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Archive for December, 2009

Ten prized catches at successful Boxing Day Derby

Published on Sunday, December 27th, 2009

I did not get an early start at this year’s Boxing Day Steelhead Derby as I was recovering from celebrating Christmas Day, even though the action I had yesterday had me somewhat enthused. I was hoping of course maybe I could land my 3rd Boxing Day Derby steelhead. I am not sure how many times I have entered but it would be around 10 I guess. I also thought of the time when I had lost three on derby day, including breaking a good sized fish off, above the float too. That year, I did not get an early start as I was helping the derby ticket sale at the club house.

I arrived at the club house to get my ticket at around 8:35am and Travis was there already with a fish hanging on the board. The first fish weighed in at 8:17, hitting the scales at 6.25 pounds. When I had just gotten my ticket, in came two more fish in short order with Gary’s nice fish at 13.01 pounds. The time was 8:40am with Ken a couple of minutes behind, a 11.74lb fish. Boy, maybe the early bird does get the worm after all. The good news looked like that it may be a banner derby.

I snapped a photo of Ken’s fish being weighed by Clive then I headed to “The Point” for a great buffet breakfast for only $8.50, senior rate. A number of other anglers were taking a break from fishing and were enjoying the fine array of foods. Make sure you drop in when out fishing that way, I am sure you will not be disappointed in the food that they are serving. While I ate, another angler came in and he had a fish too. Shortly after that, I heard Pete also had one that turned out to be the winner.

Wow five fish and it was only around two hours into the derby. I gobbled down the rest of my breakfast in a hurry now and out the door I went, with steelhead on my mind.

I arrived at the scene of yesterday’s action and saw a good number of anglers on the flow but none in where I had the fish on yesterday, but I was sure that it had been fished before my arrival. I fished another run first using prawn tails for starters. I then moved with great anticipation to the hot spot but after fishing it up and down with prawns and roe bags, the Maple Leaf Drennan did not even wiggle. I phoned The Master to see if he was fishing but he was after webfeet on the Fraser. It certainly was a nice day to be either fishing or hunting. It was fairly warm as the guides were not freezing up but the wind made it feel a bit cooler than it really was. Many non fishing families were enjoying walking along the river trails and gravel bars, another great way to celebrate the Christmas season. You certainly do not have to be an angler to enjoy our precious rivers.

Pistol Pete who had called earlier came down from up river with the same success as me. He decided to try down by the Hydro Bridge while I moved to some runs below the so called Hot Spot. The runs turned out to be non-hot too but one angler said he saw one taken on the “other side”. I talked to a few others who had seen nothing but heard rumours of a wild and hatchery taken “down further”.

I reversed fields and head back from where I started and fishd the runs again. A chap on the other side said he was now fishing where Pete got his. Of course it was on the “other side” from where I was fishing but it looked like I am in the right area to be fishing.

Time was closing in to the derby deadline of 2:00pm so as I wanted to be there to get some pictures and video I headed towards the dyke and the Leaf Mobile. First I tried a side stream on the way out and just before I made my last cast, I saw a glimmer of light reflecting off something, I thought that it must be a blade or spoon lying on the bank that someone had lost. On the way out I climbed down the bank from the trail to check it out. It turned out to be a fairly expensive watch so if you lost one on the river give me a shout.

I got back to the club house right at the derby deadline but of course It did not matter as I had no fish to weigh in. I headed to the board and saw that there were ten fish, which was less than I thought after seeing six brought in first thing. Pete McPherson had wrapped up first place which was nice to see as he has worked so hard on so many fishing issues over the years since I have known him. Of course, most of you know him too after his many years at Fred’s Custom Tackle in Vedder Crosssing. Pete is not only a top rod but one great guy.

I filmed a bit of his fishing story and also some pictures with his Kingfish and the coveted Ferguson Furnell Trophy with so much history behind it, dating back to 1938. Many great anglers’ names are on it, many now sadly gone to the happy fishing grounds in the heavens above. Reading those names on the trophy brings back memories of them to many of us as they were fishing partners and dear friends.

The award ceremony was ready to go and a good crowd was in attendance. When Pete received his awards, he was a popular winner. Paul the Chilliwack Fish Game and Protective Association’s President was handing out the trophies and the prizes and there were lots of them. I even got my name drawn for a $50 gift card, which was great as I can use it for a New Years dinner with my wife.

Thanks to Paul and his committee for putting on a great derby and a good sum of money will once again go to fish enhancement projects.

When I left to catch the hockey game, the prize draws were still going on. I think a good number of those who entered and came to the clubhouse won something.

I was not lucky to catch a fish but a watch and a $50 gift certificate were OK too. Of course, meeting some old fishing friends and members of Fishing with Rod was great too. Maybe next year you or I will join that elite group of anglers including now Pete McPherson on the Ferguson Furnell Trophy.

Deer chase in the snow

Published on Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009

Since catching that fine sea trout over a week ago on the Danish coast, I have not been able to get out and try my luck again. Snow has been coming down hard for a few days and with temperature dipping down to -10C, this fair-weather fisherman finds it more enjoyable to stay indoor! To avoid cabin fever, we decided to leave the fishing rods at home and headed to one of the nature parks just outside of Copenhagen. Dyrehaven is a rather large forested park that has three species of deer grazing inside it. With the forest floor blanketed with snow, this was a good photo and video opportunity for us. Enjoy the video below and we wish everyone a happy and safe holiday season!

