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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
It's not often I get the chance to fish the salt chuck, maybe once a year if I'm lucky. Just to busy having fun playing in the fresh water. :thumbup: However when the opportunity arrises, I'm all over it. So off to Campbell river I went.

Riding over on the horseshoe bay ferries, my mind ran wild of the possibilities that could come during our stay at Painter’s Lodge in Campbell River. Despite the over cast skies and light drizzle, the water across the straight for the most part was calm. After missing the first boat we’d originally tried to catch, I was happy we were finally on our way regardless of what was falling from above. After a late night dinner, in Naniamo, we eventually found our selves at the lodge. A quick check in followed, then it was lights out. 5am came awfully early on 4 hours of shut eye, but when it comes to fishing it never seems to tough getting up on minimal sleep. :p
Next it was a quick meet and greet with some of the staff over filling out our salt licenses, waivers, acquiring our lunches, and survival suits. This morning would prove to be no different weather wise, except for the choppy swells that flowed out in front of the lodge. Discovery Passage runs in between the main land and Quadra Island. Most times it can offer shelter from the elements of the open ocean to the south, and is a popular route for the cruise ships, barges, tankers and other pleasure craft. However the south westerly winds had the area churning pretty good through out our stay. Even though most recent reports had most of the fish being caught south, we had no choice but to head north as far as the entrance to Johnstone Straight to find calmer waters. Day one took us over an hour north bound, hopping from spot to spot with not so much as a tap on the various hoochies and spoons that were provided. The lack of action after all the hype built before the trip, was almost painful. :wallbash: The saving grace was viewing all the seemingly untouched wilderness the area had to offer. Including witnessing 50 or so baldies dive bombing a bait ball just north and across from Brown's Bay. An unreal sight also viewed by the other 100 or so of their counter parts perched in the trees on the shore line. With 8 hours and day 1 in the books we made the long but fun trek back to the lodge for some dinner, hot tubs, and more than our share of drinks.
Day 2 started much like the previous. :drunk: Little sleep and a Tylanol/ hair of the dog mixer at 5am and we were once again on our way :drunk:. This time with a new host, and some renewed anticipation. Accompanied by rain, rain, and more wind and rain. :p The game plan would be the same. Heading north, and tucking into some of our new host's favorite haunts when the sea allowed. The plan of attack would be some what different. This time out our lines sported fresh anchovies, staggered at 90, 120 and 140 feet down. We had the same host as the previous day, and time was passed talking fly fishing and swaping fly stories. Off an on the rain fell eventually soaking us through our suits. Regardless we still stayed warm. Upon our departure in the morning we were given the option of hooking up our own battles, and of course being a stuborn fresh water bum, I opted to do the work myself. Thinking if I can do it on the fresh waters then this'll be no different. A walk in the park. ::) A breeze ::) or a peice of cake. ::) :wallbash: ::) Even though last year it took me 5 tries to get a fish to stick before I got it right. :wallbash: ;D However day 2 and another 8 hours down, and I wouldn't get the chance to see if I could improve on my salt water hook sets. The ride back this time was a rough one, but a fun one especially when we closed in on the south end of the passage towards the lodge. The large swells combined with the changing tide was a riot to ride out. 16 hours put in, and no one in our party of 19 had landed anything retainable. Slow times called for a few more drinks, and an earlier bed time as the sleep deprevation was starting to wear.
Sunday morning we woke up to an extreamly muggy and stormy morning. So much so that there was a small craft warning issued for the area. :eek: We then were given the option of scrapping our last day if we chose to do so. We only had 4 hours left on the water, and soon found ourselves back on the boat taking a crazy ride back out to Browns Bay, one of the few spots in the area left that the swells were kept to a minimum. I jokingly suggested we head south onto the open water this time, and was met with the type of laughter only given to a crazy a$% coment. An armada of about 20 boats left the lodge at the same time hoping for one last crack at the can before the weekend came to an end. In a single file line the boston whalers made their way up the coast line while we opted to ride the waves out up the middle of the channel. Having the bigger boat (18 foot cruiser) we had arrived well before the rest and already had our lines dropped by the time the group had caught up. We'd only set and drifted half way down the bay, when more fly talk between myself and our guide was interupted by a bouncing rod to our left. Instantly I was all over it, remembering this time to reel in the slack line before tripping the down rigger. That's if the fish hadn't tripped it already. I thought about this mistake for a year, and finally had another chance get it right. Slack line picked up, a rip to get the rigger tripped, pick up the slack again, and another rip to sink the hook. I actually got one to stick, and instantly the knuckle buster was singing in the wind for a solid 100 yards. Then just like that the fish turned and headed straight for the boat. Luckily I was able to keep pace on the fish and eventually caught up to it. This time feeling the sting of the hook it headed straight to the depths right below us, where for the next 10 minutes we both took and gave up line. In the end I boated a 19 pounder red beauty on the scale. One happy camper. Not as chrome as most in salt water but damn it was good enough for me! ;D :beerchug: In the end it was guessed to be a local fish judging by it's slight color.

