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September 2, 2018 Duane Foerter0

What a wrap to the 2018 season! While it might have been a bit of a slow start (by our standards) to the season this year, the past month has been cracker jack! Good weather and tons of fish around has sent a lot of smiling faces home in recent weeks. It’s taking some getting used to but the offshore fishery has been incredible. We’re finding offshore trolling tacks that are producing great results at depths from 55 to 75 to 95 feet and deeper. This is producing reliable catches of gorgeous Coho to 16 pounds, quite a few hefty Chum in the mid-teens and Chinooks to 20 pounds. Halibut catches are virtually instantaneous when you touch bottom; but you do have to weed through somme chickens to find the turkeys! All good fun.

Giant Chinook salmon fishing at QCLOur inshore fishing for Chinook salmon requires a different approach but it’s no less rewarding. The Tyee catch has been pretty consistent this month with several beauties in the low to mid-thirties coming to the boat every trip. And, just to keep everyone on their toes, there have been enough huge Chinooks around to reward the most dedicated Tyee angler! And it’s surprising how it can happen! Last week, on the first drop of the trip with his guests Bill and son Robert, veteran QCL guide Derek “Demo” Poitras started out at Parker Point. The herring must have landed right on its nose but before they had the second line in the water Robert was onto a heavy fish! After a serious tug-o-war, Derek slipped the net beneath a huge chrome buck and it was high-fives all around. Giant Chinook salmon at QCLWasting no time they did a quick measurement and this “king of salmon” was back in the water and on its way again. Taped out to 47-pounds it was one of the largest fish of the season. Fantastic catch Robert! Well played and kudos to you for choosing to let him go!

QCL Chinook salmon fishingOn the next day Jason A was on board One-Fifteen with guide Lance Mercer. Cape Naden has been especially productive this summer and Lance had “that feeling” when they decided to drop in there first thing. It didn’t happen right away but after an hour of teasing an anchovy along the kelp they were rewarded with a big hit and a screaming reel. Jason worked the heavy fish masterfully and Lance was able to keep them out of the kelp. This big beauty taped out to 44 pounds and Jason never hesitated to send it back in hopes that it’ll return to its home stream! Congratulations guys and well done!


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August 24, 2018 Duane Foerter0

August fishing… oh boy!   It seems that everything really comes together by the time August rolls around.  Certainly the catch board would say so!  The inshore fishery, mainly focused on Chinooks, has turned out lots of beautiful big salmon every day.  Those brawny 20-something pounders are the backbone of the action but there always a few surprises lurking in the kelp!  The Tyee bell gets a workout every night with a couple big Chinooks caught and/or released.  Lately the median-sized Tyees have been in the low to mid 30’s with the occasional giant making an appearance.   Last week we were thrilled to see 3 of our largest salmon of the season caught – and released  – at 3 different locations.

Working a herring along the wall at Bird 2 has to be one of the most effective ways to find a Tyee anywhere on the west coast!  QCL guide Brett Towers was doing it right the other day, as the pressure was on!  He had his Dad on board with a couple of friends.  Making the turn along the kelp, deep in the bay, that herring worked its magic and Don was onto the fish of his dreams!  It took them on a bit of a hayride but in the end, Brett was able to get the net under it and lift it into the boat.  With a quick photo and a measurement, they had the silver giant back in the water.  Taped out to 47 pounds, it was the largest Chinook we’ve seen this season and cause for some serious celebration back at the Bell Ringer that night!  Fantastic work guys!  Well done Brett!

Catch & Release TyeeA couple of days later, Driftwood guest Stan T was over at Cape Edenshaw with his guide Mark Kasumovich when they also teased a big slab away from the shelter of the kelp.  Nice and vigourous when they got it in the net, Stan chose to send it back as well.  This one scored out to 45 pounds and was yet another proof of Edenshaw’s reputation for holding big fish under the right conditions.  Nice work guys and Congratulations to you Stan!   Not far away, on the very same day, Dave R was fishing Cape Naden on board 97 with guide Jackson Jane, when they connected with a big Tyee.  As Jackson reported in his post, it took the bait trolled on the back rod and gave them quite a workout before coming to the net.  David was quick to choose releasing this beauty and it swam off with strong strokes of its tail after measuring out to 46 pounds!  Amazing fish!

