Kelly Aspinall of Nanoose Bay

Selling boats, giving back to the community

Fishing derby set for this summer June 15-20, proceeds go to the Mid Vancouver Island Habitat Enhancement Society (MVIHES)

Parksville Boathouse likes to believe it is not just a top-seller of watercraft in the world — they are part of the fishing community.

To that end, the company that says it’s the biggest Kingfisher boat dealer in western North America — and the world’s biggest off-shore dealer — is a natural to host the Big Coast Fishing Derby June 15-20.

“We pride ourselves in being the fishing experts on Vancouver Island,” said sales manager Jes McFarlen. “We’re the go-to place for tackle and fishing supplies and boats.”

Some of the Kingfisher boats sold at Parksville Boathouse cost up to $450,000. But it’s not just the big-ticket items that bring customers back.

“When people come here they don’t realize what we are about,” said McFarlen. “All of us are boaters here and all of us are committed to the fishing community.”

And the community in general. Last year, the first derby generated $1,000 in proceeds for the Mid Vancouver Island Habitat Enhancement Society (MVIHES), which will receive the proceeds from the derby again this year.

“In the past we have also supported the Pacific Salmon Foundation and the Marion Baker Hatchery — we’re just trying to spread the love,” said McFarlan. “They (MVIHES) are very active in the community in stream enhancement and public awareness — they are the hands on the ground.”

Parksville Boathouse is also the driving force behind the TV show, Big Coast, which airs Saturdays at noon on Sportsnet and Sundays at 12:30 p.m. on CHEK-TV. Some of the Boathouse staff will be aboard a 27-foot Kingfisher during the derby to help film an episode of the show.

The Parksville Boathouse Big Coast Fishing Derby is a little different than other similar competitions. It happens over six days and is not limited by geography. However, if you want to enter your catch, you have to make it back to Parksville Boathouse to weigh it in before 5 p.m. on the day you caught the fish (4 p.m on the last day of the derby, Saturday, June 20). You also must register and pay for your ticket ($20/rod) at Parksville Boathouse before the first day of the derby, Monday, June 15.

“The logistics of the derby are different than other derbies,” said McFarlen.

The first-place prize this year for the largest chinook salmon (that is the only saltwater species in play for the derby this year) is a Yamaha high-thrust 9.9 power tilt motor worth more than $4,000. There is also a prize for the largest freshwater fish caught during the derby, an $1,100 Yamaha F2.5.

All contestants must be properly licensed and follow all regulations for openings, etc.

Parksville Boathouse, owned by Mike Evans and Greg Reimer, is located on Springhill Road off Church Road just outside Parksville. It is open from 8:30 a.m. to

5 p.m. Monday through Saturday. You can call them at 250-947-9666 or visit their website, www.parksvilleboathouse.com.

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