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Playing Golf and Salmon Fishing In One Day Only at Campbell River BC, After the US Open

by Scott A. Sumner
   What a week! It started at Pinehurst, North Carolina golfing and watching the US Open Mens golf championship and ended up some 3000 miles away salmon fishing at the world famous Campbell River on Vancouver Island.  In between was lots of golf including a helicopter ride from one courses to another.  Sometimes we are a lucky bunch in the media business!  A few years ago I had the opportunity to visit North Carolina and with the US Open being held once again at Pinehurst Number 2, it was great to have the chance to witness this major event.  Some 45,000 people were on hand each day and our host, North Carolina had a luxury tent on the 18th fairway, one of some 67 in total at the event costing $150,000 and up I was told.  It was an excellent place to start your tournament viewing including eating some great food.  The US Open is a huge event.  The merchandise tent was the size of a Wal Mart and included banks of over 50 cash registers!  I especially like watching players like Tiger Woods and Ernie Els warm up on the practice range.  The crowd around me enjoyed seeing them and made many comments in their southern drawl.  It was fun to see Michael Campbell win this prestigious event. 

   After a quite long series of plane rides it was into Comox, BC.  An early morning start of 5 am allowed for some great salmon fishing on the 17 foot boat with 50HP Yamaha motor.  It was quite a technique to fish for these great fish that can go over 40 pounds in this area.  It had been awhile since I had fished like this so it was quite a lot of fun.  Mark Stewart, from Quelph, Ontario was our guide helping us trying to catch a Chinook salmon.  "So far we have had a couple hits.  We have landed our link cods and pacific true cod but our goal is to  land the right species, a Chinook salmon."  says Stewart.  "I Love it.  This is what it is all about, a sunny day, calm weather, good guests from all over the world."
  "I generally base my decisions on what happened the day before.  You talk to other guys.  I have a lot of friends that I can trust  to tell me what has worked and I'll just base it on the day before on a similar tide,' Smiles Stewart.  "We lost one fish just beside the boat"
  The approach to fishing is to attach a 12 pound cannonball to be able to put your line at the correct depth.  It allows you to keep your engine in gear at any depth you wish to fish.  You are covering a lot of ground and can hopefully run in to fish.  Our fishing depth  was 170 feet.  If you have one month to choose the middle of July until August is the best time for fishing at Campbell River BC for the number of different species, You may get some quality big fish.  There are five different species that run here.  Campbell River has been called the "Salmon Capital of the World' because of the history of this area.  It has a long history of guided fishing trips particularly with the rowing for big chinooks. 

   After a golf match in the afternoon the true Fins and Skins of Vancouver Island became evident.  Another huge highlite of the trip was a helicopter ride from one BC Golf course to another - Olympic View.  You got to experience what the rich and famous feel like when they make a grand entrance.  The golf halts and the 18th hole is shut down.  Curious golfers are watching to see if anyone famous is getting off the helicopter.  Only 5 golf media types got out, although one of our members from Los Angelos is an actor as well, with a current Saab commercial, three feature movies and a part on Sex in the City. It was definitely the way to arrive at a golf course in my opinion.
Chris Currie is the  Sales and Event Coordinator at Olympic View.  "In 1994 Tiger Woods played our 535 yard 18th hole with a 3 wood and 4 iron to an elevated green and chipped in for an eagle.  Our college defeated their team but Tiger Woods was the low person,' smiles Currie.  "It's spectular here.  Being able to play 12 monthes a year is pretty nice as I'm from PEI.  One of our largest events of the year is on New Years day."
Olympic View has a budget of 63,000 rounds per year.  There is another course in Victoria which has 80 to 90,000 rounds.  In peak season the greens fee is 90.00 including a power cart.  In the shoulder it is $40 with out power cart.  "We do have a great base of 300 members which is just enough.  We budget 50% of the tee sheet for the members and 50% for regular play.  Annual dues are $2400 and the is no iniation fee.  It is a semi private owned through Golf BC,' says Currie.  "If I knew there as a place like this in Canada I would have moved here a long time ago.  You never have to shovel snow, I love it.  I miss my family back east but the weather helps."

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