Ron Lederer from Duncan reeled in the winning Chinook salmon to take home the prestigious title of Tofino Legion Fishing Derby champ and the grand prize Mercury 9.9HP outboard.
Lederer’s 26.94-pound Spring was caught on Sunday, July 31st at Raffle Point. The fisherman has entered the Legion Derby at least 8-times, but this is his first time he has ever won.
“I didn’t think I had a chance. I would have guessed it was about 25-pounds,” said Lederer.
He told the Westerly that while conditions on the Saturday were pretty terrible, Sunday turned into a great day.
“It was a little lumpy in the morning, but absolutely beautiful as it flattened out and the sun came out. You couldn’t ask for better conditions,” he said.
Lederer said he generally fishes Nitinat, but enjoys Tofino waters because he gets to spend time with family members living in Tofino, and because the Springs out here are “the best.”
“They are full of fat and absolutely the best for eating,” he said.
First-time Legion Derby contestant Sean McCarthy from Vacaville, Northern California hauled in the first place Halibut at a whopping 51-pounds.
“Of course, we’re always watching the rods. This one in particular threw big sharp hits,” McCarthy said. “I grabbed the thing and started pulling. I could tell it was a big one. It put up a pretty good battle there for a while. It kept battling and finally I eventually got him up there.”
McCarthy gave credit to his guide, Shawn Hillier from Tofino Osprey Fishing Charters, for lifting the giant fish into the boat.
“He did a lot of coaching too. Tellin’ me what to do,” said McCarthy.
The American angler said the Halibut he nabbed on Sunday was the biggest fish he’s ever caught in his life. He’s stoked to come back to Tofino to do more fishing.
“I really love it here. The scenery is so nice. The mountains and everything just blow me away,” he said.
A delicious salmon barbeque and prize ceremony was held at the Tofino Legion hall following the final weigh-in on Sunday afternoon. Creative Salmon Co. provided the fish and the Tofino Legion Ladies Auxiliary hosted.
Several local businesses contributed prizes and gift certificates to the Legion Derby silent auction, which garnered about $3,000 for the Tofino Legion.
“It’s a pity the weather was rough on Saturday, but the event went really well. The salmon provided and cooked was out of this world. The dinner went off beautifully. And I would like to say a special thank you to all the donors and the small team of volunteers that helped organize the derby,” said Tofino Legion secretary Cam MacDonald.
The Royal Canadian Tofino Legion Branch 65 has a growing membership of over 200. They host live music and offer regular weekly activities for the community. Anyone is welcome to join. For more information call: 250-725-3323.