BC West guest Graham Pearson displays the benefit of fishing the Dean River in June – the purple-backed, broad shouldered ocean going demon otherwise known as the Dean River chinook salmon.
Nice fish, Graham.
Alaska | The Bahamas | British Columbia | Chile
We’re really excited to announce that we’re joining the Eddie Bauer Sport Shop team! As Sport Shop guides, we’ll be highly involved in the development of Eddie Bauer’s new fishing line.
Eddie Bauer has a long history – going back in the ’20s, in fact – in hunting and fishing. Over the past few years they’ve re-established focus on creating super high quality gear for hunting and fishing under the Sport Shop name. The hunting line launched a year ago and the fishing line will launch in Spring of 2014. To see the type of gear you can expect, check out the hunting line here.
One of the main reasons we’re fired up about this partnership is Eddie Bauer’s ‘Guide Built’ process.
Eddie Bauer’s first return to hardcore outdoor gear came when they launched First Ascent in 2009. By teaming up with some of the most prominent mountaineering guides in the world (Ed Viesturs and Peter Whittaker, for example), First Ascent was able create high-performance, durable, innovative but simple mountaineering gear that just kicks butt. If you own a piece of First Ascent gear, you know what we’re talking about.
We’re using that same Guide Built model in this expansion of Sport Shop into fishing. Guides are highly involved not only in field testing, but in product design and feedback sessions, future product direction and more. Durability and simplicity tend to be really important to guides, and that shows in the products we’re working on. This is not just lip service to input from guides – we just returned from a 4-day session on fishing product development!
Over the coming months we’ll keep you posted on the development of the Sport Shop fishing line. We think you’re really going to like it.
Some of the most common rigging mistakes we see at our lodges involve knots that haven’t been lubricated well. Two of the knots that we use most frequently – the blood knot, for attaching sections of leader together, and the non-slip mono loop, for tying on a fly – really need to be lubricated well in order to seat correctly. Knots that don’t seat correctly are weak.
There’s no reason to be stingy with the lubrication! Most folks use saliva, which works amazingly well. After you’ve formed your knot and before you pull it tight, get plenty of saliva in your mouth, and pull all sections of the knot through it. Particularly with heavier mono (say if you’re using a blood knot to attach 25 pound Maxima to 20 pound Maxima), your mouth really needs to be wet to get the knot well lubricated.
If you’re tying a bunch of knots off the water – a classic case would be tying your own leaders for flats fishing – it doesn’t hurt at all to have a little ‘dunk tank’ set up to get your knots really wet. That’s Bruce Chard’s preferred method when he’s hand tying his leaders for bonefishing.
It’s an easy step, all too often overlooked. Get that knot good and slobbery before you pull it tight!
We’ve got a three-way post today – Jordan Sly weighs in from Alaska West with a great, practical fly tying tip he picked up from angler Kevin Harris.
I’ll be adding a couple twist ties to my tying kit after watching Kevin Harris tie a couple flies in the lounge last night here at Alaska West. When tying a fly with marabou, ostrich, or honestly anything that won’t stay in a material clip, just pinch it down to the shank with a twist tie. It’s super fast, easy, and keeps everything out of the way.
No need to twist it up – the wire should keep its shape. I prefer the twist ties that look like thin pipe cleaners because I feel they hold the material better and are more gentle.
Reverse marabou flies anyone?
Salmon are returning home to rivers across the northwest right now, so we figured it’s a good time to share another salmon recipe. Whether you’re bringing fish home from a trip to a healthy, well-managed fishery, or you’re bringing fish home from the supermarket (wild salmon only, please) we think you should give this one a try – it’s one of our favorites.
Fishing and friends go hand in hand. This recipe is doubly favorite because it was told to your editor by our dear friend Dec Hogan. Thanks, Dec!
As you can see, this recipe is much more about the preparation than the ingredients!
Two to four hours before mealtime, cover the meat side of the fillet with salt. We mean cover it – there shouldn’t be piled-up dry salt anywhere, but every little spot of flesh should have salt on it. The first time you do this, you’re going to think to yourself, “I’m ruining this fish by putting too much salt on it.” Just enough to cover it in salt, without having any dry salt piled up. Use normal table salt, not kosher or rock salt – that would make it much too salty.
Stick the fillet in the fridge. The layer of salt will create a mini-brine – it’ll draw the moisture out of the outer layer of flesh, where it’ll pool up. More on this later.
Fire up your grill to your standard grilling temperature. We like 400 degrees, but every Grillmaster is different.
Put a batch of wood chips on the grill and get them hot enough that they’re bellowing out smoke. You can wrap them in foil and poke holes in it, or you can use a metal smoker box (our preferred option, pictured above), or you can use the super fancy smoker box that’s attached to your grill that we can’t afford. Dec uses cottonwood chips. We usually use some kind of fruitwood blend, just because it’s easier to find.
Put the fillet skin-side down on your grill, and grill it just like you would normally grill salmon. Keep the lid closed. Don’t flip it. We typically go 10 – 12 minutes at 400 degrees for a normal sockeye or silver fillet.
That’s it! By pulling the moisture out of the outer layer of flesh with the salt, the moisture gets sealed into the fillet – the flesh won’t pull apart and leak juices like it normally does when you cook salmon. The flavor winds up being somewhere in between fresh and smoked salmon, and the flesh is about as moist and tender as any salmon you’ll ever eat.
Enjoy, and thank Dec.
We thought we’d announce the start of our BC West season by presenting you with a shot of Kara Knight, our new Operations Manager at the lodge, and a very nice chinook she caught during setup a couple of days ago.
Our first guests start fishing today. If you’re headed this way – we’re really looking forward to seeing you!
We’re sold out for the season. If you’d like to get on our 2013 waiting list or be notified when we know our availability for 2014, click right here to get in touch.
Here’s to the next 10 weeks at BC West!