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Winter Tyee

Story and photos by Hugh Kingwell

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It was another beautiful day in this paradise we call Powell River, the sun was shining and the water was calm. Although it was a tad chilly out, Melody (the crew) and I decided that the call of the water was just to strong to ignore. There had been to few sunny calm Saturdays to pass this one by. We had a late start by hardcore standards, it was about 11:00 am before we made our way to the boat. I needed fuel but I had some trouble getting ahold of the fuel dock attendant so we decide to just try our luck at the mill. It was mid tide but we didn't care, and with the canvas on it was like the middle of summer.

I had been having good luck around the mill this winter, but on this day there was just no bait around and as a result, no salmon. I was only fishing for about 45 minutes when the fuel dock called on my cell to let me know they would come and fuel me up if I was still in need. Talk about great service. We pulled up the lines and ran over to the fuel dock to gas up. By 12:30 we had a load of fuel on and had to decide on a strategy for the rest of the day. It was lunch time so we decided to drop the lines just outside of the fuel dock and fish down to Grief Point while we made lunch on board. I dropped a black and white hoochie down to the bottom at 160 feet, and started to lower my second line down when I noticed the first line doing the "bob and weave". Being ever the optimist, I naturally assumed I was hanging up on the bottom. As I grabbed the rod and started up the downrigger, it was clear I was mistaken. My rod tip was bent to the water and my line was disappearing at an amazing pace.

Yup, ..I must have a seal on. (as noted, ever the optimist)

In the midst of burning my thumb trying to slow the "seal" down (really smart move), l heard this person yelling at my wife to "get the dam boat turned to chase this thing before I'm spooled !" I was later informed that the tyrant who was ranting and raving was in fact, me. Go figure. Just as we got the boat heading in the same direction as my line, it slowed down and I was able to retrieve some line. My "seal" was starting to seem more like a salmon on steroids. After about ten minutes of painful line retrieval we saw this rather immense object come to the surface. Talk about a heart stopper! I was fishing out of the side window of the boat canvas, so I had to try and pull the beast over to my side to net it. Unfortunately, he decided the prop wash from my kicker was more to his liking. As I pulled, and he swam, the boat just went in circles. Finally, he decided to wander my way and Melody had a shot at netting him. Again, unfortunately, he didn't approve of the idea. The next thing I new, my line was heading to the bottom. Another five minutes of grunting and the brute was to the surface once again and much more obliging. One well placed scoop by the crew and we had the fish in the boat. All I could say was "WOW". We pulled out the old electronic scale, and stared in awe at the 31lb 8oz read out. Again "WOW" !

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It was clear that we had enough for one day. Captain and crew were tired headed for the dock to brag. As is typical in these cases, there was nobody around. Undaunted, we made the circuit to the tackle stores to ensure we had witnesses to the event. We returned to the dock to clean the fish and were surprised to see the contents of its stomach. There had to be 15 perch in its gut along with a couple of 8" squid. It was interesting enough to warrant a picture to support my failing memory. Once all the cleaning was done it was time to head for home and start the process cutting and packing.

As I said in the beginning, just another day in this paradise we call Powell River.

Hugh Kingwell

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