Catch & ReleaseWhen these Chinooks aren’t bleeding and are properly revived, the survival rate is apparently very good.  So it’s quite an extraordinary feeling to watch a big Tyee swim out of your grip and return to the depths.  We have always believed that big fish breed big fish, and while we fully respect the angler’s right to choose, we try to ensure that they make an informed choice.  Many anglers dream of having that opportunity and we support anything that can help to ensure those opportunities continue in the future.


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August 20, 2018 Duane Foerter0

Things are still going strong here at QCL, with a good assortment of fish spread across our fishing grounds. Daily catches have ranged from Coho, Chum and Chinook action offshore to the odd Tyee-class salmon being picked up at some of our well known inshore points. Our best success inshore has certainly come as a result of the “stick, stay, make it pay” method of fishing, in order to catch the random snap bites that take place throughout the day. Fortunately, we have also had the privilege of extremely calm waters over the past week, which always gives some of our hotspots a real “fishy” feeling.

C&R Chinook SalmonOn Thursday morning at Cape Naden that “fishy” feeling was certainly in the air. As we made our way onto the fishing grounds I overheard some radio chatter about a few fish already being picked up Bird 2. Yet as we cruised past Naden something told me I should probably stop in for at least a pass or two.

That pass or two turned into an hour and a half at Naden with no bites, yet all four of us on board were optimistic that something was going to happen. Finally, around 9:30am, the screaming sound from our back rod interrupted a peaceful morning on the water. My guest, Dave R grabbed the rod, with no hook set needed, as the fish already had the Islander reel sizzling. We immediately cleared our other two rods, as we knew we were in for a battle! After a long first run that seemed like it may not end, Dave was finally able to slowly work the fish to the boat for our first look. At that point it was pretty clear we had a Tyee on the line and off it went for another powerful run. After a lengthy tug-o-war with this large specimen, we were finally able to put it in the bag!  After some high fives and a few loud cheers, we brought the fish into the boat for a measurement and a few quick photos. This fish was then released to continue its migratory journey to its home river. This big silver beauty taped out to 46 pounds!  Congrats Dave!  Thanks for choosing to let it go!

QCL Bell RingerLater on at the Bell Ringer things were buzzing, as there was also a 45 caught and released at Cape Edenshaw that morning, along with a few more Tyees caught at various spots on our western fishing grounds. Things are shaping up well for a great end to yet another season in Haida Gwaii!

Tight lines and silver smiles!

Jacko


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August 19, 2018 Duane Foerter0

There is no better way to get up each morning than having your hands on the steering wheel and a crisp breeze on your cheeks,  smoothly carving through the waters of Naden Harbour.

This week I have the pleasure to share my boat with Rick and Michelle, who are about to celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary!  We started our day on the west side of our fishing grounds at one of my favourite areas to fish; Yatze bay, which is on the east side of Klashwun Point. We dropped lines and were blessed with a hit within moments, the lines singing and the thrill of the fight gleaming in our eyes. Unfortunately, after several minutes the fish shook the hooks, but we did not let that dampen our spirits. Our day on the water had just begun after all! It wasn’t long thereafter that we landed and released a beautiful 12 pound Chinook, sending it on its way and telling it to bring its big daddy. But the flurry wasn’t over yet. As we worked together to drop our lines once more I heard Michelle pipe up from the front of the boat where she was watching the rod behind me as I was finishing dropping the third line.  “Jaxon, is the rod supposed to be doing that?”

Salmon fishing at QCLWhipping around I see the rod tip rising as the fish took our bait from below and rush towards the surface. Yelling “Fish On!” Rick and I raced to prepare the boat, clearing lines and steering downwind of where the fish was running. But it wasn’t long before it wrapped itself around the prop and the back line as it ripped through the water around us. It was desperate to get off our line. But it was no match for us. It was like the three of us had fished together our entire lives as Michelle masterfully maneuvered the rod around the prop, Rick raising the engine while I quickly cut the back line while helping Michelle keep the line away from the engine as the fish jumped around us. It was a show for the ages, with only the eagles as our audience. It wasn’t long after that we landed the stunning 20 lb Chinook for the box.  High fives and beaming smiles filled the boat.

