Tahsis

The small fishing village of Tahsis is situated on the west coast of Vancouver Island and is at the heart of Nootka Sound.  Settled in a valley among the mountains the scenery is stunning.  Some of the best ecotourisn in British Columbia and pleanty of outdoor activities but we were there to catch salmon.

We left home at midnight and, after a journey of 16 hours on highways, a ferry and finally a 62km logging road, we arrived in Tahsis.  A good night’s sleep and we were ready for our first fishing trip.

 Setting out for a days fishing

Tahsis Inlet

Where do all the logs go ?  Someone said they were heading for shipping to China.

Logs To China

Check out this website for more information and photographs –

http://www.villageoftahsis.com/tahsis-ecotourism.php

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The Tyee Pool

I had long nurtured the dream of fishing for the Pacific salmon whilst in a rowing boat.  Not something from the stories of Hemingway or Venables,  but a more modest venture.  I have a sit-on kayak which does work nicely in many situations, but I had my mind set on something a little different.

Boats for the Tyee pool.

Tyee Boats

Off the coast of Vancouver Island there are many places to realise such a dream, but Campbell River stands way out front in the imagination.

British Columbia, Canada, is blessed with an abundence of fishing opportunities, both fresh water and sea.

Campbell River is a town situated at the mouth of the river and has a long tradition of helping in the pursuit of dreams of a fishy nature.  The Tyee Pool is an area of sea which has achieved national recognition and has, rightly, been protected. You may fish the pool, but you cannot use a motor in the pool.  Rowing is the only permitted means of propulsion.

The pool sits to the south of the river entrance and as the tide ebbs and flows,  the current past the pool provides a deep holding area for salmon.  They wait here and, when the time is right, they set off for the fresh water and the breeding grounds of the main river. This passing of the salmon lasts for only a short time, but  the fish can take a lure and give great sport.  If they have been in the pool for some time waiting for the tidal flow, they get a little bad tempered.  Action can then be quite ferocious.

My wife and I had the honour of being rowed by a gentleman who had built his own wooden boat, similar to the boats in the picture.  It was his pride and joy and we had the pleasure of sharing some morning/evening tides with him as we moved expectantly up and down the pool.

We booked into a hotel on the sea front near Campbell River and just managed a quick bite to eat, watching a liner taking lucky passengers on an Alaskan cruise.  Sleep beckoned after our 14 hour journey over mountain passes and the ferry ride to Vancouver Island.  Justin had called to say he would meet me at 4:30 am to catch the first tide of the day.  Perhaps I would manage 4 hours sleep.  At 4:00 am the phone rang for my early morning call – there was time for cup of tea, get my flask ready and fill my pockets with organic chewy bars.  I put my head into a basin of cold water, only too glad that I would not have to drive, just relax! Head clear,  I stood in the car park where there was a cool sea breeze and waited for my lift.

At 4:30 am on the dot an elevated truck, with many battle scars, pulled into the lot.  Justin leapt from the vehicle and talked instantly of his passion for the Tyee salmon.  Greetings exchanged and we were on our way, with the sound of the truck’s exhaust providing an early morning call for the hotels along the sea front.  Arriving in the dark we loaded the tackle into the row boat, wiped the early morning dew from the seats and made ready for the trip to the Pool.  Balance in the boat was of the utmost importance and I had some misgivings at the closeness of the gunwales to the water.  I discovered my fears were groundless as when the outboard pushed the heavy boat into the swell it bobbed like a cork on the water.  It was amazingly stable.  Justin rowed us to the edge of the Pool, cut the engine and we changed places.  He moved to the front of the boat to row and I sat on the rear seat facing the stern so I could watch the rod for bites.

Morning on the Tyee Pool.

Tyee fishing

Short rods (7ft), single action reels and lines of less than 20lbs were the order of the day.  These ensure compliance with the rules of the Tyee Club, should a 30lb salmon get caught.  Trolling was the method and I attached a large plug that Justin offered for service.  I felt a little nervous of using this plug as it was very special to him and occupied a pride of place in his collection.

