Local fishing has some surprises

Next time you're heading out on the water, check out Area 14

A PRIME 67CM chinook caught off Kitty Coleman last week.

A PRIME 67CM chinook caught off Kitty Coleman last week.

Elaine and I were sitting home after a busy day of watching the First of July Parade and other festivities at Lewis Park when the phone rang. There was an excited voice telling me about this 85-pound halibut their nephew caught that afternoon and would I like to take a picture of it? My response was an enthusiastic “Yes” and shortly after I took off to Union Bay.

Well my instructions on how to get to the house were confusing and after driving around the wilderness of Union Bay for half an hour I gave up and came home – without the photograph. However Ken Brown of Campbell River and Rick Robertson of Victoria did land an 85-pound halibut while fishing off Hornby Island on July 1. Since I knew the weather was quite windy I enquired about their boat – they were fishing from an 18-foot Double Eagle and in the process of landing the fish they took water over the stern. It is a great, big fish story that happened under challenging conditions – congratulations to the successful anglers.

I also have a report of a 40-pound chinook taken off the hump at Kitty Coleman. These big fish have been caught in local Area 14 waters. The boat launches used were Union Bay and the Kitty Coleman. I suggest we sometimes overlook the quality of our local fishing because it is right on our front doorstep.

Pictured with this column is a prime 67cm chinook taken off the south end of the Kitty Coleman hump by Chuck Ashcroft. The day we fished it there were 10 other boats in the area and we saw a couple of other salmon netted. This fish was taken on a four-inch Cop Car Coyote spoon fished at 200 feet. The next day another friend had a double Pacific cod hook-up followed by a double chinook hook-up in close succession just after the change of tides in the same waters.

For the past couple of seasons we have seen a large increase of numbers of Pacific cod taken in local waters, especially from Campbell River down to Cape Lazo. They are an important food fish that are caught by the commercial fishery in large numbers and supply some of the fish for our fish and chips restaurant trade.

When fishing for salmon the cod can be a nuisance because they are always hungry and get in the way of the more desirable salmon. When you hook-up with one you get about the same fight from a piece of kelp as you do from a Pacific cod – however they do have some redeeming qualities.

When you decide to keep one and try it you will be pleased with the fillets from fish in the five- to eight-pound range. Because of the body shape you do not get good fillets from the smaller fish and they tend to be mushy when filleted.

The last time I was out we kept three cod that weighed between five and six pounds. I filleted and candled them and found no parasites in the clean white flesh. After you take the fillet off the fish and skin it, run you finger along the centre of the fillet and you will feel the line of small nuisance bones that are so important to remove to make the fish enjoyable on the table. Use a sharp knife and make two cuts along the line of bones and it is a simple matter to remove the thin slice of bony flesh. Their flesh is not very different than prime lingcod. An important practice in handling these fish is to bleed the fish when you kill it and keep them in a cooler on ice until you can clean them.

Depending on the size of your boat I have noticed quite a few recreational boats are now coming up with ingenious cleaning tables on the stern to help ensure the freshness and quality of the food they bring home from the sea. Commercial fisherman learned a long time ago about the importance of cleaning and icing their catch to keep its quality.

The moral of this tale is the next fishing trip you go on,  do it locally. You may get some pleasant surprises.


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

Mark Henderson’s exhibit, “Bikes and Barbies,” is now showing at Artful : The Gallery on Cumberland Road in Courtenay. Photo supplied.
New exhibit at Courtenay art gallery

Artful : The Gallery is showing art by Mark Henderson until Saturday,… Continue reading

Charles Hawkswell, Commander, of the Cape Lazo Power and Sail Squadron, presents a $1,000 cheque to the Comox Valley Marine Rescue Society. File photo
Comox removing moorage fees, hydro for Comox Valley Marine Rescue Society

Last year, the unit and society responded to more than 50 rescue missions in the past year

A Saanich man received almost 10 years in Supreme Court in Courtenay for a shooting incident from 2018. Record file photo
Shooting incident north of Courtenay nets almost 10-year sentence

Richard Daniel Vigneault was arrested without incident and faced 16 counts

Dr. Aref Tabarsi, a general pathologist at the North Island Hospital Campbell River Hospital Medical Laboratory, spoke about the issue of service in the region at a meeting in February 2020. Black Press file photo
Comox Strathcona hospital board wants pathology service back

UPDATED: Board supports move for chair, vice-chair to engage with Island Health on issue

Danielle Egilson has been awarded a $40,000 post-secondary scholarship with The Cmolik Foundation. Photo supplied
Student from Courtenay’s Vanier Secondary lands prestigious scholarship

Cmolik Foundation provides opportunities for youth who’ve experienced adversity

While the route to get there is a little different, downtown Courtenay is open and accessible right now. Photo by Mike Chouinard
Bridge — and downtown Courtenay — are open, say businesses

Incoming BIA president Sean Ferguson says parking is available

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The following is a list of restaurants offering take-out and patio dining. ADOBE STOCK IMAGE
List of Comox Valley restaurants offering take-out, patio dining options

Restaurants in the Comox Valley continue to adapt to government-imposed restrictions in… Continue reading

The only access to 5th Street bridge heading east (toward Lewis Park) is via Anderton Avenue. Photo by Terry Farrell.
Single lane alternating traffic controls on Courtenay bridge now in effect

Single lane alternating traffic on the 5th Street Bridge is now in… Continue reading

A vial of AstraZeneca vaccine is seen at a mass COVID-19 vaccination clinic in Calgary, Alta., Thursday, April 22, 2021. Dr. Ben Chan remembers hearing the preliminary reports back in March of blood clots appearing in a handful of European recipients of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Science on COVID, VITT constantly changing: A look at how doctors keep up

While VITT can represent challenges as a novel disorder, blood clots themselves are not new

Poached trees that were taken recently on Vancouver Island in the Mount Prevost area near Cowichan, B.C. are shown on Sunday, May 10, 2021. Big trees, small trees, dead trees, softwoods and hardwoods have all become valuable targets of tree poachers in British Columbia as timber prices hit record levels. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jen Osborne.
Tree poaching from public forests increasing in B.C. as lumber hits record prices

Prices for B.C. softwood lumber reached $1,600 for 1,000 board feet compared with about $300 a year ago

The warm weather means time for a camping trip, or at least an excursion into nature. How much do you know about camps and camping-related facts? (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: Are you ready to go camping?

How many camp and camping-related questions can you answer?

On Friday, May 14 at Meadow Gardens Golf Club in Pitt Meadows, Michael Caan joined a very elite club of golfers who have shot under 60 (Instagram)
Crowds at English Bay were blasted with a large beam of light from an RCMP Air-1 helicopter on Friday, May 14. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marc Grandmaison
Police enlist RCMP helicopter to disperse thousands crowded on Vancouver beach

On Friday night, police were witness to ‘several thousand people staying well into the evening’

Most Read