I’m Curtis Smith, owner of Coastal Wilderness Adventures a Saltwater and Freshwater fishing charter company in Campbell River. We have just finished our 21st season in business.
Not only is my fishing charter a business to sustain my family and the families of my guides, it’s also a passion. My passion for recreational fishing is what led me to this career and is something that myself and my family enjoy outside of just chartering. It’s a way of life for many in Campbell River and of course BC. Having access to nature, fish, wildlife, mountains and so much outdoors that BC has to offer is ingrained in my being. Keeping these things pristine and healthy is important.
For my entire career I’ve always known there is science at play, but it’s really only the last few years that myself and others in the industry are really paying attentions to how important the science really is. Governments need and must use the science for decisions that impact these fisheries. Getting involved the science by collecting real world rec sportfishing data is something I had to get behind. These last few years, I have been jumping into the log books, collecting DNA samples and tagging salmon and this has been a big part of what we do with guests. Over our 21 years we’ve always had fish we’ve had to release or chose to release. Many of us in the industry have developed slick methods for a safe release – even with getting a picture for guests – so that the fish swim away healthy and strong to go on their journey. Now, with parts of the south coast under catch and release rules only for parts of the season, we really wanted be involved in any program of tagging released fish to show the very low mortality rate of professional charter operations. It’s been an honour for sure to be a part of what PSF and BCCF are doing with their PIT tag programs.