Wayne Jackson (right) latched onto “the big one” - a chinook salmon weighed in at more than 60 pounds. Photo submitted

60-pound chinook part of a ‘unicorn’ year, says Vancouver Island fishing guide

Alberta couple catches, then releases, monster salmon near Comox

Island Pursuit Sport Fishing owner/operator Steve Veloso has been a professional guide since 2000, but he’s never had a season like this one.

“It’s been a kind of unicorn year,” said the lifelong Comox Valley resident. “Usually we catch a couple in the 30s (pounds), maybe a 40, if we’re lucky. “This year we have had 23 in the 30s, nine in the 40s, two in the 50s, and one in the 60s. It’s totally random. But you spend enough time on the water, things happen.

That 60-plus pounder was hauled in by Wayne Jackson, who booked Veloso for a day of fishing when he and his wife, Val, were visiting from Alberta earlier this month.

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“Steve said its the biggest fish he’s ever had in his boat,” said Val. “We decided to measure then photograph and release him because his genetics must have been special to grow so big and healthy.”

“It measured at about 62 and a bit,” confirmed Veloso. “They (Jacksons) were really good about it. I was telling them while they were bringing it in that this is probably a big fish and it’s a good thing to do to think about releasing it, because big fish make big fish — good DNA. So before it was even in the boat he was totally committed to letting it go, which was super cool.”

Veloso said the big chinook was caught just off Lazo.

“I think a lot of the fish are not going down the West Coast this year and coming up the Georgia Strait instead, which is nice,” he said. “The spot we have had has been holding lots of fish… it’s been super healthy around here for a while now. Our hatchery programs from the south coast and east coast of Vancouver Island have been having record runs year after year and this year they’re set to have double their run from last year, which is pretty awesome.”

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terry.farrell@blackpress.ca

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For more information about Island Pursuit Sport Fishing, visit the website.

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