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Reflections On The Water

June 16, 2017 | 588 Views

With Father’s Day this weekend, it’s a reminder that we all have to take the time to get out and spend time with family, friends and of course, our fishing buddies. We hope you enjoy Deepwater Don’s article on a special Father Son fishing team he met on one of his fishing trips.

Paul Schaap with his father Dirk and a nice Salmon.

For a lot of us whose fathers are no longer here, this time of year evokes warm memories, but it can also awaken a latent desire to hear their voices or to simply see their shoes. For me and my fishing partner Bernie, memories of our fathers frequently play in our minds while we are on the water. Without those good men and their love of the outdoors, we may have never wet a line. So with that in mind, I want to tell you about Paul Schaap and his father, Dirk.

The first time I met Paul was three years ago when he was with his son Colin at The Clubhouse. Colin was on a break from studies in criminal justice and the varsity rowing crew at Northeastern University. And the most recent time I saw Paul was last August at the airport. He was on his way to North Island Lodge, and he was particularly thrilled about it because for the first time his father was going along too.  Dirk Schaap was 90-years old on that memorable morning when he firmly shook my hand in the south terminal. It was clear from the big smiles that this was a day they had eagerly awaited.

A fisheries biologist and accomplished environmental consultant, Paul is one of those people with a warm-spirited sincerity that comes as naturally as a yawn, the kind of guy who is more interested in asking people about their lives than to talk a moment about himself. Dirk left the same immediate impression on me, a most pleasant and intelligent man with a lot of energy for getting out there and doing stuff. The apple doesn’t fall far, as the old saying goes. Thinking back to his grandson Colin’s personable interactions with guests at The Clubhouse, it occurred to me that here was a superb example of the enduring effect of generation after generation of good parenting, and of setting an example of hard work and kindness in the every-day matters of life. Dirk had obviously done a very good job of raising his family, and it was wonderful to see him awaiting his just rewards on that day, wide-eyed with excitement about the adventure that lay ahead.

Destined for The Outpost, Bernie and I sat behind Paul and Dirk on the plane to Masset. I couldn’t hear much of their conversation, but I could see Dirk looking through the Flight Lines brochure that detailed what to expect on their fishing trip. I could see him pointing to things in the brochure, commenting and asking questions. It was as if their roles had reversed. It was Dirk’s turn to be the eager offspring, wanting to know everything there was to know about their vacation. “He can’t wait to get there,” I whispered to Bernie, who was likely thinking about how we had made this same journey with his father Stan just two years earlier.

In Masset, I checked with the meet and greet team to see if it might be possible for Dirk to have the co-pilot seat on the helicopter to Langara Island. Debbie, bless her heart, assured me that she could do it. Bernie took it all in with a wistful nod, recalling how I had made the same request for Stan, who we lost just months later.

Co-pilot Dirk is ready for take off!

Touchdown Langara Island! Dirk is ready to start his trip at North Island Lodge.

We watched them walk to the helicopter like a pair of kids headed to an amusement park ride. I could still see Dirk’s grin, and Debbie laughing at a wise crack he had obviously made as she helped him aboard. What a great feeling it was to later find out that their trip was everything they had hoped for.

“He absolutely loved the trip to Langara Island,” Paul told me in an email a couple of days ago. “He was amazed by the stunning views of the snow-capped mountains on the flight up, by the trees and shoreline of the island, and the wildlife that we experienced. Fighting so many Chinook was sensational, the bang-bang of the rod tip, ripping out line just when he had one to the side of the boat, and the excitement and relief of netting and boating his catch – the 90-year-old as a kid again! The staff treated him like a king. They knew his name, his preference of beer and wine, and made him feel super special.”

Dirk with a fish on the line.

Dirk enjoying a beer at North Island Lodge.

Friends, if at this point you are thinking that this story is destined for a sad ending, I’m afraid you are correct. Last week I shot a note to Paul to ask how his dad was and if they might be going back to Langara Island this summer. He said they could not. Dirk had received some bad news and is in declining health. In truth, I wasn’t surprised. Their trip last summer was so perfect that it smacked of the grandest of finales, one last altogether amazing journey for a father and a son. It was like the ending of an epic film about real people in real-life circumstances, right down to its poignant final scenes.

I have seen some amazing things on my watch with the Club, and not just the wonders of land and sea that captured Dirk’s imagination. I have also seen hearts meet in ways that rarely happen anywhere else. I have heard guests tell their own stories about these precious occurrences in the most compelling terms. But the sight of Paul and Dirk Schaap walking to the chopper may very well be the most satisfying of all my experiences in Haida Gwaii.

I told Bernie the news, reading aloud to him on the phone the words that Paul had typed in his email about Dirk. After a familiar moment of saying nothing, we discussed if perhaps now might be as good a time as any to get back up to the place where we can connect with the present and the past. And so this Monday, the day after Father’s Day, we will make our way back up north.

