A catch of prime prawns is a special seafood treat.

A great day on the saltwater

Trip down Baynes Sound is always a beautiful, scenic excursion

I have been a little negligent in getting on the water for this new year; however we made a fine start last Saturday with an impromptu trip between weather systems.

I was sitting home about 8 a.m. when the phone rang and Chuck Ashcroft wanted to know what I was doing. A short time later he hung up and I started scrambling to get my tackle ready to go on the water, while Elaine made a quick lunch.

That’s how easy it is to start a day’s fishing. I baited my prawn traps, put on my survival suit, got my tackle in order and was ready when he picked me up at 9 a.m. Think of the day as  the filling in a sandwich  spread between two weather systems, one just departing and another coming on Sunday. We  called it right, and had lovely calm weather all the time we were fishing.

A trip down Baynes Sound is always a beautiful, scenic trip when the weather is clear. We noted there was very little snow on the Beaufort Mountains – it seems most of the moisture is falling as rain.

So far this season winter chinook fishing has been excellent with reports of good fish being taken from Campbell River down to Flora Islands. We were certainly going to try for chinook, but our prime target was to get some fresh prawns.

We reached our usual prawning locations shortly after 11 and had our traps in the water about 11:30. We planned to soak them for about two hours.

As soon as the traps were resting on the bottom we put our salmon gear in the water and, following the birds, we quickly located some good schools of bait. We had a working lunch while watching the rod tips for action. We didn’t have much action, as is often the case between weather systems. We released one small chinook and a prime lingcod of about 10 pounds and it was time to pull our prawn traps.

The first trap became a serious challenge to get back, let alone worry about what it might have in it. We had set it in about 350 feet of water and it got tangled with some abandoned commercial gear from the previous season. After a struggle of about half an hour and some blistered hands we succeeded in saving the trap, which had a few prawns in it.

This  challenge slowed us down a bit but we were pleased that we got the trap back. We pulled the remainder of our traps and ended up with a very respectful catch of nice prawns. We released the berried females and most of the small ones. Prawning does not rate as a challenging type of fishing as in playing salmon, it is however an exciting food gathering type of recreational fishing that brings much satisfaction to the fishers who participate in it. It is also living proof that the sea produces this special food that has no bones and has a flavour of its own that is not fishy. As such it is very popular with those of the family who sometimes suggest there is a limit to how much salmon you can enjoy eating.

As I noted in the opening that we were fishing between weather systems. When we went on the water the wind was moderate from the northwest. It was predicted to swing to southeast in the early afternoon. We opted to run down the east side of Hornby and Denman on our way back to Union Bay.  When we started home the wind was changing to the southeast and the smoke at Powell River was bending to the north.

As we cruised along the wind stayed well out into the Georgia Strait and we had an enchanting cruise on the calm, open waters sharing them with large numbers of birds. It seems most boaters read the weather as being too uncertain because we saw very few other fishers or boaters on the water. I am not certain what to suggest to readers in this kind of weather but travelled with a tail wind in our back on the way down and  a tail wind in our back on the way home made for a pleasant day on the water. We were lucky mariners.

Ralph Shaw is a master fly fisherman who was awarded the Order of Canada in 1984 for his conservation efforts. In 20 years of writing a column in the Comox Valley Record it has won several awards.


Just Posted

Courtenay family looking for help after baby born two months premature

A GoFundMe page has been set up as a difficult pregnancy and a long stay in Victoria have left the family struggling to get by

Land & Sea Brewing Company opens its doors in Comox

Managing director says the brewery will be a compliment to the Valley’s craft beer scene

Two Courtenay Habitat for Humanity families receive keys to new homes

Lake Trail Road project officially has residents

Preparations ongoing for Courtenay’s annual Earl Naswell Community Christmas Dinner

The doors of the Florence Filberg Centre, downtown Courtenay, will open again… Continue reading

Valley woman found guilty on three charges following 2016 collision in Courtenay

The woman involved in a trial for a multi-vehicle collision in which… Continue reading

REPLAY: B.C’s best video this week

In case you missed it, here’s a look at the replay-worth highlights from this week across the province

Canucks score 3 power-play goals in 4-2 win over Oilers

Vancouver sniper Boeser has 6 goals in last 5 games

Microscopic parasite found in Prince Rupert water affecting thousands

More than 12,000 residents affected by the boil water advisory issued Dec. 14

Trudeau lashes out at Conservatives over migration “misinformation”

Warning against the “dangers of populism,” Trudeau says using immigration as a wedge political issue puts Canada’s future at risk.

B.C. hockey coach creates ‘gear library’ to remove cost barrier of sport

Todd Hickling gathered donations and used gear to remove the cost barrier for kids to play hockey.

Canada’s ambassador meets with second detainee in China

Global Affairs says John McCallum, Canada’s ambassador to China, met with Spavor Sunday

‘They’re coming:’ Flying cars may appear in urban skies by 2023

Air taxis will number 15,000 and become a global market worth $32 billion by 2035

B.C. VIEWS: Andrew Wilkinson on taxes, ICBC and union changes

Opposition leader sees unpredictable year ahead in 2019

5 tips for self-care, mental wellness this holiday season

Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions urging British Columbians to prioritize self care through festive season

Most Read