Returning to the old spot, again

Published on Thursday, December 10th, 2009

After last week’s brief success, I returned to the old spot for the second time and hoped for some bigger catches. To my surprise, I was lucky enough to see some activities as soon as I arrived at first light. The video tells the entire story. Enjoy!

Returning to the old spot

Published on Thursday, December 3rd, 2009

Beside one coho salmon trip and a couple of brief outings to my usual spots in Steveston, fishing in this past November for me was a bust. For this fair weather fisherman, gale force wind and bucket loads of rain made it rather unappealing to be outside. Whiners definitely don’t catch many fish!

I was somewhat relieved to get away from all the storms last week, not to a tropical paradise, but back to Denmark where I spend each Christmas. Even though the weather is not exactly better on the other side of the planet, it is refreshing and motivating to have a change of scenery and target species.

Winter along the Danish coast means sea trout fishing, which I have tried for several seasons now. I have not had much solid result until last season, after studying maps and trying out dozens of spots. Figuring out where these fish might be is only half the challenge, getting them to commit to your presentation is the other half. Being a naive freshwater fisherman, I remember showing up with some light spinning lures during my first outing to the coast. They never worked. Half of the time they probably did not even reach the fish because they were too light, the action of the lures also did not match up with their feed. After many trials and errors, I am now equipped with the right tackle and some confidence when I am out targeting Danish sea trout.

Yesterday I returned to a spot where I visited exactly one year ago. During that outing, I was teased by dozens of trout that chased but never commited to my lures. In the end, I had to settle with one small fish that was foolish enough to grab my fly. Ever since that trip, I have been waiting for a replay of the same scenario so I could perhaps attack it differently. For that to happen, the wind has to come from the east, otherwise it would be difficult to fish with both wind and waves pounding the shoreline. yesterday’s condition could not be any better. Although the temperature never reached above zero Celcius, the light easterly wind and clear blue sky gave me a very optimistic outlook of the trip.

The Japanese-made European fish mobil.
The Japanese-made European fish mobil.

Just as the sun was trying to peek out in the far horizon at 9:00am, I made my way to the same rocks where I encountered these fish right away. It is every fisherman’s nature to fish the same spot where we previously had success and seek for similar outcomes. I guess this rewarding feeling is somewhat similar to what gamblers long for.

With the sea being so calm and flat, I could spot every underwater structure around me. Sea trout are not necessarily very far out from the beach. At times they dart between structures, hunting for crustaceans, sand eels and other baitfish. In the winter, some might even rest themselves in the algae bed so they can enjoy the warmth from the sun. I casted and constantly looked for shadows and ripples, hoping to spot a feeder or two. For the first two hours, there was not a single sign of life. If this was my first sea trout outing many years ago, I would have been quite disappointed. Since then, I have learned to accept this as a norm and understood that the fishing can also improve rather fast unexpectedly.

Casting into the calm sea.
Casting into the calm sea.

At 11:30am, after the sun had brought some welcoming warmth, the morning finally was a bit more exciting. On one retrieve, I spotted a swirl at where my lure had just passed through. I wondered whether it was a fish or just some algae protruding due to some small waves. Just as I was thinking that, a fish hammered the long lure just before it reached the thick algae bed in the shallow water. The modified 4wt spinning rod performed its magic as the silver sea trout splashed on the surface. I kept the rod high as it began peeling some line off the little spinning reel, because too often my fish have been lost when they swam into the thick algae bed. The struggle was short lived, because its size was nothing to brag about. Nevertheless, a small catch is still better than a fishless day.

A little silvery catch.
A little silvery catch.

After setting it free, I was delighted and relieved to have something to write about so quickly. During my past stays in Denmark, it always took several trips before I could find some success. I made some more casts to the spot, hoping that I had encountered a school of feeders. Another thirty minutes went by and I concluded that it was not a school.

I returned to the same area with a fly rod after a well deserved lunch break. Perhaps a small fly would outperform the big lures being retrieved at a faster speed. I worked it across the waist-deep water systematically, hoping that there would be some fish hiding in the shallow algae beds. After an hour, there was finally a tug. The first was undetected as I tried not to lose my footing while stepping off a rock. A few strips later, it tugged on the fly the second time but I still was not prepared to set the hook. I immediately shot the line out again, tempting aggressive sea trout that have nothing on their mind except feeding is not difficult. As soon as I started stripping in the fly, the same fish or its companion took another swipe at it again. Unbelievably, I managed to miss it too. It ended as quickly as it began. The next dozen casts could not do the trick. This is pretty much what coastal sea trout fishing is all about, they come and go within a blink of an eye.

The rest of the afternoon was just as unproductive. With the sun disappearing at 3:30pm, I packed it up before the fingers froze. One catch in early December is definitely a good warm-up of this year’s winter sea trout fishery for me, I look forward to see similar or better results before I return to Canada in mid January.

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