Jan/Feb 2008

Jan/Feb 2008
Jan/Feb 2008
Jan/Feb 2008
Jan/Feb 2008
Jan/Feb 2008

TRIP OF A LIFETIME


by Larry E. Stefanyk

Uncle Harry has been one of the biggest supporters of my adventures over the years, which includes starting this magazine. Although residing in Ohio, he often phones to discuss articles that he reads after receiving his copy of Island Fisherman. He has his favourites and often asks why certain writers have not had an article in recent publications, or we talk fishing on the Island as if we were long-lost fishing buddies. The major problem with all of this was that Uncle Harry had never been salmon fishing. Well, neither of us is getting any younger, so last March I arranged for a fishing trip in August.

After making arrangements with Corey’s Fishing Charters at Port Hardy, I suggested that my uncle also invite his favourite niece, Sharon Reed, who resides in Edmonton, Alberta. When he replied with his itinerary, across the bottom he wrote that he had requested a wheelchair in order to save his strength for the “barn door” he intended to catch. Did I mention that he turned 85 in August?

Janice and I picked up our guests at the Comox airport and then overnighted at our home in Campbell River. The next morning we drove north to start our adventure. The scenery was breathtaking, and we saw several black-tailed deer and eagles along the way. On our agenda was a side-trip to Telegraph Cove for lunch and a visit to the Whale Museum, where we also watched an informative and entertaining video about orcas. Uncle Harry and Sharon were suitably impressed.

Upon arriving in Port Hardy, we checked in at the Quarterdeck Inn, had a great dinner at the pub, and then called it an early night.

After meeting Corey at 6 a.m., we were quickly en route to the fishing grounds in his beautifully maintained and comfortable “Silver Lady.” Constructed to his specifications, the 30-foot welded-aluminum boat has a 10-foot beam and an 8-foot-wide enclosed cabin, and is powered by new Volvo D6 310 h.p. diesel with a dual prop leg. An impressive boat, indeed.

While motoring out, Corey spotted a pod of orcas. Turning the boat in their general direction, he switched off the engine and we waited -- but not for long. They surfaced and blew not 15 feet from the bow, a pod of seven including a big bull. Watching them swim past so closely is a sight that thrills even seasoned West Coasters, so you can imagine how our guests reacted.

Once back on track it didn’t take long to reach our fishing grounds. Within minutes we were downrigging, our gear baited with anchovies. Uncle Harry’s was the first rod to trip, and he was into his first salmon -- an acrobatic 10-pound coho that he played like a pro.

Sharon was next to hook into her first salmon ever, and while she had her hands full with the 28-pound Chinook, it was eventually in the fish box. Next, they were both rewarded with 15-pound halibut. A far cry from the barn door Uncle Harry was seeking, but even chickens on salmon gear can be fun -- and they taste so good.

When Corey decided to move us back a little closer to Port Hardy, another page was added to our guests’ memory book when we encountered two humpback whales that put on a brief show for us.

Corey eventually slowed to trolling speed and lowered the cannonballs. They had no sooner arrived at the magic depth when both rods popped up at the same time. There was a flurry of excitement as Sharon and Uncle Harry dove for their rods, but both were devoid of fish.

After rebaiting, not five minutes passed before Uncle Harry’s reel started streaming out line. He grabbed his rod from the holder, braced his feet, and fought what was obviously a heavy Chinook like he’d been doing it all his life. It put on a spirited and determined performance, but was eventually led to the net. My uncle sat down while we took photographs of him holding his first tyee, a 34-pounder. After washing off his floater pants from hugging the tyee, he was raring to go again.

Uncle Harry was so keen to pounce on his rod if it tripped that he sat on the edge of his chair, leaning slightly forward. When it did pop up, he was like a runner leaving the starting blocks as he charged toward it, with me in hot pursuit in order to brace him if necessary. Once again he displayed the skill of a long-time fisherman by boating a 24-pound Chinook.

“Fish on!” Sharon cried as she grabbed her rod and started fighting a nice-sized pink salmon, but then all eyes turned to Uncle Harry, who was also back in action. Corey picked up the long-handled net and stood by. When Sharon managed to work her fish in close enough, he scooped it into the mesh, then turned toward Uncle Harry’s fish and netted it, too. A double-header in the bag -- a brace of prime, 10-pound pinks. All good things must end, and this seemed a perfect way to do it.

