|A couple of years back we took home the Georgia Straight’s BEST OF award for “Best Navel Gazing Web Site“, and while our non-profit organization that supports our web site (Vancouver Is Awesome, Inc) is focused on celebrating all of the awesome things that make up our city one of those things is it’s proximity to other awesome places. In Super, Neighbours in British Columbia we take you on adventures to other B.C. locales that we think you should check out.
In this current series of posts we’re taking you on an adventure to Sonora Resort, a Relais & Châteaux property up in Desolation Sound. In the FIRST post I showed you what it’s like to fly there with their sister company, London Air Services, by helicopter. In the SECOND I showed you our room. In the THIRD, some of the activities outside our room. And in my FOURTH post I took you to the trout pond and the fish hatchery.
Today is a big day, all about what many people come to Sonora to do. It’s about taking a fishing charter on the ocean to try and catch some salmon!
This is the view from right outside our room of most of the boats that Sonora has on site, waiting to take you and your parties out for a day of fishing in Desolation Sound. I’ve been fishing freshwater lakes for trout my entire life but had never had an experience fishing the ocean for salmon before this day. I was pretty excited despite it being early in the season and we were facing the possibility of getting skunked (that’s fishing speak for “catchin nothin!”).
Here’s the boat we went out on. Deceptively small looking, in the front there’s actually a toilet and a place to sit down and chill/sleep if you feel like it.
But there was no sleeping to be done this day! Here’s our guide, Zane, shortly after baiting the first hook for us with an anchovy. Going out with a guide is crucial for a number of reasons beyond them supplying a boat and all of the gear and knowing how to bait the hooks and get the line down: Zane (and the rest of the guides) has been working these waters for years and knows the best spots to troll. He’s also got a lot of stories to tell and he’s knowledgable about nature in the area. As there was no spawning run happening we were after “resident” salmon who aren’t on their way through the area but who actually live in the area.
A lot of sitting around and marvelling at the beauty of the place goes on while you’re waiting for something to bite your hook. It looks like there’s something on my line but it’s actually just heavily weighted down so it can sit at about 90 feet below the surface where the fish were on this day.
Every now and then you’ll catch a small cod which you’ll throw back. Fun to reel in and interesting to look at, there are so many different types of fish in the ocean that even though you’re targeting salmon, sometimes other species are feeding on the same thing. I think that’s a rock cod on the left and a ling cod on the right.
And here is what we came for: the big one! It took a few minutes to reel it in and you can tell by the look on my face how happy I was to land it. This 11.5 pound Chinook salmon is the biggest fish I’ve ever caught and it was SUCH an awesome experience.
I kept marvelling at it. Here it is at my feet on the dock once we got back.
And here it is on the scale with me standing beside it after taking off that cozy lifejacket suit.
Another great thing about going out with a guide is that they’ll prepare your fish for the trip home once you’re off the boat. Zane spared no time gutting my fish and then making filets out of it, vacuum sealing it and then freezing it and putting it into a cooler for the ride back to Vancouver. Here it is on top of my BBQ!
Stay tuned for the next post when I don’t kill anything but instead simply look at nature on a guided eco tour!