Stray Casts: Dispelling myths and various tactics for rainbow and salmon

Good friend Shaker Mahon­ey sent an email recently that nearly had the Stray Caster’s eyes popping out of his head. It consisted of a picture of a huge – really huge – fish, and the following text.

“Can You BELIEVE this? Bruce Kruk lands 359-lb Rainbow

April 26th, 2008 Trail B.C.

“Bruce Kruk, who blind­folds his friends to keep his favorite  fishing spot secret has come up with a record-beating fish – a rainbow trout weighing 359.1 pounds. The giant hauled in by Bruce Kruk of Trail B.C. is 12 ounces above the previous Columbia River record, a B.C. biologist confirmed

It’s been cut down to fillets. The first fillet weighed 53 pounds, Bruce said. He caught it near a chemical outflow on the Columbia River. He won’t give a more specific descrip­tion.

“I put myself in a harness and just had to lay back and fight,” Bruce said. “It was about a 15 or 20 minute fight.” Bruce cleaned the fish late Monday afternoon.

“We’ll split it up,” he said.  ‘I’ll make some phone calls and try to get rid of it fresh. The rest, we’ll vacuum pack it and cook it later.”

“Bruce says he believes the fish is about 33 years old.  He plans to send an inner-ear bone called the otolith to a university in Victoria where researchers can help determine the age of the fish. He hopes to get the results in about four weeks.

“The world record, caught in B.C. in 1985, is 436 pounds, 12 ounces.”

Stray Caster back. Hands up all those who believe that little tale. You need to seek help – and quickly.

Firstly, it was sent by Shaker Mahoney, a notoriously errrrr, shall we say, tall tale teller. Secondly, we searched the records and the biggest rainbow trout still hasn’t hit 50 pounds. At least, it hadn’t be­fore we went on vacation, and it is a tall leap towards a fillet besting the current world record.

Still, a fellow can dream, we suppose.

And why not. Salmon are soon going to be running the streams across Ontario if those streams are connected to the Great Lakes. And, a few months after that, rainbow season will be upon us.

The Stray Caster and Mrs. Stray Caster just returned from a honeymoon trip to Calgary, Banff, and then Lake Louise. While there, we met old fishing companion Mark Moser and his lovely wife, Gerri, currently of Surrey.

When the subject of trout fishing came up, Mark men­tioned that he had been fishing the past couple of years on a swift moving British Columbia river with an old buddy of his, Steve Pringle.

Now, there was a time when the Stray Caster would have thought that tactics that work on trout and salmon in rivers in Ontario would work equally well just about anywhere else.

Mark, though, disillusioned us about that, and very quickly.

He said he and Steve spent several days fishing as they used to do back home, and the results were nil. Then, they talked to a few old pros from the west, and were soon catch­ing some marvelous salmon and trout.

In Ontario, many anglers get a noodle rod ranging from 10 to 18 feet long, spool on some four or six pound test, plus a fluorocarbon leader of two pounds less than the mainline, and go out and catch fish weighing up to 30 pounds. Mind you, those are epic battles, but they can be done with a lot of skill or, in the Stray Caster’s case, some blind luck.

Mark, though, now uses a medium (at least, he says) action 12-foot noodle rod and spools his reels with 20-pound test line, and a short, but just a few pounds lighter, leader. He uses a single egg on the hook, instead of the roe bags that we use. He noted that some anglers use an entire skein of roe tied to the hook.

The reasons, as he explains them, make sense. The rivers of B.C. are much faster and much deeper than they are in Ontario. Plus, those salmon are ocean runners, and not lake runners. They are tougher and more feisty than the fish we are used to in southern Ontario.

Mark admitted that when he first set up his rig, he was skeptical, and who can blame him. A fellow would get laugh­ed off streamside in Ontario with a rig like that, and likely never catch anything.

The lesson to be learned is to learn from the locals, as Steve and Mark did. Their success after days of fruitless fishing shows that playing by local rules really works.

As for Shaker Mahoney, he’s probably still looking for a 460 pound rainbow trout to pull in on his four-pound test line. We wish him luck.

Final cast: Closer to home, good friend and terrific bass angler Derek Strub has been have some good success on the water this summer. Note the word “success” and not “luck.” Derek makes his own luck by hard work and hard earned knowledge.

He sent an email recently telling of some success in the “biggest tournament of the year, the Capital One Canadian Open in Sarnia.”

Derek finished in fifth place against some of the best anglers in Canada and the north­ern US.

He attached a link to the website that the Stray Caster is going to provide all those who drop by this column. 

The link is http://www.­