Little did Toronto’s Philip Payne, 36, know when he backed the boat down the ramp in Newcastle for a evening troll, he would capture the 2020 Salmon Hunt winner that trip.
Late August 27, while thumbing off additional line to his dispy diver/flasher/A-Tom-Mik fly combo, the reel clicker signalled that something was up as line was coming off the reel erratically. Slamming the reel into gear, Payne found he was hooked into an exceptional salmon. After it was scooped, the fish went right straight into the livewell to preserve it from the August heat.
Too late for the check-in station, Payne painfully had to wait all night until the official scales reopened the next morning. Later, he discovered he had landed a 32.4-lb Lake Ontario chinook.
Derby’s top spot
This brute became the Great Salmon Hunt’s Week 4 winner and held onto top spot for the remainder of the derby. Payne won $2,000 for the week’s biggest catch and an additional $4,000 for the Overall Big Fish Award.
Payne also captured the Salmon Masters title and its $1,100 prize money along with a life-sized replica mount by Advanced Taxidermy & Wildlife Design.
The Great Salmon Hunt
The inaugural 2020 Great Salmon Hunt ran from August 1 to Sept 6. Weekly prizes were given each of the five weeks, including several contingency prizes and a specific catch and release award.
Prizes were given for the top five largest salmon, either chinook or coho, of each week plus the overall top three biggest of the derby.