Tuesday, July 31, 2012



The above describes my experience fishing off shore, on the Pacific Ocean, these past several days.
BC Ferries - from Tsawwassen, BC to Nanaimo on Vancouver Island
I left home early on Thursday, July 26, 2012, for the ferries terminal. I was leaving the BC Lower Mainland for Vancouver Island.  I rode off on my motorcycle.  Motorcycles are always guaranteed boarding.  The weather was great.
One of the many super ferries in the BC Ferries fleet.
Two hours later - and once docked at the Duke Point terminal on Vancouver Island - I rode north towards Lantzville.  It was there that I left the motorcycle at our friend's home and drove with them to the west coast of the island and to their wilderness camp that skirted the Pacific Ocean in Barkley Sound.

Protected waterways in Barkley Sound....and the Broken Islands.
Following a brief stop for boat fuel, ice and a groceries, we left for the 2.5 hour drive through the mountainous and curvy drive to the west coast, near coastal town of Ucluelet.

About half way into the drive we came upon this truck that had just caught fire.  Diane, a retired nurse (and my driver), was quick to stop to lend assistance.  Sure enough! The driver of this new Ford Ranger had suffered some burns.  I broke ice and Diane used it to cool the driver's burned arm.  She was able to tend to him when he went into shock.

He claimed that while driving from the coast to Port Alberni he smelled wires burning.  The dash caught on fire and he was forced to abandon the truck quickly.  There are very few pull outs on this narrow highway.
A volunteer firefighter came along and tried to extinguish the fire.  Not to be!
With the threat of the gas tank exploding, a few of us closed down the highway for about five minutes.  Within minutes the gas tank did blow.  The threat of shrapnel injuring motorists during the blast was our only purpose in stopping traffic.
Once the gas tank blew we let the traffic proceed.
A private water truck came along and the owner/operator also tried to quell the fire but that too proved futile.  The heat was intense.  We kept vigil on preventing a forest fire.  The water truck was handy for that.
Toquart Bay
Once the threat had passed, the injured driver was on his way to the Port Alberni hospital and the truck fire had dissipated, we continued our journey to Torquart Bay - our destination.  It's off the beaten path - an approximate 15 km drive from the main highway, on a dirt road.
Diane and Hector's fishing camp and my home during this fishing trip.
Hector and Diane's fishing camp is on the Pacific shoreline in Toquart Bay.  Several RV's, boats and folks endure the rustic setting (not hard to take), without services, to enjoy the view, catch the big salmon, dig for shellfish, kayak the Broken Islands in Pacific Rim National Park, or hike in the area.  It's a beautiful place.

Jeanette and I have traveled to the west coast of Vancouver Island many times in the past but neither of us had even heard of Toquart Bay.
Several other RV'ers and fishers had the same idea as us.
Most campers come here to fish for Coho and Spring salmon.  That was our objective too.

