Sunday, January 30, 2011

Steelhead On the Stamp River

Today Chris and Kris went in search of Steelhead on the Stamp River near Port Alberni. This is the only fishing accessible to us during the winter. Last year Chris and I tried off shore a few times but were depressingly unsuccessful. This time the boys decided to hire a guide to show them some tricks and the best places to try their luck. Ken Myers ( is an experience local guide that took them out on the river in his zodiac for the day. Chris used his Christmas present from me (a shiny blue Islander center pin reel) and the Jester used one of Ken's Shimano Calcuttas.

Today was a gorgeous sunny West Coast day, perfect for spending time on the water. They went right to the falls to begin the Steelhead hunt. There were a few anglers fishing off the shore and a number of other boats trying their luck. Unfortunately the fish were not really biting for anyone. They moved on to Eagle Rock, Slide Pool and the Bucket but only got a couple of bites. In the afternoon they headed back to the falls and that's where the magic happened!! The Jester hooked into a huge beautiful Steelhead that was about 20lbs. The average steelhead right now is 5-7lbs so this really was a fish that will be talked about for years to come.

Even though the fish were not biting the way they had hoped, the Prince and the Jester were thrilled to be out on the water and learned a lot from Ken. Hopefully the three of us will get back out there before the steelhead season ends and try to catch another big one!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Dinner Time!

Today's post was supposed to be about all of the prawning and crabbing Chris has been doing near Port Alice. He has been having a lot of success and our freezer is quickly filling with big delicious BC spot prawns. When we bought our boat last summer I was not as excited about it as the boys were because I get seasick pretty easily, but being able to eat these little beauties whenever I want makes me love the boat a little more every day!

Instead helping me write a post today, the Prince and the Jester spent the entire day comparison shopping at local fishing stores and planning for an exciting fishing trip they will be going on next weekend. The detailed post about his prawn adventures will have to wait until Chris' work week ends so tonight I will share the recipe for the best sandwich I have ever eaten! I'll call it Princess Prawn BLT.

Lettuce, tomato, turkey bacon, swiss cheese and a mountain of prawns.

To make the prawn dressing, boil the prawns in salted water for 2-3 minutes and then set aside to cool. Combine 1/4 cup mayo, 2 tsp white wine vinegar, 1 tsp honey, cracked pepper, 1/2 tsp chopped dill, 1 tsp chopped capers. Chop the prawns and toss in the dressing.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

2011 Halibut Season???

Last night the Jester and I attended a meeting in Campbell River to get more information about the controversy surrounding the upcoming halibut season. This is a complicated and confusing issue that will have long lasting repercussions to many areas of sports fishing. Here is a link to a local TV story that gives a brief outline of the issues.

CHECK 6 NEWS from BC Sport Fishing Coalition on Vimeo.

More information and ways you can get involved can be found on the British Columbia Sport Fishing Coalition Website.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Introducing The River Prince

Fly fishing for Coho at Rupert Arm

Chris, my husband of 11 years, and I do not have a lot in common. Definitely a case of opposites attract. We don't have the same taste in movies, books, food, music or TV shows. We are experts at the fine art of compromise and negotiation when it comes to these aspects of our life. Then we started fishing together! Chris fished as a kid and once, when we were dating, he took me to a U-Catch trout pond (which I hated!!). We lived in Alberta for many years so he had little opportunity to pursue this hobby. We moved back to Vancouver Island three years ago and he began fishing with a friend from work. On his days off I would often sit on the river bank with a book and watch him fish. I loved to see the excitement when he caught a fish and was amazed that he would still be smiling even after hours of unsuccessful fishing. I had to get in on the action!

The true love of his life

The River Prince does have some un-princely fishing habits though. When we first start a day of fishing he is very serious and has a 'face like thunder' until the first fish is caught. The Jester and I like to point this out to him in a mocking tone, this doesn't help him shake the thunder-face but is amusing to us. He also conveniently doesn't see me in the most opportune times! I have come close to decapitation by fishing line, been hit in various body parts by flying fish, and been elbowed out of the sweet spot on many occasions. He also likes to do his fly tying in the living room and the amount of sparkles and feathers spread out would put any scrapbooker to shame! Despite these flaws, the Prince does make a great fishing partner. He pre-ties all my hooks for me, releases the really nasty fish I don't want to touch, will gut my fish upon request and will always stop fishing to help me unsnag in a really tough spot.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Introducing the River Jester...

