Despite having access to the boundless imagination that most ten year olds are privy to, young Charlie Hoffman likely had no idea what he was getting into when he boarded my boat for a fishing trip the other day. We mustn't fault him. In all of Charlie’s secret dreams in the weeks leading up to his vacation even he couldn’t prepare himself for the adventure that lie ahead.
Shortly after daybreak Charlie and his family showed up at the marina wearing broad grins, their eyes twinkling with anticipation. Their excitement was contagious and I couldn’t help but smile as I assisted Charlie, his mother and grandpa aboard the boat.
After stowing their gear I gave them a quick safety orientation and showed them where the lifejackets and fire extinguishers are kept. When I finished the orientation I turned to mom and grandpa and told them to make sure they pay close attention to the captain. “The captain is always the boss” I told them, “so be sure to follow his orders. No exceptions!”
With that I turned to Charlie and asked him to hold out his left hand.
His arm shot out immediately, not wanting to risk offending the captain so early in the adventure. I reached into my pocket, pulled out the keys to the boat, and dropped them into Charlie’s outstretched fingers. Looking him straight in the eye I gave him a firm salute, told him to take good care of the passengers, and promptly jumped onto the dock and walked away.
Charlie and his mother let out an audible gasp behind me as I made a show of departing the marina. Finally, just as I reached the bottom of the gangplank Charlie yelled “WAIT! WAAAAAAAAAAAIT!!!”
I spun around and yelled back to him, “WHAT IS IT?”
“I DUNNO HOW TO DRIVE THE BOAT!”
I shook my head and muttered under my breath as I made an equal show of strutting back to the boat. In one smooth motion I jumped aboard, grabbed Charlie by the arm and steered him towards the helm.
Charlie learned how to fire up the boat, cast off the lines, and point the bow towards the horizon. As we roared off from the harbour and into the depts of Clayoquot Sound the kilowatts that his ten year old brain was cranking out gave an electric crackle to the air.
So began Charlie’s indoctrination to the world of professional swashbucklery.
From then on the day was filled with one unimaginable adventure after another. When we finally returned to the dock later that afternoon, Charlie was exhausted. He’d chased whales and screamed “THAR SHEEEE BLOWWWWS!” until his throat was raw. He sent his fishing lure into the depths and cranked up one mysterious fish after another. He’d witnessed eagles swoop down from the treetops to snatch fish from the sea close enough to feel the beat of their great wings. And he had hammered the throttles and cranked the wheel of the boat from left to right and back again a thousand times until his young heart nearly leapt out of his chest with the rush of adrenaline.
After cleaning our catch and taking a parting picture to remember the day Charle and his family thanked me for sharing some of the magic of this great area with them. The pleasure, I said, was most definitely mine.
The Hoffman’s left the marina that afternoon with even more enthusiasm than when they had arrived. On his way out, Charlie climbed to the top of the gangplank, twirled, straightened his back, and shot me a firm salute before galloping around the corner. As I write this, I can’t help but imagine that I’ll be seeing that kid again.
As Charlie found out, April promises wonderful fishing. Salmon and halibut prowl offshore waters and provide exciting sport for anglers of all skill levels. No experience? No problem! Tofino is blessed with a wonderful compliment of captains well versed in a myriad of techniques for beginners and experts alike. If you’re looking to add a level of adventure to an already exhilarating Tofino trip, a full or half day saltwater fishing adventure is highly recommended, and Charlie approved.
Freshwater fishing continues to create headlines this month as well. Steelhead fishing on fly and light tackle via helicopter should be considered one of Tofino’s most coveted experiences. Casting to giant, wild sea-run rainbow trout in pristine rivers with fly and light tackle and watching an eager fish rise from the depths to snatch your offering is a defining moment for any angler. Be sure to visit our booking office and inquire about our many freshwater fishing itineraries for those looking for a fly-out wilderness adventure.
- Captain Josh Temple