Dena and I finally got to put our 26’ SS Pilothouse to the ultimate test during our 2 weeks of fishing around Port Hardy, British Columbia last August. We setup our base camp in Port Hardy, that way we can trailer the boat to all the hot spots like Winter Harbour (launching at Coal Harbour) or Port McNeill and of course Port Hardy.
We really wanted to test the boat in the open ocean, so Winter Harbour was our first choice. The weather was nasty and the fog really bad, thank goodness for good electronics. We rounded Kains lighthouse and headed out to open water, it is usually rough around the lighthouse, but this was really bad. We were in 8-10 foot swells with chop, I am really glad Grant installed the suspension seats! What a ride! A few times I miss judged the swells and the bottom dropped out suddenly. Grant told us the boat would handle the long drop down and he was right! We finally got out about 7 miles and started fishing. I was really pleased how stable the boat was, it really helps when playing those large salmon.
The silvers were thick and we had trouble getting past them down to the kings. You could not keep wild silvers out there and that was what we were catching. It was sad to release 18 – 20 lb silvers, but it was sure fun catching them. We did end up getting 2 kings over 20 lbs, small ones for that area. The next day we decided to fish on the inside of Kains Island where we could keep the silvers. Our Wooldridge must be blessed, because we got our limit in 3 hours and they were all between 15 and 19 lbs! Another great day of fishing, but at this rate we would be limited out before our first week was over.
We now started to think of where to go for bigger fish and of course we thought of Rivers Inlet. After checking the charts we decided that this trip would be done next year, but we still wanted to see if we had the range to get there. So we launched from Port Hardy and set out across the Queen Charlotte Strait and up the coast to Cape Caution in just a few hours. This was just a little over 1/3rd of the way to Rivers Inlet and we only used 15 gallons of fuel, not to shabby for a big boat. We now knew we had enough fuel to get there and back. We also caught a couple of nice silvers up there and now it was time to come back, in the fog, into the wind, with some rain thrown in for good measure. We just closed the door, turned on the furnace and the wipers and we were good to go in warmth and comfort.
We finished out our trip trying to catch those last few kings, but it was not to be on this trip. We filled our limit with pinks and headed home with 16 salmon, lots of pictures and memories to last a lifetime. Next year we hope to have pictures of some really big salmon to share with you.
Thank You Grant and all your skilled staff for building the boat of our dreams.
Dick & Dena