We ended our day with four beautiful fish;  25, 20, 19 and 13 lb Chinooks, the smallest of which had unfortunately taken our hooks through the gills. Ecstatic with the amazing start to the trip we called it a day and headed back to the barn to celebrate our success, and prepare for the next!

Tight Lines,

Jaxon “Mr. Clean”


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August 15, 2018 Duane Foerter0

A big Tyee Chinook salmon at QCLWhat a week it’s been!  With easy access to the whole fishing grounds, QCL anglers last week enjoyed one of the fishiest trips of the season.  Working the inshore sweet spots from Green Point all the way around to Cape Naden, our guests found their share of chunky Chinooks, many in the 21 to 28 pound class, with lots of high-teeners and enough Tyees to keep it interesting!

41-pounder Tyee ChinookIt was certainly a good trip for Saskatchewan angler David S, visiting the Lodge for his 8thtime, when he joined the QCL Tyee Club, boating a beautiful 37-pound Chinook with his guide Mark Kasumovich and fishing buddy John P.  Andy S came from Washington state to enjoy some great QCL fishing and was rewarded with a 41 pounder with some help from his guide Tristan O’Brian.  Gary V, fishing with his wife Janice and veteran  QCL guide Nick Mercer, returned to the Bell Ringer with one of the season’s largest salmon, a stunning Tyee that tipped the scale at 45 pounds! For a lot of first-timers, seeing some big salmon up close is pretty inspiring, hopeful that they will get a chance to tangle with one like that someday!

Tyee Time at QCL Haida Gwaii!When our guests chose to move offshore they found it pretty easy to “double-up”on their efforts.  Halibut fishing has been a breeze lately, with many boats investing a whole 30-minutes to pick up a couple of nice “chickens”for the freezer.  While they’re out there they spend more time trolling for Coho and they’re finding really nice fish.  We’re seeing 12-13 pounders every day now and the occasional 14-15.  The second half of August will be pretty exciting!


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August 7, 2018 Duane Foerter0

Last Saturday was one of those days when you talk yourself into going fishing. Breezy southeast conditions were predicted, the Driftwood was anchored at George Point and every boat would be trolling the shorelines around Cape Edenshaw. As the day wore on, boats would gradually make their exit and return to the lodge for some cocktails and a nice dinner. But often thats when the determined angler utters those magic wordsJust one more pass! 

Working the kelp line inside Piggy Bay late in the afternoon, Tim & Karen D, hosting their newlywed daughter and son-in-law, lined up the perfect tack at the perfect time and the stars aligned. The inside rod dipped and Derek was there on the double. The telltale power of a heavy fish had the crew frantically clearing all the gear while Derek held on for quite a ride! Avoiding the safety of the kelp, this salmon was headed for open water. 

Over the next 30 minutes they were gradually pulled about 500 metres offshore, away from the relative calm of the leeward shoreline. But patience and a deft touch on the gear eventually saw Tim ease the net beneath a big silver slab in the rock & roll seas. No blood and with lots of kick left in him, they chose to get a quick measurement and release this beautiful Tyee. Fishmaster Trevor Harris was alongside to witness the battle and take a few photos, then revive the big Chinook for a few minutes before it swam away with strong and steady strokes of its tail. 

Congratulations were in order! Scoring out to 44 pounds, Derek and family released one of those legendary fish, the one that every angler wants to catch. Hopefully good fortune will see this salmon find its natal stream and itll spawn successfully. Certainly there will be lots of anglers 4 or 5 years from now who will thank Derek for giving it the chance!


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August 6, 2018 Duane Foerter0

Well it’s early August and our new guests arrived in bright sunshine and blue skies this morning, excited and smiling at their good fortune.  With a forecast of light variable winds and favourable tides, they know they could be in for something very special this week.  We’ve recently experienced some ups and downs weather-wise and have certainly seen how it can affect the anglers’success.  Fortunately our track record is pretty solid and it’s very rare to get a “bad”weather day without getting a “good”one in return.

