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Rod & Rucksack - Canada

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Host Guy Elson and a Fraser River sturgeon - this one is just a baby though! Host Guy Elson and a Fraser River sturgeon - this one is just a baby though!

So the first episode of Quest TV's new fishing show 'Rod & Rucksack' has premiered and as promised we have an exclusive article written by the host, Guy Elson, telling us more about the destination for this first show - Canada, and his adventures there.



This trip was definitely one of the most exciting fishing trips of the series. I had never caught a salmon before, and being a flyfisherman at heart this fish held a special place for me.

When I arrived in Vancouver BC, I was very excited. Another passion of mine is skiing and Vancouver is the gateway to some of the best fishing and skiing locations on the planet. 

My plan was to follow the Salmon from Haida Gwaii (the Queen Charlotte Is.) to Chilliwack. The Salmon travel inland from this archepelego, up the Fraser River, where giant white Sturgeon lie in wait for them.

When I arrived my guide and I motored directly through the Island on a tidal channel to reach the Pacific. It was so beautiful one of the most pristine fisheries I've ever seen with heavily wooded mountains and still fjords reflecting their beauty! 

Our accommodation was a mouse-riden deserted shack in the woods, only a stones throw from the Pacific Ocean. Often in the morning I would wake to see deer, otters, seals and even black bears outside our camp, this place was wild.


To target the salmon we employed several techniques. We trolled cut-baits and spoons on down-riggers and often employed flashers to attract fish from a distrance. This style of fishing is called mooching, the rods are 9 -10 ft spinning rods with centrepin Islander reels (made locally). Once the rod tip straightened up from being loaded like a bow, this usually indicated the fish had pulled the leader from the down rigger clip and the fish was generally hooked.

I was there to target Chinook, the King Salmon. Once these fish reach over 30lb they are regarded as a specimen and are called a 'Tyee'. I was generally catching a fish every 15 minutes (once we found them) although they were not always Chinook and we caught quite a few Coho (Silver salmon), Ling Cod, Rock Fish and even Halibut whilst mooching. What did provide interesting viewing was the "Go-Pro" camera we attached to the down-riggers. We saw seals shadowing the bait and even halibut and ling cod coming in to check things out!

King Salmon

The Queen Charlottes are home to the largest species of Black Bear in the Americas and we were keen to film them. Although they are smaller than their Grizzly cousins, our guide said they were far less predictable. He had personally witnessed some of the horrific injuries they can inflict and as a result we slept with a loaded shotgun, which fired a single cannnon ball round designed to stop a bear.  

On the last day we went cutthroat trout fishing on several of the small rivers of the Queen Charlottes. I used my trusty 5 wt Sage, with a Weight Forward line, a short 6 ft leader and a variety of shrimp and nymph patterns. This was great fun trekking through dense temperate rainforests to find little pools and log jams. I had loads of cutthroats ranging from 1/2 to 2 lb, but the mosquitos were out in force and there was no hanging about in one place!

Saying goodbye to the Charlottes, I travelled back inland. My final destination was Chilliwack, a rather non-descript town which has some quirky charm. The street I stayed on was in fact the living set for a SYFY channel TV series and nightly the street had the hustle and bustle of a hollywood film set.

This aside Chilliwack is a major access point for the Fraser River. I was teamed with Steve Tennant of Sturgeon Hunters. The morning started with pancakes swimming with maple syrup, a quick trip to the boat yard.....then fishing. Steve knew all the holes in this stretch of the river and armed with a 3D fish finder we could target large individual fish. The technique was to moor upstream of the holes and cast a chunk of salmon or dead squawfish (like a small chub) into the hole. We used a 100 lb braid with a 3ft mono hook leader and a stout 5/0 owner hook on a paternoster rig secured by a 6 oz lead. The takes were very subtle, almost like a bream worrying a bait......but once hooked, hold onto your hat.......you could easily have hooked a 100-200 lb white sturgeon  intent on leaping its way to freedom. In fact these fish can grow over 3 meters long and weigh in excess of 1000lb in weight. On average I caught 2/3 fish per day and they averaged about 5ft long and a 100lbs, but I eventually locked into a very big one.... but you'll have to tune in to see what happened!



Tune in to the rest of the series on Quest!


Freeview - Channel 38

Sky - Channel 154 (+1 on 167)

Virgin - Channel 172 (+ 1 on 173)


Showing in the UK prime time at 09:00 on Thursday evenings from the 11th of April to 9th May 2013.


Episode 1: Canada – 11th April

Episode 2 Mongolia – 18th April

Episode 3 Panama – 25th April

Episode 4 Bolivia – 2nd May

Episode 5 Australia – 9th May

Rod and Rucksack Trailer from gassProductions on Vimeo.

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canada, rod and rucksack, guy elson, sturgeon

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