Inaugural festival for fish

Come March 12 and 13, halibut fishers will have the opportunity to cast their lines into the salt chuck and come out a winner.

A good catch.

A good catch.

Come March 12 and 13, halibut fishers will have the opportunity to cast their lines into the salt chuck and come out a winner.

The 1st Annual Sooke Halibut Festival is set for those two dates and preparations are underway for a fun weekend at Jock’s Dock on West Coast Road.

“It’s a real Sooke event,” said one of the organizers Steve Arnett.

“The derby is just a part of it, it’s also about awareness and getting people out there fishing.”

Prizes will be given according to what is raised with the main beneficiary of the festival being the Charters River Stewardship Centre. Money raised will go to the ongoing operations of the centre. Included as well will be the South Vancouver Island Anglers Coalition and the Sooke Food Bank.

“Being it’s a derby, if someone donates a slab (of halibut) they get in the draw for prizes,” said Arnett.

The biggest fish will be donated to the Sooke Food Bank. Of course, there will be cash prizes for the three largest catches. The first place trophy will be named after Cpt. Jack Homer who was, “a definite signature person on the coast,” said Arnett.

It’s a festival and there will be events for kids, a silent auction, information and displays. If people want to go out fishing there are charter operators willing to take them out.

The boundaries for the derby go from Owen Point to the west and Cowichan Bay to the east.

“We need a big area to hopefully bring in more people, and it gives an opportunity for weather windows,” Arnett said.

Co-sponsoring the media side of things is the Sooke News Mirror.

For more information call Al at 250-642-3410, Steve 250-686-0738 or Elden at the Crab Shack at 250-642-4410.

Tickets are available at Eagle Eye Wilderness Outfitters, the Crab Shack and Sooke Marine.

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