The alarm clock rang at 4 a.m. in order for us to be at the dock by 5:30 a.m. with lunches and ready for a long day on the water. We made it in time and met our charter boat captain and guide (Chumma) James Jones. His boat was another sleek, twin outboard 28-foot Grady White that seems to be standard with Northern Bounty Fishing Charters. They are magnificent fishing machines for these turbulent northern waters.
As we left the harbour we threaded our way through fog-shrouded waters on the same route as the previous day. Before we entered the open waters we put down another crab trap to be lifted on our return.
The trip to Dundas Island passed quickly on choppy seas. When we approached the waters we fished the day before we were greeted by a school of rapidly swimming white-sided porpoises that created a special thrill for Madelyn’s first encounter with these magnificent vagabonds of the ocean. Chumma remarked their presence indicated we would have a good of day fishing. He was right.
The first fish landed was a prime coho reeled in by Madelyn with father’s help. Shortly after Chumma got on the radio with a cousin who was fishing about 20 miles to the south of us and he suggested we may want to go there because they were doing very well on coho. After a brief conference we agreed with our guide and headed south, to where there was a good concentration of coho and chinook.
After about an hour we arrived in the quite rough waters of Edye Pass between Prescott and Porcher Islands. There were several other boats in the area and some were playing fish. It looked good, in spite of the rough water.
I held the wheel while Chumma put the lines in the water and got the other members fishing. Action came quick and fast. Kenzie and Madelyn were having a ball with continuous action and grandma Luciak promptly landed a prime 10-pound coho. We had a double with two prime coho that we succeeded in netting. Great grandpa Shaw joined the action and caught two nice coho.
While the fishing was great it became apparent that our littlest angler was getting seasick. We retreated to the lee waters of Prescott and Staples Islands where the fishing turned out to be good for chinook as well as coho. Grandma Luciak caught the best chinook at about 28 pounds and Kenzie followed closely with one about 26 pounds and I think great grandpa Shaw caught the best coho at about an honest 12 pounds.
As we were fishing the quieter waters a small group of Humpback whales gave a little girl from Prince George a lifetime high. From the greetings of the porpoises to the wave goodbye of the tail flukes of the whales, time flashed by too quickly. On the way back to the harbour the four-generation family fishing trip came to an exciting end when the trap gave us 10 large Dungeness crabs.
During the two-day trip every member caught nice fish and three caught their personal best chinook salmon and halibut. Chumma had cleaned our salmon and put them in plastic bags to carry up to the truck. (Note – The service from Northern Bounty Fishing Charters and guides Darren Bell and (Chumma) James Jones was professional and of high quality. One aspect I appreciated was that we were allowed to set our own hooks).
After leaving the wharf we took the fish to the butcher shop that vacuum packed and flash froze the fish from Day One and had them repeat the process with the bountiful Day Two catch of chinook, coho and Dungeness crabs in preparation for the 740km trip to Prince George the next day by Kenzie, Melanie and Madelyn.
In the meantime great grandpa Shaw boarded a plane for his flight home to Courtenay. Thus an unbelievably successful four-generation family fishing trip came to a memorable close. I would strongly recommend a four-generation trip, and it doesn’t matter if you fish from your own boat or charter as we did – Just Do It.
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.