It was a trial run, but this past weekend’s fishing derby in French Creek turned out to be a big success.
Anglers who took part in the three-day event caught their fair share of fish, said co-organizer Shauneen England, while the recipient of the funds raised by the event landed a financial whopper.
“It went very well,” she said. “We ened up with about 172 entries and some people caught some nice fish.”
The winning entry, she said, was a spring salmon landed by Ontario resident Andy Jack, which weighed in at 39.4 pounds. Jack was out on a charter with boat operator Don Graves when he made the big catch.
England said participating anglers didn’t have to go far to do their fishing, as some of the biggest fish were caught nearby.
“Two of the biggest fish were caught right out in front of the marina,” she said. “As well, a lot of people went down to the Little Qualicum River mouth. There were about 50 boats out there.”
The event wasn’t hurt by the fine weather, she added.
“It was beautiful weather,” she said. “It was a bit choppy on Sunday, but people had to be back in by noon, so that just helped to get them off the water.”
The derby was held to raise money for the Marion Baker Fish Hatchery in French Creek and England said they were able to come up with $1,500 for the facility, thanks in part to the registration fees, along with a barbecue event put on by Save-On-Foods, which raised $500 of that total.
With the inaugural event such a success, England said she and co-organizer Russell Mosher plan to make it an annual event.
• Oceanside residents planning to get off the rock for the long weekend might want to schedule their ferry trips to take advantage of the less congested sailings.
According to the company, the 5:20 p.m. sailing from Departure Bay to Horseshoe Bay today (Friday) is one of the busiest, as are the 3:10 p.m. and 4:40 p.m. sailings on Labour Day, Sept. 5. The congestion doesn’t end there however, as the 10:40 a.m. and 12:50 p.m. from Horseshoe Bay back to Departure Bay are also expected to be high travel runs, as are the 8:30 a.m. and 3:10 p.m. sailings from Departure Bay to Horseshoe Bay.