Jacob Richler’s third day at the West Coast Fishing Club’s annual David Hawksworth & Friends Culinary Adventure is short on fish, but long on flavour.
Normand, Sophie and I leave the dock at 7:45 – in plenty of time to fish the tide change at Gunia. The plan is to target Salmon until 10 am, and then, if nothing’s doing, go and fetch some chickens. As my luck had it, though, the fish were biting – but in each case the wrong sort (I left Gunia with two Lings and then, from the sea floor, pulled in a skate). The morning was dark, and grey, with a stubborn mist clinging to the shoreline. But no rain, at least, And when we pulled back in to shore for lunch there was excellent news – a wave of big fish whose arrival had been hinted at the night before were moving in, unmistakably.
I spent the afternoon avoiding them with Mark Davidson, at MacPherson, Explorer Bay and Andrews. But when we got back in the fish board showed an improved scenario. Jack Charles had released a 24-pound Chinook (his fourth release, after a 21 and two 18s). Michelle Dunkerly had released a 33-pound tyee, and Robert Gallagher had landed a 42 pounder. Thirteen springs over 20 lbs had been pulled in all told – and Stephen Phelan released an 110-lb Halibut before keeping a 50-lber. The fishing was looking up.
So was the dining – on buffet station night. At one end of the snooker table, Derek Dammann was turning out terrific baked oysters with marmite, and wine-braised clams dressed up with crispy pork and potatoes. Across the table, Dino Renaerts was firing risotto nero with squid and crab.
Day 4 brings out the big fish and David Hawksworth’s incredible 10th Anniversary dinner.