First Sockeye

Today's post will be an introduction to the River Jester aka Kris. We met Kris through my friend, his lovely and very understanding wife Dana. Little did I know that we would soon be sharing many afternoons on shore and in the boat with him. Kris has a few distinct fishing quirks that always make our outings fun and frustrating, usually at the same time. This blog name is an homage to his constant cries of FISH ON.... FISH OFF. I, being a polite and considerate fisher always reel my line in immediately upon hearing the joyful shout of a fellow angler with a bite. By the time my line is almost in, the Jester has usually bellowed out a less exuberant FISH OFF and I have to cast again. I will forever maintain that if allowed to wait out each cast for an appropriate amount of time I would consistently catch more fish than both of the boys. Kris also has developed a habit of reeling his fish in a direct trajectory to wind it around my legs. No matter how much distance I try to put between us I inevitably end up jumping over his line and trying not to fall in the river at the same time.

Still smiling after taking a weight to the head because...

He caught his first elusive Chinook.. what a beauty!

When the two boys are fishing side by side it always ends with someone getting 'hooked' or smacked with a weight or their lines tangled in a mess of knots and curses. There is also a constant stream of laughter and smack talk that entertains not only us but those fortunate (or unfortunate) enough to be fishing near us.

Causing chaos on the Puntledge River

The Jester does have some good qualities that make him a valuable fishing partner. He is a very patient teacher, not my husbands best quality, why are men always more patient with other people's wives? He has taught me how to prepare my own gear and he also cleared up the mystery of bottom bouncing for me, after a discussion with my husband that almost led us to couples counselling. The Jester is also pretty fearless, on more than one occasion he has waded up to his chin to free my tangled line and once swam into a pool with a 20lb spring that would not give my line back to me after an hour of struggling. He will also sing old country songs in the car with me on the hour drive to the Sockeye grounds, definite bonus points for that!

The only fish caught this evening at Singing Sands

Monday, January 17, 2011

Christy's Favourites

I'm sure that once I give them access to this blog the boys will have plenty to say about their favourite fishing gear. My husband could fill months of posts on just his rods alone. If anyone knows about a 12 step program for fishing rod addicts please email me! But this post will be about two of my favourite fishing accessories. They are not the best or newest but they are like old friends to me and I love them. The first is my reel. It is a humble Abu Garcia baitcaster but I caught my first fish on it (as well as my first seagull) and I am deeply attached to it. Both of the boys had this same reel and both of them broke this reel within a few months of use. The lesson learned is that this particular reel is great for a fisherperson who is gentle and respectful to their gear, but if you want to muscle in some big salmon, probably not the reel for you.

My next favourite accessory is my pink waders. Personally I think I am adorable in them, and more importantly the other men at the river quickly identify me as a girl and therefore usually decide to urinate out of sight!

My last favourite for this post is my favourite place we have been fishing. Little Qualicum River is a fly fishing only, catch and release area. It is a beautiful spot that is not crowded and for a few weeks in August it is packed with great big Springs! The three of us are new to fly fishing and trying to reel in 20lb+ salmon proved to be a challenge and extremely entertaining as the fish dragged us all up and down the river while they jumped all around us. I did not manage to land one of these beauties myself but fought valiantly! This winter I am working on my upper body strength and I vow to get one of those big fellas on the shore this summer. Here's a couple pictures of the boys and their big catches, a quick snap with the camera and they were off again..

The countdown is on!

8 months.. 7 months... 6 months... 5 months... that has been the mantra around my house since last chum salmon was caught on the Puntledge River in October. The countdown is on until the opening of Sockeye season. I was eating dinner tonight with my husband (Chris) and our fishing buddy (Kris) and, perhaps inspired by the broiled salmon on their plates, they proposed the idea of me starting a blog to record all of our fishing adventures (and misadventures). Last summer I decided I had had enough of watching from the shore and decided to pick up a rod and try it out. Chris buying me some cute pink chest waders defiantly helped me become more comfortable but it only took my first fish reeled in to make me almost as obsessed as they are. Good teachers, proper gear and lots of practice and I was reeling in fish after fish all summer long! Our first official fishing season as a threesome saw us catch Sockeye, Chinook, Pinks, Chum, and Coho. There will be more of the same this summer as well as some Halibut and Snapper attempts from the boat. I see this blog as a joint venture. Like the play by play for a hockey game, they will provide the technical detail while I give the colour commentary! Throw in some pictures and recipes and I think this may help us get through the next few months.