53-pounder wins the 45th annual Port Alberni Salmon Festival

Chilliwack's Dan Weatherby takes home the top 2016 prize with a 53-pounder.

Salmon Fest 2016 winner Dan Weatherby and his son

“Oh right on!” were the first words to come out of Dan Weatherby’s mouth when he learned he won the 2016 Port Alberni Salmon Festival with his 53.2-pounder.

The Chilliwack resident caught the salmon in his second-ever Salmon Fest entry on Saturday, Sept. 3 near Brady’s Beach in Bamfield. It’s the biggest fish to be caught in the salmon derby since 1991 and the fourth-largest in the festival’s 45-year history.

Along with his 11-year-old son Ty and friends Nelson MacMorran and Bruce Tierann, Weatherby wrestled in the 53-pounder (pictured below at right) using a Silver Horde Cookies and Cream spoon lure.

“The fight lasted for about half-an-hour. It was the biggest salmon I’ve ever caught,” said Weatherby.

“Rather than bringing the fish to the boat we were bringing the boat to the fish. It was pulling and pulling. It started pushing across the surface and I could see the tail on it and it just looked massive. It just kept taking off and then we thought we should chase it with the boat.”

They almost lost it in that half-hour fight.

“Nels missed it with the net on the first attempt and our hearts almost stopped!” Weatherby said with a laugh.

Weatherby, who’s only entered the derby once before, comes out fishing near Port Alberni a few times a year—but hasn’t ever caught a salmon near this size.

“Usually it’s coho between 8-14 lbs and then springs up to 20 lbs. I’ve done lots of fishing on the Fraser River but this one is going to stand out in my mind because it was just so big and so silver.”

But while $15,000 and the fame of catching the fourth largest derby winner ever is quite the prize, the best part of the festival for Weatherby was sharing it with his son Ty.

“The best thing was that my 11-year-old son Ty was with me so to experience that with him is going to be a lifelong memory for both him and myself,” said Weatherby.

“He said it’s the best summer adventure he’s ever had.”

reporter@albernivalleynews.com

facebook.com/albernivalleynews

twitter.com/alberninews

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

New seniors’ housing complex proposed for Port Alberni

Developers targeting more active seniors, offering ‘age in place’ model

Upgrade on the books for contentious intersection in Port Alberni

Province promises survey, changes at Beaver Creek and River Roads in 2021

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Sept. 20 to 26

Rabbit Day, Hobbit Day and One-Hit Wonder Day are all coming up this week

Family Farm Day in the Alberni Valley goes virtual

Take part in a scavenger hunt for a chance to win a gift basket

QUIZ: A celebration of apples

September is the start of the apple harvest

Young B.C. cancer survivor rides 105-km with Terry Fox’s brother

Jacob Bredenhof and Darrell Fox’s cycling trek raises almost $90,000 for cancer research

B.C. migrant, undocumented workers rally for permanent residency program

Rally is part of the Amnesty for Undocumented Workers Campaign led by the Migrant Workers Centre

Preparations underway for pandemic election in Saskatchewan and maybe B.C.

Administrators in B.C. and around the country are also looking to expand voting by mail during the pandemic

Nearly 20 per cent of COVID-19 infections among health-care workers by late July

WHO acknowledged the possibility that COVID-19 might be spread in the air under certain conditions

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Ferry riders say lower fares are what’s most needed to improve service

Provincial government announces findings of public engagement process

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

Comox Valley protesters send message over old-growth logging

Event in downtown Courtenay was part of wider event on Friday

Most Read