7/12/2017 2:55:00 PM / Steve Priolo
Instead of moving into an apartment while he plays in a summer league in Victoria, British Columbia, Bandits defenseman Steve Priolo decided to make a van his temporary residence and hit the road. Each week, he's blogging about his experiences for Bandits.com.
Every trip to the West Coast comes with a good fishing story. Here is my experience.
Living in the van gives me the opportunity to spend much time down by the water, watching boats of all sorts go by. I've always been intrigued by the fishing boats, and how amazing it would be to get out there and see what I can do with a fishing rod. A couple weeks ago, I made that happen.
I've always struggled with where our food comes from (especially in terms of factory farming), so the idea of catching a wild fish and having it become the source of my living was something I couldn't pass up. The lacrosse community on the island is very tight, so with a couple of phone calls, the next day I was out on a fishing boat. Now this wasn't a commercial fishing vessel because, to me, that's not the name of the game.
But by no means where we fishing primitively. We had a down rigger that brings your line to the depth you would like, but we still had to find a way to make a hook look delicious to a fish. The way it works is you choose which “spoon” (or hook with a shiny piece of metal) will look the best when you are “trolling” or driving slowly. You want it to look like a sardine or some little fish.
The down rigger is a weighted ball with a clip – kind of like a cloths pin – that is clipped on about ten feet in front of the spoon. You drop this into the water and stop it at whatever depth you wish in the hopes that a salmon bites. When the line is released from the down rigger, the fight is on. After a couple cups of boat coffee all you hear is the squeal of the line being torn from the boat.
“Fish on!” the captain yells.
The fight begins and you automatically feel the power that these wild salmon have! He pulls line from the boat and runs, then when he tires, you reel in as much line as you can. The salmon seem to make two or three good runs underwater. Then right when they break the surface, they make one last-ditch effort, and with the dip of a net, he was caught!
That feeling of excitement, mixed with relief and thankfulness to the fish, is a feeling that is solely found in trying to catch your own food. It is not for the excitement, but for the understanding that I am eating something that lived in nature – was eating what it was supposed to be eating – and is regulated to ensure the population is right where it needs to be.
We ended up catching three Chinook salmon, and on the way in, we checked our crab traps that we set on the way out and there were three “keepers” that we cooked right there on the boat.
I couldn't be thankful enough.
While writing my fishing story, Jacqueline and I were enjoying Lynn Canyon Provincial Park on mainland B.C.
Our friend Victoria is a Park Ranger here and we were able to spend the day with her while she hiked the trails and checked the water levels, and just generally made sure everything was the way it was supposed to be.
Lynn Canyon is a beautiful park that has become famous for its natural waterslide – off a waterfall and into the water.
First thing I wanted to do here!
Victoria explained that there is a certain water level where this stunt becomes a little safer, but still very dangerous. I thought that might be something she is just supposed to say, but she tells me it has to do with the snow melt, and which time it starts melting, and of course the underwater shelf that seems to pin people underwater.
So with this new information I decided against the waterslide and I hope others do to.
While exploring the park I noticed a Buffalo Bandits hat! Then there was a group of kids that I later found out where the novice lacrosse team from St. Catharines. My old team! They were all Bandits fans so I signed some autographs, took some pictures, and then watched as these kids enjoyed the park. It's so great running into people from back home.
One thing I want to leave this blog saying is that we have so many beautiful places in North America, and in spending time with the Rangers, I noticed how much time goes into keeping them clean.
With the volume of people coming through these places, there are so many things these Rangers need to be doing, so please pick up after yourselves and let's keep our parks clean!