TYEE TALES – Lois Herkes

Sometimes not following the rules can cost you a trophy.

It was 1971 and my son was a first year guide at Painter’s Lodge. When an Uncle came to visit, my son offered to take him out in a rowboat and show him about Tyee fishing, well low and behold they landed a 30lb. fish.

That evening he asked if I would like to go out along with his nine-year-old brother. We got settled in and left from Painter’s wharf heading for Frenchman’s pool. Suddenly my son turned the boat around and headed back to the dock because for some reason my younger son felt that the net we had was not large enough, and wanting to keep him happy, my elder son complied with getting the larger net.

Finally it was time to fish! My nine-year-old son had fly fished for trout and Coho but was not very familiar with a star drag reel. A fish hit and the line went zinging out and out. “Tighten the drag” was yelled, instead it was loosened- zing zing went more line. My son, the guide, reached over and tightened the drag. 1st mistake!

After about 20 minutes the nine-year-old asked me to take the rod, Mistake #2. I lasted about 3 minutes and handed the rod back. Suddenly things got hectic! The guide started yelling at us, “keep your tip up, pump the rod, change seats, duck your head, sit in the bottom of the boat, move to the other side, you’re tipping the boat, move to the bow, don’t move, get back to your seat.”

Finally the fish was near enough to be landed. The guide leaned over and netted it, the fish however had other plans and proceeded to get out and continue the battle. Another 20 minutes of up and down, duck, change seats etc. Finally after 50 minutes the fish was in the bottom of the boat and I was sitting backward on the guide’s knees- we never knew how that happened. We motored over to where the boy’s father was fishing to show him the fish. He and his guest said it was probably in the forties.

Back at Painter’s wharf we weighed the fish- 55lbs. All the nine-year-old could think about was to enter the fish into the Victoria Colonist derby. Off we went to the Rustic Motel, as it was one of the only places to enter. The scale only went to 50lbs. The owner of the motel, John Ebert, quickly took the fish to the scales at the Tyee Club- 551/2 lbs. The 3rd mistake was that he was not registered, nor was his Uncle.

The next day the line was tested and broke at 11 lbs. The fish would have been the largest registered that year if a few mistakes had not been made.

These would have been the young guide’s first two registered Tyee. He learned some valuable lessons that day. He is now the President of the Tyee Club!