The experts say this is the best fishing year the Parksville Qualicum Beach region has seen in 25 years.
These same experts also have everything you need — and some stuff you may not have thought about — to help you take advantage of this bounty local waters are giving up this summer.
“The last five years it’s been climbing exponentially and this year is probably the best they’ve seen in over 25 years, for all species,” said Robert Van Pelt, the assistant store manager at Pacific Net and Twine (1380 Alberni Hwy).
The store is huge — about 8,000 square feet — and packed with seemingly everything a commercial or sport fisher would need, from huge commercial purse nets to small hooks to crab and prawn traps. Pacific Net and Twine is owned by the Nakashima family, and has three locations: Steveston, Parksville and Prince Rupert. Parksville has had a store for 30 years, the last 28 at the Alberni Hwy location.
“We supply people everywhere, from California to Alaska,” said Van Pelt, stepping in for this interview for store manager Shane Gallop.
Honey Shepheard and Mark Hewison have been working at the current location since it opened 28 years ago. Shepheard was asked what changes she’s seen to both the commercial and sport fisheries over the years and how Pacific Net and Twine services them.
“We’re twice as big and we deal with way more sports,” said Shepheard. “It was basically commercial when we started. And now, there are less (commercial) fishermen and more government control.”
Hewison deals mostly with the nets and they don’t exclusively build them for the water. Hewison said he also builds nets for sports groups like soccer, hockey and lacrosse clubs.
Right now though, much of the staff’s time is centred around helping people take advantage of the red-hot salmon sport fishery in the Georgia Strait off the coast of the Parksville Qualicum Beach. The pink salmon are running now, the Cohos are usually here September-October (but are showing up now) and there was a 43-pound Chinook caught off French Creek last week.
So, we asked, what’s hot, what’s on the end of the rods that are catching these salmon currently.
Van Pelt said the “No. 1 killer this morning” is a hot pink TKO spoon about 28 inches behind a plaid, purple haze flasher.
With the walls and aisles packed with everything fishing, Pacific Net and Twine is clearly the place to stop before you hit the water, be it salt or fresh, commercial or sport.
“We do business with all sectors — sport, aboriginal and commercial,” said Van Pelt. “Head to toe, we’ve got it all.”
Pacific Net and Twine (250-248-6953) is open Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. You can see them on the ‘net at www.pacificnetandtwine.com.