Father/son fishing day yields monster White Sturgeon!
Adam and his father Cliff had booked a Fraser River Sturgeon fishing trip with us. Being from New York this was something very different and exciting for them. They arrived at the dock at 8:30 AM. After boarding our 21 foot CustomWeld jet boat we headed upstream from the Mission marina. The Fraser river was looking just great. Better than it really should be for May 21. There was very little debris in the river and it had a touch of green. Weather conditions were overcast, cool and breezy. For Sturgeon fishing this tends to be very good for big fish.
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I pulled into a quiet little stretch of river that has been good to me for a long time. Baits were placed onto the Owner 10/0 hooks and the Okuma/Shimano setups hurled the weights and food out into the current. The 22oz of lead weight took the bait down to the bottom in speedy fashion. Sturgeon feed by smell and their sense of smell is exceedingly impressive. Once the bait is on the bottom the rods go into the holders where our angling guests will keep a sharp eye on them for any sort of action. We had some good bites in the hour that we spent there but nothing ended up sticking to the hook. So off I went to another spot further upstream. Up around the corner it was much windier. But it was blowing down river and our large covered cab area provided a wind break.
Read article about the May 6, 2017 9 foot Sturgeon
A few small bites here and there but no takers in this spot. I moved again. Not far, maybe 75 feet further out and 2 or 3 feet deeper. Would this be the spot? Baits were once again launched into the air and big hunks of lead raced their way to the river bottom and thunked into the muddy/sandy bottom where massive dinosaurs roam the depths.
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We waited for 30 minutes. Then a sharp thud on the rod tip. It was a great bite! The kind we guides like to see. The rod tip was going down, down and more down. “He’s on” I yelled, “Fish on!”. Adam grabbed the rod. I reached for my camera while Adams dad reeled up the other line just in case. I had the video recording the action in no time. I wantedd to get the jump. But it would need to jump first. And after 20 seconds the fish came up and tail walked and thrashed the surface of that river violently enough to knock out a boxing champ. I think everyone expressed their amazement with expletives and it was totally OK. After that jump I knew we were in for a long spell with this massive White Sturgeon.
My first thoughts are figuring out our shore options to land this fish. Although it was going to be a while before that ever happened I still needed to plan ahead. 40 minutes later and we were nearing a very small sand bar in the middle of the Fraser. I was hoping we could encourage this fish to end up in 2-3 feet of water where we could take photos. It was looking good. We had the beast in 8 feet of water and it wasn’t freaking out too much so I thought we’ve got it. I guess that fish had had enough of 8 feet depth and so with the power of 400 lbs of muscle it took off like lightning and within 10 seconds had removed over 150 yards of 150lb PowerPro line from the Shimano Talica reel. Now we had a zero chance of utilizing this lovely little sand bar. The pursuit continued. The fish had a renewed storage of energy.
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Then something scary happened. Our giant friend had got the line wrapped onto a wooden snag on the bottom of the river 30 feet deep. This is what can turn your day upside down and put an end to your hopes of seeing your fish ever again. Now it was time to use un-snag strategy. I circled the snag counter clockwise once and we felt something break free, as if the line came off the snag. This is good. Then it seemed to be stuck again. “I’m going to circle it clockwise” I told the guys. One and a half times around and it broke free again! That was it. We won that battle. Now back to following the fish down river trying to tire it out. It was 90 minutes into the battle. Arms were burning but Adam hung in there like a warrior.
There was another possible place to land our giant Sturgeon about 1 km downstream. So I set up our path to line up with a small patch of shoreline that had a few shore fishers. The current was rather slow here too and the fish was definitely showing signs of tiring out. We hovered in the area for 20 minutes trying to prepare the fish for a safe shore landing that would allow us to get the angler Adam onto the shore with his fish in the shallows. Everyone on the shore got their lines out of the water and looked on in amazement as the massive White Sturgeon was conquered with a lip grab by me and a tail grab by one of the shore anglers. “Holy shit” was heard coming out of peoples mouths.
The first thing we did was measure that Sturgeon. Tip of the nose to fork of the tail is the correct way. 109 inches or 9 feet 1 inch. That equates to about 425 lbs according to the official White Sturgeon weight chart. Final battle length was a few minutes under 2 hours. Adam was happy and exhausted. The fish was exhausted too but not happy. After some key photos the Sturgeon was safely released and swam back quietly to the depths of the mighty Fraser river.
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