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

Celebration of Life hosted for 29 Victoria trees set to be removed

Community Trees Matter Network hosting “goodbye and thank you” for trees on Fort Street

Head of Greater Victoria builders warns of changing construction climate

VRBA director Casey Edge also questions Saanich’s commitment towards housing affordability

Saanich police are looking for a man who exposed himself Saturday night

The incident exposure happened at the intersection of Feltham Road and Shelbourne Street

Saanich councillor raises the possibility of charging for plugging in electric vehicles

Coun. Colin Plant said funds raised could help build EV infrastructure

Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibit returns to Royal BC Museum

Exhibit will feature award-winning photographers from around the world

Keep focus on helping Canadians at home, Trudeau tells MPs at start of meeting

Trudeau said the Liberals will offer Canadians hope amid issue like climate change and global tensions

Patriots make 3rd straight Super Bowl, beat Chiefs 37-31 in OT

New England will meet L.A. Rams in NFL title game

Pettersson returns to lead Canucks to 3-2 win over Red Wings

Vancouver’s super rookie has 2 points in first game back after knee injury

Support pours in for Vancouver Island couple whose home was destroyed by massive blaze

GoFundMe page reached $10,000 in one day for soon-to-be parents

Skaters stranded in Saint John, NB, amid storm on last day of championships

More than half of the flights out of the city’s airport were cancelled due to the weather

Call for tighter bail rules after Saudi sex-crime suspect vanishes

Mohammed Zuraibi Alzoabi was facing charges related to alleged sexual assault, criminal harassment, assault and forcible confinement of a woman

2019 Canadian Whisky Awards’ big winners announced

Awards held in conjunction with Victoria Whisky Festival

12 poisoned eagles found in Cowichan Valley

Improper disposal of euthanized animal suspected

Olympic softball qualifier to be held in B.C.

Tournament is to be held Aug. 25 to Sept. 1

Most Read