B.C. Boat and Sportsmen's Show
Best Catch of 2008 Story section
Chris Cade - Fraser River

I have the best fishing story ever, Nov 5 2008, it had been raining for 25 days staright and I flew in 4 people from Toronto and 1 person from Minnesota, I got Chris Fox from Fraser fishing adventures to take us out sturgeon fishing. As we arrive at the launch the sun parts, and we hammer sturgeon all day long with this attached one at 7'11 300lbs+ The next day it started raining again!!!

Anyways they will never forget that day, although im blessed im on the river all year long!!

Ilda Kang - Bamfield
Birthday Fish!

It was September 2008 and I had arranged a chartered fishing trip for my husband for a birthday present. He has been fishing the lakes in the Thompson-Okanagan for almost 20 years but he had never fished in the ocean. For years he talked about going to the coast to fish for salmon but has never made it there. There were four of us on the trip (my parents, my husband and myself). My parents were the only ones who had ever done any ocean fishing and that was quite a few years ago. The weather was sunny and warm for our trip to Bamfield and it remained nice for all 3 days we were there.

We were on the dock before dawn (I’m sure my husband didn’t sleep at all) and the Captain of the charter boat had us heading out to deeper waters as the sun came up.
The first day of fishing resulted in two small salmon that were released. According to my parents, the fishing was pretty slow but that didn’t bother my husband — even though he didn’t handle the rod all day, he was happy as a kid in a candy store, just being out in the boat.

Day 2 of the charter was my husband’s birthday. It started early again and it was a gorgeous sunrise — another beautiful day. Today, my husband was to play the first fish (as we were going in order of oldest to youngest for handling the rods). We had only been on the water for about 20 minutes and a fish was on. After 10 to 15 minutes of fighting the fish, my husband, grinning like a Chesire cat, had the fish in the boat. We only brought in one other fish for the rest of the day but that didn’t matter. The fishing was slow but the trip was great. We had a wonderful day — the weather was perfect, the scenery was beautiful and the daylong grin on my husband’s face was priceless!

Phil Burden - Chilko River
What does "mind over matter" mean? Once you have yourself convinced that there are bears around every bend in the river, it's only a matter of time until you encounter one or two. I did, this past August along with my good friend Wilber. I'll call him that to protect his identity, since he works for a local fly store and would kill me if his name got out. The two of us were on the "S" bend on the Chilko River, just upstream from Canoe Crossing, when I spotted two grizzly bears approaching from downstream. Wilbur wasn't as concerned about them as I was but agreed with my urging that if they got any closer, we would pull anchor and move on in the jet. That settled me down a little. I zoomed-in my camera as best I could and set the shutter speed to 1/2000 in order to compensate for the motion of the boat. At the last second, the grizzlies swam across the river and made their way upstream in the bush on the other side. My heart stopped palpitating and Wilbur and I went back to fishing. It wasn't until we got back to Surrey that I was able to enlarge the photos of the grizzlies and see them up close for the first time. As Homer Simpson would say, "D'oh", or more accurately Doe. See for yourself.

I'm still afraid of grizzlies, but the bucks stop here!

Peter Crisp
This past summer I introduced both my (now 6) year old son and 3 year old daughter to the joy of fishing. With a little assistance, both of them caught a trout and the delight on their face (and mine) made my summer. Both of them want to go camping as soon as they can, and fishing as soon as they get there.

Is there anything better than being able to pass on the love of the outdoors to another generation?

Harve - Tunkwa Lake

I worked the last Victoria Day so I could take the next weekend away to avoid a gong show at the campgrounds. It was a good bet to leave Friday morning and get a good spot because by it was full by 6:00 PM that night. I went to Roche Lake the same as the previous year at that time. That was my first attempt at fly fishing where I soon learned my rigging and gear was inadequate. Things worked a little better the next trip made with my dad to Tunkwa Lake about a month later. It’s definitely a learning curve. So another new rod, reel and line package was added to the arsenal. The only thing this time as usual is, a good deal isn’t always what it seems - the floating line turned out to be slow sinking with a memory... coiled up back to the boat.

Anyway, trying the fly rods wasn’t producing, similar to other people, so I trolled hardware mostly the first two days and got to see the whole lake (while scoping the anchored fly fishers to see where it was productive). Trolling got me 2 – one 3# keeper and one C & R. I tried pumping its throat which was full of bloodworms. After supper I tried one of the scouted locations noted and caught a 4#er on a bloodworm.