Once back at the dock, Corey quickly processed the fish with help from Bill Shire of Codfather Charters, and then we headed for home. While leaving Port Hardy we spotted two pairs of black bears enjoying their grassy dinner by the roadside, while a bald eagle soared above them. It was a rather fitting farewell from this beautiful North Island area that had provided a truly memorable experience for everyone involved.

(Author’s note: It is with great sadness that I must report that Corey Hayes passed quietly away while on a fishing vacation for marlin in Australia last November. He will be greatly missed by all who knew him.)


 

Huxley’s Run: 

IMMORTALITY


by Dr. Adipose Huxley

Now that I’m immortal, I don’t think I’ll die any time soon. No, I haven’t discovered some wonderful elixir that stalls the aging process, nor have I drank at the mythical fountain. What has given me perpetual life happened back in 2000, when an article appeared in BC Outdoors magazine. It was written by then Fishing Editor Bob Jones, who now edits this very magazine. This well-known, well-liked, well-respected, all-knowing, handsome, diviner of all things piscatorial is a marvellous judge of character, brilliantly insightful, sagacious and affable, and even more important my dear, dear old friend bestowed upon moi a great honour. He named a fly after me.

Nay, not an ordinary housefly, and certainly not a horsefly or dragonfly. No he named a fishing fly after me. The name of this wonderful creation? “Cameron’s Copper Clouser.” A tiny, slender beauty of white and chartreuse blended with strands of copper Flashabou. It has since become my Campbell River beach pattern for coho and cutthroat trout in the spring, summer and fall.

It all started when I stopped by the aforementioned Mr. Jones’s house in Courtenay one day, and much to my delight saw these new creations he had just tied.

“Jeepers Bob, these are neat,” I said to my dear, dear old friend. “What do you call them?”

“I call them mine,” he replied, “so keep your hands off of ‘em.”

I delved into his fishing fridge and grabbed a cold one by the tail. Two more disappeared while I engaged Bob in what I thought was quite a clever conversation. After one particularly long, invigorating soliloquy on my part, Bob’s eyes were still narrowed and alert.

“I counted them you know,” he said.

“Counted what?” I asked, perplexed. “The beers?”

Those flies.”

“Oh, those flies! Geez Bob, don’t worry about them. Not interested, to be honest -- by the way, are those copper strands going through the body?” I tried to step closer for a more critical look, but Bob shifted smoothly to the side and blocked my frontal attack on his stash.

“I’ve counted them,” he repeated ominously, “and the number of flies I find missing after you leave will correspond directly to the number of fingers you will lose when next I get my hands on you.”

It was time to pull out the big artillery. I would obviously have to play nasty. “Bob!” I shouted, “Look behind you! It’s a flying steelhead!”

His eyes never left mine. He just stood there, arms crossed and looking mean. I hated to do it, but decided to step it up another notch. It was going to get ugly. “Hey, Bob! Your shoe’s untied!”

He just stood there, arms crossed and looking mean.

“Hey, Bob! Your fly’s open!”

He shifted his weight from one foot to the other, but continued standing there, arms crossed and looking mean.

“Did you spill something on your shirt?” I asked, pointing to his chest area.

Yep, that’s right -- his arms remained crossed and his look didn’t soften.

I started crying, complete with great heaving sobs and blubbered explanations about how I had to get sustenance for my young family -- how they would have to go to bed hungry for the fifth night in a row if I didn’t take home a fish.

He relented and gave me a half dozen of his new creations. I hit the beach on the way home and was promptly into fish. The flies continued to work well, and while I was into coho and cutthroats on a regular basis my supply was quickly depleted.

I phoned my dear, dear old friend. “Bob,” I asked, “how soon can you tie me up some more of those Cameron’s Copper Clousers?”

“Oh, is that what we’re calling them?” There was a cynical chuckle, then he said, “How soon can you get to a cold beer and whine (sic) store? It would be nice to drink one of your beers... finally.”

So I got my flies and then he immortalized me in print. Mind you, I wasn’t really happy about my pattern getting all of that publicity, but admit that it felt nice to finally receive the recognition I so richly deserved. Even if I had to be a crybaby to get it.
 

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