NORTH Shore anglers are invited to put their expertise to the test this weekend in an inaugural catch and release salmon fishing derby boasting $50,000 in prizes.
North Vancouver's Mosquito Creek Marina is playing host to the Labour Day Chinook Classic Catch and Release Derby, being held this weekend, Sept. 1-2. It's being co-presented by Pacific Angler, with the support of the West Coast Fishing Club.
The competition is being billed as the largest cash prize fishing derby currently available in Vancouver.
"People love to fish. I don't think they've had the opportunity of having a derby locally for a while," says Donny Mekilok, general manager of the Squamish Nation Marine group, which operates the Mosquito Creek Marina. "We saw that opportunity - all of us are in the marine industry - and we thought this would be a lot of fun."
The derby is open to both professional and recreational fishermen. "It's nice to have the professional people, but it's nice to have the families that can go out and grab their fishing rods and get the kids in the boat and see if they can catch something," says Mekilok.
"The thing that we're most looking forward to is the fun factor. It could be up to 35-40 boats out there and it could be the most unlikely person to come back with the biggest fish. And for the professional part of the derby, it's going to be pretty exciting to see someone win $25,000," he adds.
Participants will endeavour to catch and release the biggest chinook salmon in a specific geographical area, ranging generally from the 25th Street Pier in West Vancouver south to the north arm of the Fraser River.
"The salmon are supposed to be just fantastic right now," says Mekilok.
A catch and release event, the derby is intended to be environmentally conscious. Once a salmon is caught and netted, derby officials will boat out to meet the angler on the water and weigh and measure their fish. "Then we release it back into the wild," says Mekilok.
Organizers hope the event proves successful and becomes one local fishermen look forward to annually.
"It's just another event we're trying to have on the North Shore and we're trying to include the boating public and fishermen and we want them to be part of what's going on on the water and part of what's happening in North Vancouver," says Mekilok. "It's a really good opportunity for people to get out and use their boat one more time at the end of the season."
The derby runs from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily, followed by a reception and awards ceremony at new North Vancouver venue Celebration on Water.
Registration wraps Friday, in order for those involved to attend a captain's meeting that evening.
To register ($1,000 per pro boat/$250 for daily jackpot division) or for more information, phone 604872-2204 or visit www.labourdaychinookclassic.com.
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