighting a winning battle with the big "C." Never had I heard him whine or complain. He had always been very upbeat about it all. But here he was standing in front of me, for all shapes and circumstance, a deeply worried young man.
"What’s wrong?" I asked, not sure I wanted to hear the answer. His shoulders sagged a bit and he took a quick sip of the drink I'd given him.

“This,” he said, holding out his hand. I didn’t know what was in his hand at first glance. He stepped closer and held it out. I noticed the fly tying materials. I noticed the decorative bead at the top of it. And when I took it from his hand I noticed three things in quick succession. It was pretty. Its tendrils were about seven to nine inches long. And, instead of a hook, he had tied on a pierced-ear loop.

I thought quickly of the fishing trips we have gone on in the past, specifically those when we bunked together in the back of his Expedition. Not knowing what else to say, I blurted, “It’s an ear ring!”

“Yes!” he said decisively. “And I need your help.” I started to tell him that there were various ways to "come out" when my wife grabbed the Fly de Femme and described it as beautiful, lovely, and darling.
Brent winced. “I know,” he groaned and then spilled his frilly guts. Brent’s wife, her sister and his female cousin, all in their 20s, had convinced him to use his fly tying materials and, well, tie a Fly de Femme. It was so "darling" that they quickly came up with a business plan in which Brent would tie them and they would sell them. That’s what Brent’s problem was. Instead of tying some General Practitioners, Muddler Minnows and Wooly Buggers, he felt doomed to spend the rest of his natural life tying Maiden Wings, Angel Feathers and Curtsy Cuties. He wanted to say no but the Witches of Bisquick had him surrounded and were waiting for him next door in his kitchen, picking through his materials as we talked.

There was only one thing for a true friend to do. I took him outside and after we looked at the witches in the window of his kitchen, I looked him straight in the eye and told him the only plan of action that would work. He would have to go straight into that kitchen and tie some more and wait for the novelty of it to end. Then he would be a free man once again.

“You’re right,” he said. “Thanks a lot. Good night Doc.” I waited until he was a quarter of the way back to his house. Then I called out quietly, in a gentle, soothing voice, “Good night, Brenda.”


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