Overnight On The Ocean

Despite Canada Day falling between salmon runs, and a forecast that looked very bleak, we headed out west for a fishing trip based out of Port Edward, just a 15-minute drive south of Prince Rupert. Typically, when planning our ocean trips, we try to go when the fish are in – and while there were reports of coho starting to be caught further north around Dundas, things were sounding slow around the area where we were expecting to spend most of our time.

Credit: Raeanne O’Meara.
Credit: Raeanne O’Meara.

With all those factors in mind, we filled our Kingfisher full of camping and fishing gear and headed out. Although the 20-foot, half-hardtop boat is not designed with the intention of folks spending the night out on them, after several years of overnight trips we’ve got our packing system almost dialed in.

Fishing boats. Credit: Raeanne O’Meara.
Credit: Raeanne O’Meara.

First and foremost: you will always find things that were unnecessary after every trip. There are, of course, essentials that you need, and on any trip, whether on water or land, you want to ensure that you have emergency supplies; the more you use your gear, the more you can figure out what is truly essential for your trip. Case in point, we’ve packed our little propane camp stove with us on every overnight trip we’ve gone on since owning this boat. While the stove itself doesn’t take up much room, the camp kit that we pack along with it (basically a mini kitchen) does take up valuable space in the boat. With a bit of extra pre-trip prep, we were able to do breakfast, lunch and dinner for three days using only our Jetboil and Sea-B-Que.

Inside the boat. Credit: Raeanne O’Meara.
Credit: Raeanne O’Meara.

Aside from the cooking gear, the only other things that take up space in our boat are a small food cooler, two black bins that hold a mattress topper and our pillows/sleeping bag, and a large white cooler filled with ice to store the bait and keep our catch as cool as possible until we can process and package at home. The two black bedding bins are dual purpose, and when empty we use them as part of our makeshift bed and place the mattress topper over the bins and back seats of the boat. It’s not a five-star hotel, that’s for sure, but we’ve been able to have some cool adventures with this boat!

Gear in tow, we tried our best to drum up some salmon, fighting the rough waters to keep the boat trolling straight. You know the fishing is slow when there’s over half a dozen boats weaving in and out of each other at the fishing hole, but the only reeling in that’s occurring is to remove kelp off the flashers. We caught a couple of small springs our first day out, spent a relaxing evening on the beach in a sheltered anchorage, and then caught one more chinook and a halibut the following day.

Salmon. Credit: Raeanne O’Meara.
Credit: Raeanne O’Meara.

The morning we were headed home, the wind died down, the ocean was calm as could be (of course), and skies were blue, so we drifted over top of the hali hole in a last-ditch attempt to come home with a bit more meat for the freezer. Trolling for salmon early that morning had proven to be unfruitful. About 10 minutes later, we were able to reel up one last halibut and headed back to the launch.

Halibut. Credit: Raeanne O’Meara.
Credit: Raeanne O’Meara.

The weather and slow fishing could have easily been a downer on the whole trip, but the fun had with some good friends was well worth it. And as always, late this upcoming winter we will be extra thankful we made it out on the water as we dive into a nice feed of fish and chips.