So here I was at 5:10 am, being rowed in the early morning sunshine,  fishing for the mighty Tyee.  All around there were the very subdued voices and the muffled sounds of oars as other devotees were moving acrosss the water.  There were no other sounds.  The picture shows the sun starting to rise with others pulling along the Pool, occasionally cutting across each other, but never seeming to tangle their lines.  Huge salmon would roll as if to check the whereabouts of the boats or just to see the sun and celebrate the start of a new day.  By around 9:30am we had managed a few tentative pulls on the line, but no fish materialised.  The current was slowing.  Justin and I were the only two people left on the water as the other anglers gradually pulled away, with goodbyes and ‘see you at the next tide’.

Finally Justin and I retired to the steadiness of land with the promise to come back at about 12:30 pm and fish over the lunch period for around 2 hours.  Arriving back at the hotel I was too late for breakfast, but my wife had manged to get me a sandwich and hotel pastries with tea.  It was difficult to know what to do for the few hours before I had to be back again, so we went into Campbell River, purchased sandwiches, milk shakes and some more life saving chewy bars and fruit.

12:30 pm and we were back on the water, but this time my wife decided she liked the idea of being rowed around the Pool.  Two rods had to enhance our chances, but it was not to be.  No bites, but the sudden pull of weed was exciting.  Cutting short the lunch time session at 2:00 pm we went back to the hotel for a rest and prepared for the 5:00 pm tide. We pulled into the boat car park,  Justin had the boat in the water and was waiting for us.  My wife was becoming a Tyee fisherwoman.

Pulling into the Pool there were more boats and we exchanged stories with the other anglers as we passed.  Suddenly there was the shout " fish on" and a rower moved frantically, with the angler in the rear of the boat, desparately trying to control a big fish.  The rowers jobwas to get the boat into deeper water and away from other lines.  Meanwhile all anglers near the lucky boat gave the courtesy of removing lines from the water and moving rapidly away to give as much room as possible to play the fish.  Now the audience waited and watched, with everyone hoping that the fish would be over 30lbs.  The fish were in a playful mood with the occasional bump of the lure,  but no serious interest was shown.  Once again we were the last to leave the Pool at about 10:15 pm.  There is something inspiring about rowing in a small boat close to the shore in the darkness with only the lights of the town in the distance.

Returning to the hotel there was time to request an early call at 4:00 am, drink a cup of tea and try to sleep. The phone rang.  Had I slept? Another cup of tea and out to the car park – we were on the water by 4:45 am.

Today we had decided to stay longer and forgo the lunch time session.  Once again Justin rowed the boat along the Pool and we caught several small fish, but alas no salmon.  One lucky angler did manage a 32 lb fish and the Tyee Bell was rung.  Now across the water came the murmers of anglers discussing the fish that they had seen captured and the excitment everyone had felt as the angler had left the Pool to battle the great fish.  For us there were no fish, but we had exchanged many pleasantries with other anglers we recognised from the prvious day.  At about 10:00 am we pulled away from the Pool (last again!) and returned to the hotel.  We knew the dining room we would be closed and so we made a detour past the stores to get some food for breakfast.  Back at the hotel the cleaning staff recognised the tired, haunted expression of those who pursue the Tyee.  They had cleaned the room and promised that they would be as quiet as possible in adjoining rooms in case we needed sleep.

2:00 pm and we sat on the dock of a floating fish & chip shop in Campbell River and looked out at the water we would soon be fishing. The fish & chips were excellent,  but there was no time to relax;  we had a 4:00 pm deadline.

Pulling in to the car park we began to have a sense of the dedication and drive which the Tyee anglers possess for the few weeks that the salmon run.  Anglers of all ages, husband and wife teams, guides,  people from all walks of life and countries were preparing their boats.  We had been included into this small band of happy people simply because we had made the conscious decision to take part in this annual battle between fish and man.  It was an almost unobtainable target, but one which appealed to some inner spirit.  Leaving the dock we passed an old marker post with a bald eagle sitting on top watching our every move.  When the boat came within 10 ft of the post the bird could contain itself no longer and departed for a quieter perch.

Evening on theTyee Pool

Evening On The Tyee Pool

Arriving at the Pool lines were set and the rowing began.  Suddenly up popped a seal.  Nice to see, but not a creature you need near the boat when the salmon run.  Time passes slowly when you fish and I don’t have a watch, but you are aware that something is happening when it’s getting dark and the little boats are switching on night lights.  In the distance a cruise ships passed us and it was a strange feeling to see the flash from cameras as tourists were taking pictures of the Tyee boats and to know you are going to be shown on someones holday snaps as the strange people who fish along the Pool in the dark.  At 10:15 pm we pulled out of the Pool.