So the next and last morning stoked with new enthusiasm I tried another of these locations and was bombing out after 2 hours. So along comes this guy in a rowboat, sets anchor 60 feet away and catches 6 fish in an hour while my same luck and the other early risers around me continues – zilch! I holler over to lucky boy and it turns out he has an artificial voice box which isn’t loud enough to hear. Another half hour and still no luck and my blood pressures on the rise now, so I’m thinking I can try trolling again or ask this guy what he’s using by rowing over, which is what I do. Fortunately I have two similar flys and give them a go. Another 1 ½ hours with 4 fished hooked piques my enthusiasm for this method – 3 lost and one 5# keeper. The mornings now over and it’s time to break camp and go home. My knowledge of fly fishing is still on the bottom of the bell curve but slowly improving.

My wife enjoyed the beer and sun back at camp the first two days while catching a good sun burn. Ironic, because the camp site she picked had two huge trees she liked for the ability to hide in the shade of a warm day.

Joe Hudon - Fraser River
The best day of fishing I have ever had! August 26, 2008 was an overcast and rainy day that we spent on the Fraser River for a full day of Sturgeon fishing with my good friend and guide Ken Shears of Ken's Fishing Adventures, of Mission B.C.

The day started off with a bang when we landed a 6 ft. sturgeon, at about 9 a.m. using stink bait. (dead salmon) Over the next few hours, we hit a 4 ft., and then a 5 ft. sturgeon. that was followed by hitting and losing 4 unknown size fish, although one we lost, we seen the head as the sturgeon breached the water, and estimated it at between 8 and 10 feet in length.

The last cast of the day resulted in my biggest fish ever, at just over 7 ft. and aproximately 185 lbs. I fought the fish for 1/2 an hour, and then passed off the rod to my buddy, who then fought it for a further 25 minutes, before passing the rod back to me. 40 minutes later, we finaly landed the fish, my line was stripped 4 times, and we had to chase the behemoth 1/2 a mile down the river.

After we landed the sturgeon, Ken stated that it was the biggest fish that he had landed on board the boat, and anything larger would have to be landed on the shore. We got wet, but the excitement of the reels zinging kept the adrenaline going. It wasn't untill 2 days later, that I was able to lift my arms above my waist. Good pain, and worth every minute!
Steve near Hope
One of the best Steelhead catches I've ever had came on November 9, 08 at a lake near Hope where I go each year. The weather that day was great with no wind and sunshine beaming on us all day. The major feed was late morning and early afternoon so the anticipation was there.
We troll fly rods with an electric motor using 6 wt rods and big purple and red steelhead flies. The morning started off slow with a fish here and there showing on the sounder but no hook ups. Once we were into the first hour of the feed cycle, I gripped the rod handle extra hard and when these mighty fish hit, you better be holding on or you can kiss your rod good bye.
Without any warning, BAM, the reel started to scream out line and was bent to the max. This fish must have been in the lake for some time as she was full of spunk and ran out all my fly line into the backing. Then about 60 yards off the bow, she rocketed out of the water and danced across it like she was tail walking. Down again but no sooner than she splashed back in, she leaped out again and continued the dance.
There's nothing like a big fish shaking its head while above the water as your rod is going straight down with the line and the fish is up out of the water giving it's best to shake off your hook up. This continued four or five times as she worked her way around the shore and took us into the middle of the lake where it goes deep. Down she went and sat as I slowly brought her up to the surface, nice big fish and the excitement got bore as I realized this one was one of the biggest I've hooked into for years.
Down again and this cycle repeated itself over and over again.
Finally she tired out as I slowly dragged her towards the net to be scooped up. She barely fit into the net and when I got my hands on her, she was a majestic steelhead, bright silver and very healthy. It's great to see that our river systems still manage to maintain these beautiful runs and over the years, I have noticed returns increasing with smaller catches and more hook ups of these first and second year runs.
After taking this photo, I gently put her back into the water and in no time, she perked up and took off to hopefully spawn only to return next year and perhaps, say Hello again and thanks for the great fight.

Chad guertin - Athabasca River
Summer of 2008 was my best fishing season to date. Notably for catching numerous good-sized Walleye from the Fort McMurray region. If I were to estimate my Walleye total, I imagine I'd be counting over 300 fish. I was able to catch most of these fish from shore in publicly accessible areas since I don't have a boat of four-wheeler. The only exception being a work related fly-in trip to Fort Chippewyan on Lake Athabasca where I experienced some of the easiest large lake fishing ever. Pulling in 10lbs Walleye/ 15 lbs pike on the same Len Thompson 5 of diamonds spoons all within 15 feet of shore.

My most memorable catch occurred as I was re-visiting a feeder creek in late spring that had proven to produce very high numbers of decent sized Walleye in very shallow, fast moving water. The feeder creek is reduced to little more than a trickle in the summer, but during the spring melt it provides lots of water and feed for baitfish and gamefish alike. A visible interface between the feeder creek and the Athabasca river provided a good reference point as to where to cast in order to find the feeding post-spawn Walleye. Bright in-line spinners rigged with dead or artificial minnows were the order of the day because of the murky, high velocity waters in the Spring.

