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Maple Ridge woman celebrates 70 with giant sturgeon catch

Fish the largest catch of the year for Chilliwack fishing company
Camille Bush and Rob Hornsey with a 2.8 metre long sturgeon. (Special to The News)

A Maple Ridge woman celebrating her 70th birthday crossed off an item on her bucket list by reeling in a sturgeon just shy of three metres long – with just a little bit of help.

While out on the Fraser River with Great River Fishing Adventures, Camille Bush snagged the nine foot and three inch long, (2.8 metres), behemoth by the mouth of the Vedder River on Oct. 17.

The sturgeon weighed about 524 pounds,(238 kilograms), and was the largest catch of the year recorded by the local fishing company.

Rob Hornsey, owner of the Bergthorson Academy of Musical Arts, set up the salmon and sturgeon fishing outing with the Indigenous owned guiding outfitters for Bush, his partner.

Bush, had never experienced fishing in her life, although as a child in Mississippi, she would often watch her brother and other cousins venture off with their fishing poles.

“Camille would often lament how ‘Going fishing’ was always an experience she longed to experience,” said Hornsey.

Since non-tidal Chum salmon sport fishing had just closed and cohos were running but not in large numbers, it was decided, noted Hornsey, to concentrate on catch and release sturgeon fishing.

“What happened next was certainly a life altering memorable initiation for Camille,” he said.

RELATED: ‘Virgin’ sturgeon caught in Fraser River more than 11 feet long

ALSO: Rare green sturgeon sighted near Port Renfrew

The first catch of the day for Bush was a one metre long baby sturgeon weighing about five kilograms.

It was the next catch that put her in the record books when one of three lines on the boat showed a bite.

Their guide passed the rod to Bush for her to reel in herself.

As the rod bent dramatically, Bush asked the guide for advise. The guide told her to hold tight, pull back when possible, and then lean forward while reeling in as hard as she could. After a while she passed the rod to Hornsey, who kept reeling the prehistoric fish in. Finally the guide beached the boat and bellied the sturgeon in shallow water.

Bush and Hornsey, who were wearing chest waders, jumped in the water to calm the sturgeon in order to get measurements, take the necessary photos, and remove the hook for a gentle release of the fish.

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