MP John Duncan

MP John Duncan finally makes it into the club

There was nothing conservative about John Duncan’s catches

What’s harder, getting elected or becoming a member of the Tyee Club?

Better ask John Duncan. After years of angling, the veteran North Island MP finally earned his Tyee pin, not once, but twice in a span of 12 hours.

“I got a shiner at the Friday night fights,” Duncan joked just after landing his second big chinook.

The party whip could barely contain a less-than-conservative grin after registering back-to-back salmon in Campbell River’s world-famous Tyee Pool.

They’re not his first “shiners,” but both were club qualifiers weighing in at 34 and 30 pounds respectively; you can only become a club member by catching a salmon more than 30 pounds, on a single barbless hook, using 20-pound test line or less, and from a rowboat.

“I’ve fished quite a few years in there…the best was only 27,” he said as he shook hands at the Howie Meeker Golf Classic.

That changed Friday night in what has been a very good year in the waters just off the Tyee Spit.

Rowed by realtor and former city councillor Roy Grant, Duncan was joined by his wife Donna Richardson when he hooked into a fairly big fish around 8:25 p.m. Half an hour later, the 34-pounder was in the boat.

“A good fight,” he said with a nod.

It was the last Tyee of the day and one of seven registered that day at the club.

Figuring to strike again while “the iron is hot” Grant, Duncan and Tim Daniels set out at first light Saturday.

It didn’t take long before Duncan’s rod tip bent over again. After a fairly easy 15-minute tug-o-war, the politician had his second large chinook in the rowboat.

“Same rod, same side of the boat, same everything,” Duncan said enthusiastically.

It was also on the same plug, a special lure made by the late Brian Isfeld, a friend to both Grant and Duncan.

“It’s caught 10 Tyees!” the MP boasted.

Grant wasn’t sure the second would qualify, but it just weighed in a titch over 30 pounds and Duncan was on the board with back-to-back Tyees in the club record book which dates back to 1924.


Fishing bites:


  • Fishing is hot in the Tyee Pool. Seven chinook salmon were registered last Friday at the Tyee Club and another three on Saturday, Duncan’s included. Anglers, such as Duncan receive “bronze buttons” for catches over 30 pounds, but under 40.
  • As of Monday, 24 Tyees have been registered this season at the Tyee Club.
  • Mike Gage is the leader with his historic 61.5-pounder caught on Aug. 11. It was the first Tyee over 60 pounds to be caught in 30 years.
  • The last 60 pounder was caught Aug. 13, 1983 by Tammy McConkey who was rowed to her catch by Ken Enns. On Friday, Enns was fishing in the Tyee Pool, rowed by Ken Marr, when he landed a 40.5 chinook, his first Tyee of the season.