Our two most recent trips are good examples. Last week moderate to strong northwesterlies limited access to some of the fishing grounds over the first couple of days and the catch record confirmed it.  But along came Thursday and everything changed.  We got out early and enjoyed a full day of fantastic fishing, enjoying the whole of the grounds and catching lots of fish.  Everyone picked up some Chinooks and got into some nice Coho offshore.  Most had managed to get one halibut earlier in the week and practically everyone got out to get a second on Thursday.  There was a buzz in the dining room that night with the energy provided by a banner day on the water.

Exciting Chinook action at QCLOvernight the winds swung to southeast and threatened to corner everybody at Edenshaw for the weekend.  Our new guests arrived and headed out, prepared for what Mother Nature was about to serve up.  Friday weather turned out to be pretty moderate and we saw a very respectable catch on the dock that night.  Saturday was definitely the test and the eastern grounds were not rewarding us with many treasures.  Oh, there were fish caught, but there was considerable time between bites.  At dinner we shared a favourable forecast for Sunday and surely everyone went to bed with their fingers crossed!

At 6:00 am, dawn broke with a patchy blue sky and just a light breeze.  It was a quick breakfast for sure and everybody was on their way.  Once again, easy access to any of your favourite spots feels fantastic and every guide had a plan.  Tides were moderate but still a factor to plan around, whether fishing for salmon inshore or bottom fishing on the outside.  Over the course of the day the Fishmaster reported decent catches going on practically everywhere; not much chatter on the radio, everybody was busy!

The beautiful sunny weather and great fishing saw most anglers lingering on the water right until the 8:00 pm call. Meanwhile, back at the Bell Ringer, the totes were lined up out the door.  The atmosphere down there was electric with cheers, jeers and high-fives going off all the time.  We didn’t weigh any monsters last night but the bell was ringing pretty steadily for some 30-something Chinooks, teen-sized Coho and a few halibut just too big to bring home!  The last fish hit the scale at 10:34 pm and the dining room was busy well after that!

In most of our daily lives we’ve created a  world with few limitations; we can get pretty much anything we want when we want it.  Part of the appeal of the fishing adventure is that lack of control.  Just being out in a wild place and experiencing everything it has to offer –“good”and “bad”- is a huge attraction for many of us.  And here at the Lodge, we’re privileged to watch that story unfold day after day!


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July 24, 2018 Duane Foerter0

Family Tyee fishing trip!Northwesterly winds have definitely set the tone over this past week, directing the fishing effort to the sheltered shorelines south and east from Klashwun Point.  Fortunately we’re finding some pretty nice Chinooks while combing along the kelp beds and rocky points.  There have been opportunities to get offshore and pick up some Coho and Halibut as well, but some sizeable tide action can make that a challenge much of the time.  The odd twist is that we usually enjoy a pile of big blue sky with these winds but that’s been pretty spotty most days too!

Chinook salmon action at QCLThe Tyee bell was getting some action on most nights last week with several Chinooks and halibut tipping the scale over that magic 30 mark.  John R kicked the party off with a 30-pounder, repeating his Tyee Club appearance from last year.  Brian K added a 30 on Wednesday along with Jordan C who boated a 32 and Laurence H who’s 37-pounder was the big salmon of the day.  Matt C came close, however, with a 34 lb Tyee, but he seriously proved his skills with the 41 lb halibut that he weighed right after that! That’s a nice day on the water!

The winds let up nicely on Tuesday and the halibut fishers responded!  We saw lots of flatties on the dock with several perfect specimens ranging from 30 to 42 pounds.  Rob G missed the cutoff however with a big one that taped out to 86 pounds!

Tyee Chinook salmon at QCLThursday proved fruitful for salmon hunters with more Tyee catches recorded.  John P shared the thrill of the Tyee with his 2 sons, boating a stunning 31-pound Chinook.  Makenna C got the day off to a great start at Bird 2 when she caught & released a beauty that taped out to 36 pounds!  Fishing with his guide Trevor Harris, Clark H worked the shoreline religiously and was rewarded with two fine Tyee catches – at 31 and 33 pounds!  And off the outer face of Bird 2 at afternoon slack, veteran QCL anglers Carol H and her husband Andy connected with the big salmon of the week, a hefty Tyee that thrilled the Bell Ringer crowd at 42 pounds!  The average size is creeping up steadily for both Chinook and Coho salmon over the past couple of weeks, and we’re really pleased to see so many chunky Coho in the 10-12 pound range!  Let’s see what happens this week!


