Supporting our oceans helps create unforgettable moments for local youth like Jr., whose too cool for school vibe was weakened by his overly-excited old man behind the camera. (Andrew Bailey - Photo)

Behest of the West – Cherish our ocean and those who cherish it

My son caught a fish. Cue the overly enthusiastic parental gushing.

My son caught a fish. Cue the overly enthusiastic parental gushing.

With his two-year-old twin sisters aggressively losing their patience and showing every sign that they were at the crossroads of naptime and meltdown central, the clock was ticking and the pressure was on for Jr. to get on the board at the Thornton Creek Hatchery’s Bullhead Derby.

He’s cooler than me and received his two-minute warning calmly, opting to make a calculated position change rather than panic where he was planted.

Choosing a spot at the end of the dock, he put his hook in the water for what he knew was his last chance and, as I desperately cooed every last ounce of contentment I could out of Crimson and Clover, he proclaimed he’d caught one.

I smiled at his adorableness and ‘knowingly’ reached down to unsnag his hook off the bottom of the dock. I instead found it snagged in the lip of a fish he was reeling in and it took more than a few blinks for excitement to replace surprise.

“I caught a fish,” he said, breaking the perplexed silence we’d be sharing. “A real one.”

Sure, he picked the spot, caught the fish and reeled it in by himself, but I drove him there and helped him put his lifejacket on so I’ve, of course, etched my name deep on the moment’s metaphorical trophy and called everyone I know to tell them about it.

It was the biggest fish caught at the derby and it netted Jr. his very own fishing rod. Not just any fishing rod either, but one garbed with a picture of Iron Man and lights up at the push of a button.

Needless to say he’s stoked to use it and his expectations are now sky high that every fishing day leads to glory and prizes. After wrapping him in ecstasy and making his wildest dreams come true, the ocean’s about to teach him an important lesson about disappointment and perseverance. These moments and teachings our ocean shares with us don’t just help us raise our tourism profile, they help us raise good kids.

So too do the people and organizations that put their energy into protecting it and perpetually restore the strength of its offerings. Cherish it and cherish them.

Opportunities to assist are in abundance.

The Thornton Creek Hatchery does so much more than host impeccable events, it’s been replenishing our fishing supply since 1976. Reach out to them at 250-726-7566 and find a way to get involved.

The Central Westcoast Forest Society would love to take you out to its salmon habitat restoration projects and teach you how to help out. Let them know you’re keen to pitch in by sending them an email at

You worked hard to earn your spot in this paradise. Get out there and help it make dreams come true.