While there are hours of preparation that go into a fishing trip, the six-hour drive to the ocean is filled with conversation that is inevitably littered with, “Did you remember to grab this?” and, “Did you remember to grab that?” A little notepad featuring a scrawled list of forgotten items that need to be picked up at the store before leaving civilization sits tucked in a cupholder.
Top of the list: Gaff. It wasn’t a forgotten item in the sense that we unknowingly left it at home, but it was a forgotten item in that we could not, for the life of us, remember where we had left it at the end of last season. A quick stop in Terrace to stock up on bait, a new gaff, and some advice, then we made the slow trek to the head of the Work Channel.
The excitement builds before every fishing trip, but these mid to late-May ocean trips where we are targeting chinook salmon takes the cake. I eagerly await one specific moment: the whizzing of the reel as a salmon takes the bait and the fight begins.
Our go-to salmon setup is a teaser head with anchovies, but we always like to keep some True Roll lures on hand, as they seem to be a good alternative if the anchovies aren’t producing, or if we run out. Both setups produced while we were out, and after a little under an hour with the lines out, we landed the first salmon of the trip. The luck continued for the rest of the trip, and we ended up coming home just one chinook shy of our limit. We even managed to scrape up a handful of prawns for fresh eating.
Spring weather can sometimes be a bit of a downer on these earlier trips and, in the past, we have battled wind and rain that put a damper on the trip (both literally and figuratively). The fishing gods must have been looking down on us this year, because while we did have rain off and on, it was balanced out with clear skies, calm waters and the most stunning array of rainbows and sunsets the entire time.
Coming home with full coolers and memory cards, the work really began as we processed our catch. Care was taken to make the best use of every bit. Heads for broth, spines for smoking, roe for soup… One of my favourite parts of a fishing trip is getting home and tucking each and every bit away for future meals.
Oh, and that misplaced gaff that we had to replace? It was hanging right near the back door of the house, in plain sight. At least now we have a spare.
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