Bob Moulton and Chrissi Zaklan of Langley, BC have tried for four years to win the Port Alberni Salmon Festival fishing derby. This year, with a fluorescent pink hoochie and some luck around the mouth of Bamfield harbour, they did.
Moulton caught a 40.40-pound salmon on Sunday morning to record the biggest catch of the day as well as the derby.
“I watched him play it in; it was so awesome,” Zaklan said. “Watching it come to the boat, it was so big.”
They were fishing The Wall with Ken Bodaly from Rocky Point Charters at about 7 a.m. Sunday when the fish bit at a depth of 61 feet, Moulton said.
“It was like a big log. Not much of a fight. He took a lot of the line; he didn’t want to come in.” Half an hour after he hooked the fish, it was in the boat.
They caught about five in total that day, and Bodaly drove them in to a weigh station just before the 9 p.m. deadline.
Moulton said he has a 2008 Chevy truck that “needs some body work and a paint job”, and his winnings will go toward that.
Salmon Fest organizer Dan Washington was hoping for a 44-pounder for the 44th annual festival, but said he would be satisfied with a 40.40-pounder as the winner.
“I’m very happy we got a 40-pounder in there.”
Washington said although derby tickets were down slightly over last year, they still broke even, and the festival crowds were good despite the wet weather.
“I’m very happy with the results,” he said.
Longtime Kiwanis volunteer Cec Hamilton was named the Egon Matheson Memorial Award winner for volunteer of the year. Hamilton first volunteered with the Salmon Fest in the 1970s, then left town for 24 years. He returned to Port Alberni 12 years ago and he and his wife Karin have been involved ever since.
Washington said the late Matheson would have been pleased with Hamilton’s win this year.
“When it comes to Salmon Fest time he’s here day and night the week coming up (to the festival). For an 80-something-year-old man, that’s pretty amazing. Egon would appreciate something like that.”
“It means a lot to be appreciated,” a humbled Hamilton said. “I’m only one of a whole bunch of guys.”
Trevor Cootes won the Fred Duncan Memorial Trophy for the largest fish caught by a Port Alberni resident. His 25.8-lb. Chinook was the second largest fish of the day on Saturday (Sept. 5).
Tyler Steele won the Gary Rooke Memorial Trophy for largest hatchery Chinook.
Following are the daily fish winners:
1 – Larry Price, Delta, 31.65 lbs.
2 – Trevor Cootes, Port Alberni, 25.8 lbs.
3 – Joe Veenkamp, 24.15 lbs.
1 – Bob Moulton, Langley, 40.4 lbs.
2 – Randy Evans, 24.65 lbs.
3 – Ed Eckstrom, Nanaimo, 23.25 lbs.
1 – Julia Magrath, Lantzville, 26.5 lbs.
2 – Brad Jasken, Port Alberni, 23.05 lbs.
3 – Matthew Klyne, Lantzville, 23 lbs.
For other prize winners including daily hidden prize and draw winners, go online at www.salmonfestival.ca or Port Alberni Salmon Festival on Facebook.