Sunday, June 11, 2017

2017 Shad Derby Recap

A wonderful day for fishing!
Well for the first time ever I can say I won a fishing derby!    But really, that comes secondary to the great memories made again this weekend up on Salmon River near Chipman, NB.   Sam, Ralph and the others that work to make this event an annual event do a fantastic job running this community level derby and ensuring that everyone has a wonderful day of fishing.

Who will win and become immortalized this year?
As usual we gathered at the Queens County Inn in Chipman for a wonderful breakfast donated to the participants of the derby.   Rowan, being Rowan, went around to tables full of adult anglers, sat down and chatted like one of the guys, which was great to watch.  The guys have taken in Rowan essentially as one of their own after he participated for the first time in the event last year and showed what a 5 year old could do in kayak.    Since the event ended last year, he's been looking forward to this day once again.

The event is a Shad derby with first place going to the two largest shad by weight.   There is also a lunker prize added this year for the single biggest shad.   Also, there is a side event where you can enter the length of your biggest perch and chub for a medal.   Rowan plated two 2nd place medals last year and was aiming to get another this time around.

After breakfast we headed out to a launch point on the river and started our fishing.   It was tough fishing for a while but Rowan landed a chub before long to get him on the board.     Now, this was my fourth year attended this event and I've yet to land a shad here.   So my goal was to not come in empty handed.   My first year here I hooked two shad, my first two ever, but without experience on how to handle these delicate but hard fighting fish, I lost them both.

Eventually I hooked into a shad, and my heart started beating.    I played it a little while and then as soon as I reached for my net, the fish got off!   Arrgghh!!!    Soon thereafter I hooked a second shad, and this one I was determined not to loose.   I put my drag down to near minimal, and let the fish play around for a good 5 min before bringing into my kayak.    Finally I landed my first shad at the derby, and it was a huge one, probably my biggest shad ever.    Hmmm, might I have just landed the lunker?

Rowan and I holding my two biggest shad on the day
Now I needed to get a second shad to have a shot at one of the top prizes and a place on the plaque that hangs in the Hotel!     As we continued to make our way down the river, Rowan kept catching chub and perch, and I landed a few more shad.  By the end of the day, I had 4 shad in the boat and had lost 2 others.   I was feeling confident!    One of Rowan's perch was a decent size for that river so I was hopeful he would get a medal there, though he was unlikely to get one for his chub, he only caught a few smaller ones of those.

Finally, it was almost time to get off the water and Rowan gave a big yell,  "I got one Dad!".   I looked and his rod was bent right over, definately not a perch or chub.    I thought, "Oh my God, Rowan has a shad on!!!"   "Loosen the drag" I yelled frantically, and Rowan expertly did so, letting the fish then take line and swim a little more freely.    After a few minutes we came to realize it wasn't a shad afterall that Rowan hooked but a nice pickerel, a rare fish in those waters.    Rowan got to grab his net and get some practice landing the pickerel that way.   As you can see in the video, it took a couple tries, but he was eventually able to do it on his own!  

Rowan's pickerel
Unfortunately, while the pickerel at 21.5" may have been the longest fish on the day, it didn't qualify for a prize.  But it did give Rowan something to brag about at the awards ceremony back at the Inn!

Rowan getting his gold medal for perch
As it ended up, my first shad came in at 1.45 kg, winning the lunker prize by 0.05kg!    I also won the biggest 2 overall shad for a first place finish, the first time I've ever won at a fishing derby.   No other angler caught 4 on the day, so overall I had a fantastic day.
Some cash for first place
Rowan did get a first place medal for his perch, and got to pick out some miscellaneous prizes as well.   Everyone was again very impressed that a kid his age could handle the kayak, anchor, rods and nets as well as he does, though most didn't see how many tangles I had to help him sort out!

My name on a plaque and a wonderful fly rod for the lunker prize
Thanks guys for another wonderful day!   We will remember this one for many years to come!

No comments:

Post a Comment