Finally! after a year of blogging, I get to use that title!! Yes, I’ve been waiting…. impatiently. Sekiu finally is starting to share her bounty with the steadfast armada of sport fishermen that frequent her bays in the spring and summer.
To begin, Mountain Man has been working a lot…. I mean a lot a lot. Like 6 days a week, 10-12 hour days a lot. He builds skyrises in Seattle for companies like Amazon. Don’t get me wrong, the money is great but I feel like I never see the guy. Furthermore, the one thing we love doing together the most in the summer is Sekiu fishing as many weekends as possible. This summer has become a guessing game of is he working Saturday or not. If he is, well, I guess I’ll find some other way to get into trouble, but I always hold my breath and wait for that one weekend when he’s off and we can go. This was that weekend, and wouldn’t you know it, the Chevy starts spewing oil! It’s in no shape to tow the boat and there is no time to fix it before the weekend…..
Queue the Stouts: Mr. and Mrs. Stout are local friends of ours that we recently met at the bar via a mutual friend. When we figured out that we recognized each others boats at Sekiu on several occasions, the friendship became a natural fit and blossomed. As it turns out they were headed to Sekiu that weekend too and were more than happy to let us hop aboard the Reel Busy and get our fish on.
We hit the road Friday night at about 8pm with the Kia loaded to the roof with gear, tent, and everything else. I’d forgotten how intricate a process it is to fit all our stuff in that silly little car but we managed. We arrived at Van Ripers (our usual campground) at about 12am. By 1 we were snuggled up and out cold….. The alarm goes off at 4:30. I swear, I just fell asleep! Oh wait, I did! But when you haven’t had a good day of fishing in a while, you find the motivation to drag your ass up off the ground, throw on some clothes in the dark, and hobble down to the boat. Fortunately, there is always coffee ready at the tackle shop. If that doesn’t cheer you up, the sunrise will.
It didn’t take long before the fish started biting. Here’s Mrs. Stout bringing in one of our first! She takes fishing very seriously lol. What a badass!
There was blood on the deck and fish flopping everywhere. Trust me, it’s a good thing!
Even Stella got in on the action!
Then the fog dragon rolled in.
Pretty cool huh? I thought so until it swallowed whole. It’s a little unnerving being out on the water with no sense of direction or reference point. Of course we have GPS so we know how to get back to the dock and in general, get around, but it certainly plays tricks on your mind. Still the fish were on, sometimes two at a time! Here’s MM and Mrs. Stout bringing them in simultaneously.
By 10 AM, we caught our limit: 7 silvers and 1 king!
However, over the course of the morning we caught over 30 fish. For those non anglers: the reason we didn’t finish earlier with our first 8 is because not all of them were legal. Many of the salmon out there are wild and there are only certain times of the year when it is legal to fish them. The way you can tell the difference between a hatchery and wild born fish is by a tiny pointless fin they have between their dorsal and tail. If they have the fin, it’s a wild salmon, if not, it’s been clipped at the hatchery before release.
Illegally keeping wild salmon can result in a fine of around $500, loss of licence, and, of course, you can’t keep the fish. Wild salmon are an integral part of the local marine ecosystem and enforcement of these laws are strict. The fish checker was already on our boat before the fish were even out of the box! His job is to collect data on all the fish caught that day for the state fish and wildlife department. Although he is not an enforcer, he could easily report you as could anyone else.
This one thinks he’s funny:
When I asked him what he was looking for, he briefly looks at me and replies:
To which I reply, “Really?”
“Oh yeah, some of these salmon swim really far out and can come into contact with fall out from Fukushima.”
“Oh wow,” I reply. Looking to MM and Mr. Stout for confirmation (which they give).
“See this here?” Holding up his wand. “It’s a Geiger counter. And yeah, this one here’s got high readings so you can’t keep it.” He tells me as he holds up the king and sets it away from the other fish.
“So this is really a thing now?” I naively ask.
“No,” He says flatly to which MM and Mr. Stout bust up laughing as I realize I’ve been duped! In my defense, I often don’t stick around for the fish counters since it’s my job to take the dog for a walk while MM takes care of the fish. Oh well, I had a gullible moment. It happens and we all had a good laugh.
When I turned around I was amazed by the thick wall of fog that now engulfed the entire straight but left the land clear. Boats instantly appeared as if breaking through a solid wall when coming in to the harbor.
Here’s the guys filleting our fish! Yum Yum!
In the afternoon we all took a well deserved nap. The evening was spent eating good food and sitting by the fire with a couple of beers.
We even saw the beginnings of the Super Moon.
Since we had so much fun limiting out the first day, we decided to do it again!
Yup! FTW! This is Sunday’s catch! The boys were a bit reluctant to take this picture because there aren’t any really big ones, but hey, we got fish and we had fun catching them!
Afterwards we went to the only restaurant in town, By the Bay Cafe.Fortunately, their food is really good! I was impressed with MM’s burger and they serve quite a few different sandwiches with au jus, which I love.
Now to smoke and preserve all this goodness! We’ve got our work cut out for us!