Sunday, August 3, 2014

First day of Sockeye

Fishing for sockeye salmon in local waters recently opened so today marked the first outting to target them. We launched in Ladner at first light and went down the Fraser River and out to the salt. As we got to the mouth of the Fraser it became evident that the forcast was not as good as we had expected. The rollers were rolling in and things were not only difficult for trolling gear but also playing havoc on certain sensory inputs. In other words, after attempting to troll for a while my face began turning green and i was praying I would not be heaving over the side of the boat sharing a partially digested McDonalds breakfast with the Pacific Ocean. Thankfully I was able to retain the particularly nutritious meal and save myself the embarrassment of regurgitating over the side. Unfortunately for us, the waves were a bit much and the sockeye were not cooperating either. We retired to the sanctity of the Fraser mouth where the wind and waves were diminished. Again, the sockeye were not cooperating.  Maybe it was the coloured up brownish water of the Fraser, maybe it was the 30 or so Native driftnets dredging the river, or maybe we just lacked the tidal water fishing skills. Either way, it was time to switch to sturgeon.

We went back up stream towards the launch and stopped by some very polite and generous Native fishermen who kindly gave us some sockeye scraps as they cleaned their catch. The scraps included some nice roe skeins and the guts of the fish.

We tried a few spots but the wind and the heavy incoming tide were not cooperating and the boat would not sit still when anchored. Finally we found a nice sheltered spot with a 30 foot hole. We anchored up and cast out. At first we tried some spring salmon pieces we had that were the ticket last week. No luck today with that. We switched over to the fresh sockeye parts we had aquired and the bite was on. I hooked up a sockeye heart and a liver in a mesh sack and dropped out my line. It didn't take long and after a few good taps I set the hook into a nice 4'4" sturgeon. We tagged the fish and sent it on its way. Two more fish came to the boat after that one, a 4'1" and one about  3 foot. Funny thing was, all three sturgeon were caught on the same piece of bait. I didn't bother changing it after each fish. It just goes to show you that you don't always need a fresh piece of bait, the same one can work for longer than you may think.

On a side note here is the gear I used today...

For sockeye:
A 10'6" Trophy Titan 3106 rod, a green/blue/purple flasher an 18" leader and a barbless sparse pink hoochie on the end (made sparse by removing half the legs). The reel was an Abu 7001 spooled with 30 lb mono line. The leader was a little stiffer with 40 lb line so that the flasher imparted more action on the hoochie.

For sturgeon:
An 8 foot one piece Shimano technium rod with an Avet HX reel spoed with 150lb power pro line. We used 14oz wedge weights on a slider to sit the bait on the bottom and a 96lb nylon leader attached to a barbless 9/0 Gammagatzu hook.

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