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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1968

Note And Photo From:- KelownaTrout Angler.

1968

1968 was a great period in the lives of many. We had pop music and the world was changing. That’s a discussion for elsewhere, along with the price of petrol and how many gallons we could get for a pound.

I went to Arundel Castle in West Sussex and spent a lazy afternoon drifting in a boat on Swanbourne Lake. It was a glorious day and the water in the lake behind the castle was crystal clear. As an angler I was captivated by the ducks diving for weed and chasing eels. It was so easy to let the boat drift and watch the show.

Arundel Eels

Arundel Eels

On another outing to view more water for fishing I spent some time walking around the lakes of Sheffield Park, West Sussex. This swan seemed to follow me everywhere. It would paddle along the bank without any sign of aggression and did not want to take any bits of bread from passing strangers. Somehow I had found the only ‘canine’ swan in existence.

Sheffield Park

Sheffield Park Swan

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Dartmouth Car Ferry

Note And Photo From:- Kelowna Trout Angler..

Darmouth Car Ferry.

I love ferries across rivers or channels. As a child it was great fun to be rowed across Shoreham Harbour. The oars would dip silently into the water as the ‘old man’ would pull us across the water in the old ‘clinker’ built boat.

The Dartmouth ferry in Devon crosses the River Dart and is in a different league, but it still has that ‘ancient’ feel. There is always the childhood fear that the chain might break.

Dartmouth Car ferry

Long may the clanking chains and bumpy ride continue.

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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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Nice Day For A Swim

Note And Photo From:- Kelowna Trout Angler.

Nice Day For A Swim.

We were heading up the stream when this fellow dropped into the water for a swim. Must be made of tougher stuff than me.  I love swimming, but the water temperature was about 8 C. I was glad to be in a boat and not fishing on the shore. Cold comfort really and a tribute to the sometimes placid nature of bears.

Nice Day For A Swim

The grizzzly had been sleeping in the sun, but what prompted him to go for a swim who knows.

Minutes later the bear walked along the bank and came within 50m of the boat.

That water Was Cold

This is the bear missed by the camera crew in an earlier post. As he wandered up the bank he suddenly froze and sniffed the air. In front of him and sleeping in the sun was another huge male. Eventually this bear charged the sleeping male. A stupid move but the bigger bear took flight and ran along the beach at about 30 mph until the adrenalin of flight subsided and bigger bear took stock of why he was running from the smaller bear. He stopped suddenly and turned to face the smaller bear who read the signs and gave up the chase, deciding a slow retreat was the best option. I’ve seen this on TV, but to actually see bears in the wild challenge each other was a privilege.

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Anybody There

Note And Photo From:- Kelowna Trout Angler.

Anybody There.

There was a group of three deer hiding behind this log and eating the luxurious grass.

Anybody There

Although the deers seemed to be eating without a care, they were constantly checking the surroundings. A wise move. There were at least 8 grizzly bears close by. Luckily for the deer the bears seemed more interested in grass than catching deer.

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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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Salmon And Sturgeon Fishing.

Note And Photo From:- Kelowna Trout Angler.

Salmon And Sturgeon Fishing.

In this post I’m going to indulge myself.

I have a passion for angling in all forms and last year I took the plunge to explore the Fraser Valley, BC, Canada, for sturgeon and salmon. It’s not an easy task as you stand on the shore of a river which must be flowing at about 4 mph.

The first problem seems to be access. How do you get to the water? Certainly you can see the river from the highway, but it’s down a steep ( 300ft ) bank or across the rugged valley floor. When you get to the shore the edges are covered in shingle and appear to be shallow. Yet wading would not be advisable for the unwary. The depth can drop suddenly to 35 ft. In other areas the banks are tree lined and the water drops to maybe 6ft. It’s a river of great contrasts. That said, there are people who beach fish in the English style ( except you might be using 20 ozs of lead ). If you spend some time talking with the beach anglers you quickly realise that skill levels are not perfect amongst most. However the enjoyment and camping pleasure seems high and why not?

I studied articles and went into the library, but I’m not sure I gained as much information as I would have expected. So the most sensible plan had to be – find a guide. Again this wasn’t easy when you have no experience of choosing a guide. Many suggestions and several phone calls were made. The level of service and help varied greatly, but most did not feel right for the approach of a dedicated English angler. I wanted to learn and catch good sized fish.

I came across Steve Kaye and I include his websites:-

http://www.salmonhunter.com

http://www.sturgeonhunter.com/

He was a mine of information and the styles he discussed were very reminiscent of legering or trotting on the Wye or Hampshire Avon in England. I booked a day and waited in anticipation. We managed to get a day at the beginning of September and an early start had been suggested ( well, early for me ). Steve said 6am. I thought he had to be joking, but everyone starts early in Canada. We met in the hotel foyer.

Those early mornings often see a mist rising from damp ground and this was indeed the sight which greeted us and followed us to the boat launch. Loaded and ready to go, we climbed aboard and were off into what seemed to be a cloud, which had dropped off the mountain. For those who have never been aboard a 21 ft jet boat, here’s a picture as we left the channel and headed into the main body of the Fraser river.