I'm going to pull a ;)Rib ;) and finish the report when I get a free moment tomorrow.

Finder ;D
 

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Good start to your tale Kevin! Glad to hear you got the hook set right! Hehe! God knows I've lost quite a few not knowing what I was doing :wallbash: ...I figured it out finally after watching our guide do it for us. Glad to see you had a great time regardless of the weather :).

Cheers dude! -Nathan in NW
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
OK so where was I? :confused:...Oh yes

High fives all around. This was a fish that was well earned. :beerchug: After a quick deposit into the cooler, lines were re set and back to the top end of the bay we went. Ten minutes later we found our selves switching seats and I’m now up front hoping the rotation will come back around to me again. Drifting back into the same area of our past success, and amongst the play by play of the last fish, the rod dipped once again. Instantly one of my partners for the day is on the same rod. It seemed the fish were sitting at a 90 foot depth. In the same fashion this fish tore out, then did an about face and came racing towards the boat. Next the rod went limp, and we thought this was one chalked up to the fish. About 50 feet from the boat the rod doubles once again and to our surprise the nookie is still on. No time was wasted in bringing this bad boy in. It was another beauty fish, dime bright silver and ready for the cooler. So now we had two guys down and one to go, before we each had a fish. While racing back to the top of the bay, we heard over the radio that a pod of orcas were moving through. Just then a hundred yards out we spotted them. :eek: An unreal sight, but they were a little too far off for my camera to get a good enough shot. Nature at its best, this was a sighting that was tough to top. Of course with the whales moving through the bite went dead. It didn’t take long after they’d disappeared around the corner when the rod tripped and I lunged once again stinging a large fish that would take off and had no interest in stopping. I passed off the rod to our last fishless member of our group, whom failed as well to stop this one. About 150 yards out the tank broke water, and got tangled up in some lines from another boat. Surprisingly the tangle worked itself out, and half way back the leader busted. :'( Looking at what was left of the leader it was determined that a rigger line was the culprit. :wallbash: It was tough to say for sure the size of the fish, but we did know that is was much larger than the one I boated earlier.
The disappointment was soon forgotten, as on our very next drift the rod bounced and another spring was fooled, but this one was short lived as it won its freedom. So the rods were once again re set, and even before one of the lines could be lowered down we had another on. The offering was only about 15 feet down, and the battle was over in a flash. ::) I landed my first chrome pink of the year. :yummy: Soon after an under sized spring (by ocean regs anyway ::)) was released boat side. Before we knew it our trip had come to an end, and it was time to head back to pack up. On our way we spotted the orcas once again this time only 50 yards off the boat. Naturally we stopped and watched in amazement as they hugged only feet from the shoreline hunting for the same springs we were trying to fool. We were told they like to push the fish right into the shore line so they can be picked off easily. Our trip ended with another bumpy ride back to the lodge, just in time to pack up, check out and head home.

I'll post some more pics when I get the chance.

Finder ;)
 

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Sounds like the action was pretty hot for awhile...I am curious as to the number of lines put out per rigger, as well as the size of the weight?......Did you see or hear of any coho?
..I hope to have some success up in Port HArdy. I am off today and will be doin' the 12hr. daily water patrol....Will be rigging the 8 wt. with some small anchovy and mooching around a few known hot spots just for fun.....Over the past few days my brother has limited on springs/pinks in less than 2 hrs........Can't wait!
C ya next week.....Ortho 8)
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
fishortho said:
Sounds like the action was pretty hot for awhile...I am curious as to the number of lines put out per rigger, as well as the size of the weight?......Did you see or hear of any coho?
..I hope to have some success up in Port HArdy. I am off today and will be doin' the 12hr. daily water patrol....Will be rigging the 8 wt. with some small anchovy and mooching around a few known hot spots just for fun.....Over the past few days my brother has limited on springs/pinks in less than 2 hrs........Can't wait!
C ya next week.....Ortho 8)
Two coho were landed by members of our party. Both being wild, one was estimated at 5-6 pounds, and the other pushing 10. We were running three lines off of two riggers using 15 pound lead rigger balls. have fun out there Ortho. We'll hookup when you get back.

Finder ;)
 

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I was all over it, remembering this time to reel in the slack line before tripping the down rigger.
That's a dandy, Fish Finder. Happy to hear you had a good time with the Oak Bay. Good to see I'm not the only one "farming" fish by popping the line off the downrigger before reeling up the slack. In fact I learned to reel, pop, and then reel again and then reefing on the rod then, and only then, to set the hook. Of course, if the fish is big enough, which for me is rare, the fish is already off ther clip :thumbup:

I too just got back from the Rock and managed to get out a couple of times in the salt, once to Quadra Island and then to Bamfield. No salmon at Quadra but managed a few lingcod, dogfish, rock cod etc. Bamfield was good, 8 springs, 6 coho and 2 pinks. The coho we kept but released the pinks and all but two 10-12 pound springs as they were toddlers to be caught next year.
 
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