Bird Rock 2 is living up to its legendary status as one of the finest fishing holes in Haida Gwaii if not the entire coast. The underwater structure, the kelp forest and the particular tidal flow around Virago Sound all come together here to make it a real sweet spot for Chinook salmon. So it’s no surprise that it’s a favourite of many QCL anglers year after year. And it rarely disappoints.
Early on Sunday, Father’s Day morning, Bill Harris decided to let his brother Linton have a little sleep-in while staying aboard the Driftwood. (conveniently anchored at Bird 2) Bill pulled away from the swim grid and immediately began trolling the 50 yards toward the outer point of Bird Rock 2. He made a couple of passes off the point and then proceeded around the kelp bed and along the wall. Halfway down the rock, the inside rod dipped and he jumped to set the hook. Almost immediately the outside rod started to bounce and he knew he had his hands full. Fortunately the second fish popped the clip and made a bee-line toward the Driftwood. Keeping the first fish under control, Bill grabbed the radio mike and called the ship for assistance. The Fishmaster swung by, picked up Bill’s nephew Trevor off the ship, and delivered him to the boat with all the bent rods on it. After several twists and turns they managed to get both fish to the net and into the boat. Bills reward… a beautiful pair of Tyee salmon weighing in at 41 and 32 pounds! Happy Father’s Day from Bird Rock 2! Less than an hour later Linton boated a nice 31 pounder in the same bay for a family hat trick.
The 12th Annual Kingfisher Derby at QCL generated lots of suspense over the weekend with determined anglers working all of their favourite spots from 7 am to 7 pm every day. With the top prize of $30000 going to the largest released salmon and $6000 to the largest killed salmon there is a fair bit of gutsy strategy involved. Perhaps the shrewdest move of the derby was played by Brad McAdoo on Sunday morning when he brought a nice heavy Chinook to the boat off Bird Rock 1. With his guide Andrew Simpson advising him on the estimated size of the fish, (as it rested in the water inside the net) Brad chose not to release it and instructed the derby officials that it would be a killed fish. Considering that the largest released fish to that point was sitting at a score of 32.5 pounds, many anxious competitors listening on the radio shook their heads in disbelief when Brad’s salmon score was announced at 35.9! With only a few hours of fishing time remaining there was a chance that his salmon might be the largest fish caught.
But with less than 90 minutes until the final horn, Bruce Severson and his guide Kraig Coulter called for a derby official at Klashwun Point. Kraig passed Bruce’s netted Chinook over to the Weighmaster for scoring. Minutes later, after the big silver beauty was revived and carefully released, the announcement confirmed that there was a new leader in the Catch & Release category; Bruce’s fish scored 38.1 pounds. They held on to win the big prize and Brad McAdoo’s decision proved to be exactly the right one at the time. Congratulations to all Kingfisher Derby participants and thanks again for helping to make this year’s event such a memorable success!