Salmon & Halibut – Port Renfrew, Vancouver Island

Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!

SURE I puked and wanted to die.

BUT I did catch the biggest halibut of the day. 😀

Fisherman don’t lie. FIGHT ME if you have any doubts.

For the 3rd time ever I joined in on one of the deep sea fishing charters organized by my Dad and brother Rob.

I had a great time last year out of Port Hardy — Murdering Salmon & Halibut — and took a chance again.

This time they were going out with their favourite guide — Josh — with Wild Coast (formerly Trailhead Resort). An all inclusive package including accommodation out of Port Renfrew.

The GOAL for my family is to bring home enough fish to cover the cost of the charter. We made it this year and on our trip last year.

In 2022 we came back with 45 pounds of salmon and 78 pounds of halibut.

At the last minute, Rob decided he couldn’t fish due to some weird medical complications. Rather than cancel his spot, Yvonne went in his place.

Needless to say, Yvonne didn’t get seasick and did catch a lot of fish.

My Dad never gets seasick.

Each year Dad decides he can do one more year reeling in halibut. If you haven’t done it, imagine lifting a FREEZER from 200 feet underwater with very thin line. While the FREEZER is fighting you the whole way. 😀

Are YOU a Manual or Knowledge Worker?

In the 1970s academic kids in my neighbourhood went to Viscount Bennett High School. The rest (losers 😀) went to Earnest Manning High School which had far superior TRADES training.

The internet accelerated the fortunes of knowledge workers. Relative wages of those working in trades declined.

Everyone wanted to be a white collar worker. Sitting all day at a computer manipulating electrons.

Author/mechanic Matthew Crawford argues that is wrong. And is changing.

He quit his job at a Think Tank, instead opening a Motorcycle repair shop.

Matthew’s book is titled Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry into the Value of Work.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Van Neistat makes an even better argument. A Spirited Man can build and fix things. Help his friends and family. A real man can do manual labour.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Me?

I’m hopeless. Not the least handyman you know, … but close.

I ride bikes but can’t fix them when they breakdown.

By comparison, my Dad and brother Rob are career Jack-of-all-Trades.

The late great buddy Rob Glaser was probably my most trusted authority for all things broken.

Needless to say, he was expert in living outdoors. Manipulated firewood with his bare hands, for example.

In the wild you want to carry only those items which can be repaired on the go. Metal, not plastic.

In 2022 it would be smart to seek work in an occupation where you can’t easily be replace by a computer. Gymnastics coach, for example. It will be a long time before Artificial Intelligence replaces human sport coaching.

Take pride in being able to physically make and repair things.

My DAD in Hitchcock’s I CONFESS (1953)

Just last night Dad told us the story of how he was an extra in an Alfred Hitchcock film called I Confess.

It starred Montgomery Clift as Michael William Logan, a Catholic priest, Anne Baxter as Ruth Grandfort, and Karl Malden as Inspector Larrue.

Filming took place largely on location in Quebec City with numerous shots of the city landscape and interiors of its churches and other emblematic buildings, such as the Château Frontenac.

Dad was in the Canadian military. Ann Baxter entertained the troops as part of the gig.

Here’s the scene. He (must be) soldier #17. 😀

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Murdering Salmon & Halibut

I really like Salmon. Try to avoid thinking about how they are killed for my pleasure. 😐

But my Dad and brother have always been keen fishermen. I’ve joined them on charters a few times in Canada and Mexico.

Many times found reasons to avoid those trips in the past. I really fear sea sickness. 🤮

Since my Dad sold his boat, they’ve done two charters a year, most recently out of Port Renfrew, Vancouver Island.

As Pacific salmon numbers decline, it’s gotten increasingly more difficult.

June 2021 they decided to try a new guide in a new area. An interesting and entertaining character.

Captain PETE with my Uncle

We stayed in Port McNeill for 2 nights as Pete lives there. He made the final decision whether to fish out of Port Hardy or Port Alice.

Fishing had been better out of Hardy, so that was the final decision.

It was about a 3.5 hour drive from Parksville to McNeill. Another half hour to Hardy.

We headed north at 6am on the hottest day in thousands of years (at least).

I’ve been to the north of Vancouver Island a few times — but feel I don’t really know the remote, unique area. I’m planning for a couple of weeks bicycle touring. Some day.

It was an hour at full throttle to get to the open fishing area. Seas at the north tip of the island are dangerous. Weather often horrific.

Our day was dead calm, compared to normal.

My family likes to fish for salmon first. Switch to halibut next. We had our limit of 8 Chinook (Spring) salmon (2 / licence) by about 12:30pm.

I even caught fish. It was fun.

4 year old salmon

Click PLAY or get a glimpse on YouTube.

Pete took us further out about 5 miles to a spot he calls his butthole. It’s a shallow, sandy bottom area.

We ended up catching 4 halibut. They were bigger and much more of a challenge to murder than salmon. The largest halibut required Pete to use his harpoon.

Cost for 4 was about $1600 including 2 nights hotel, charter, fuel.

We brought home well over $1600 worth of fish.

I’d go again. Did not get sea sick.

On return to town we found all restaurants closed. Power failure.

Happily our motel had a huge, noisy generator.

related – Canada has budgeted $647M over 5 years to try to save declining Pacific salmon.

Sooke Road Trip

Rob and Yvonne invited me along on a road trip to Sooke.

First stop was Port Renfrew where they were able to (tentatively) book their annual fishing charter. Salmon and Halibut the goal.

I was able to book accommodation for myself and Brian the night before we start on the West Coast Trail — June 15th.

I’d forgotten how chilly and windy it can be on the west coast of Vancouver Island. It was cold here on the pub patio.

Floating dock had not yet been floated. It was already mid-May.

We continued the scenic drive towards Victoria where Rob and Yvonne had booked their favourite hotel — Sooke Harbour.

I’d stay there again. Two bedroom units for less than $200 / night.

Next day we had the typical morning fog.

I jumped on my bike for the long ride back to Parksville.