Three salmon fishing derbies were held over this past weekend, and each offered a glimpse on just how hard catching a winter chinook can be at this point in time.
“Fishing conditions were spectacular, and not a breath of wind and glass calm,” said Tony Floor, director of fishing affairs for the Northwest Marine Trade Association, who fished in the Bayside Marine Salmon Derby. “It was the perfect blackmouth fall fishing conditions, and the bait and fish were there, but we just couldn’t get them to go. It is far from hot fishing, and fair at best.”
The Bayside Salmon Derby was held on Saturday and Sunday, and 255 tickets were sold with 46 fish weighed-in.
A derby spokesman said the bigger fish came from up north in places like Saratoga Passage, although some were caught in northern Puget Sound.
The winning hatchery-marked chinook was caught by on Saturday by Glen Helton of Sedro-Woolley in Elger Bay that weighed 15.52 pounds, and earned him $2,000.
Second place went to Dave Buckley with a 13.8 pound fish, third was Richard Gaw with a 12.3 pound fish, and fourth was Dave Pitcher with a 13.78 pound fish.
In the team division Team Over Kill’s duo of Dave Pitcher and Dave Buckley were the winners with the most weight of fish caught.
The Tengu Winter Blackmouth Derby held every Sunday finally yielded a legal-chinook of 7 pounds, 7 ounces that was caught by Benny Wong of Seattle and earned him the $800 pot that had swelled since nobody caught a legal chinook since the derby began on Oct. 16.
“They had 43 guys entered, and there was quite a few shakers (chinook under the 22-inch minimum size limit),” said Peter Sergeef, a state Fish and Wildlife fish checker who fished with Wong.
The Grady White Salmon Derby was held on Sunday, and there was 23 boats with 68 anglers who weighed-in 10 fish at the Edmonds Yacht Club.
The winning fish was caught by Keith Robbins, owner of A Spot Tail Salmon Guide in Seattle, with an 11 pound, 1 ounce hatchery-marked chinook he caught on the west side of Possession Bar. Robbins won a Yamaha Generator.
Coming in second place was Paul Raidna of Seattle with a 7 pound, 7 ounce hatchery chinook and he took home a Burnewiin Downrigger Adapters and Mounts. Third went to Kent Hoffman of Illinois with a 6 pound, 5 ounce hatchery chinook that earned him Burnewiin Rod Holders and Deck Mounts.
In the kids division first place went to Kyle Hoffman of Issaquah and Hunter Yetman of Mercer Island with a 5 pound, 5 ounce hatchery chinook.
(Photo courtesy of Jacobsen’s Marine in West Seattle)