Saanich’s Joel Levinson and his 10-year-old son Kai were among the 8,000 visitors from around Vancouver Island who visited the 24th annual Victoria Boat and Fishing Boat Show at Pearkes Recreation Centre last year. The show returns to Saanich Feb. 16 to 18. Saanich News File Photo

Victoria reels in boat and fishing show

Victoria Boat and Fishing Show at the Pearkes Recreation Centre Feb. 16 to 18

Fishing and boat enthusiasts will get a chance to catch the latest in marine and outdoor recreation when Saanich hosts the Victoria Boat and Fishing Show at the Pearkes Recreation Centre Feb. 16 to 18.

“It’s basically the boat and fishing show for Vancouver Island,” said Kevin Blackburn, who organizes the show for Canwest Productions.

Demographically, it attracts a wide range of individuals, said Blackburn, adding last year’s show drew 8,000 people over three days.

As in past years, the show features the newest boats on the market including centre consoles, fishing boats, luxury cruisers, sport and ski boats, sailboats, personal watercraft, paddle boats and boards. Visitors can also learn more about the latest fishing gear, marinas and boatyards, marine services and boating accessories.

Whether visitors are looking to buy fishing tackle or boats, they will be able to find it at the show, he said.

Visitors will also get a chance to check out the Sealegs Amphibious Craft, a sort of aquatic all-terrain vehicle. The 26-foot-long craft can accommodate between six and eight individuals.

“It’s not street legal, but it can be used for off-roading anywhere,” said Blackburn.

Users can drive the vehicle from its storage location down a boat ramp or beach into the water with occupants staying dry in the boat. Users can then retract the wheels into a position where they will remain completely out of the water, according to information from the company building the craft.

The unique craft will be among 60 boats and water-crafts on display during the show, which will feature 75 exhibitors, as well as educational seminars, appearances by boating personalities and demonstration areas.

Visitors will also be able to ‘catch’ their dinner at an indoor fishing pond stocked with some 200 to 300 trout, with the fishing fee included in the show admission. Visitors can also sharpen their aiming skills at an indoor air gun range with four shooting lanes.

This year’s show marks its 25th anniversary in continuing a long relationship with Saanich and Pearkes Recreation Centre. Blackburn said the centre offers several advantages. They include its location, size and parking.

Admission is free for women and children (under the age of 18). Seniors pay $7, while adults pay $9. In short, an entire family can attend the show for $9, said Blackburn.

“You really want to bring the whole family, when you might be buying a boat,” he said.

If visitors bring a non-perishable food item, they will get $2 off their tickets, with the money going towards Mustard Seed Street Church, which runs Vancouver Island’s largest food bank.

Doors open Friday, Feb. 16, at 1 p.m. with the show running until 8 p.m. that day. On Saturday, Feb. 17, doors open at 10 a.m. and close at 6 p.m. On Sunday, Feb. 18, doors open at 10 a.m. and close at 4 p.m.

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