Friday, May 3, 2013

Gearing Up for a Sturgeon Slay Ride

 Welcome guest blogger, Rodney Wassenaar aka Sturgeon Rod.  I met Rodney at the recent kayak fishing seminar at Western Canoeing and Kayaking
and I told him I wanted to hear all about fishing for a sturgeon from a kayak - he was happy too oblige and his story is below.  

 I remember my first attempt at fishing for sturgeon from my kayak, to this day I get just as excited to toss my bait into the Cracker Jack box at the bottom of the mighty Fraser. 

One can get pretty zealous in the anticipation of hooking up with the mysterious bottom dwelling creature pulling at you line, especially from a tiny plastic bubble tethered at the surface of the unforgiving Fraser River as the effect of this cause can be loosely compared to that of the moments before you jump from a plane and the prehistoric slay ride accompanying a successful hook set to the free fall toward the ground.

I did say loosely and once you've experienced what I am trying to relay you might just agree.

Here are a few things will help ensure many safe, productive days of sturgeon fishing.


First off I personally will never fish the Fraser or any other moving water alone and I always wear the proper PFD, there are many possible hazards in and on the water.  Before you drop anchor it is a smart idea to make sure that your drifting path is clear of potential hazards such as log booms or other boat traffic, I like to think of an exit strategy in case I hook into the ride of a lifetime and end up past the point of no return.

Pack a high protein snack for the inevitable paddle back up stream.

In most paddling situations I try to dress for ambient atmospheric weather as well as immersion temp.   

Anchoring in moving water is not for everyone most importantly the inexperienced paddler. It is important to understand how your specific anchor system works and how it might react in any given situation and know we're to draw the line and stay in a safe comfort zone.

Fish the Seasons

 With the seasons the natural food sources are ever changing and for the successful sturgeon angler adaption will result in increased productivity and a heightened potential for the ride of a lifetime.

In the spring and early summer the sturgeon will be recovering from the slow dormant winter months.  At this time they are willing to take almost anything offered to them in order to put on some much needed weight,

When the salmon start to migrate into the river systems during the end of summer deep into fall using the flesh from the predominantly migrating salmon species will be key to hooking up with a behemoth.

Big Bait = Big Fish

 You can look at this as a way to target a desired size of fish.

When in search of an intense work out that will surely rival any spinning class you might attend the bigger the bait the better and match your hook size to your bait size. In any bait situation it is best to cover the hook completely while at the same time trying not to Impede the hook set. 

A beginner may not want to target a 7' + dinosaur but instead a fish more in the 4-5' range, in this case bait a smaller hook with a small amount of available bait. That being said, there is no guarantee that a 12' river pig won't be pulling at your presentation.This is the exact factor that keeps me so intrigued in this fishery, you just never know what you have hooked into until it takes an acrobatic leap from the depths.

Line Maintenance

What's the point of having your presentation in the water if its not going to be up to the task.

Be sure to check the sharpness of your hook every time you reel in, hooks can easily be blunted by dragging against rocks and debris  at the bottom of the river bed.

Its also a good idea to check for abrasions in your leader or main line which can be caused by the scutes of your last catch, a tangle or even from your weight sliding along your line.

As the river bottom is constantly and forever altered there may be new material deposited into your favourite spots such as tree branches or even boulders. Some days when I find myself replacing gear often to avoid further abrasion problems I will move to a new location all together.

This is one topic I could write about for days but that would take all the fun out of getting out there and experiencing this amazing fishery for yourselves.

Tight lines and happy slay rides.

Green River, UT

Green River, UT
Photo: Shawna Franklin