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Fishing Diary  


June 30-July 6th

Valerie Hoperich owns and operates the best Northwest fishing lodge I've ever been to and the fact that this was my 6th trip there just goes to show you I'm hooked! Of course it was my husband's 5th time to Queen Charlotte Safaris and he loves it as well. We hadn't planned on going this year but when Valerie called to tell me about the great group of couples coming up it didn't take much arm twisting to get us to go. She has a wonderful knack for pairing people to boats, both with the guests and the guides.

Since Jeff and I had flown in a couple of days early we had the lodge to ourselves but the staff catered to our needs and Chef Steven outdid himself on a daily basis. After settling in we took a short nap before dinner, followed by a stroll to the harbor to see the sights in Shingle Bay.

On Canada Day, July 1st, we took a tour to K'uuna Llnagaay (Skedans) to see the old Haida village and totem poles. Our guide was Moonshadow - William Shawn Cowpar, who we had fished with at Queen Charlotte Safaris in 2011. I'd really suggest seeing some of the island culture and wildlife beyond what you will encounter going there to fish. It is truly amazing!

The next day we went for a hike on the Dover Trail which is about a 15 minute walk from the lodge. We live in the Santa Cruz Mountains at home where we have stunning redwood forests but this place blew us away! The trail had a soft cushion of tree debris from second-growth and old growth forests comprised of cedar, spruce and hemlock making it very comfortable to walk. Soft moss and ferns abounded and a spawning creek is woven down it with a log crossing about halfway through. Haida Gwaii has roughly 150 species of plants we enjoyed the lush green environment.

I knew our guide Doug Leyden would be a hoot when I saw some of his personal tackle on the dash from Allure Tackle. I had brought some tackle up as well and showed Doug a favorite pearl plastic that has caught salmon locally for me. He came up with the rigging style and I caught the biggest salmon of my trip on it on my last day of fishing.

We were teamed up with John and Sharon a Louisiana couple who had also previously fished the lodge. Normally fishing departure time through the Skidegate Narrows depends on the tide schedule but Valerie has a special fleet of 3 Thunder Jet boats (TJ Pilot model) that only require a minimum of a foot or so of water to get the job done. Once on the fishing grounds Mercury ProKickers are utilized for trolling. It's the best of both worlds and we all know two motors are better than one!

We started each day off salmon fishing usually alternating between two rods on down riggers but occasionally a third rod went out the back if the fish were not down deep. We had double hook ups frequently and Doug was very skilled in keeping us from tangling up. We all released smaller Chinook salmon in the hopes of getting bigger ones to take and we all got limits of these fantastic table fare species. All our salmon were in the 20 pound class and Jeff & I each got a Coho as well. John caught and released a nice 150 pound halibut on day two!

Our third day on the water was the best. We were rock stars with our entire boat getting grand slams (yelloweye rockfish, lingcod, halibut and salmon) out at nearby Marble Island in flat calm seas with beautiful sunny skies. I also bested my lodge record by a pound on a lingcod; 35 pounds! We got a couple of small halibut, more lings and rockfish and then we drifted the kelp bed edge for fast and furious black and dusky rockfish on light tackle. I don't think we had any under 5 pounds and they were thick! John also caught a nice ling that hitchhiked up on one.

Excellent fishing, people and food! Eagles galore! Stunning scenery! As usual we hated to leave!.

June 20-23

Tuna Wars III was held again in San Diego with 3 teams raising money for The Friends of Rollo Foundation.

The Bali Hai on Shelter Island put on a wonderful captain's reception to start things off.

The following afternoon the competition loaded three local vessels to compete for 2 days.

Captain Dave Marciano (Hard Merchandise) was aboard the Liberty.

Captain Paul Hebert (Wicked Pissah) was aboard the Tribute.

Captain Greg Mayer (Fishin' Frenzy) was aboard the Cortez.

I fished with the Tribute team this year and we had an awesome time catching bluefin, yellowfin and yellowtail. The weather was beautiful and the crew of the Tribute did their best to put us on fish. Back at the dock we won the weigh in and our team will be getting the custom jackets!

To quote Mike Lum, "Thanks to everyone that made all of this possible. 1600 more kids will get to experience the magic of being on the ocean for the first time as a result of the 2017 Captain's reception and Tuna Wars. Really great to see so many support Capt. Rollo's Kids at Sea program. Huge THANK YOU Wicked Tuna Captains Paul Hebert, Dave Marciano and Greg Mayer for making this happen, you guys are awesome!"

I plan on returning for this great annual event next year!

May 27

This morning I went to Vasona Lake to meet up with the Bay Area Sportfishers Club. Today it was all about teaching kids to fish. Humberto brought his son Giovanni over so we could get him started. Seems like yesterday we were teaching Humberto's son Monte, when he was this age, but Monte is about to graduate from high school! Beautiful park! Beautiful day!

May 23

Mike, Armando, Don and I had a hiccup starting off the day on Hawaiian Hooker when we discovered a thermostat leak. Rather than throw in the towel at the ramp, Mike jumped in his truck to get gasket material and the rest of us popped the hoses and took the housing off and cleaned the surfaces.

We were en route to the Alameda rock wall by 8 am and had halibut in mind, however we were open to other possibilities... "You can quote me on that. I'm taking it to the grave lol".

Over the course of the day Mike stuck a keeper halibut and the rest of us released double digits between us. We had a bonus salmon that hit a clear FBR or a WMA... I wasn't looking real hard when the scramble for the net ensued.

The boys cleaned the boat while I cleaned and filleted the fish (no small feat with a cooler as a table and a knife that was about 3 inches short of what I needed for the salmon anyway lol.)

Hella fun day with a great bunch!

April 5

Yes siree! Today was so awesome I didn't even feel bad about not being able to get out after the "other" target species (salmon). I rolled up to the Queen of Hearts and met up with some of the other regulars that like to fish the boat on Wednesdays.

We had a long run down from Pillar Point Harbor but it was well worth it. Due to the changes in the rockfish regulations this year Captain Bob was able to put us in some deeper water and the results have been outstanding!

Today we had 16 anglers and most were catching mega-sized copper rockfish, canaries (yep you can now keep one per day), green spotted rockfish and huge olives. Lingcod were on the chew too and most limited on them as well. I used my Seeker Black Classic 270H, 7 foot stick, with an Avet Raptor MXL 6/4 MC 2 speed.The coppers were hitting my line so savagely that half the time I thought I had a ling on.

One copper had a live octopus in it's mouth which I released as soon as I sacked the fish. I was already using octopus as bait and I was close to having my limit of fish anyway, so I figured I'd rack up a good Karma point for future use. Stellar weather was icing on the cake.

For those of you that are going to get out this year for rockfish here's a few tips:

1. Play by the rules. Enforcement of the new zones will be closely monitored and if folks blow it they could close the season early on us.

2. Bring 2 outfits; one shallow and one for over 150 feet and have sinkers or iron weighted accordingly. (I was using 12-16 ounces yesterday when I used a shrimp fly rig.)

I am so looking forward to fishing the areas we've been missing out on! Get out there and get some!

Link to my 2016 Fishing Diary

Link to my 2015 Fishing Diary

Link to my 2014 Fishing Diary

Link to my 2013 Fishing Diary

Link to my 2012 Fishing Diary

Link to my 2011 Fishing Diary

Link to my 2010 Fishing Diary

Link to my 2009 Fishing Diary

Link to my 2008 Fishing Diary

Link to my 2007 Fishing Diary

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