January/February 2016

January/February 2016
January/February 2016
January/February 2016
January/February 2016

 Nootka Marine Adventures

by Larry E. Stefanyk & Ellen Huse

Third week of June we left Campbell River under blue skies and started driving west on Highway 28 for about 91 kms (57 miles) to Gold River, at Gold River, you will see the Travel Info Centre, at this point, just follow the road three km (1.8 miles) and watch for the signs directing you to Tahsis as the "Tree to Sea" drive to Tahsis begins. Our destination was Moutcha Bay Resort, located 43 km north of Gold River, 6 km (3.7 miles) after the Conuma Fish Hatchery.

We checked into this beautiful lodge and were told our accommodations was one of the eight deluxe yurts, each fully furnished with luxurious surroundings, featuring a wrap-around deck overlooking the surrounding ocean and mountains. Each yurt contains a fully equipped stainless steel kitchen, a floor level bedroom with a king size bed and a slightly smaller loft bedroom, a tiled bath complete with soaking tub and shower and, a cozy living room with electric fireplace and sliding glass doors facing the spectacular view. It was five star accommodations. Besides offering the luxury yurts, they have private chalets, lodge suites, RV sites, tenting, and the Conuma Grill for providing guests with high quality appetizers and meals.

We quickly changed into our fishing gear and zipped down to the dock where we were met by Gibran White, Marine Operations Manager - our guide for the next four days. Gibran has guided for the past 28 years and been with Nootka Marine Adventures for the last eight. To say he knows the water well is a bit of an understatement.

 After the safety check on his 30 foot Pro Line with the Twin 200 Yamahas and a 9.9 Yamaha kicker, we headed out. The boat was spotless: everything was in its place and you could eat off the floors; it seemed that clean. We were heading out to Banjo Reef where the water around the reef is from 35 to 90 feet deep and will always hold fish, no matter what the tide. I asked about the large red navigation buoy and Gibran said, “It marks the outside of the reef and we will be fishing outside of it.”
The first tack Gibran set was in 150 to 160 feet of water. He was using ten and a half foot rods with Amundson Mooching reels; his choice of bait was a simple glow pink hoochie. Gear in the water, barely a chance for one sip of coffee, and BANG—FISH ON!

It was only minutes that we had lowered the gear to the magic depth and we were arm wrestling our first Chinook. The action never quit; before we knew it we had three Chinook in the boat and one sweet coho. Not bad for a couple hours out on the first day. We headed back to the dock. Gibran told us our fish would be processed in the government approved fish processing facilities at the lodge.
Nootka Marine Adventures operates two provincially licensed fish packing facilities, one right at Moutcha Bay Resort and the other at Newton Cove Resort. Our fish would be carefully filleted with rib bones and fins removed before being portioned out to our request. Each piece was vacuumed packed using high quality plastic, properly labeled and flash frozen. Finally, before leaving, the fish is packaged in a cold storage liner and waxed cardboard box ready for transport home. On a side note - all the other lodges in the area drop their catch off to be processed at the lodge, and any angler can drop off their catch as long as they have the proper documentation.

Back at the yurt we cleaned up and headed to the Conuma Grill for dinner. A tasty meal rounded out a great first day, and then we called it an early night as we were meeting Gibran at 5:00 a.m. on the dock.

Next morning bright and early we had our well-stocked pre-ordered box lunches on board and headed out. With the excellent fishing the previous afternoon at Banjo reef, Gibran decided to start our day there. By 8:30 we had four nice Chinooks in the boat. Next stop, we headed for some bottom fish.

It always surprised us that Gibran headed out into the vast ocean, stopped at his special spots, no land marks for identification just a dip on the ocean floor, dropped his gear, and produced fish. This time he prepared the halibut gear. With gear on the bottom in 150 feet, two jigs of the rod, and BOOM, the rod tip was strained to the limit. With lots of effort and splashing, I landed our first halibut, weighting in at 47-pounds. With the sun shining, big smiles, and the water like glass, Gibran suggested we try for ling cod.
6.Another move to a dip and rise in the ocean floor. We were drifting and jigging, and as soon as the gear hit the bottom we were rewarded with a ling. Quickly, sending the gear back down, second ling, then a third. Then…. nothing. We continued to jig without reward for the next half hour before deciding to do some sightseeing.