We still won’t be able to hear our fathers’ voices or see their shoes. But for now, those mystical waters are as close as we’ll get.

There are 5 comments on this post:


  1. Gary Hammond says:

    Great story about a great family. My brother-in Law is taking me next week and I’m also like a little kid. By the way I have the best Brother -in Law in the world. Thanks for sharing this story.

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  2. Mick Dalla-Vee says:

    Nice article Don

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  3. Judson Wells says:

    Deepwater Don and the WCFC Staff,
    I have salmon and halibut fished WCFC for many years and filled out as many feedback cards at the end of each trip. Attempting to add value to the next trip, I came up empty every time, because it’s hard to improve on perfection. However, after reading your articles after my May trip, I have finally realized what I have been missing for so many years. Your articles are captivating and for a brief moment, they put me back on the deck of the Clubhouse where I recall sharing the fishing stories of the day with new friends.
    Please continue the great work. I enjoy your articles and I hope to see you in July.

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  4. Andy Bigelow says:

    Thank you for writing such a heartfelt and compelling article. My two adult sons and I just returned last week from our first WCFC adventure and I am so thankful for the experience! My dad wasn’t able to join us but we are hopeful he can make the next trip.

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  5. Alan Wiggan says:

    Wonderful.

    So well written.

    I wish I had been able to fish with my father but it wasn’t’ to be. I treasure a picture of him from 1913 shooting salmon in the Farragut River in Alaska. It’s a helluva a way to fish but I’d love to have been there.

    Thank you for the story ~ looking forward to our trip to the Clubhouse next month.

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Short Notice Club View Dates!

2017 Pricing & Packages

Download Pricelist PDF
  • WCFC All-Inclusive Fishing4 Days/3 Nights5 Days/4 Nights
  • Self Guided Package
  • 19’ Boston Whaler & Standard Room
  • 2 guests per boat$4,960$5,270
  • Guided Package
  • 22’ Boston Whaler boat & Standard Room
  • 2 guests per boat$6,175$6,930
  • 3 guests per boat$5,735$6,335
  • Offshore Guided Package
  • 25’ or 27’ Boston Whaler & Standard Room
  • 2 guests per boat$6,655$7,570
  • 3 guests per boat$6,055$6,760
  • 4 guests per boat$5,743$6,345
  • Deluxe Offshore Guided Package
  • 29’ Boston Whaler & Standard Room
  • 2 guests per boat$6,715$7,650
  • 3 guests per boat$6,095$6,815
  • 4 guests per boat$5,770$6,385
  • Room Supplements
  • Standard Room$Incl$Incl
  • Ocean View Room$180$230
  • Single Room Supplement$310$410
  • Ocean View Room Supplement$410$540
  • Owner's Suite - Henslung Cove$510$690
  • Owner's Suite - Grange Point$770$1,025
  • Private Dining Room (for full trip)$770$1,025
  • Rates are per person based on double occupancy
  • Single rooms, ocean view rooms and owners suites are subject to availability
  • Private Dining Room is $250 per night based on availability
    Each package includes:
  • Flights from Vancouver to The Clubhouse (private charter & helicopter)
  • Luxury accommodations, guided fishing, gourmet dining, host bar including beer, liquor and wine
  • Custom fishing equipment & weather gear, fish cleaning, freezing and packaging for travel home
    Packages do not include:
  • Tax, fishing licenses, gratuities, beer on boats and custom fish processing
Inquire Online
Download Pricelist PDF
  • WCFC All-Inclusive Fishing4 Days/3 Nights5 Days/4 Nights
  • Guided Package
  • 22’ Boston Whaler
  • 2 guests per boat$5,545$6,450
  • 3 guests per boat$4,940$5,850
  • Rates are per person based on double occupancy
    Each package includes:
  • Flights from Vancouver to The Outpost (private charter & helicopter)
  • Luxury accommodations, guided fishing, gourmet dining, host bar including beer, liquor and wine
  • Custom fishing equipment & weather gear, fish cleaning, freezing and packaging for travel home
    Packages do not include:
  • Tax, fishing licenses, gratuities, beer on boats and custom fish processing
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Download Pricelist PDF
  • WCFC All-Inclusive Fishing4 Days/3 Nights5 Days/4 Nights
  • Guided Package
  • 24' Northwest$5,250$5,645
  • 21' EagleCraft$5,150$5,500
  • 18' EagleCraft$5,020$5,325
  • Self Guided Package
  • 18' EagleCraft$4,273$4,520
  • Rates are per person based on double occupancy
    Each package includes:
  • Flights from Vancouver to North Island Lodge (private charter & helicopter)
  • Luxury accommodations, guided or self-guided fishing, gourmet dining, host bar including beer and wine
  • Custom fishing equipment & weather gear, fish cleaning, freezing and packaging for travel home
    Packages do not include:
  • Tax, fishing licenses, gratuities, beer on boats and custom fish processing
Inquire Online
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