BC - The Final Chapter

After 16 hours on the road in BC (with an overnight stop in Prince George), we arrived in Prince Rupert.  It was unbelievably and unseasonably warm - about 28C.  Not quite what I was expecting...ahem, but sometimes you gotta roll with it.  We arrived at the home of our gracious hosts, had a couple of cocktails, dinner, then bed as there was going to be a long day following.

After a restful night sleep, we were up bright and early - fishing waits for no one!  We drove down to the docks and boarded our ride out to our adventure.  The bay here is a very large body of water - very.  It took us over an hour just to get out of it to get to The Spot - where our Captain, John, liked to fish.
Prince Rupert Harbour
We were here to fish for salmon - three types in these waters:  Chinook/Spring/King salmon, Coho salmon and Sockeye.  We were most likely to catch Chinook or Coho on this trip (June).  Sally (navigator/co-captain) had our licenses ready to record our catches.

At 6am the water was very still and the views were truly spectacular.  I had dressed in layers, not quite knowing what to expect while I was out as sea.  One must remember that it is called fishing, not catching - so the wait was on.  Our first bite (about 4 hours later) got things going.  However, according to Captain John, it was too small to keep.  It should be noted that John's wife Sally admonished us for throwing back our first catch - 'You always keep the first one!'  In hindsight, she may have been right.

I am going to be honest.  Fishing is boring.  Don't get me wrong, I had a great time on the water enjoying the scenery, the sea air, the conversation and camaraderie of my companions.  It is fun - just don't go out there expecting 'Wicked Tuna' and a 600 lb catch.  The fish we eventually caught were between 5 - 6 lbs.  My husband caught the only halibut in the group.  At the end of the first day, we caught lots of Rock fish - most of which we threw back.  A couple of small ones were saved for feeding the Bald Eagles - which was actually pretty cool.  Our captain would spot the eagle, bang on the side of the boat with the gaff, wait for the eagle to fly towards us, then toss the (now inert) Rock fish into the water.  It was quite spectacular seeing this magnificent bird swoop down and scoop the fish out of the water.  Very cool.
Best shot of the bunch

We got back home around 9pm, had dinner and some brief conversation, then I fell into bed.  Best night sleep I have had in years - sea air does wonders!

The next day was not as long - only about 9 hours to finish up our catching.  We ended up with 5 salmon and 1 halibut.  John processed the fish as they were caught (gutting) then on the way back filleted them all - ready to be sealed for the freezer.  My friend's Nana, upon hearing of our limited success, 'sent the word out' and we were gifted a beautiful Spring salmon to add to our haul.  When it was all said and done, we had about 30 lbs of fish.  This was very pleasing and worth the early mornings and chilly temps on the water.  Although, our hosts said that we didn't fare as well as others who had come before - during the same time of year.  I am just happy that we were able to come home with something.  Memories of an expensive trip fishing in Bequia (2009) and the boys (plus my girlfriend TP) came back with nothing.  The captain tried his best, but to no avail.  No worries as LB and I had a wonderful afternoon.  A 'secret' trip to Mac's for some conch fritters, rum punch and lobster pizza - then back to our house for some swimming and Boney M on the stereo.  It was my favourite afternoon of the trip and cheaper.  The 'Others' found out about our secret lunch only a couple of years ago...

Now, the challenge before us was getting that fish back to Vancouver (16 hours drive remember) and home, still frozen.  Thankfully, we were not with novices and they had a plan.  We were able to purchase a fair-sized Styrofoam cooler at the local mini-mart in Prince Rupert, pack our vacuum sealed fish in ice and head out on the road.

We stopped in Prince George again on the way back.  We almost didn't have a place to stay as there was a conference in town taking up most of the accommodation.  A call to AMEX Travel yielded us a room at the Econolodge.  It was clean - that's all I will say about it.  The guy at the front desk was helpful though, when he recommended a local Indian - Dana Mandi - restaurant for dinner, which was within walking distance.  (More on that in another blog - but I will say it was the best Indian food that I have had in a very long time).

We were pleased that our fish made it safely in that cooler all the way back to Vancouver, where it spent the night in a freezer.  For packing it, we did our usual ritual.  Thermal bags and lots of laundry around it.  Once again, success as the fish made it home safely - where some of it still resides.  We have enjoyed a couple of sides of the salmon so far.  I am saving the rest for a rainy day.

The bait

Various types of rockfish (rockies)
Yelloweye rockfish - this one our captain kept - good eating.

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