Three salmon derbies kick off winter marine fishing season with good results


Three salmon derbies kick off winter marine fishing season with good results

Three salmon fishing derbies were held over the weekend, and offers a good glimpse of what is out there to catch.

The Tengu Blackmouth Derby – canceled last fall and winter due to closures – was held on Sunday and 21 members managed to reel-in three blackmouth in Elliott Bay.

“Great weather for the opener of the 71st Tengu Derby on Sunday,” said Doug Hanada, president of the longstanding derby, which began in 1937 and up until last year was held every season since the end of World War II.

The top fish was caught by Justin Wong that weighed 8 pounds, 11 ounces; second was his father Benny Wong with a 5 pound, 6 ounce fish; and third was Steve Nitta with a 4 pound, 14 ounce fish.

Justin Wong of Seattle with a pair of nice blackmouth (chinook) he caught during a past Tengu Derby.Justin Wong of Seattle with a pair of nice blackmouth (chinook) he caught during a past Tengu Derby.

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“All three fish were caught from the Elliott Bay Marina, mid-morning,” Hanada said. “Lots of shaker (chinook under the 22 inch minimum size limit) action all over the bay with multiple reports of keepers lost at the boat from West Point (south of Shilshole Bay), the marina, and Duwamish Head. No reports from the Harbor Island area since there was heavy netting going on. Members reported marking bait everywhere and catching a number of squid too.”

The derby will be held every Sunday from daybreak until 11 a.m. on this coming Sunday, and  Nov. 20, Nov. 27, Dec. 4, Dec. 11 and Dec. 18 at the Seacrest Boathouse in West Seattle.

In the derby, only mooching (fishing using a banana-style lead weight to a leader with a herring) is allowed. No artificial lures, flashers, hoochies (plastic squids) or other gear like downriggers are permitted. This winter the boundary has been extended to West Point.

Doors to the boathouse will be open at 6 a.m. Rental boats will be available from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m., ad cost is $65 boat or $85 for a boat and motor. Membership fee is $15 and $5 for children age 12-and-under. Tickets are available at Seacrest Boathouse, Linc’s Tackle and Outdoor Emporium in Seattle. For details, call 206-324-7600.

The Grady White Salmon Derby was also held on Sunday with 28 boats and 68 anglers catching nine blackmouth, and the top two fish were both caught on Possession Bar. Using

Top fish went to Tom Regney of Clearview  with a 13 pounds, 12 ounce hatchery chinook; and second was  Scott Beresford of Kenmore whose fish weighed 11 pounds, 8 ounces.

Photo courtesy of Keith Robbins, owner of A Spot Tail Salmon Guide in Seattle.Photo courtesy of Keith Robbins, owner of A Spot Tail Salmon Guide in Seattle.

Up to the north, 564 anglers last weekend took to the water of Puget Sound for the Everett No-Coho Blackmouth Salmon Derby and reeled-in 146 hatchery chinook.

“Fishing overall was pretty good, and that is consistent from what I’m hearing all the way up to Midchannel Bank (near Port Townsend),” said Tony Floor, the director of fishing affairs for the Northwest Marine Trade Association and Northwest Salmon Derby Series.
Winds blowing out of the south were forecast at 15 to 25 mph on both days, and those who found the patches of baitfish – mainly herring schools – scored the best results.

“The trick (for the first place and runner-up anglers) was they managed to find a patch of large herring near the bottom, and consistently trolled around it and managed to find the bigger fish,” Floor said.

Such was the case for the winner Lance Husby of Marysville who caught a 15.62 pound hatchery chinook on Sunday off the south east side of Possession Bar and took home the $4,000 first-place prize.

The second place fish that weighed 14.64 pounds was caught on Saturday in the same area by Derek Floyd of Marysville, which earned him $2,000. Third was Dylan Cochran of Auburn with a 12.70 pound hatchery fish that was worth $1,000, and fourth was Scott Bumstead of Lake Stevens with a 12.33 pound fish worth $500.

The total combined weight of all 164 hatchery chinook weighed-in was 967 pounds, and the average weight of fish caught was 6.63 pounds.

In the team competition the winners were Team Quickspin with the best average weight of 9.33 pounds; second was Team Dogfish with 5.29 pounds; and third was Hooking For Nookie with 5.17 pounds.

Ella Trout of Everett with her second place 7.46 pound chinook she caught in the Everett No-Coho Blackmouth Salmon Derby this past weekend. Photo courtesy of the Everett Salmon Association.

In the youth division, Kozmo Zajac of Shoreline took home the top prize with a 9.05 pound hatchery chinook; second was Ella Trout of Everett with a 7.46 pound fish; and third was Tyler Nance of Bothell with a 6.18 pound fish.

The next Northwest Salmon Derby Series event is Dec. 1-3 with the Friday Harbor Salmon Classic, and will be part of 16 tournament in the 2017 season. New additions this coming season will be the Port Angeles Halibut Derby and the Vancouver Chinook Classic in late July in British Columbia.

For information on the derby series, go to