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Thread: Fog day was awesome day on the Bay

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
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    1,121

    Fog day was awesome day on the Bay

    As I've written before I've had a very slow start to my season despite going out nearly every weekend at the Bay. Once I even was invited onto a farm and nearly got skunked even there. I've had issues with skybusters, my own shooting, and our recent run of too-nice weather. Physically I'm starting to feel my age and was wondering if I was too old for the hunting hard I usually do. Mentally, with some of my crew moving out of the area I've felt a bit of personal loss where even if I'm skunked at least I had camaraderie to pull me through. Thankfully, having a day like yesterday certainly brightens up my outlook.

    Before the weekend having skimmed the weather forecast it looked positively dire for waterfowlers but excellent for the wife and our endless furniture shopping. Leading up to yesterday it was chill but sunny and the bluebird conditions did not get any excitement among those of my crew who are left in the Lower Mainland. However, I announced to the wife that I was going out on Sunday no matter what because I had had a trying week at work and even if I was going to do nothing but lay in the foreshore and watch a nice sunrise at least I would have some salve for the soul. So yesterday morning I told my crew I was going out and despite getting no offers to join I got in the truck and headed out to the Bay.



    To my surprise the forecast had changed. When I got out of the truck - with no one else but a photographer in the parking lot - I found the dyke area was shrouded in thick fog. While the photographer grumbled that he might not get any good shots, I was feeling more positive. Even if the fog burned off, at least the visibility might work in my favor. Wishing him good luck I marched out onto the dyke. Still I had to fight my inner pessimism and I brought only light gear this time and left the sled in the truck, taking only six decoys so if I got skunked at least I wouldn't stress my muscles and back as extra punishment.

    In addition to traveling light, I had decided to try out a new spot as in all my previous weekends I had observed the flight paths had been angling away from the center shore toward the edges. Thankfully, as I had arrived first I would have no problem staking claim to it (and actually I had zero competition that entire morning). Walking through the thick fog with only the lights of the nurseries behind me and no company was an eerie experience but I was heartened to spook some ducks who had been hunkered down in the shore walking in so I kept pressing on. After a short hike, I found my spot, checked my maps again and without any fuss threw out the decoys and started laying out my tools of the trade.

    In the time before I heard the first shots of others off in the distance, I could reflect on where I was at this season. I clearly had suffered from not practicing my clay shooting this summer (I had been occupied looking for a new home) and my poor experiences coming out to 64th street made me wonder about its viability. From increased competition to the changing patterns of the geese and ducks, I wasn't having the success I had previously. In chats with my mates, I felt a general feeling of pessimism. Some of them had been lucky enough to get on farms this season and their bounty was making the ones and twos I had been getting seem like chump change. Even the one time I was on a farm in Delta and got one mallard felt like the gods were working against me. At least today, with the unexpected change in the weather suggested a change in fortune.

    As it turned out, the fog did not lift in the first hour, or the hour after that. 10 minutes after shooting light a little teal flew right into my little collection of decoys and I gratefully took my first one. Then as the day brightened, it became a dream like environment of ghosts and shadows.



    In the shrouded foreshore, you could hear the whistling wings, the keening of the raptors but not actually see flights until they were suddenly upon you. Ducks were flying - yes - but where? You couldn't see them from a distance but well-enough, they couldn't see you either. Out of the cold fog, a pintail made a beeline right down the channel I was parked in and too late saw me not 10m away. I swung up too late and missed an obvious gimme and couldn't take it down on the way out either. But a few minutes later, I was rewarded when a flight passed overhead, I was able to track them and picked one out. That sailed the cripple thankfully back into the dry bay and after few minutes of chasing it down and a couple extra shells to get it from reaching the water, I was able to walk it back to my spot.



    The two already made the day worth it for what had been a lark but the action got better. The fog did not lift and the pattern of birds either being forced to skim low over the beach or careening out of the thickness continued. In that environment I had nearly constant action and honestly too many misses. Another lesson I learned was that in my effort to be cheap I had tried to salvage a box of shells that had gotten soaked at the bottom my sled from a previous day and this morning had at least five fail to fire which I would like to say would have limited me out sooner.



    Two hours after shooting light I was at my fifth bird and my third pintail, the remainder being teal. Mindful of the pintail limit, I made an effort to slow down and mark the birds. Two more teal later - who appeared to love my dekes - and the action seemed to have slowed down. Almost resolved to pack up one shy of the limit I took a bio-break and had only just snapped back into my waders when a big duck cupped into my setup. I snap shot it and felt sure it was a pintail but as soon as I got closer saw it was a grinning shoveler hen to make up my first limit of the season. I don't know if there is another limit for me this season but this certainly turned around my outlook.

    Last edited by silveragent; 11-27-2023 at 11:22 AM.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    May 2023
    Location
    Chilliwack
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    165

    Re: Fog day was awesome day on the Bay

    Very nice!!, thanks for the story.

    I am hoping to get out soon and start this year.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Maple Ridge, B.C. Canada
    Posts
    1,020

    Re: Fog day was awesome day on the Bay

    Nice write up. I only hunted out that way back in the late ‘70’s. It takes some effort but worth it for days like you had!
    Buddi doing what she does best!

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Posts
    1,244

    Re: Fog day was awesome day on the Bay

    Very nice photos! Great post,,,,enjoyed reading that!
    He's NOT your buddy, buddy!

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Cowichan Valley
    Posts
    6,927

    Re: Fog day was awesome day on the Bay

    That's awesome! Glad you got out there sometimes the nastiest of weather makes for a remarkable day!

    I've yet to scratch a shoveler in the past couple of years. They are around just haven't found their way to my spread. Maybe the spot that I've been focusing on isn't silty enough.
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  7. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
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    region 9
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    11,454

    Re: Fog day was awesome day on the Bay

    Right on, great pics, and nice work!

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Posts
    1,121

    Re: Fog day was awesome day on the Bay

    My wife was out last night for dinner so I took the opportunity to make the shoveler for my own meal. It turned out fine. I had been brining it since Sunday in a salt-brown sugar-pepper and Vegeta (vegetable soup seasoning) solution in the fridge and sliced them up into stir fry bits. I then made a quick udon in my cast iron and plopped in the shoveler making sure I didn't overcook it. It tasted fine! Maybe I got a non-fishy shoveler but it tasted just like any other duck to me.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    4,362

    Re: Fog day was awesome day on the Bay

    Quote Originally Posted by silveragent View Post
    My wife was out last night for dinner so I took the opportunity to make the shoveler for my own meal. It turned out fine. I had been brining it since Sunday in a salt-brown sugar-pepper and Vegeta (vegetable soup seasoning) solution in the fridge and sliced them up into stir fry bits. I then made a quick udon in my cast iron and plopped in the shoveler making sure I didn't overcook it. It tasted fine! Maybe I got a non-fishy shoveler but it tasted just like any other duck to me.
    I've got a few of them this year and did the same brined for a day.

    I breasted mine out, trimmed into strips, browned in olive oil/garlic and added as protein in a pad Tai. Was awesome

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