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Reel Time Fishing Northwest

Mark Yuasa covers fishing and outdoors in the Pacific Northwest.

April 8, 2012 at 10:25 AM

Many anglers turnout for two salmon derbies, and hook into some good fishing


Here is a news release from Tony Floor, director of fishing affairs for the Northwest Marine Trade Association and Northwest Salmon Derby Series:

Although my memory seems to be not as crisp anymore, when I look back at March, we had some very, very tough weather in the Pacific Northwest, making it challenging for the third and fourth salmon fishing tournaments in this year’s Northwest Salmon Derby Series schedule.

Adverse weather and boating conditions didn’t seem to be a problem for Brent Pierce at the Everett Blackmouth Derby March 17, where he captured a 12 pound hatchery produced blackmouth, pocketing $3,000 bucks. Only 34 hatchery chinook salmon were entered in the derby.

This one-day event, hosted by Bayside Marine in Everett, is capped at 100 boats. Due largely to the high winds on Saturday (March 17), 88 boats entered the derby, according to event organizer Woody Woods. Overall, Woods was pleased with the event and is looking forward to next year.

On March 31 and April 1, the Anacortes Salmon Derby hosted another successful event. Finally, the winds subsided enough for hundreds of boats to get into the San Juan Islands during this two day tournament which resulted in 211 fin-clipped hatchery chinook entered. Ted Radke from Ferndale was the big winner with a 21.72 ounce slab. Mike McCauley, a true gentleman from Bellingham was a close second with a 21.51 fish. Ted took home a check for $15,000 while Mike settled for $5,000.

Tournament salmon fishing is a combination of luck and skill. An angler can have all the skill in the world catching salmon. However, getting Mr. Big to inhale your worm takes a significant ingredient of luck. For most derby anglers, it’s a combination of the two.

I tend to pay attention to the anglers around the money. Take Mike McCauley, for example. He fishes with Kirk Hawley all the time. I’ve known Kirk for at least 30 years and he is consistently, proven with time, to be one of the best salmon anglers in the Islands. Put Mike, Kirk and Rod Nau, who placed fourth in the Anacortes Salmon Derby together, and you’re competing with the best of the best.

Rod not only missed the cash category as the 4th place finisher by mere ounces with his fish, but he also barely missed the Mercury Derby Series promotion of cash ($3,000 for first, $2,000 for second and $1,000 for third) if the angler entering a fish in any of the Derby Series tournament is running a Mercury outboard (main power) that is a 2008 or newer.

These guys know the Islands. They tend to fish with herring strips and troll fast, very fast. Their baits spin like a candlefish on nitro and believe me, it works.

Congrats to the Anacortes Salmon Derby for another great, great tournament. They sell out their tickets to 1,000 anglers every year in only a few weeks. They have become one of the bright lights in the Northwest Salmon Derby Series tour.

Now, the Northwest Salmon Derby Series boat and GMC truck will go on tour for the next few months at Puget Sound GMC truck dealers. When the boat and truck are not at a GMC truck dealer, they will be on display at one of the two Puget Sound Cabela’s stores (the Everett Cabela’s grand opening is the weekend of April 21).

And, if there are any windows of opportunity to continue the salmon fishing training process for this awesome boat, guess who will be behind the wheel? Feel sorry for me.

See you on the water!

For more information on the Northwest Salmon Derby Series website.



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