On this particular day I had noticed the feeder creek dwindling in volume, exposing some of its previously burried shoreline and undercuts where the smaller Walleye would retreat. I studied the lack of depth as I prepared my fishing rod and tackle box. 5 feet up the creek I could see a fury of action in the water. There were baitfish jumping every which way, cutting the surface of the water. What appeared to be a bigger body was simultaniously thrashing around the shallow waters capturing the hoards of easy prey who naively stayed in this prey sanctuary of a creek.
I quickly rigged up my Medium weight Walleye rod and reel combo. The large fish was still feeding. In what turned out to be a saving grace, I attached a steel in-line double blade spinning harness to my 6lbs test Trilene line. On the double hooked harness I put on an artificial Gulp! Shad minnow...although now I realize that I could have rigged up a light bulb and the story may have ended the same.

A short 6 foot cast placed my rig right in the middle of the roiling water and I quickly activated the spinner blades for a short retrieve. Nothing.
A second 6 foot cast with the same intentions caught the attention of the predator as it bit down on my bait and like a pause in time the fish stopped moving. I haul on the rod and for a quick minute thereafter my vocabulary drops to an elementary level. The fish swims off as my bait comes flying back towards me. The fish swims off in a fury, I tilt and duck as my double hooked weapon rips near my ear. I find myself uninjured so I rig up a new Gulp! Shad and try the same pattern one more time. Lo and behold this obviously violent and persistent fish had quickly returned to its feeding ground, unshaken by my bad hookset and hungry for more. I rip the spinner bait parallel to the creek's shoreline to quickly activate the spinners and in what seems like and instantaneous reaction, the fish takes my bait. Silence. I know it's got it. It doesn't know it's just eaten a few pieces of steel. But before I even do anything my blood pressure elevates. As hard as I can, as my Dad has so colorfully showed me by example many years ago, I set that hook as hard as I can possibly muster. The fish now knows it is hooked! and makes a tear toward the fast flowing Athabasca River. My slim 6ft rods bends to the point of break as I suddenly realize that 6 lbs test is definitely not enough for my situation. I loosen the drag, only to tighten it again seconds later. This game of tighty-loosy continues throughout the whole battle as this fish ebbs and flows away from me at it's own will. I no longer have control. The fish has astutely placed itself in a high flow lane on the Athabasca as I struggle to keep the line tight but not too tight. It hasn't moved for 40 seconds now. In my mind it has become river furniture, seemingly stuck in one spot forever. I take my reeling hand off the reel, place it mid-way up my rod and pull it back towards myself. Once my rod becomes vertical I furiously place my hand back on the reel and gain as much line as I can while my rod drops towards the fish. The fish surrenders a a few feet at a time. I use this method of reeling for what seems like 15 minutes. There were a few panicky runs made by the fish during this time. I barely managed to keep control.

Eventually worn out by the high current and the man on the rod, the fish surrenders itself to me on the muddy banks of the feeder creek. What comes out of the water is bigger than I could have anticipated. It's sides are bleached by age, flat and very long. It's mouth could eat a 3 lbs walleye with ease and it's fins are oranged, cut and scarred. A huge Pike. Biggest one I've ever seen, notwithstanding photos.

Panicked, screaming like a girl and my heart beating a mile a minute. I quickly assess my situation. My head says to my brain " pick up your trophy". With bare hands and inexperience with such large fish I attempt to pick the Pike up by the gills..of course placing my other hand underneath it for weight support. If I were to guess I would say 25lbs.
The holding process is short, it begins snaking in my arms in what seems like a kicking fit. The weight and strength are too much for me. The fish slips from my hands and lands partly in the water and partly on shore. I consider what to do with over 20 lbs of pike meat and decide that the this fish is too nice to keep, even though I don't have any kind of proof that I actually caught this beast. I nudge it with my feet, back into the water. Slugishly at first the fish eventually swims down the creek and into the current of the Athabasca. Fish is healthy.

Still feverish from the catch I decide to "catch another one". I open up the bag of Gulp! minnows and noticed blood on the bag. Thinking it was from the fish, but wrong again, I notice my hand, the one I stuck into the gills of the fish looked like ground beef. Blood coming from everywhere. I rinse it off...the blood comes back from what seems like a couple hundred cuts. My hand is chop suey. I pack up my gear and go home, take a photo of my hamburger hand, clean it off and use the necessary bandages. Ends up there were many little cuts ..maybe up to a hundred of them but nothing deep enough to require serious medical attention. I learned the hard way that the gills of the bigger pike are lined with little bones, essentially acting as teeth. It didn't hurt at the time, in fact the whole experience felt great!

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