At 4:00 am we returned for the last day.  Weather had been good to us with only the occasional, very light rain, but it did not last long.  The mornings had been damp and the dew would clear as the morning sun came up.  This had to be the day (always is when you go fishing!).  We changed tactics, because we felt the fish were biting and the touches we had felt could be fish.  Maybe an hour had passed when I felt a knock on the line.  Striking produced the heavy thump of a fish.  Now it was my turn for  "fish on’ as I applied the pressure and Justin desparately rowed to get us out of the Pool.  I was pleased that the rowers around us all pulled away as well.

A spirited fight, but when we pulled the fish close to the boat we could see it wasn’t a 30 lb fish.  I wouldn’t make the Tyee Club this year.  It didn’t matter.  I had been fishing for the Tyee and I had caught more fish over the 3 days than many of the anglers around us.  All of my fish had been returned with the largest,  about 18 lb.  It was a wonderful experience, some great people out on the water and one I hope to be able to repeat.

Have a look at the Tyee Club web page. http://www.tyeeclub.org/index.htm

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The Sea.

As the clouds dash across the sky the water colour changes with  an accentuation of it’s moods.  It’s only water you may say, but there is power, as this huge body moves under the influence of tide and wind.

 Devon Days.

Land's End

You can always sit and watch the water at any point on the coast of Britain and just observe.  The sky touches the horizon and there are dreams about the adventures out there. There is also the fear that goes with the power concealed in that movement. For me it’s the changes that happen in front of you and the smallest detail can become important, but don’t take my word, give it a try.

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Hovercraft

Note And Photos From :- Kelowna Trout Angler.

Hovercraft.

Who can forget the Hovercraft.  There were great hopes for these giants and many believed they were to be the saviour in many marsh type environments. The invention by Cockerwill was a triumph in British technology.  I remember making small versions with biscuit tins and hair dryers, but the sight of the real thing was fantastic.

The first meeting came when I had a chance to cross the English Channel on the car transporter.  I stood on the shore and watched as this great lumbering machine pulled into the harbour, left the water and started to come up onto dry land.  It didn’t seem real, but there it was, all noise and fluttering skirts.

Cars were unloaded and people walked up the slope towards customs. We sat in our cars until the signal was given to start loading and down we went.  It was similar to that of entering any ferry. Once seated you were aware that the engines were powering up and you were starting to float.  Slowly the beast  turned and moved forward.  We were off.

Down the slope we seemed to slide until the the slight bumps told us we were on the sea and gradually entering the channel.  The power increased and the craft bucked a little as it hit the waves.  It lifted high enough to tackle the waves without too much of a problem and the forward speed increased.  Great, unless you were sea sick !  On the journey the sea swell was kind and I remember only the fantastic speed for such a large craft floating on the surface of the water. We passed the ferry and crossed in front of tankers and other large ships on their way to and from the Atlantic.  This had to be the way to travel.

Waiting at Dover.

Hovercraft at Dover

A similar experience on a lesser scale could be enjoyed crossing to the Isle of Wight.  The hovercraft was smaller, but just as impressive.

 Bound for the Isle of Wight

Hovercraft at Southsea

Now, sadly, the hovercraft is no more.  It enjoyed the affections of the public for a short while and now only survives in specialist roles and with hobbyists that keep the spirit alive.

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Cold Cruise

I am always amazed at the way these cruise ships sit on the water.  I understand the theory of bouyancy and what’s going on, but if you take out the Physics, then you must feel a sense of amazement.  It looks like a reverse of the iceberg principle with more of the ship above the water than below it.

This particular ship was edgeing it’s way through the channels between the mainland and Vancouver Island. I hope the passengers on board had taken time to spot the Orcas as they rose around the vessel.  I was travelling along in yacht, made of concrete, hoping for enough wind to sail rather than use the engine. The guide who owned the boat was a specialist in whale photography and he recounted the tale that Orcas had been spotted "surfing" the wake from the propeller of these ocean going cruisers.

Presumably they are catching something in the wash, but it is much nicer to think that they like swimming behind these large ships just for fun.

Cold Cruise

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Blue Anchor

Note And photo From:- Kelowna Trout Angler.