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July 20, 2018 Duane Foerter1

At Queen Charlotte Lodge we have a saying, “You come as a guest, leave as a friend and return as family!”  Two of our longest lasting QCL family members are Cal and Roxy Speckman, who bring their group to QCL on an annual basis.  Within the group are many returning family members and with their attendance and others, the lodge feels like old home week!

July 17th marked a special day on the calendar for our owner.  Paul Clough, had his first grandchild (Jordan) born on this day 16 years ago.  Cal was here to celebrate that occasion with Paul, and Cal bought champagne for the entire resort to enjoy the occasion.  As luck would have it this week, Jordan was at the Lodge to see his Grandpa and his Dad, Rob Clough.  On Tuesday night, with short speeches from Paul, Cal and Jordan, the lodge enjoyed a nice toast of champagne again…this time Paul returned the favor, a great night!

Most people that read our blog are looking for fishing information, a fishing story or anything to do with what’s going on so let’s not deprive you anymore!

As the week started a light Northwest wind came into the area and we waited for more bait to move in and cover the grounds.  Northwest winds are the best for bringing bait and fish into the QCL fishing areas.   The only issue is there were some huge tides to finish the weekend and start the week.  Huge tides bring bait in and flush it out just as quickly.  When tides are large you should organize your fishing days based on the tides and fish them hard, at LEAST one hour before and one hour after.  Tides and water movement might come early or late, so be in your favorite spot and be ready to fish the tide.

As a guide for 20 years at QCL, I am often asked where to fish on a particular tide.  Although the answer can usually be, wherever you think the “Big One” sits, the reality is every guide has a theory.  I have never shared my theory until Ryan Ashton, QCL dock manager (Guy Fieri look alike), suggested people would love to hear it directly from you.  Tides, theories and fishing strategies are often a secret but at QCL, we encourage all guides to share their knowledge.  The more people that know, the more they will become hooked on fishing, and that’s good for QCL!  Anyway, here is my theory.

Before I start you need to know what an Ebb and a Flood is and what I mean by those terms.  Masset Inlet gives you a great reference point so you know which way the water should be moving.   An Ebb tide is when the water is moving OUT of Masset Inlet and going from a HIGH slack to a LOW slack tide.  A Flood tide is the exact opposite.  The key is to think about the bays around a point.  Klash has a large bay to the east of the point and the 3 large protruding rocks.  When the tide swings from an Ebb tide to a Flood tide (slack) the water starts to move out of the bay, along the rocks and pumps everything that was in the bay out.  This is the time for the fish to feed, the easiest way possible.  It’s like going to a McDonalds’ drive thru for the fish and the Big Mac and Fries, Super-Size are on the way…oh yeah, don’t forget the Hot Apple Pie!  As the water flows out of the bay, position the boat right on the edge of a pronounced “ripline”, try to hold the position just outside the last rock as long as you can, eventually something has to show up!  Stay patient, often it takes up time for this type of fishing to pay off.   Once you drive through the ripline, circle back to the end of it, and drive back up it, all the way back through and repeat until you hit one or two or 10!

There are no guarantees this is going to work, that’s the beauty of fishing.  As an example on Monday I was fortunate to have my wife, son and daughter join me at the resort.  Monday and Tuesday we went fishing as a family using my “theory” and it worked…um ok that is a fish tale, it didn’t work at all!  2 Coho only and no other bites, zoikes, I suck!  We come back to the dock and most of the guides are dragging in nice totes of fish to the Bellringer and now I am second guessing myself.  Tuesday night we celebrate Jordan’s 16th birthday and I have a little chat with him about the next day.  He wants to go fishing at 5am!  Mom and Makenna decide to take a pass for a sleep and a workout.  We get up at 4:30am and are on the water as the sun is rising.  Scott and Henry guests of the DW are already fishing Bird 2 and have a fish in their net!  So we stop and Jordan and I give it a try.  The Ebb is just starting at Bird 2 and the water is pushing nicely off the point.  Jordan puts on his favorite anchovy teaser head and puts it down.  BAM, fish on!  3 passes and 7 Chinook later we are giggling and laughing!  More boats are now showing up and Jordan resets his line, 41 feet.  As we are still sitting in the rip and his line pounds off the clip and starts peeling.  A nice one for sure, a beauty fight, a beauty play and the best morning as a Dad with a son you can imagine.  Jordan lands a 32.2 pounder to show Mom and sis!  Back to the dock by 11am for lunch with the family and grandparents!

