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Sooke Halibut Festival 2011

First derby and festival huge success

The First Annual Sooke Halibut Festival and Derby proved to be a success with some big fish, Okay, the weather was nasty at times and a surprise visit from a federal cabinet minister made this first time event something special. The volunteers, too many to mention – you know who you are, and the hardy anglers who ply our waters from Victoria to Port Renfrew made this event extra special. Sooke is the ultimate fishing town.

Saturday was the most productive of the two days with 28 of the 33 fish weighed-in. Dan Campbell fishing with Des Hatcher of Vicious Fish Charters and Mike Bell caught the derby winner, a 167-pound halibut, and the first fish to hit the weigh-in at 11 a.m. They also put more a 49 and 48-pounder on the scale. Starting out of Renny in the early morning  they headed east towards Sooke stopping at Sombrio and throwing out the pick. By 10 a.m. they we making the run back to Sooke and the Crab Shack, in their appropriately named boat the Flounder Pounder, to weigh their catch. It was a bit of a struggle dragging the fish down Jock’s Dock to the scale at the Crab Shack. It was sight to see by people who stopped by to check things out – this massive halibut bigger than most people had ever seen. The big halibut hung on display most of the afternoon making for a great photo op.

As the day progressed halibut starting hitting the scale with most coming in after 5 p.m. with a total of 28 for the day’s weigh-in as the final horn sounded on day one. The next day proved to be a challenge for those hardier anglers who headed back out to try to one- up the 167-pounder from the day before. But with blustery conditions and shorter time frame to fish and a 2 p.m. deadline only five more were weighed-in on Sunday.

With a good crowd on hand at the awards presentation everyone was having a good time. All in all the 1st Annual Halibut Festival & Derby proved to be a success, with money donated to the causes: the Charters River Stewardship Project, Sooke Community Food Bank, & S.V.I.A.C. Next week’s Sooke News Mirror we will have a complete roundup of this community event.

Until next time.

Keep your rod tip up!

Kiwi Magic