Sunday, 19 March 2017

Victoria Saanich-Inlet Anglers Association

I went over to talk with Jack James, Mr. Radiant Lures himself, the other day, and left with a sack-full of images, lures, photocopies, and etc., detailing Saanich Inlet sport fishing over the decades. This included images of an original copy of the VSIAA’s club booklet, this one from 1931-1932. The booklet would have been a minimum of 36 pages, so a pretty impressive publication and record of Saanich Inlet.

These days I am viewing a zoomed digital image on my iMac 27 inch, high RAM computer with Bluetooth and WIFI, for making digital movies with Premiere Pro, the Hollywood level editing software, and transcribing the information to Word on my day-to-day PC Acer computer, with an iPad on the side to show people things and send WIFI images anywhere on the globe. All digital images taken with my 18.1 Megabite, SLR Canon Camera.

In those days, high-tech was the VSIAA paper booklet. See image: 

In 1931 – 1932, the honorary president was The Hon. J.W. Fordham Johnson, Lieut-Governor of BC. The rest of the executive included: President: EL Tait; First Vice-President: George L. Warren; Second Vice-President: JA Danes, along with the most important guys, the: Investigations and Tackle Committee: WJ Halliday, Len V Holyoak, WB Christoper, KB Wilson, Dr. Hugh Clarke and T Dickenson. The Secretary-Treasurer was Harold Palmer, from the Chamber of Commerce, Victoria. 

Here is one story from the magazine:


“That may not sound absolutely correct, but having aroused your curiosity, I might as well continue, and tell of the airplane flight taken by several of our Saanich Salmon last year. The story runs as follows:– 

“Out of a clear sky swooped a modern up-to-the-minute airplane, and landed at Lansdowne Airfield. The pilot was Mr. Harold Crary (Director of Advertising and News Service of the United Airlines), who had business to transact in Victoria. 

“It appears that the visitor had heard of the wonderful fishing that the Inlet offers, and expressed a desire to try his luck. So after the business for which he came was completed, arrangements were made by Mr. George I. Warren, our publicity commissioner, for a fishing trip the following morning. 

“The party consisted of Hugh Creed (the well-known boatman), Mr Crary, and the genial George I., who acted as host. They got away to an early start at 6 a.m. and fortune favoured them, for by 7 a.m. they had caught the day’s limit of ten salmon.

“The visitor was highly elated with the success of the morning’s fishing, but expressed his surprise at the lack of advertising we gave to this wonderful stretch of water. He said that he woud surely have some story to tell his friends on his arrival in Chicago, which was his destination, but doubted whether or not they would believe him. 

So one of the party suggested that he take the evidence along with him, and sure enough eight of the fish were suitably packed and stowed away on board the aircraft in time for the departure at 11 a.m. the same morning.

“The aircraft, pilot and fish arrived in Chicago in almost record time, and the salmon were served at a repast in honor of Mr. Crary.”

Please note that I have transcribed the text as is, and have not made any changes. I am sure interested to know what kind of plane Crary had in 1932, what kind of speed was attained and what kind of hopscotching had to be made, to get back to Chicago - many airports not existing in those days. My dad, for instance, flew his WWI Tiger Moth from Bracebridge Ontario to Victoria some years past and it was a week-long perilous journey and epic tale.

And is Lansdowne Airfield the current location of the Victoria airport? Or on Lansdowne Dr. in Victoria:

And hold onto your shorts, the largest fish of 1931/32, taken June 12, weighed 53.5 pounds, caught by Roy Thompson, of Victoria. I would bet this was one of the, then, much larger stock of what we call Columbians these days that migrate up to the Merritt area to spawn. And to think that today we are in Zone 1 of the Summer 4-2 and 5-2 dwindled stocks from the same area. It is sad that DFO – in Ottawa – hasn’t done its job.

I have lots of info from Jack for many more posts on the history of Saanich Inlet angling. All the rest of you out there with stories, memories and images – and you know who you are – do send them along so we can get this down on the Cloud forevermore (unless Donald Trump thinks it’s a fake news Cloud and scrubs it from the universe). Please send your stuff to: If you have stories of any of the people on the VSIAA Council, send them along, too.

Here is one more image from the VSIAA magazine. It is self explanatory. Zoooom it if you can't read the text:

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