Nfld. & Labrador

After 58 years, a fisherman calls it a day — after landing one last giant catch

For more than half a century, Peter Marche has made his living on the water. Now he's going out in style.

For more than half a century, Peter Marche has made his living on the water. Now he's going out in style

Peter Marche, 70, and Colin Marche, 43, show off the 196-pound halibut they recently caught in Felix Cove. (SillyLobsterGrl/Twitter)

At the age of 13, Peter Marche bought his first lobster fishing licence for 25 cents.

He would get up in the morning, set up his lobster pots, and go to school. After school, it was time to return to the pots to see if anything was there.

It was a tough life, but he always had a passion for fishing.

"I used to dream about fishing," Marche said in a recent interview with CBC Radio's The Broadcast. "If I had to pay somebody to go fish I would have done it. That's how much I loved to be out there."

Fast-forward 58 years, and he is finally hanging up his oilskins and rubbers — after catching a 196-pound halibut.

It was, according to Chalsie Kook-Marche, the mayor of Port au Port West-Aguathuna-Felix Cove — and Peter Marche's daughter-in-law — the largest catch of the season.

Going out with a bang

Normally, Peter Marche wouldn't keep a fish this big because a smaller halibut is more desirable for restaurants and distributors.

"The only reason I kept that is … I wanted to end up with a big fish for my last day in the water," he said. "Usually I would let that go."

His wife, Eleanor Marche, was always there with him whenever he went out to fish but she died last year, at 64, of a rare lung disease.

Peter and Eleanor's son, Colin Marche, will be carrying on his father's legacy by assuming ownership of Peter's licences, and, like his dad, will continue fishing with his wife.

Peter has had his fair share of close calls in the water; he said he came close to dying five different times.

Once, his body temperature dropped to 84 F after his boat capsized. He was eventually saved by a search and rescue team.

He didn't think that he would have survived for this long.

"I survived 58 years, thank God."

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Rafsan is a news researcher with CBC Newfoundland and Labrador in St. John's.

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