25 April 2013

Settling into island life, part two

I wake up each morning, make some coffee, and watch the sun rise over Coast Mountains, Quadra Island and Discovery Passage.

I like it here. A lot.

Last week I found out there's a public fishing pier ten minutes' walk away; that it's 600' long & I'd missed it for over three weeks is not lost on me: there's lots left to explore here.

So now I'm the proud owner of a couple Ugly Stiks, in both spinning & casting forms, and a box of heavier-than-most-trout metal jigs. Fun times.

I'm still in "Island Fishing Overload:" there's so many species and so many places, it's tough to nail down exactly what to fish for, and where. 

I'm still in (what I consider) a shoulder season of fishing, as in, tossing size 18 chironomids for 10" stocked cutthroat is all well & good, but there's 4lb smallmouth kicking around somewhere in this same lake and I aim to catch it...if only the bloody water temperatures would come up a bit... Oh well. All in good time, my bronze-backed friends.

Until the water warms, I can idle my days..evening...tides...away, chucking gear from the pier for rockfish...

Or casting small Rolled Muddlers from the beach for cutthroat.

Or swinging streamers for the ever-elusive steelhead.

Or slowly stripping #18 chironomids from the lacustrine depths while seated (or standing) in my Chupacabra.


Yeah, so you see what I mean: it's pretty awesome here.

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01 April 2013

Settling Into Island Life

Our apartment is just a bit further north.
We're just about five weeks in since our arrival.

We moved into our permanent residence and turned in the keys to our kick-ass little seaside cottage at Alders Beach Resort last week. I can't say enough about how much I liked being at the cottage (I highly recommend it) but our new pad in Campbell River is arguably the nicest apartment I've ever lived in, and in a great location.

Now I just have to finish furnishing the apartment so I can get to that whole 'fishing' thing, considering it was a main, underlying reason for the move. I've only been out twice, with nothing to show for it other than a little more intel than what I had prior to arrival.

On the plus side, we've successfully avoided the remainder of winter on the East Coast, missing such fun as ~18 separate snowstorms with roughly 43' of snow accumulating (those, of course, are my estimates).

Sunny and 20°C here over the past few days, suckers...

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Though I haven't been fishing in water much, I have been fishing for intel by visiting lots of different fly shops & tackle shops in our wanderings in our new land.

Courtney at Nile Creek Fly Shop is a transplanted New Brunswicker as well, albeit he transplanted a lot longer than five weeks ago. He runs a great little shop in Bowser and was very welcoming & helpful. Nile Creek is also the go-to spot for stocking up on Clear Cure Goo for the central & northern parts of Van Isle...in case you're wondering...

The folks at Tyee Marine in Courtenay gave me a massive intel dump when I first arrived, and also saved me some money by explaining the inner workings of the provincial freshwater and federal saltwater licenses with their various stamps for salmon & steelhead.

If it weren't for them, I would've dropped a not-so insignificant pile o' cash on an annual, non-resident freshwater license and steelhead/salmon stamps that expired in three weeks. Instead, I held off with just the federal saltwater license for $22 until April 1st.

(shiiiiiiiittttt......that's today!?! I should be fishing!!)

Tyee Marine carries all sorts of fishing, boating, hunting product in addition to fly gear & tying materials. There's also a location in Campbell River, and the staff seem helpful and friendly. They're a stone's throw from our new apartment, so I'll be frequenting it once my tying 'office' has been furnished.

Campbell River is also home to River Sportsman, located on the banks of the river. It's big, with a decent tying material section. I've been in twice, but still haven't gotten a chance to chat with the fellas working, nor have I explored what's in stock. I'll remedy this in the near-future, I'm sure.

My lovely girlfriend and I did a day-trip to Victoria in our first week on the Island, where I rekindled my love of Fatburger, the Noodle Box, and CaffĂ© Artigiano. These were some of my previous life's staples whilst living in Vancouver in '06-08. It was awesome, though I should note the Singapore Cashew Curry from the Noodle Box came back to the cottage for later meals, as I had stuffed my gourd with a delightful calorie-bomb from Fatburger shortly before. I don't want y'all thinking I'm a complete glutton.

We visited Robinson's Outdoors, located in downtown Victoria, which has a massive fly fishing section on their second floor. I'd argue this shop had the biggest tying material selection of all the shops I've visited, too. Robinson's also carries the Goo, stocked on a cool DIY rack one of the guys made from an unused sunglass rack.

On our way out of Victoria, I popped into Island Outfitters (weblink broken, FB page here), another general tackle-hunting-fly fishing shop (there's a few of those here on the Island). They had a decent tying material section, and seemed to have most of the well-known fly brands in stock.

I had a great chat with one of the guys working about the local fishing scene (including the seemingly epic smallmouth fishery), he commended me on my preference of Campbell River over Courtenay/Comox, and I left with a good impression of the shop.

We also took a day trip to VanCity, where we stopped into Pacific Angler. I had stopped in previously, in the summer of 2011 while passing through my old haunts on a work trip, but they had since moved to a new location further down to East Broadway. The new digs look pretty sweet, and seem a bit bigger than their previous location. As was the case in my first visit, the staff were friendly & helpful, and I left with a handful of cutthroat flies (my typical M.O. in most of the shops I visited).

Pacific Angler publishes a weekly fishing report, which is worth signing up for or checking out their FB page for if you're in the Lower Mainland & vicinity.

Though we didn't get a chance to pop in on this visit, I'll mention the Michael & Young Fly Shop, located on West Broadway anyway, as I had visited the shop previously, too. They had a great selection of product and a friendly staff manning the shop when I was in before.

And yes, while in Vancouver, we ate at Fatburger and had coffee from Caffé Artigiano. But I couldn't squeeze in a trip to the Noodle Box for takeout.

As you can see, all the tackle & fly shops I've visited so far on Van Isle (& VanCity) have left a pretty good first impressions on me. I've already narrowed it down to preferring a couple over some others, but that's not to say the others are by any means worse than the ones I'd rather visit on any given day. And, as always: