How to choose a fishing charter on Vancouver island

Choosing the best Fishing Charters on Vancouver Island

How do you chose a fishing charter on Vancouver Island?

We would suggest you ask these questions:

1.What would you like to catch?

2.What is the experience of your guide?

3.What is the gear like on the boat?

4.Is the boat safe?

5.Does the boat have heat?

6.Is there rain gear for the guests?

7.Does the weather often affect the experience?

8.How good is the guide at giving instructions?

  1. What would you like to catch?

Most people want to come when the best fishing is. But often one type of fish is more important so its good to figure out what that is.

Here is an overview of the types of fish to catch on a fishing charter on Vancouver Island:

-Chinook(King) salmon are the most common salmon to catch in most parts of Vancouver Island and why we think BC actually has the best Chinook salmon fishing.

The feeder Chinook (King) are consider by some to be the best tasting and most versatile of 5 types of salmon;

Pro tip: Look for lots of photos.  If a fishing charter guide sells you on “good” fishing, his “good fishing” could be much different than your “good fishing” In Ucluelet good fishing is landing 8 nice Chinook  in a few hours.

The most common method of catching Chionok salmon on a fishing charter on Vancouver Island is by trolling.

-Halibut are often top on the list not always because eating but marketing. Even though we tell people halibut fishing is not as fun as salmon, they saw it on TV and have to experience it.

There are 2 most common methods of catching halibut. Trolling and bottom bouncing. Over the last 10 years most fishing charters on Vancouver Island anchor for halibut. You would be bottom bouncing if anchored and normally the halibut caught while on anchor are larger than while trolling.

-Coho salmon are good eating but we consider them bonus fish. Coho are normally smaller than Chinook but are still fun to bring in and are very good eating.

-Lingcod are found on the bottom and a very good eating white meat. Some like it better than halibut.

We have the best fishing times in Ucluelet here.

2.  What is the experience of the guide?

This is an important question to ask . Normally the experience of the guide will dictate how large your catch is at the end of the day.

There really is no substitute for experience. If a new guide is part of a larger guide team it can definitely help but is a question that needs to be asked.

We have had a few customers that wanted to try less expensive fishing charters and went  home with almost nothing. We were happy to welcome them back following year.

3. What is the gear like on the boat?

Good gear matters. If a guide doesn’t have at least 20 different tie-ups ready to go it is a red flag. Every so often a guide will have a favorite spoon that is beat up and still catching fish. But if all the gear is beat up that is a big red flag.

The condition of the flashers and gear should be near new. Rusted hooks will lose fish more often than not no matter how good the customer is with the rod.

4.  Is the boat safe?

This is a good question to ask. If you aren’t sure by looking at it than the answer may be no. A safe boat is a boat that has been well maintained, has all the necessary safety equipment. I

f your guide is high or inebriated that does not lend towards safety either. The ocean can be an unforgiving place and all senses need to be awake.

When you enter the boat ask about life jackets, non-expired flares, a whistle and a flash light.

5. Does the boat have heat?

This is a very important question for anyone fishing the west coast of Vancouver Island. The early mornings can be chilly and having a charter boat cabin with heat is a nice luxury to have. If there is a rainy day, heat is also essential in our opinion. One reason we chose boats with large cabins over Grady White type boats is that the elements on Vancouver Island are different from Florida and California.

6. Is there rain gear for the guests?

You would be surprised but some charters expect clients to bring rain gear in their suitcases just in case it rains. We can only speak for Ucluelet where it doesn’t rain that often during the summer, but when guests want check their fish as luggage on the return flight, packing lighter is a good thing.

7. Does the weather often affect the experience?

We are lucky that the fish have been close to shore the past few years which makes things easier should the wind come up. We are lucky as if you watch the weather forecast and conditions, Ucluelet often has the lightest wind.

If you are fishing northern Vancouver Island you should expect rain though I wouldn’t let rain discourage you from fishing. Wind plays a much bigger factor in our opinion.

You should also ask what the refund policy of the charter is in case of weather cancellation. We refund 90% of the charter fee due to weather since there is still some cost associated with having the guide ready to go and office staff.

8. How good is the guide at giving instructions?

I bet you won’t read this on many websites but unless you are a seasoned fisherman, good instruction can be key to your success and happiness when on a fishing charter.  

If a guide gets easily upset with you, don’t worry its him not you. Most people come fishing once or twice a year so won’t do everything perfectly. Good instruction can help you land a fish or end up  helplessly watching the fish swim away.

If you would like to read our Top 8 Questions about what makes a successful area, click here.

If you are interest in coming fishing, check out our fishing packages.

Below are some photos from our catches in 2023: