Well it was WTF (Women that Fish) Derby weekend here at QCL, with 13 ladies from various locations across North America. The conditions have been excellent with calm seas and fairly clear skies. This has made for a very amusing couple of days on the water, with some decent fish being caught and lots of laughs!
Today we decided to spend the morning grinding it out at Cape Naden in hopes of hooking a derby winner. After a slow start we managed to put three teen-sized Chinook in the box before lunch. We also had the privilege of watching an amazing show put on by a Humpback whale that was feeding out on the horizon. All in all in it was a great morning on the water!
After lunch we decided to grab a couple halibut and then finished the day back at Naden, where we managed a nice 20lber that put up a very acrobatic fight! With another beauty day in the forecast to finish off the WTF Derby, I am looking forward to spending another day searching for the big one that the ladies have been referring to as “Walter”.
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.
Overnight 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!
A few decades ago, it was all about catching a big fish. Most visitors to remote fishing resorts and lodges were only hooked on fishing; accommodations and amenities were barely a thought. Nowadays people come for the experience. In fact, some guests don’t even care if they catch a fish. Being there, immersing yourself in nature is reward enough.
Some resorts have no trouble baiting travelers angling for luxury. After you’ve been out on the briny blue, celebrating over cocktails with your new fishing chums, immerse yourself in a hot tub, tuck into chef-prepared superb cuisine with fine wines and then drift off under plump duvets and sheets made of the finest Egyptian cotton next to your private bathroom. Several fishing lodges are land-based, where you can stroll pristine sandy beaches, hike through old growth forest. Or spend the afternoon watching wildlife—whale sightings are the norm.
However, there’s nothing like the thrill of reeling in a big fish. For beginning anglers, a good day’s fishing can be a crapshoot, but not in the waters surrounding these resorts. The rugged shoreline of the Central Coast, the west coast of Vancouver Island and Haida Gwaii provide ideal habitat for vast shoals of baitfish. There are countless nooks and crannies for salmon, as well as gravel banks and pinnacles for halibut, rockfish, and lingcod. Snagging a salmon is more the rule than the exception – the resort guides know exactly where ocean fish are biting.
There are fishing lodges and resorts throughout B.C. that can provide all-inclusive packages– including accommodation, meals, fishing gear and service– to meet most budgets. Here are a few of B.C.’s finest…
Queen Charlotte Lodge, Haida Gwaii
This remote part of the world is a welcome escape from daily life, and Queen Charlotte Lodge (QCL), on the northern shores of Haida Gwaii in Naden Harbour, offers a unique mix of adventure and comfort, friendship and fun.
Once the site of an old whaling station, QCL sits on 20 acres, surrounded by old-growth forest and beachfront. It offers five different kinds of accommodation, from the main lodge with 24 rooms to private chalets with private chefs. While nowhere can guarantee that you’ll catch a fish, QCL guarantees you’ll never be hungry, and you’re spoilt for choice.
For instance, the main dining room offers three appetizers, six entrees and three desserts, with a big barbecue buffet the night you arrive. Variety kicks in at other venues: Chef at the Buoy Teppanyaki House will prepare surf ‘n’ turf at your table, or maybe you prefer to hang out at the Bell Ringer and pick a lobster from the live tank after enjoying just-prepared salmon and albacore tuna sushi (all Ocean Wise) at the Kingfisher lounge…
A typical day:
4.30 a.m. Full-on breakfast in the main lodge or if you need to be on the water before dawn, cappuccino and breakfast sandwich to go at the dock. 6 a.m.: Catch 20lb chinook salmon 9 a.m.: Stop by the Driftwood (anchored on the fishing grounds) for a bathroom break, coffee and muffin. 11 a.m. -2 p.m.: BBQ lunch on the Driftwood, including salad bar, chowder and chili. 5 p.m.: Cocktails (go for the Twin Creek Smash) and pub snacks at the Bell Ringer, a social house with a weigh scale and excellent bartender. Here is where you tell stories and trade lies and your catch is weighed. Party central. 7 p.m.: Main lodge for dinner: Ponzu-cured Albacore or BC spot prawns followed by herb-crusted halibut and an extensive wine list. 9 p.m.: Kingfisher Lounge downstairs with port and cheese or Irish Coffee around the fireplace. Charters depart Fridays and Mondays from Vancouver to Masset for three- or four-night stays from June through August. All-inclusive fly-in fishing packages start at $4,895.
