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Reel Time Fishing Northwest

Mark Yuasa covers fishing and outdoors in the Pacific Northwest.

January 1, 2014 at 8:08 AM

Tengu Derby comes to an end with three chinook landed

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(Justin Wong winner of this year’s Tengu Derby holds up a nice catch of blackmouth he landed last season.)

The Tengu Blackmouth Derby finale was Sunday, and the 10-week event could have been titled “The Wong Derby” as the Wong family ended up taking home the majority of fish including the largest of the season.

This past Sunday, 30 Tengu anglers caught three hatchery chinook.

“Action was pretty good for some,” said Doug Hanada, the Tengu Derby president. “Action came out of one boat though as they found fish and bait deep off the Red Stack area on Harbor Island. The rest of the club could only find scattered bait and a few shakers throughout the bay.”

Last Sunday’s results: 1, Benny Wong, 5 pound-15 ounce chinook; 2, Justin Wong, 4-3; 3, Justin Wong, 4-0.

Final season standings: 1, Justin Wong, 9-7 caught on Nov. 24; 2, Gary Wong, 8-1; 3, Benny Wong, 7-11. Most fish of the season by Justin Wong with six fish.

This season, 20 chinook, four chum and one coho have been caught. The Wong family (Benny, Justin, Gary and Dennis) tallied a whopping 13 of the 20 blackmouth caught this season.

Last year, the 10-week derby produced 23 legal-size (more than 22 inches long) hatchery-marked chinook for 46 anglers. The best fishing came in the second half of the season with 27 anglers Dec. 9 catching three, including the derby winner; 29 on Dec. 16 had four; 30 on Dec. 23 had five; and 28 on Dec. 30 had three.

In good years, it is not  uncommon to have 50 to 100 fish weighed in for the season, but catches have dropped off since 2009. The record-low catch total since the derby began in 1946 was four fish in 2010, and the record catch was 234 in 1979.

The derby was named after Tengu, a fabled Japanese character who stretched the truth. Like Pinocchio, Tengu’s nose grew with every lie.

In the derby, only mooching (fishing using a banana-style lead weight to a leader with a herring) is allowed. No artificial lures, flashers, hoochies (plastic squids) or other gear like downriggers are permitted.

The Tengu Awards Banquet is 7 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 25 at the Sun Ya Restaurant, 625 7th Avenue South in Seattle. Cost is only $17 for adults, $12 for children 12 years and under. RSVP to Al Akada at 206-722-4748 by Jan. 12. Make checks payable to Al Akada or pay at the door.

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