We headed in to Friendly Cove and did a walkabout of the breathtaking location. I have fished the area many times, but this was my first time walking around and experiencing the landscape, as well as the beautiful west coast carvings in the church. What a treat. We walked on trails and the beach, marveling at the view and beautiful surroundings, and careful to respect the graveyard and other heritage and artifact presentations.

 On our way back to the lodge we decided to check out Nootka Sound Resort, moored in Galiano Bay, off the Tlupana Inlet, which is just 10 minutes by boat from her sister resort and campground at Moutcha Bay. This floating resort sleeps 41 guests and offers all-inclusive accommodations including: custom breakfast, gourmet onboard lunch, appetizers and a four course meals with wine. You can drive to Moutcha Bay Resort, launch your own boat and head to Nootka Sound Resort where they offer fully guided fishing charters, as well as boat moorage.
Fly-in service is available from Seattle directly to their docks.

On the last day of fishing we left the dock at 5:00 a.m. and had our limit of salmon by 9:00. We decided to check out the new lodge - Newton Cove Resort, which is located in Espinosa Inlet near the Pacific entrance to Esperanza Inlet, with some of the most productive inshore and offshore fishing. This prime location also offers luxury all-inclusive accommodation as well as fly-in service from Seattle directly to their docks.

Nootka Marine Adventures has it all: three wonder lodges in spectacular settings, a full service marina at Moutcha Bay Resort, 12 guide boats, the largest fleet of offshore boats on the west coast,10 rental boats of various sizes, and for the campers - a beautiful RV park.

This resort has it all and has done it first class. We give it 5 stars and will be back...

1-877-337 KING

Huxley’s Run: 

Fred had parked his bowler into the spot in the RV Park. He had picked up the bowler for a song, refurbished it and proudly called it his “home away from home” for fishing and hunting trips. It was his pride and joy. And he kept it absolutely pristine.

And on that sunny summer day we relaxed beside it, sipping and lying in the fashion of true anglers.
The quarters in the RV Park were tight. I was used to more airy locations, far away from other campers. But I hadn’t seen Fred for a while and his company was always good.

Every now and then Fred would grab a plastic cup and disappear into the bowler. He would continue his conversations from within, before exiting with cup in hand.

I didn’t ask what was up. I figured Fred had a nice stash of single malt tucked away in the bowler. But that didn’t make sense because Fred is the most generous of friends when it comes to sharing the luxuries of his campsite.

In fact when I arrived he had shown me the cooler, placed it beside me and said, “Help yourself.”

Which I did.

With gusto.

And with that gusto came the call of nature. With the regular facilities located at the other end of the RV Park, I simply slipped behind the bowler, into some bushes and helped alleviate the drought conditions.
Fred and I lit up a couple of his small cigars and I watched with growing curiosity Fred again slipping into and out of the bowler with plastic cup in hand. I was stumped. And a couple of cigars later I again retreated to the bushes.

This time when I came out he had a sort of scowl on his face. I asked him what was wrong.

He said he was worried that neighbours in this rather high end RV Park might catch a glimpse of me relieving myself. “Not that your reputation could be harmed in any way,” he said. “But I kind of like to think that I have a little more class.”

It was then that things started to make sense. I had noticed Fred had not had to relieve himself over a period of a couple of hours. When I asked about it, he just smiled and held up the plastic cup. I finally got it.

When Fred would come out of the bowler with cup in hand he would toss what I thought was the remnants of ice and liquid into the nearby bush.

Holding the cup up like a trophy he gave me another tongue-lashing.

It was not long after that when Fred grabbed his cup and headed into the bowler. He had been telling me a funny story and his voice continued from inside the trailer.

Then silence. Then cursing. Then Fred was standing in the doorway of his bowler holding the cup out for my inspection. He had a look of near fury on his face.

He was showing me the bottom of the cup. At first I didn’t get it, but then I saw the neat little hole, with a back edge around it.

Included in other things he said about my character just then was one promise.

“No more cigars for you.”

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