Sturgeon Fishing on the Fraser!

6 07 2005

My friend Tim is getting married on July 16th.  That leaves precious little time left to be a bachelor.  We (Kim and I) thought about having the standard bachelor party – drinking, strip club etc – but we decided that he’d get better memories from a day of guided fishing for sturgeon on the Fraser.  \

The challenge, of course, was that today was a work day.  Last night when Tim went to bed, he did so thinking that today would be like many others:  drag yourself out of bed, shower, breakfast, go to work.  This morning at 0600 he got a surprise.  Two of his buddies banging on his bedroom door yelling “Get up! You’re not going to work today!  You’re going fishing!”  Nothing like utter confusion to shock a guy awake.   He was up and showered in 10 minutes, and even managed to get some beer in a cooler.  Impressive.  We were on our way.  The fascinating thing about being up and driving at 0630 is realizing all the poor schmucks that have to be driving to work at that time.  And the traffic!  Boy, I’m glad I don’t have to deal with that.  A pit stop in Pitt Meadows got us our coffee, and bagels for breakfast, and then we hauled out to Mission, where our guide Randy, from Ultimate SportFishing met up with us at 0800.  We loaded up onto his very nice boat, and started heading up river to the first “Sturgie Hole”.  The weather was looking a bit gloomy, but we had jackets and hats, and didn’t care.  We were going sturgeon fishing!

We get up to the first spot, and many fish are sounding on the bottom – sturgeon.  Good!  We get the rods out in the water with Eulachons, and some good stinky roe, and then wait with a heron sitting watching us from shore.  Soon one rod starts the “tap tap tap” game.  Randy springs to action to be ready for the hook set.   “tap tap tap”….. Gone.  Doh!  This goes on for quite a little while, but alas no takers in this hole.  Unfortunate.  It looked really good on the sounder.  We leave, and the heron still sits there and continues his fishing – probably more successful than we are.

We move down river throughout the day, and try various spots.  Around lunch time we settle into a spot, and two of the rods are tapping.   Kim grabbed one rod, and Randy the other.  tap tap tap….pullllllllll.   HOOK SET!!!!   Kim plants it into that sucker!  Fish on!  Tim takes the rod (first fish was to be Tim’s) and he works the fish.  it rolls near  the surface, and then gives a few short runs.   Tim works it in towards the boat, and the first sturgeon is in the boat.  Measuring around 3 feet, Tim looks good with his fish.

We rebait the hooks, and send them out again.  lots of little taps, but not much.  Then….tap tap tap……tap tap tap.  I grab the rod, and prepare for the set.  tap tap tap…..pulllllll  Hook Set!  Slack.  Did I miss it?  Suddenly the slack veers left, and I shout “Fish On!”  This one is bigger.  It’s making its own path in the river.  It starts to run down river, and there’s not a thing I can do to stop it.  It’s just going the other way.  I let everyone know what’s going on, and then suddenly my reel stopped letting out line.  I look down – line jam!  It had bitten into the layer below, and wasn’t letting go.  The fish was pulling harder and harder, and I was trying to reach the rod further down river to see if it would decide that it wasn’t so bad, and turn around.  No luck.  I had to start leaning back a bit to bring it back upstream.  One little lean back and “Ping!”  slack.  I fell back, and looked down river to see a sturgeon of approximately 4.5 feet roll at the surface as if to say “Goodbye, better luck next time!”.   I was crushed, but at the same time thrilled to have been able to have one at the end of the line. 

For the rest of the day, we had taps here and there, but no more hookups. It was too bad, since I wanted Kim to have had the chance to play one of these prehistoric fish as well.  As anything that is limited, the time went by too quickly, and the day was done.  Randy had given us a great day of fishing, and some good stories to talk about.  What’s a fishing trip without a story about the “One that got away”?   Tim will have better memories than a hangover for his pre-wedding “party”, and we’ll all have memories of being right next to one of the marvels of the Fraser River – the white sturgeon.

Now – it’s back to work.

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