The lines have dropped and the fish are biting in the first-ever Sooke Saltwater Series.
The series is the amalgamation of three popular, well established Sooke fishing derbies beginning the season with the Sooke Halibut Derby in May, followed by the Sooke Coho Derby on Thanksgiving Day weekend, and wraps up with the Sooke Boxing Day Derby.
The series is a season long points race, which will encourage avid fishers to take part in all three derbies to win the Sooke Saltwater Series and take the title of Sooke Fishing Champion.
The idea of a saltwater series has been discussed within the Sooke fish guiding community for a number of years, but it was only this year it came to fruition.
It spawned with Ron Neitsch of Eagle-Eye Outfitters and 2 Reel Fishing and soon other fish guides – Elden Smith (Crab Shack), Al Kennedy (Reel Excitement Fishing Charters) and Laura Dalgliesh (Island Outfitters) – joined in.
“We wanted something for our shoulder season,” Neitsch said.
“We don’t want to run the derbies in the summertime when we are all so busy.”
So far, the response has been favourable for the Sooke Saltwater Series with 38 fishers signed up, and series sponsors also getting onboard.
The winner of the series wins a one-of-a-kind jacket and baseball cap and cash. There will also be second and third place prizes. Prizes will be presented at an awards night on Dec. 29.
Proceeds from the Sooke Saltwater Series and derbies will go to Sooke Salmon Enhancement Society, the Charters Creek Interpretive Centre and Sooke Food Bank.
“Being guides we take a lot out of the ocean,” Neitsch said. “We wanted to put stuff back in. We don’t always have the time to donate to those things.”
For more on the Sooke Saltwater Series, please call 250-642-7983.