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

More than 115 people attend UVic blood drive

Canadian Blood Services says UVic is a target location to create lifetime donors

Potential for Greater Victoria sewage project to go over budget

“Our confidence [in meeting budget] is not high”

Home care complaints up 45% on Vancouver Island

Number of home care hours delivered down 6%, complaints up 45 %

City of Victoria endorses potential class action lawsuit against fossil fuel giants

Data will be gathered to quantify how much environmental damage the city has faced

Residents push back on downtown Victoria tree removal

The birch tree at the Wharf-Government intersection will be removed to make way for bike lanes

UPDATE: B.C. legislature managers accused of excessive travel, personal expense claims

Clerk Craig James, security chief Gary Lenz call allegations ‘completely false’

China demands US drop Huawei extradition request with Canada

China detained two Canadians on Dec. 10 in an apparent attempt to pressure Canada to release Meng

9 brains, 3 hearts: Some wild facts about octopuses

Things to know about the giant Pacific octopus, which is naturally found in the waters of the U.S. West coast, the Aleutian Islands and Japan

Hollywood announces 2019 Oscar nominations

Netflix has scored its first best picture nomination, something the streaming giant has dearly sought

Collapsed floor traps worker at decommissioned North Island pulp mill

Man frees self, escapes injury, investigation underway at Elk Falls facility in Campbell River

B.C. man fined $10,000 after leaving moose to suffer before death

Surrey man was convicted last week on three Wildlife Act charges

Anti-pipeline group wants NEB to consider impact of emissions, climate change

Stand.earth filed NEB motion asking to apply same standard to the project as it did with Energy East pipeline

B.C. man charged in 2014 snake venom death of toddler

Henry Thomas was taking care of the North Vancouver girl the day before she died

B.C.’s largest public-sector union wants inquiry into money laundering, drugs

Union officials say Premier John Horgan and Attorney General David Eby have not ruled out the possibility of a public inquiry

Most Read