Sunday, July 18, 2010

#45 Bamfield

On Saturday with the score at: Salmon 5 Billion, Wild Blue Crew 0, we decided to give it another go. We plucked our crab traps early at 6AM and nabbed several legal males (the females must be freed by fish law: girls always get a brake!). Then we floated out at high tide making it less likely to bottom out.

Just outside Julia Passage we started trolling towards Swale Rock. There was lots of radio chatter yaking about salmon here, salmon there, salmon everywhere. Even the sonar was showing fish at all depths. We trolled with all varieties of tackle, baited and non-baited, flashers etc, but without downriggers. No joy.

Finally we decided to fish the bottom for rock fish and halibut off the points on the way to Bamfield. After a couple more hours of polling around, we added to the rockfish pile and called it a day. We entered Bamfiled Inlet looking for moorage options and saw our cruising companion Gary on the sailboat Azad anchored in the center of town. Gary recommended a moorage at the Harbourside Lodge and we tied up there.

Between fishing spots, crew Willie and Joe look to be praying for salmon. Their praying became vocal at times, the sound resembling a snore, or two.

The entrance to Bamfield Inlet shows a tiny west coast town moving forward. On the left an industrial structure used in Bamfield's past. On the right a modern performing arts theater overlooking the beautiful inlet, a sign of the town's tourism destiny.

The Harbourside Lodge in Bamfield offers accommodations, moorage, fuel and fishing charters.

The town of Bamfield is unique: it has two sides, the west side and the east side. On the the west side, Main Street is a boardwalk along the waterfront. Each house address is posted on the boardwalk. The east side has a path for vehicles and is the "business and industry" side of town. We preferred the west side of Bamfield.

Bamfield's new theater was the site of their Music by the Sea Concert from July 10th through 18th. See for the details. We hoped to attend but the Saturday and Sunday performances sold out. Maybe another time.

Bamfield's boardwalk is the town's main street

Houses, gardens, docks, and businesses front Bamfield's main street boardwalk. An 1800 sf home along the board walk with garden, 60-foot deep-water dock is available for $650,000. However an updated septic is required before it can be occupied.

This sign identifies a side street running west with keys along the way: Key West!

The keys along Bamfield's "Key West".

It's obvious that this Bamfield side street is named "Button Alley".

There are several other side streets off the boardwalk. This sign lists several, but when you visit, take special note of the lowest sign on the post.

The crew got quite excited when we heard about a cat house in Bamfield on it's Main Street. Upon our visit, we were a touch disappointed, but several of the "dames" posed for our cameras.

"Tabby" comes forward to greet us and pose.

And brings along a friend. The cats live here permanently and are fed regularly by the locals. We noticed a raccoon positioning himself amongst the Cat Houses hoping to be fed too.

The owners of the Harbourside Lodge after hearing about our salmon exploits, or lack thereof, offered their secret list of fishing way-points. These are latitude and longitude positions of places where large numbers of fish are regularly caught. John Howie, the manager (see said the 7-mile bank should be good tomorrow. Armed with our secret fishing locations, we prepaid for Sunday night's moorage at the Lodge, noting the facility's useful fish cleaning station. So at O-dark hundred hours on Sunday we departed Bamfield for the ocean off Vancouver Island.

At 8AM on a supposedly excellent fishing station, 7 miles off Vancouver Island's west coast, with 19 other fishing boats in close quarters, the ocean was most uncomfortable. 10-foot ocean swells bullied the Wild Blue, causing dramatic side-to-side motion. Waves slammed the hull, creating strange noises inside the boat as bottles, glasses, food and stores, rattled and rolled. We fished for halibut, then salmon, but the crew was happy to leave for calmer fishing waters after just 90 minutes. It seemd like 4 hours!

We fished Effingham Island for salmon but at last we got into more rock fish off Nettle Island. We were happy to return to Bamfield at the end of a long day. We did use the fish cleaning station, but not for salmon. The small sports-fisher moored behind us at the Lodge saw us fishing at 7-mile bank and Effingham. They fished the same areas and landed 10 salmon in the 20-pound range, with one fish over 30 pounds. He used down riggers, with no flashers on the line, but a Tomic plug (see He says the commercial guys use them with great success. Now he tells us! It's probably a good thing our fishing licenses expired today.

Tomorrow, Monday, we have an 8-hour motor down the coast to Sooke Harbour, just 20 miles shy of Victoria. After today's bumpy ocean we're not looking forward to it.

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