Salmon in Sooke

1975 – 1979 Victoria B.C. I was building a furniture store in Victoria,  At Quadra and McKenzie. Some friends I had met, the owners of among others, The Harbour Towers Hotel, Downtown Victoria, were building a major office building, and I made a deal to develop the main floor retail area. I needed a storefront for Scandinavian Imports Victoria. There I added a nice gift shop, the rest was rented out to a butcher, a hairdresser, a coffee shop and a few smaller shops.

When in Victoria I therefore stayed at their place, at a very good price, the Harbour Towers . This morning I got up at 4 AM and drove out to Sooke, as I sometimes did,  where I had my boat in a friends yard. My friends were Per Amli, and his wife Ragnhild, he worked for a forestry company there. I don’t think I woke them up, just hitched the boat on, and drove to the Sooke Harbour.

My boat was a 18′ Norwegian build FjordWing, with a 6 cyl. Volvo gas, with three carburetors, this was way before the gas shortage. She could do 55 knots with 2 men on board, both standing up and holding on very tight, or you fly right overboard. On the way out Sooke Harbour  you have to watch for the spit, a sandbar crossing the outher harbour, and not always visible.

I went outside and south to Secretary Island, a smaller rock faced islet, with stong currents, and good fishing. It could be known under other names. I set two deep trollers, and two surface lines. It was fairly windy, and uncomfortable in the waves. In addition I had broken my foot in a soccer game a week earlier, and had a cast up yo the hip on my right foot. This I had covered well with plastic garbage bags.

The reels started screaming, fish on, I was alone, salmon on three lines, windy, big waves, wow, what a game. I moved from rod to rod, pulling in, kept on the steering as good as I could, up against the wind,  not to get the lines on the prop. Some reels screamed when the salmon ran the lines out, the lines crossed, I knew that would happen. I got one in, and another, lines out again, another fish on. No other boats around, fish on every line, just the way I liked it.

About 6 AM I started on the way home, I had four big Tyee Salmon, as keepers, the non keepers don’t count, all between 12 and 18 lbs., that was my limit. I was  soaking wet, exhausted, and satisfied. By the time I got back to the Hotel it was breakfast time. I brought the salmon to the chef in the kitchen, you should have seen his face, it was worth the whole trip.

I showered, with garbage bags on my cast, had breakfast, drove to the site where we build the store. A few of the gays were there, not started to work yet, waiting for me. I told them what I had done that morning, while they were still sleeping. I don’t think they believed me.

But I have the memories, they can’t take them away from me.

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