Published in the Vancouver Sun on: May 12, 2018 | Last Updated: May 16, 2018 3:02 PM PDT
If you haven’t done it yet, now is definitely the time to plan that fishing trip you’ve been talking about! We’ve been booking up dates for 2013 since last summer and we’re pleased to say that it’s looking like a very busy season is ahead. Be sure to call soon to ensure that you don’t miss out! To make it easy here’s the 2013 Trip Calendar!
New for 2013 – GPS Chartplotter
In our constant effort to improve our fishing program we’re adding some great new technology to every boat in the fleet this summer. The Lowrance Elite 5 Combination Fishfinder Chartplotter is an easy-to-use tool that will assist QCL anglers in many ways. It features a built-in chart of our fishing area showing in detail all of the points and bays you’re looking for. The built-in GPS is a valuable navigation tool, especially when we’ve programmed in all of the key routes, waypoints and fishing hotspots throughout the fishing grounds! It’s wide coverage sonar capability shows more bait and fish, yet will still be accurate enough to show true depth, as well as bottom structure and fish holding near or on the bottom.
Longjaw’s Lesson – “Fishing with a Dummy”
QCL Dock Manager and Head Guide Ryan “LongJaw” Ashton heads our team of fishing pros and is always happy to share some great fishing advice!
No – we’re not talking about fishing with the buddy who left the drink cooler on the dock, forgot his license in his room, and knocked your fish off with the net! We’re talking about Dummy Flashers – hooking up a flasher to your downrigger cannonball, instead of running it on your main fishing line. This setup allows all of the benefits of a flasher without the drag in the water which takes away much of the play of a fish.
When trolling with downriggers, flashers are used to attract salmon from greater distances where he is more likely to find your bait. A rotating flasher gives off a flash of reflecting sunlight, and produces a vibration that is picked up by a salmon’s lateral line. This flash and “sound” mimics the actions of a feeding salmon, and brings nearby fish closer to investigate.
If flashers have a downside, it is that they produce drag in the water against a fighting fish, often giving an undesirable feeling on the rod. I even wondered if the fish can use this as leverage to pull a hook out of their mouth! This is where the dummy flasher setup really shines! Connecting the flasher directly to the cannonball completely eliminates the drag when playing the fish. All you have between the rod tip and the fish is a swivel and a hook – nothing to slow him down or impede the action. It is amazing to feel every headshake! Another advantage is you will not lose your flasher if a fish breaks off – it always remains attached to the cannonball.
Our custom downrigger setups at QCL are ready to fish with this technique. Using the flashers and special lines included in your tacklebox, simply connect one end of the dummy flasher line to the narrow end of the flasher, and the other end to the eyelet of the cannonball. Then carefully lower the ball and flasher into the water. Let your bait out around 8 – 10 feet behind the boat, and connect the fishing line into the release clip. The clip is already set at the proper distance above the ball to prevent tangles, but it is important to lower the entire rig at a controlled speed to avoid problems – don’t let it free fall!
I am completely convinced that flashers are effective at bringing fish in towards your gear – I can recall numerous occasions when salmon chased my flasher right up to the surface as the downrigger ball was retrieved. I was able to drop my lure into the water in front of the fish, and watch them hit right before my eyes – what a rush!
If you want to give this flasher setup a try, just ask us our dock crew for more information. We’ll get you geared up properly, and know you’ll love fishing with a dummy!
Look for our banner in downtown Calgary!
The response to our direct flights from Calgary in June has been very positive. Alberta anglers like having the ability to leave Calgary after breakfast and be hooked up with a Tyee at Bird 2 before lunch! We are getting a lot of enquiries from our Alberta guests who would like to fly direct to Masset from Calgary. We are always trying to improve our program and we have come up with a great solution. For this summer consider a couple of dates: June 7 – 10 and June 10 – 14. We can provide direct service between Calgary and Masset with our chartered 737 on these 2 trips. The response has already been so great we may need to look for additional dates. Be sure to give us a call to find out more and reserve your seats!
Do you use tripadvisor.com in your travel planning?
We’re finding more and more of our guests use online services like tripadvisor.com when planning their travels. If you’ve ever used it in your own research you know that it can be a valuable resource in considering places to stay and things to do. QCL has a listing on their site and if you’re so inclined, please take a moment and share your thoughts! We’d appreciate it! To visit our page on Trip Advisor click here.