Doug MacFarlane with a 400-pound halibut – a gift from fisherman Danny Hegglund. (Sooke Region Museum photo)

SOOKE HISTORY: A payback of Halibut

Elida Peers | Contributed

What a payback!

There was a night back three or four decades ago when tugboat owner Doug MacFarlane got a call from fisherman Danny Hegglund.

A fellow fisherman, Jack Egland, was in distress out in the harbour, his dragger Ocean King stuck on a sandbar, and Danny alerted the tugboat man to come help get him out of the mud.

The thing was, Egland had to get his boat to Vancouver to unload his catch first thing in the morning.

The way Doug MacFarlane remembers the story, he received a call from dragger owner Jack Egland a few days later, wondering how to repay him for his emergency assistance.

Doug said “No problem, I don’t need anything, we all help each other.” At Egland’s persistence, Doug finally responded, “Okay, why don’t you get me a little fish?”

Draggers use a system of nets, winches and hundreds of feet of cables, extended from the stern of the vessel. These vessels can drag either at mid-water or at the bottom, scooping whatever they come across. The net is then pulled up onto the deck by the winches and drums and unloaded. In some cases, scooping up a halibut would have been incidental to their purpose.

So, the next time Egland got back from fishing in Queen Charlotte Sound, he and his boat crew called Doug and asked him to come down to the Government Wharf to pick up his fish. Doug obligingly got a cardboard box to collect his fish in, and when he got to the wharf, he was met with chuckles.

Next thing he knew, the boom of the dragger Ocean King lifted up this gigantic halibut, looking like it weighed about four hundred pounds. Longtime marine character Ed Pallister came out of his emporium exclaiming “Wow! What a fish!”

The fellows managed to get the monster into Doug’s van, enabling him to get it to his home where he could begin cutting it up. It all ended up in his freezer; he says he doesn’t remember how many wheelbarrow loads.

•••

Elida Peers is the historian of the Sooke Region Museum.

Just Posted

Tommy Chong says cannabis legalization makes him proud to be a Canadian

Legendary marijuana advocate and comedian celebrates cultural milestone at Kelowna event

Four-sailing wait at BC Ferries Swartz Bay terminal

Full vessels create long waits on Friday afternoon

A year in tent city: Timeline of Camp Namegans

Since September 2017, Victoria’s homeless camp has set up in more than 20 locations

Tent city campers prepare to leave Uplands Park

Vehicle access remains restricted at Cattle Point

Singer k.d. lang receives Alberta’s highest honour

Celebrated singer-songwriter k.d. lang received the Alberta Order of Excellence in Edmonton

B.C. tickets win big in Lotto Max draw

Jackpot carried over; B.C. tickets share Max Millions prizes

Find your future at Black Press career fair in Victoria

More than 70 booths expected at Bay Street Armoury on Oct. 25

POLL: Do you support amalgamation for communities in the Capital Region?

Residents in Victoria and Saanich will be voting on Oct. 20 on… Continue reading

‘Mom, I’m in trouble:’ Canadian faces 10 years for alleged graffiti

Brittney Schneider, another tourist caught spraying message on walls of Tha Pae Gate in Thailand

Feds consulting on national anti-racism strategy behind closed doors

Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez says people still face systemic racism in some communities

Enbridge aims for mid-November to finish B.C. pipeline repair after blast

A natural gas pipeline that ruptured and burned near Prince George caused an explosion and fireball

How to get government cheques if Canada Post staff go on strike

The Canadian Union of Postal Workers said members could go on rotating strikes as early as Monday

Most Read