The Last Day, the Last Blue

Dave Holts, off Ucluelet, British Columbia. On Wednesday, July 25, we arrived at the fishing grounds at about 10:00 a.m. We baited and set 72 hooks out for 1.5 hours. But, after we reeled in the line, we only caught 3 small sharks, none large enough to put a SPOT tag on. The second set included 63 hooks and resulted in 13 more small sharks. We still needed to catch one more blue shark over 6 feet long. At the end of the day, we anchored 13 miles off Bartley Sound. After we anchored, a couple of the crew from the Neocaligus began sport-fishing, and caught 5 coho salmon. Yeah! Fresh salmon for dinner.
Thursday dawned with flat calm seas, clear skies and a great expectation to catch our last big blue shark. It was just a short run to our fishing spot where we set out 72 hooks for a two-hour soak. Zero catch. No fish! Nothing! OK, Patience! After all, we are fishing. And every fisherman knows that patience is the key to fishing’s good luck. It’s a long run back to Ucluelet, so we did only one set today. On the way in Sandy caught a nice halibut at a local bank. OK, fresh halibut for dinner.
At 4:30 a.m. on Friday, we headed back to the fishing grounds. The weather was good again. We had only one more chance to catch our last 6 foot shark. We set out 71 hooks for another two-hour soak. We had caught 5 small blues with only three more hooks in the water when Doug Bray hollered out: “It’s a huge shark”. Yes, we caught our last large blue on the next to last hook on the last day and last set of the trip. What a relief! Patience almost always pays off. I wasn’t worried at all. Actually I had expected to catch exactly the shark we wanted on the last hook. With that we headed directly for Nanaimo where we would depart the Neocaligus and her fantastic crew.

It took us a day and a half to return to Nanaimo, through the Strait of Juan de Fuca and the Strait of Georgia where the views of the shoreine are nothing less than spectacular.

Many thanks to my new friends and colleagues Sandy McFarland and Jackie King for sharing this experience. Many thanks also to the captain and crew of the Neocaligus for their exceptional expertise in making this blue shark project a safe and totally successful endeavor.

Roger Williams (Captain)
Doug Bray
Darren West
Doug Robialliard

Best wishes, smooth seas and good fishing. -- Dave Holts