Before he founded Good Time Dave’s Fishing Charters, David Eves spent 10 years fishing off the west coast of Vancouver Island. As a result, he brings a vast knowledge of the water and extensive fishing experience to his trips, as well as a Transport Canada certification, marine first-aid training, and enthusiasm for his work. David chauffeurs patrons out onto the water on a 23-foot Sea Sport that seats four. The vessel aids amateur fishermen in their quest for the perfect catch with a variety of high-tech tools including a Lowrance colour sounder that uses sonar to locate areas with high concentrations of fish and a black box that infuses the water with an electrical current to attract salmon. While on an adventure, patrons can hunt and hook Pacific salmon and halibut, or enjoy the rocky surroundings and fill souvenir jars with crisp clean air.
The fishermen lay their catches out on the dock: a haul of meaty king salmon, halibut, and toothy ling cod. The guides of Reel Obsession Sport Fishing take out anglers all year to reap catches such as these, leading charters along Victoria and Vancouver Island into prime fishing waters such as Zeballos, Esperanza Inlet, and Nootka Sound. These spots teem with different species of salmon, depending on the season. During the spring and summer, trophy chinook and coho salmon flood the waters on their way to spawn in the river systems. Some years also bring pink salmon, distinguished by their humped backs and fondness for wearing pink sweatbands. Halibut also lurk beneath the salmon runs, with occasional lunkers known as barn doors reaching more than 200 pounds. In addition to outfitting guests for salmon and halibut fishing, they also have a scenic west coast lodge and guides can also take them out for crabbing, prawning, and on wildlife tours to see bald eagles, seals, and migrating whales.
Born in Victoria, John Chau grew up fishing for salmon in the Sooke area. Thirty years since he hooked his first fish, Chau now shares his expertise with fellow anglers through guided charters on his 25-foot Pursuit Cuddy boat. During the spring and summer, Chau’s clients hook chinook salmon anywhere between 15 and 50 pounds. Autumn brings coho salmon, and in the winter, feisty feeder chinook weighing between 4 and 12 pounds roam waters just minutes from the dock.
The Sooke area is typically calm year-round due to the lack of ground swell, and its teeming waters attract wildlife such as bald eagles, sea lions, and killer whales eager to gain a better reputation among fishermen.
To the knowledgeable and licensed staff at No Limit Charters, “Cool Change” means more than just the result of storing toonies in the freezer. This is, in fact, also the name of their 28-foot vessel, which departs Victoria Harbour daily for four- and eight-hour fishing charters. During these trips, anglers seek salmon and take advantage of regional bottom fishing with the help of two GPS sonar chart plotters, Shimano rods and reels, and Scotty down riggers. If nothing’s biting, crews still enjoy their cruises with tunes that stream from XM satellite radio.
Outer Island Expeditions' fleet of kayaks and boats safely cruises at speeds of up to 50 miles per hour through frothy crests ebbing amid the striking sights and wildlife of the San Juan islands. Venturing as far as 50 miles into Canadian waters, whale-watching excursions foster personal rapport between patrons and boat-side orcas, gray whales, or humpback whales trying to learn human etiquette for future espionage missions. Tours of Stuart Island's Turn Point lighthouse begin aboard a 22-foot Kodiak skiff, which buoys patrons through 16 miles of waters inhabited by sea lions and porpoises before they disembark and hike to the lighthouse's historical museum. Fishing charters set sail in search of ocean creatures and potable salt water from all of Outer Island Expeditions' four launch points: Smuggler's Villa Resort, Semiahmoo Resort, Lopez Island, and The Willows on Lummi Island.
Lang Nguyen sat at his cubicle, alternating between closing insurance deals and thinking about his next weekend fishing trip. Seeing how much her husband enjoyed being on the water—and recognizing there's only so much time to split between a job, a dream, and a family—Nguyen's wife encouraged him to turn his passion for aquatic adventure into a full-time career. He returned to work, took his office supplies out for a goodbye lunch, and then found a new cubicle aboard a 22-foot North River boat.
Today, Nguyen and his guides—all possessing at least 15 years of experience—lead anglers in search of sturgeon and salmon during fishing trips along the Fraser River's dramatic terrain. They also organize walk-and-wade trips to catch steelhead and trout with casting or fly tackle.
Still more of a fisherman than businessman at heart, Nguyen values the experience of being on the water above all else. He backs every full-day sturgeon trip with a catch guarantee, observing, "My competitors hate me because of that." He'll also reschedule clients' trips should conditions look unfavorable. Though he's experienced working with every level of angler, his favorite clients are the ones who have never caught a fish before and can't hide the excitement inspired by their first haul.