New Kayak!


I have boats on the brain today!

I’ve always wanted a kayak, but even more so after my boyfriend introduced me to ocean kayaking a few years back. He has a pair of SOT (sit-on-top) kayaks that we enjoyed using for sightseeing, short journeys out to nearby islands and rockhounding along the shore. However he’s once again back up north, this time taking position of editor for a paper in Inuvik, NWT. I miss him already!

So it was finally time to get my own!

I initially had my sights set on basically the same kayak my boyfriend has, an eMotion around 6-8 feet long. Too bad it’s nearly impossible to find this brand in BC, but there are some models by other companies that are very similar. I had also read in a few places that these smaller kayaks can be shoved into the back of a hatchback, which is exactly what I planned to try.

I wanted something suitable for fishing, since if I’m out on the water alone I know I won’t be able to resist. There are a wide range of fishing kayaks on the market, but they are all in drab colors and outfitted with more fancy gear than I think I need. I want something small, light, uncomplicated and with room to bring the dog who probably loves boating more than I do.


I decided to settle on the Perception Tribe 9.5 in sunset. I would have preferred another color, but this was the only one in this model they had left. That’s ok, I like the high visibility of the yellow/orange/red and since it’s nearly September, the new kayak shipments won’t be in until February. If I want any paddling this season it was this little boat or nothing!

I really like the stability, self-draining and unsinkableness of the SOTs. You can easily swim off them, stand upright on them and take them in quite rough ocean. This one can hold 300 pounds and weighing only 46 pounds I can just manage to carry it myself.

I also picked up a fiberglass paddle, lifejacket, floating tow line (regulation), a pair of neoprene shorts, a paddle leash and a fishing rod mount that I will install myself.

It turns out this 9.5 foot boat CAN be shoved into the back of a hatchback, which is great, but I’m hoping to rig up a foam and strap system to put it on the roof, as having it in the car restricts visibility a bit. I’ve done the research and I know I can secure it safely.

Now where to go first??



Fishing Trip to Port McNeill, BC


Getting the prawn trap ready to drop

I’ve always loved fishing, but it’s only been in the past few years that I’ve been introduced to ocean fishing. This is all thanks to my lovely boyfriend who comes from a very skilled fishing family.

As he is currently visiting from his journalist post up in Nunavut, we decided to try to get ourselves a fishing trip in. A quick 5 hour drive north to Port McNeill and we were all set to go.


Handsome ship’s captain

We’ve fished before around Nanoose Bay and we always have good luck. We generally pull up rockfish, greenlings and small lingcod with the occasional salmon or sea cucumber. We also usually set prawn and crab traps which do well and once even nabbed us an octopus.

Fishing up north is a bit different. We had to try a lot of spots in order to get any nibbles and prawning was a  no-go, except for the dozen or so good-sized whelks that came up. We like those kinds of surprises though and I plan to try to use them in a tasty chowder. Crabbing was hit or miss, but when we hit we really hit. We easily pulled in our limit of two male Dungeness each per day and they were the biggest crabs I’ve seen, many dwarfing our crab calipers.


One of our whelks


Big male Dungeness crab

Once we found a good spot, we started pulling up yellowtail and quillback rockfish by the half-dozen. The majority were released and we kept our limit of one each. Nice big fat fish that made up our dinner that first night. Yum!


Once we found the rockfish, we found the big lings lurking underneath. I’ve caught plenty of small lings before but was shown the fight of my life with my first monster. He stuck himself against an underwater cliff face and wouldn’t budge. It took me almost an hour to land him and I estimate he was around 17 pounds. It felt like I was fighting my dog at the end of the line!



Little did we know that that would be the smallest ling we would take home this trip. The next one was even larger and came up in record speed, I think it was about ten seconds. My boyfriend gaffed him expertly and not five casts later there was another monster at the end of my line. You know you have a big fish when you think you’re snagged on the rocks at first tug! This one gave me a bit more of a fight but didn’t stand much of chance with no cliffside to jam himself into. Humpback whales spouted nearby on their way through the passage to their feeding grounds as we dragged him into the boat, easily a 22 pound fish and as long as my leg. My new record!



Humpback whales feeding


Of course we also trolled for salmon. It hasn’t been a great year here for salmon and this was fruitless for the most part until we tried it in the passage where the humpbacks were traveling. The fish finder was chock full of blips and after about 15 minutes we got our first hit. Another super fast play and we had a great big beautiful coho in the boat. He was hooked through the eye so I don’t think he had a lot of fight left, we got him within about 30 seconds or so. It was the only salmon we got but still a really nice, fat fish that will turn into a lot of tasty meals.


We also got to enjoy viewing some pacific white-sided dolphins playing in the rip tides and coming quite close to our boat, as if asking us to play with them. Our evenings consisted of my boyfriend professionally cleaning and filleting all our fish and crabs, trading some of our ling steaks for some delicious fresh smoked salmon another fishing couple had prepared, and being rocked to sleep by the gentle waves. I want to go back already!


Expert fish cleaner


Gorgeous lingcod fillets



Catch of the Day

ImageToday after a long day of work I was surprised with a most wonderful gift, a huge Chinook salmon, freshly caught for me by my very talented boyfriend. We don’t have a scale, but he seemed to us both to be about 17 pounds. He has now been cleaned and dressed, and shares shelf space in the fridge with fresh Red Rock and Dungeness crab, spot prawns and tiger prawns, and beautiful rock cod and kelp greenling filets, all caught by the two of us in the past two days. I plan to use the salmon, crab and prawns to make a copycat Costco stuffed salmon. If it works we will be eating a lot of them, I can promise you.

Tomorrow we have a full, fun day of fishing planned and I will be collecting some sea asparagus at the marina as a side dish. The poultry may get to try some if there’s any left over. They’ve been very happy to clean up all the fish heads and guts for us in the meantime. Here’s hoping for calm seas!