Fishing for giant salmon at Queen Charlotte Lodge
If it is true that a picture is worth a thousand words, I am going to be long on pictures and short on words.
Just let me say, though, that last week buddy Mark Stiffel and I enjoyed the salmon fishing experience of a lifetime up at Queen Charlotte Lodge in Haida Gwaii, British Columbia.
But the numbers of giant Chinooks and Cohoes is only a part of the story. How we caught them was not only the highlight of the trip, but a highlight in my entire fishing career.
Indeed, I’ll be the first to admit that living in Northwestern Ontario, I don’t get the chance to chase salmon as much as I’d like, so I am not an expert. Still, I like to think I know a thing or two about how to put together solid fishing patterns based on depth control, speed control and the size, colour, and profile of the baits and lures I am presenting. So, last week at Queen Charlotte Lodge, Mark and I specifically turned down the offer to have a guide in the boat with us, choosing to challenge the Pacific and chase the salmon on our own.
And my, oh, my did we strike gold. Call it blind luck, good fortune, even a fluke—the fact of the matter remains that we developed and refined a presentation that turned out to be so good we had everyone, including the guides, shaking their heads in disbelief.
As a matter of fact, on the last day, we invited one of the top sticks at the resort to join us in the boat for a couple of hours in the morning and to fish his specific west coast salmon technique on one side of the boat while we fished our system on the other side. It was 5 to 1 in favour of what Mark and I were doing—and our fish were bigger.
More amazing still, later in the afternoon, when we decided to fill the last two Cohoes on our license, I set the lure in the water, stripped out 20 feet or so of line and bent over the side of the boat to clip it into the downrigger release. But before I could do that, I felt tap-tap on the line, hauled back instinctively and set the hooks into a giant Coho that leaped at least six feet into the air, right behind the boat, before it streaked across the ocean, nearly cutting off my fingers.
It was amazing.
And to prove it wasn’t a lucky coincidence, as soon as we landed the fish, we turned around the boat, trolled maybe two more minutes and hooked into another dandy Coho. Believe it or not, we could have filled the boat with fish that afternoon.
So, what was the technique and what were we doing? You’re going to have to wait until the 2014 Fishing Edition of Outdoor Canada magazine comes out later this winter/early next spring to read about the details.
Until then, to whet your appetite, click on the following link and watch this short video I shot up at the lodge.