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
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
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
Captain Greg Mayer (Fishin' Frenzy) was aboard
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!
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!
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
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
Hella fun day with a great bunch!
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
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
to my 2016 Fishing Diary
to my 2015 Fishing Diary
to my 2014 Fishing Diary
to my 2013 Fishing Diary
to my 2012 Fishing Diary
to my 2011 Fishing Diary
to my 2010 Fishing Diary
to my 2009 Fishing Diary
to my 2008 Fishing Diary
to my 2007 Fishing Diary