Now Makenna is fired up and wants to go early to catch the early tide the next day with her brother!  We decide we better head back to Bird 2 and see if we can find another.  We fish the ripline at Bird 2 and pick one up early, then a Coho, then a second smaller Chinook.  Not as hot as the morning before.  The boats are out way earlier and the fishing seems to die off for about an hour.  We continue and are persistent fishing the rip.  We fish it hard but nothing is happening so we are sure to scrape the wall at Bird 2.  We do this about 10 times and in the back corner of Bird 2, right off the bow of the Driftwood we nail a good one.  20 minutes later, the 13 year old young lady lands an awesome fish measuring 36 pounds!  We release the fish back into the wild and the day feels complete.  So we troll from Bird 2 back to Naden hitting all the points.  We hit Parker and see Hawgfather with Clark, his guest.  Trevor and Clark had a beauty morning, 31 and 33!  We pick up 5 more fish on the drift out and decide it’s time to go meet Mom again for lunch at the Main Lodge.  As a guide, my theory was validated but only 2 of 4 days.  As a Dad, the greatest day of my year fishing with my kids!  (Love you Tricia, Jordan and Makenna!)

Fishing is currently hot and cold all in the same day and trip.   Persistence always wins!  Look forward to seeing you at the resort!  Until next time…

Red Baron


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July 18, 2018 Duane Foerter0

One of the coolest things about being a fishing guide in Haida Gwaii is the unknown of what each day will bring. No two days are ever the same, as the sea conditions, weather, and fishing are always different. Although we like to plan our day out and try to predict what might happen on each tide change, our plans are often altered due to the various scenarios that take place on the water. Today was no different.

With the first tide change not happening until around 10:30am, my longtime QCL guests John R. and Dan S. decided that we wouldn’t leave the dock until 8. My plan was to fish salmon a couple hours through the tide change, go out and grab a couple of Halibut, and then stop for lunch. The first part went according to plan; we set up shop for a couple of hours at Cape Naden with only 1 feeder spring to show for it that we ended up turning back. With not much happening through the slack tide I suggested we do one more pass and then run out for Halibut. On that pass we hooked another little feeder that popped off by the boat. A couple minutes after that I said, “Okay, let’s go grab some Hali’s”. Dan responded, “Come on, one more pass!” Sure enough, right near the end of that pass John had something pop the clip and then it was game on!

After a great battle we bagged a bright chrome Chinook that tipped the scales at 30.0 lb back at the Bell Ringer. Of course we weren’t going to leave now!  Before we could even get a third line back in the water, John again has something smash his bait but it quickly popped off. Within a few seconds our back rod started sizzling line and this time Dan was tied into a beauty! After an even longer fight than the first fish we put another one in the bag that weighed in at 26 lb. After a few more passes with no luck it was time for lunch at the DW.

Although the afternoon was not quite as eventful, we grabbed a couple decent chickens, did some Coho fishing offshore, and then finished the day back at Naden. During our final couple hours we were greeted with some rain showers, followed by blue skies, and calm waters, followed by strong gusts of wind out of the west. In addition, the flood tide brought in waves and waves of kelp that made it nearly impossible to keep all lines in the water at once. Once again, on one of our “last passes”, Dan was into another dandy. After a lengthy first run this fish managed to tangle the line into various large pieces of floating kelp. I thought numerous times that this fish was gone but today the fish gods were on our side. While I was steering the boat, John was able to use the gaff to unhook all the weeds from the line, which finally gave me an opportunity to slide the net under another beauty. It was a great team effort and a great way to finish off another adventurous day in the Gwaii!

Until next time, goodnight from Naden Harbour!

Jackson “Wacko Jacko”


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