5:30 am Friday, July 27, 2012
Hector (friend and fishing guide extraordinaire) and I were up early and, once on board his awesome boat, we headed for those very secret fishing spots he so well knows.  An hour later - and well off shore - the lines were set, the down-riggers were activated and we enjoyed our coffee while bobbing around in the boat waiting for the salmon to bite. Bite they did!
Our first few hours delivered these two Coho.
We worked hard to catch some big Spring salmon but they were elusive on our first day out.
Captain Hector is scanning the Loren sonar/and chart for a better spot to fish.
This commercial fishing boat kept following us.  Hmmm....I wonder why?  Did they know about Hector's prowess and ability to find fish?
Seven hours later we returned to the dock to clean our fish.  End of Day 1.
6:00 am  Day two.
We were back on the salt chuck early on the 2nd day.  This day had us head through the Broken Islands group and to another spot Hector felt could be productive.  It was....but what we caught we released back into the sea.
Hector has a bite!
We headed further south to another area Hector felt could produce fish and he was right.  It did.  We landed a few more Coho and one Spring salmon.  By 1:00 pm, we headed for shore.
These commercial boats have up to 100 lines in the water.
Back on land, the fish cleaned, and back at camp, we feasted on a late breakfast.  Diane is quite the chef and we certainly ate well  I would rate the food as 5 Star.  What a treat!
Hmmm....mmmmm....good!   What a treat after a hard day on the salt chuck!
Diane has the gift for preparing awesome cuisine in all conditions.
While Hector and I were off shore fishing, Diane took shovel to task and dug hard to reap these awesome oysters.  Her touch with spices - then barbecued on half shell - delivered fantastic hors d'oeuvres .  We enjoyed those while staring out to sea.  It was unbelievable! 
Diane also dug for clams and she had great success with those also.
Hector and Diane's camp rests only a few feet above the high tide line.  It's a beautiful spot.
Hector is not only well skilled at cleaning fish, he's a master at shucking oysters too!
Only a few minutes on the barbecue...and man were these oysters tasty.
The marina at Toquart Bay.
Early morning - Day 3 - 5:30 am and soon to head back out for the BIG SPRING SALMON!
Hector was convinced that my last day out would be a productive one.  We headed out very early for another secret spot.  It was a one hour - 30 mph boat ride - off shore to a special place where Hector and I reaped the fishing lottery.
Once at our destination, the lines were set, the down-riggers were released and we were fishing.  The trolling motor was set at about 2.5 mph....the coffee was poured and we kept vigil on the rods.
After about 50 minutes of trolling, using the dept sounder to find some perfect undersea shelves, the action began in earnest.  We were actively fishing.  It was a busy and productive 45 minutes that landed our first of four big Spring salmon.  Check these out!
Hector reeled in this bad boy!  Nice!
While Hector was busy landing his fish, my line took a bite and we had to work cooperatively and fast to land his fish and ready to land mine too.
Yes....another big Spring.
With our limit caught, we were already heading back to shore at 10:30 am.  What an awesome find and what a fishing experience that was.  Every day was a good fishing experience but the one hour of incredible fishing on Day 3 was outstanding.
Back on shore, Chico - Hector and Diane's Portuguese Water Dog - was anxious to greet us.
Hector made quick work with the knife and our catch was gutted and prepped for the cooler.  He could have been a skillful surgeon. Experience does count!  He's been fishing the west coast for many years and it certainly shows.

I think my smile was wider than Hectors.  I was still in awe of our great fishing adventure.
Back at camp we tidied up, loaded the truck, packed the fish and headed back to Nanaimo.  Once there, Hector made quick work of fileting fish while I vacuum packed everything into a cooler that was tied well to the passenger seat of my motorcycle.  With about 80 lbs of salmon on board - and with hugs and thank yous galore - I rode away from Hector and Diane's home to catch the 8:15 pm ferry from Duke Point to Tsawwassen on the mainland.
On board the Coastal Renaissance ferry back to the mainland.
I bought a cup of coffee and settled in for the two hour ferry ride back to the mainland. I reminisced about my previous three day fishing adventure with awe.

Not only was I so well hosted by Hector and Diane, I got to spend time with one amazingly interesting friend (and fishing guide) during the many hours (at least 20 + hours) off shore on the majestic Pacific Ocean.  I also got to spend time relaxing with them both while enjoying the beauty and serenity that Toquart Bay has to offer.  What a treat!
To top it all off, I was wined and dined - in an amazingly beautiful and rustic environment - by two people who mean so much to Jeanette and I. What an amazing experience!  It's one I will never forget and one I will always cherish.
A cooler full for the freezer back home.
Now that I am back home, the reality of my fishing experience occupies my mind.  The evidence is clearly real when we open the freezer to find a bounty of salmon.

To Hector and Diane (Chico too), sincere thanks for a world class fishing experience.....and your continued friendship.  Jeanette and I look forward to our RV'ing adventures this winter too.
Well, it's back to the reality of life and living - chores and duties - as Jeanette and I prepare for another adventure when we head off to the Province of Alberta this Wednesday.

Thanks for dropping by.


  1. sounds like you had a great little getaway!..fishing and friends..quality time well spent!!

  2. I have to say, you had me hanging on every word. And fishing isn't really my thing, although I've done the deep sea thing, and that's a bit different from sitting in a row boat waiting for something to happen.
    Trying to put out a vehicle with one fire extinguisher never seems to work. Too bad for that fellow in the truck. I can well imagine the forensic folks from the insurance company will be having a good look. Kind of scary, really.
    Wise of you to close the road.

  3. What a great trip Rene'. Sure enjoyed the pictures and what a beautiful camp Hector and Diane have. They are such a nice couple to have as friends. That was some truck fire you came across, good though you were able to help the driver. Looks like you will be enjoying some good Salmon on the BBQ. Have a great Tuesday.

  4. What a great description of your fishing trip, Rene, I could feel your excitement in your written words.

    The west coast of the Island is indeed a beautiful spot and it sure looked like Diane and Hector have staked out one of the best.

    Your breakfast looked 5 star!!

    Glad you had a great time and caught quite a few good sized salmon.

  5. Great blog Rene and what a wonderful experience you certainly enjoyed!