Fishing gear pinched in separate incidents
Two incidents of stolen fishing gear in the past week have police warning locals and visiting fishermen to keep a close eye on their belongings.
Two tourists from the Lower 48 who met in Haines for a fishing trip reported the theft of more than $500 in fishing gear from the back of their camper while it was parked in the Small Boat Harbor parking lot Saturday night.
“It was really nice, expensive gear,” said interim police chief Simon Ford.
The two graphite rods were stolen from the driver’s side of a camper on the back of a Ford pick-up truck while the truck was parked near the top of the launch ramp. One rod was a G. Loomis bait caster. Both rods were equipped with blue, left-handed Abu Garcia 6500 baitcasting reels and strung with green high-visibility monofilament line.
Police believe the gear was taken between 10 p.m. and midnight Saturday.
Whitehorse resident Amy Knowles also had a fishing pole taken while fishing around 8 Mile Haines Highway Saturday morning.
Knowles and two friends were fly fishing along the Chilkat River when she placed a spare gear rod against a felled tree along with her coffee mug. The group slowly worked their way up the bank fishing, moving about 300 feet from the tree.
Then, a bright yellow Ford Ranger pickup pulled up and two men got out. “They had fishing rods and were fishing around a little bit, and they kept looking at us. We didn’t think that much of it, because people will look around to see what other people are catching, but we were sort of keeping an eye on them because their body language was a bit weird,” Knowles said.
Both men walked back up to the truck, and then one came back down, grabbed the rod, and quickly walked back to the truck, which drove away.
“They kind of judged that we were far enough away that we couldn’t get there in time to stop them... Looking back on it, I don’t think they were actually fishing. I think they were checking the place for gear. It seemed like a very intentional thing,” Knowles said.
Fish and Game technician Jane Pascoe, who was interviewing anglers, happened upon the women and encouraged Knowles to report the theft. Pascoe saw the vehicle later and took down its Alaska plate numbers.
State trooper Andrew Neason said he would not comment on the case, as it’s under investigation. “This is an incident that I think is isolated at this point,” he said.
Knowles said she has been coming down to Haines to fish the past 10 years and nothing like this has ever happened to her. “It definitely takes a little bit of the friendly, relaxing feel from it.”
But she said she wouldn’t let one bad experience deter her. “It just taught me a good lesson of packing all my gear with me from now on. I’m going to be more alert to stuff like that.”
In 2009, about a dozen Canadians had more than $1,000 in gear stolen over Canadian Thanksgiving weekend while they were camped at a pullout near 4 Mile Haines Highway.