Nootka Sound, The Return! P2  

I was out the door by 0530, everything loaded up the previous evening.  The mission at hand was to pick Greg up in Westbank by 0830 and hit the Coq and meet the rest of the gang in Hope by 1100 and catch the 1515 out of Tsawwassen, how's that for a schedule!  However, when an anglers pumped to go a a once a year salmon trip, time means nothing, at least, until it catches up with you on the road home.  The "team" this year consisted of Greg and I, Bruce from Sicamous, whose partner bombed out on him, and Jordan from Oliver, along with his Dad Ralph and brother Lee.  This year I took my boat because I wanted to see how the Harbercraft 1925XL handled the big ocean, Bruce brought his boat, a 2125 CC Harbercraft and Jordan had his boat, a 21' Trophy walk around.  Needless to say BC Ferries love this kind of traffic, over height and over length!

We made all the appointed stops and schedules and by 1800 we were north bound on the Island Hwy to Campbell River and the turnoff to Gold River.  Not one speeding ticket picked up by anyone, hard to believe!  This year's trip was a "poor mans" version, no Motel and pub food like last year.  Greg and I slept in the back of my truck while the Trophy boys slept on board their vessel and Bruce snuggled up by himself in the back of his crew cab, everyone was comfy!  Well, at least until the attack of the killer mosquitoes and "no see ums"!  It wasn't until about 0430 or so and the first onslaught of pests showed up, must have warmed up or something.  Even the netting on the canopy windows didn't keep them out, so another early start to the day came, albeit bit earlier than planned!  We weren't in a huge hurry though, with the low tide at the launch this AM we planned (there's that schedule stuff again!) to be there when there'd be enough water for Jordan to launch the Trophy, as it drew a bit more water than the metal boats.

All launched by 0930 (09-07-18) and we were headed to Critter, perfect weather going up the various inlets, a bit of a breeze and overcast, my kind of fishing conditions. We got checked into our rooms at Critter, a bit tight in our cabin as we'd "invited" Bruce tCritter Cove Resort, the palce to go!o bunk in with us.  It was actually my huge heart that made the decision, I just couldn't see letting the little guy from Newfoundland sleeping alone in his boat, and whining all day about being soaking wet in the morning!  A little rearranging and we had his cot set up, giving us just enough room to manoeuvre around to get to the can and the sink, what more do you need!  If your group had more than 3 guys you'd best book a suite which gives you quite a bit more room, and, with more guys you can spread the extra cost out and not even notice it!  Check out the Critter Cover site at to see all what they have.  I can tell you this, their operation is unbelievable!  Everything is so well organized, all the staff have a smile on their face and there isn't enough they can do for you.  Here's something you don't see very often, gas prices at their pump are more than reasonable (cheaper than in Sicamous!!) to start with but, while we were there they even lowered them, for whatever reason!  If your planning a trip out here you have to check this place out, you won't be disappointed.

After a quick snack we got our gear organized and hit the water, no time like the present and get busy on your limit!  Last year Greg and I missed the big run and only brought home one small Chinook and a couple haili and snapper, that was it.  This year we tacked on a couple extra days to try and get at least a part of the run that was coming through.  With this year being year four in the salmon cycle it was supposed to be an above average return.   We stayed local for the first day, fishing by Camel Rock across the street from Critter and then Tahsis Inlet area a bit.  Our boats big catch of the day was nothing but dog fish, lots of them and good size, although I did lose a decent fish on one of our passes by Camel Rock.

OK, before I go any further, I have to tell a story about one person in our group, Bruce, the fella from Newfoundland.  I first met Bruce on my second winter in Sicamous and he reintroduced me to sledding, but mountain sledding, not that girly trail stuff!  Since that encounter I think its safe to say that we have become extremely good friends, so any slamming I do hereafter should be taken in stride??  I have never met a more unconsciousBruce, showing off as usual, just like when he's sledding!, luck ass, horseshoes up the sphincter, four leaf clovered Newfie person from The Rock in my life!  Here's a guy who knew squat about catching a fish not even a month ago and in fact, I forced him into buying an electric downrigger while we were in the States, about 3 weeks prior to our trip.  I took him out a couple times to TRY and show him how to fish, how to use the downriggers etc etc..  I picked out the flashers and hootchies and other "stuff" he might need for the trip.  He didn't even know how to tie up a hootchie or how much leader or what kind of line to use.  His fishing rods were more like fence posts, the kind you'd only use for hali fishing or if you had to, harpoon a whale with the thing.  He fished by himself while we were out there just about the entire time AND, the %#*&^#@&^%% kicked our asses at fishing!  What's up with that!  There was more than once when the rest of us were plotting against him, "prawn bait" and "dog fish fodder" were a few thoughts that came to mind!  Needless to say Bruce was the only one who scored a salmon the first day there, beginners luck me thinks!

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