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.