Blue Anchor.

We travelled  from Watchet, Devon, England  and came across this bay. A great place to play beach cricket or football. The sands seemed to stretch for miles. People were walking the beach, but the wind from the sea had a "bite". Posts in the foreground were a testament to man’s attempt at contolling the water and the road I was walking along was protected from storms by a decent breakwater.

Naturally behind the road there was the usual seaside shops and a caravan site where the happy holiday makers would spend a week or two of the well earned English holiday. Long may it all continue.

Blue Anchor

When the sun shines and the day is warm theses are the places to be. There’s something to do at little expense and there are always new friends to meet. We all exchange names and addresses, with promises to keep in touch. Usually we forget and return to our former lives and daily duties. So enjoy the moment of freedom while it lasts. Perhaps one day we might stop a little longer and think more carefully about those things which really are importent.

Until then, long live the beach, the sea and all the dreams they give to the " kids ‘ amongst us. I love to paddle in water, however cold it may be.

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Sea Spray

Note And Photo From:- Kelowna Trout Angler.

Sea Spray.

This is England. For me it captures everything about the seaside. There are the waves crashing at the breakwater , the "beach huts" in the distance and the "tourists" sitting on the stone steps. Perhaps they are dreaming of warmer places. Maybe they are just absorbing the "atmosphere". I know we could add deck chairs and ice cream and perhaps later I may show some of that.

Sea Spray

There was a wonderful aroma of sea spray in the air. I like the lonely figure standing in the background. Just what were his thoughts as he stood for ages looking out at the sea?

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The Misty Sea Front

Note And Photo From:- Kelowna Trout Angler.

The Misty Sea Front At Sidmouth.

When I lived in the UK this was often the scene which greeted me on a trip to the sea. It never seemed to matter as the promenade was the place to walk. Well wrapped in the appropriate clothing what did the mist matter? There is that "smell" of the sea which enters the memory like a "dart".  It’s never forgotten and is often longed for when you are far away. A friend once said, " If you’ve lived by the sea you can never leave it". I think he might be right.

The Misty Sea Front

We parked in a small car park at the back of some shops and wandered along the shore enjoying the morning. Lunch time found us looking for the inevitable cafe. Luck was with us and there was a great selction as the "holiday season" had yet to begin. There was a small cafe tucked behind a little shop and accessed by a narrow "alley". Food was excellent and "homemade".

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The Ancient Mariner

Note And Photo From:- Kelowna Trout Angler.

The Ancient Mariner.

( Samuel Taylor Coleridge )

Whilst on a trip to England I came across this rather forlorn figure on the harbour at Watchet. I know it’s only a statue but, somehow, it still conveys that message of care to natural things which we should all seek in our lives. Who knows when a fateful blow may be cast to a creature which will be no more.

The Ancient Mariner

Anyway, just down the road from this statue there is a great fish and chip shop. It was to this venue that my senses were drawn as the aroma drifted on the breeze. We purchased  ‘cod and chips for 2’ and went back and sat in the shelter over looking the harbour. So we had a good view, brilliant surroundings, warm sunshine and the seaside dish. What a great way to spend a lunch hour?

We weren’t the only ones to enjoy the view as a coach load of pensioners arrived. Most  ‘hit’ the cafe and tea shops, but two couples had seen us buy the ‘seaside fare’ and they too felt the need to fulfill those moments that we all enjoyed as children by the sea. Except we had all added a few years and the sand was further along the road to be discovered later in the day. I just needed a bucket and spade if I could find a shop selling them.

The whole poem can be read from the link below.

http://www.poetry-online.org/coleridge_rime_of_the_ancient_mariner.htm

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St Leonards Seafront

Note And Photo from:- Kelowna Trout Angler.

St Leonards On Sea.

We arrived in April and went along the coast on a warm, sunny day. It seems hard to believe that the following weeks would see floods in some parts of the UK. Sitting at Pasta Pasta on the sea front we were able to watch the coming and going of busy people.

 For some reason East Sussex County Council were digging up the road. I’m sure this is really a national pastime which all sorts of groups enjoy  once the membership is paid to the club secretary.

If only the sun always shone and the sea was tranquil. There would be no point in taking a holiday anywhere other than at some UK coastal resort.

St Leonards Seafront

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