We are experiencing a summer of extreme dry weather with very warm daytime temperatures, accompanied with challenging winds. It is tough sitting on the beach waiting for the winds to calm down.
I started my Comox Valley saltwater fishing adventures fishing out of Bates Beach Boathouse resort about 45 years ago. We fished from a 14-foot saltwater model Mirrocraft aluminum boat powered with a 20hp Mercury motor. We used it for over 10 years and in the process caught a considerable number of local fish.
One of the lessons I learned early in the game was to respect the wind. Because we were camped near the water it was relatively easy to take advantage of calm periods, especially in the evening when the winds tend to settle down.
One of the habits we locals fall into is that we sometimes forget our Valley is an important fishing destination for hundreds of tourists who combine family camping along with their fishing vacation. The picture with this column is of an Interior angler that regularly fishes with his brother out of Bates Beach Boathouse Resort from a small boat. This year they varied their chinook fishing with some direct halibut fishing and you see the result – a prime halibut of 56 pounds.
This past week I talked to a friend that targeted lingcod instead of chinook and ended up with a prime 25-pounder caught between the wind storms.
Chinook salmon fishing has been good for most of the summer. Lately they have been little scarce, but when the wind allows you stand a good chance of catching a decent chinook in Area 14. If you are lucky to be on the water when a school of chinook are travelling through, you stand a good chance of taking fish in the 20- to 30-pound range.
There are a few coho showing up in some catches, but so far very few of them are marked so they must be released. Due to the warm low water in the Fraser System there is a non retention of sockeye until further notice.
The last report I saw on Fraser River pinks was that they are not showing as of this July 17. In the meantime they are catching pinks at Telegraph Cove. I also have a rumour of two taken off a local beach. If you are beach fisher maybe it is time to start patrolling your favourite pink salmon beach.
If you are taking children fishing I recommend some simple flounder fishing in the 30- to 100-foot depths over sandy bottoms such as off the Oyster River all along our coastline to the Qualicum Rivers. They are fun to catch on light tackle.
Added to the fun aspect, the larger ones around 12 inches produce two delicious fillets that are simply among the tastiest of all fish species. Buy some Berkley Power Bait in small fish patterns, use light weights on spinning rods and get ready to enjoy some first-class family fishing.
Just let the baited hook bounce off the bottom and the flounders will do the rest. Use barb-less hooks for easy release of small fish. Buzz Bombs and other light jigs bounced off the bottom will also work. Every so often the children catch a dogfish (small shark) and it takes on the aura of large shark. These simple family fishing adventures will create holiday memories that last a lifetime.
The period from July 27 to Aug. 3 will produce some excellent daytime tides for clam digging. It is also worth noting that the high tide on Aug. 1 is listed at 17 feet in the early evening. That is a high tide.
This column is a reminder that we live where millions of people would like to be – enjoy our home waters.
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.