By Mike Burke, a gaining experience angler
“What the…! Move! Quick! Get out of my way! No, not there! Get the…..”
The peaceful solitude was broken by high-pitched squeals of panic as the line was pulled out to sea. We were to find out later that the technical term is “Fish On!” and no need for the squealing.
This one got away, but we were both awake now and, amidst a boat now decorated with spilt coffee and rolling mugs (the excellent crew would love us!), my wife and I returned to our perches with eagles eyes, our hearts still racing. This was only the start.
Fishing was bountiful at Langara Island — even us novices were landing fish including coho, Chinook, lingcod, and one which we will have to check with the Fishmaster (not only knowledgeable but our chief supplier for all kinds of snacks) – maybe he will be impressed with our catch, we certainly were! We were fishing at the MV Charlotte Princess, a floating resort operated by Oak Bay Marine Group and anchored in the Queen Charlotte Islands, or Haida Gwaii.
Once the “morning rush” was over, now was our time to relax a little, enjoy the scenery, eat lunch and finally get to any coffee that was still left in the flask – the crew thinks of everything! Both rods go off again, we reel the fish into the boat, almost nonchalantly now before releasing them; more bait gets prepped and hooked up, the lines don’t even get down to our desired depth before they’re jumping again.
After two solid hours of non-stop action, we are exhausted and, dare I say it, need a break from all these fish – never imagined I would ever say that! We returned to the ship, a delicious hot lunch was waiting for us – yes, lunch part two, this stuff works up an appetite!
Back to our boat which we didn’t even recognize – it was spotless and restocked with lots of snacks and the fish container was emptied ready for our next haul!
Now we were going looking for halibut! We knew we had to fish differently for these. We dropped the “hali” rods (by now even the proper lingo was becoming second nature) and literally 20 minutes later we snagged one of the lines on the ocean bottom. Wait … the ocean bottom moves? No, something big was on this one. We cranked the reel for quite a while in eager anticipation before this huge halibut came to the surface … it was big!
“Get the gaff! … Don’t hit the boat with it!”
Instructions were shouted out in yet another wild moment. We landed it in the boat and were later to discover it weighed 48 pounds, and yet was still 8 pounds lighter than the catch of the day. But we didn’t care, we were fishermen now!
Over a hearty dinner we were now championing our own pursuits of the day with the seasoned pros.
Breakfast starts at 4 a.m., we weren’t hungry, but the food is soooo good, we had to find a way! Now we were fishing for “Springs” only. Buoyed by our newfound confidence we set off solo, found a reef using our GPS and sure enough landed a 23-pound Chinook which was a great way to end our trip as we were now limited out on several species!
All this excitement was complimented by numerous whale sightings and beautiful scenery. The fishmaster – I nearly forgot – identified that odd catch as a dogfish, but our pride could not be dented. We can’t wait until next year.
The MV Charlotte Princess will be open in June 2012 for another great fishing season. For more information, visit www.mvcharlotteprincess or to book your fishing adventure, call 1-800-663-7090.