Jet Boat

The scenery was stunning, even if it appeared clouded in mist. There were spots of clear air as we raced along the river surface and saw the tops of mountains risng above the mist. Once  anchored and tackles etc were cast, we had time to settle and have a cup of tea. The mist began to rise and the surroundings became apparent.

This was the upstream view.

Upstream

And downstream.

Downstream

Waiting for a bite.

Waiting For A Bite

It took some time, but eventually the right hand rod tip slammed down to the water and the first Chinook salmon was on. A great fight ensued while Steve hurried to remove tackle we didn’t need and make ready for the netting.

Getting Ready

In fact, the intensity of the fight meant that Steve had to start the engine and follow the fish. Constant strain needs to be applied and no slack line must be given or the barbless hook will allow an escape. In the UK, when in the pub, you know what your right arm is for. With this fish all that right arm practice was certainly needed. I wound the reel handle as fast as possible just to keep pace with the high speed lunch on the end of the line. Bear in mind the fish will be swimming against a 4 mph current and all the strain the rod can apply. It can still win the battle.

Time and pressure eventually won and the fish was netted. A bright 19 lb Chinook. At first I had been reluctant to see the death of the fish, but English coarse angling sentiments gave way when you realise the number of fish that pass along the Fraser and that strict controls mean that one fish for the table becomes a legitimate reward.

Another fish came along, but it put on a tremendous spurt of power before the boat could accomodate the change and the loose line meant the fish could shake it’s head and it was gone.

As the sun rose above the mountains and the air temperature climbed the mist cleared and the late summer heat began to take it’s toll. Inactivity became the order of the day. Everything was still and the rod sat quietly in the rest with the tip bouncing gently to the rhythm of the water.

Lonely Rod

It was time to go after the sturgeon. We made  an upstream run which gave us a welcome breeze until we stopped at the junction of two arms of the Fraser as it separated around an island.

Away Again

Tackle for the sturgeon was considerably stronger. Slightly shorter rods with 130 lb braided mainline and big hooks. Bait was a recently deceased coarse fish of about 1/2 lb. Three  rods were used,and the bite came almost immediately om one of them. The tip vibrated as the fish picked up the bait and then it slammed to the water as the sturgeon took off for Vancouver. The fun had begun. Steve wound in the spare rods, stowed any loose gear and provided the rod belt. Arms were now starting to ache as you felt you might be attached to some primaeval monster over which you have no control. The fish was in charge. Now that everything had been made safe Steve started the engine, unhooked the anchor rope from the indicator buoy and we were off in pursuit.

The strain was incrediable as the fish made a series of very long runs. You gain line, the fish takes it back. Twenty minutes later and it seemed stalemate was going to be the deal. It’s hard to get serious when your energy levels are getting low and every time you pull up the fish it then has it’s turn and so takes back your gains plus a bit more.

After about 40 minutes the battle felt as if it was drawing to a close. The sturgeon started to rise, but it was pulling the back end of the boat round in the current. Surely this wasn’t sensible. “Ok”, says Steve, “I think you might be winning, hold it steady and I will try to get to the bank”. “Why? was my obvious question. “Simple” came the reply, “That fish is about 140 lbs, over 6 ft  and we can’t get it in the boat. So here’s the drill. Oh and by the way when we get the fish watch out for the tail”. The excitement was tremendous.

If you would like to see pictures I’ll direct you again to Steve’s web site where you can see a gallery of great fish.

I  suggest to anyone who wants to experience great salmon or sturgeon fishing, give Steve a call.

PS The sturgeon was carefully returned and lives to fight another day, as I am sure it will.

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The River Wye

Note And Photo From:- Kelowna Trout Angler.

The River Wye.

The river Wye in England rises in Wales and flows through Hereforshire. It is a river of contrasts, with shallows, rapid runs and deeps. Much loved by the salmon angler and the home of monster coarse fish.

I have trotted the float along margins and taken many barbel whilst I have watched the antics of drunken revellers coming out of pubs and climbing into canoes. A quick " swim " does wonders for  those that  are worse for wear.

Salmon were in decline, as they seem to be suffering everywhere. It’s probably netting at sea, but walkers, tourists and boaters must accept some blame as they stand in shallows where the salmon eggs may be. Likewise the dog owner who gets great joy from stick throwing and the dog runs back and forth across the redds.

 Ducks and little grebe are also a problem when salmon come to spawn. These feathered opportunists will often dive, disturb the gravel and grab the eggs. Nature is a hard master and life is meant to be a struggle.

A more optomistic note is being sung and commercial netsman of the lower reaches are gone ( or so I’m told ). The Salmon and Trout Association, along with local clubs and volounteers, have also added to the efforts of the many that have sought to restore the character of this beautiful stretch of water.

The River Wye

It was on a warm April evening that I sat for a meal at this riverside pub and watched the shadow creep from right to left of the river.

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