There seems to be a shortage of coho in Puget Sound and Strait of Juan de Fuca, and that was clearly evident in this past weekend’s Everett Coho Derby, the largest of its kind on the West Coast.
The derby which had 1,586 adult tickets (1,861 last year) sold with 270 kids tickets (252 last year) given away for free. The total coho weighed in was 225 for adult division and 13 in the kid division compared to 904 and 91 respectively last year.
“There is no question it was black and white slow fishing all weekend,” said Tony Floor, director of fishing affairs for the Northwest Marine Trade Association and the Northwest Salmon Derby Series, which the Everett Coho Derby is part of. “The catching went from banner results last year to scratchy. That is why they call it fishing and not catching.”
The weather on Saturday was very nice and ideal, but for saltwater anglers on Puget Sound the winds on Sunday was a huge factor in shuttering down the catch rates.
The winner Randy Warren who caught his 15.61 pound coho on Saturday in Central Puget Sound (Marine Catch Area 10) took home the grand prize of $3,000 sponsored by Bayside Marine, and also got $250 for the biggest fish caught one a Silver Horde Lure.
Coming in second place was Doug Smith with a 15.61 coho caught on Sunday in the Skykomish River which earned him $2,000 from Roy Robinson Chevrolet.
Other adult finishers were: 3, Michael Blankenship, 15.28 coho, $1,500 by Silver Horde caught in Area 8-1; 4, Charles Blankenship, 15.04 coho, $1,000 by Kershaw Knives, caught in Area 9; 5, Kyle Bride, 14.58 coho, $750 by Dick Nite Spoons, caught in Area 9; 6, Bryan Choate, 14.37 coho, $600 by Ted’s Sports Center, caught in Area 9; 7, Danny Iverson, 14.31 coho, $500 by John’s Sporting Goods, caught in Area 9.
The winner of the kids division was Sean McCauley who caught his 12.16 pound on Saturday to earn $100.
For those of you who recall the derby last year McCauley also took home the grand prize then for back to back year wins.
Other kids division finishers were: 2, Jarett Waldemer, 9.10 coho, $75; 3, Floyd Clark, 6.83 coho, $50. All the kids prizes were sponsored by First Heritage Bank.
The winner of the raffled NMTA NW Derby Series boat was Gary Curtis.
“I had T.J. Nelson (co-host of KIRO 710 Outdoor Line) draw the winning ticket, and I called Curtis by cellphone who was on a trip in Canada and is returning on Tuesday to pick up his boat,” Floor said. “He (Curtis) said he’s never won anything in his life and now he may have to change that story line.”
Curtis will take home a $50,000 22-foot StabiCraft powered with a 130 horse Etec Envinrude motor on a galvanized trailer. The boat also came with a Lowrance Radar and High-Def depthsounder and GPS along with Scotty Downriggers and a crab pot puller.
Other prizes given away included Nate Perkl the winner of a 9.9 horsepower Suzuki Motor by Performance Marine. Mike Hillman won a 15-foot Super Vee Alumaweld Boat with a 50 horsepower Mercury Motor and WEZ loader trailer donated by 3 Rivers Marine and Tackle in Woodinville.
Steve Stout of Marysville also completed something that no one else in the Northwest Salmon Derby Series has ever achieved and that was participating in all 15 derbies this season.
Stout’s highest finish was in the Bayside Marine Derby last November, when he took fourth place.
“It wasn’t about winning but more about having a great time and meeting all the people along the way,” Stout said in a story that ran The Seattle Times on Sunday.
On Aug. 12, Stout’s attempt was almost crushed when he injured his index finger. It was stripped to the bone, preventing him from operating his boat.
That’s when Bill Dever, owner of Puget Sound Salmon Charters, stepped up to help Stout get out on the water Aug. 14 for the Gig Harbor Salmon Derby.
The mission of the derby series, the largest such fishing derby in the United States, is to get more people on the water. The derby series is designed to target healthy runs of hatchery-marked salmon and avoid impacting wild fish of concern.
The derbies also give back to the communities, provide scholarships to students and donate funds to improve fish and wildlife habitat.
To reward Stout for his achievement the NMTA gave him a Big Chief Smoker, a Salmon Derby Series fleece and vest.
A week ago at the Edmonds Salmon Derby, Stout was also given an Okuma Downrigger fishing rod and a Penn 965 level wind reel.