Sunday, July 27, 2014

Monster Sturgeon

Living in Vancouver, right near the mighty Fraser River has its perks. Lurking in the deep of the silty brown fraser river are some monster fish.
Yesterday's trip out was to target sturgeon. We launched in Fort Langley early in the morning and started up river. We set out the rods with a variety of baits (lamprey, pikeminnow, and chinook salmon pieces). It wasn't long before we had our first fish to the boat. Just a little guy but still a fun fight. It was an untagged fish and being on a boat that supports the fraser sturgeon tagging program, we inserted a tag and sent it on its way. After one more fish, this one on a piece of chinook we pulled anchor and tried another spot.

The next location was up near mission and produced the biggest fish of the day, hooked on a piece of chinook. The rod tip dipped a couple of times, I closed in on the rod ready to strike. The rod tip tapped again and I set the hook hard. At first I didnt think it was a big fish, but then it peeled some line and came up to say hello. The fish leapt out of the water for a nice tail stand and a big splash, twice, before we could get the gopro running and then again for a third time. This was a nice fish. I fought it hard for over 45 minutes. Pulling as hard as I could. My arms, legs and back were shaking. We pulled anchor and followed the fish around, getting it close to the beach before it took one last hard run and the worst feeling... snap... the fish broke the 150lb test line. I was devastated.  Upon further inspection the fish had frayed the line on it scutes (sharp bony protrusions) and there was about 5 ft of frayed line near where it broke. For those curious, this was the biggest fish I have ever had the pleasure of fighting. It was an estimated 8 feet long and a very healthy thick fish. Sigh.
Back to trying for another fish, but hoping for a bit of time before having to fight any other large ones. My arms, legs and back couldn't take another battle like that for a while.
Further up stream, in the Chilliwack area, I managed another big fish. Not as big as the 8 footer but still a big fish and a hard fight. This fish was also hooked on a piece of chinook salmon. Again i set the hook hard but there was not air time for this big boy. The other rods were pulled in and the anchor pulled. The fish decided to pull line and head down stream. Cut a long story short, after another long hard battle the fish gave up and we landed it at the beach. Unfortunately it wasn't as big as the one earlier but it did tie my personal best at 6 feet 4 inches. After checking for a tag (it was a recapture and already had one), measuring the fish and recording it all we sent it on its way.

The day ended with a total of seven fish landed and one big one lost. I got the pleasure of landing four of the seven fish ( 4'1" , 4'7" and 6'4"). Not to mention the 8 footer that snapped me off.  Needless to say, I woke up this morning feeling very sore.

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