"We sold 254 tickets and weighed 45 fish last year," Bayside spokesman Dan Hatch said, "compared to 251 tickets this year and 85 fish."
The good fishing was in spite of lousy weather conditions, especially on Saturday, with winds up to 25 mph at times.
First place and the $2,000 cash prize went to Scott Bumstead for a 14.4-pound chinook taken at the "tin shed" on the south end of Possession Bar, on a Silver Horde Ace High fly. Second place went to Wayne Brem at 14.2 pounds, and third to Daron Smith at 11.16 pounds. Last year's winner was taken by Glen Helton and weighed 15.52 pounds.
Well-known local names sprinkled through the entry list included Derek Floyd, sixth place at 10.96 pounds, Bill Hays, Dave Morgison, and Lance Husby, among others. Floyd joined Bumstead and Cory Warnock to form Team Anglerschoice.com, which entered 10 fish over the two days for a combined total weight of 86.8 pounds that nailed the $1,450 team prize.
"Interest in the team event really picked up this time around," Hatch said. "We ended up with 29 teams, compared to only 12 last year."
Also surprising in this year's derby was the fact that the larger fish came from Possession Bar. The bar often puts out the best fishing, numbers-wise, for winter blackmouth in the general area, but almost always the largest winter fish come from Marine Areas 8-1 and/or 8-2.
That situation almost certainly will revert to normal farther along in the season, said All Star Charters owner/skipper Gary Krein in Everett (425-252-4188). Places like Elger Bay and Baby Island will begin putting out the larger blackmouth, Krein said, but for now the place to be is obviously Possession Bar.
Krein said fishermen might consider using plugs on the bar, because of the number of shakers derby entrants found there.
"But fishing so far in November has clearly been better than it was last year, mostly in areas 9 and 10, and the fish are running a good average size," he said.
The annual Grady White derby out of Edmonds also was held over the weekend, and Krein said it was won by Tom Regney, with a fish just under 8 pounds taken Sunday at the tin shed.
Checks by state personnel over the weekend included Saturday at the Camano Island State Park ramp, where 24 anglers had 11 chinook, and the Port of Everett ramp, also on Saturday, where 131 anglers had 29 fish.
Good, fishable numbers of fresh chums are available to fishermen in the lower Skykomish River, according to John Martinis at John's Sporting Goods in Everett (425-259-3056). The "donkey hole" on the river's bottom end has been putting out big, tough chums for a week and a half, Martinis said.
Launch at Monroe and come down to the fish, then troll the deep slots with purple, sardine-wrapped K-15 Kwikfish plugs. Bank anglers are starting to hit fish at Al Borline Park in Monroe, the peninsula between Highway 2 and the mouth of Woods Creek, tossing purple or green Corky/yarn rigs on 6- or 7-foot leaders, Martinis said.
Along with the usual 10- or 12-pounders, there have been reports of a pretty good sprinkling of really heavyweight 20-plus-pound chums in the lower Sky. The big dogs are fun to play with, but get 'em quick, as they tend to deteriorate quickly in the river.
The Sky was dropping into ideal shape as of Wednesday, Martinis said, and with a reasonably good forecast, it should be eminently fishable for the weekend.
Over on Hood Canal, it's about the peak of the season for shore fishermen at the Hoodsport Salmon Hatchery. Checks there Friday, Saturday and Sunday tallied 56 anglers with 106 chums, 71 with 97 chums, and 38 with 85 chums, respectively. Incredible.
But remember that the tribes are beach-seining on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Cabela's offers the company's own employee discount on Nov. 11-12 to active duty military, veterans, law enforcement, firefighters and EMS personnel, as a way to say thank you for your service. The event is called Hometown Heroes Celebration, at the Tulalip store (9810 Quil Ceda Boulevard). Official ID is required. For more information, call the store at 360-474-4880.
Roche Harbor Derby
If you have any interest in the high-prestige Roche Harbor Salmon Classic Invitational, scheduled for Feb. 7-9 and limited to 100 boats, you might want to think about getting signed up. To receive a mailed invitation and entry form, contact Debbie Sandwith at Roche Harbor Market (360-378-5562).
The annual derby's first prize of $10,000 has been bolstered by an interesting gimmick: an additional $30,000 for a winning fish of 30 pounds or better.
The entry fee is $700 per team, up to four anglers, moorage included. Second place pays $5,000, third $3,000, fourth $2,000, fifth $1,000, mystery fish $2,000, and best boat total weight, $2,000.
For more outdoors news, read Wayne Kruse's blog at www.heraldnet.com/huntingandfishing.
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