An effort to educate people on the proper techniques for ethical catch-and-release fishing has turned into a sponsorship arrangement for a 16-year-old Smithers angler.
While fishing on the Kitimat River several months ago, Marcus Kilb was appalled to see what basically amounted to abuse of a Chinook salmon.
Kilb took video of a man dragging the fish up on the shore where it flopped around on the rocks while the angler took pictures. Eventually, the man returned the salmon back to the river, but Kilb did not think it would survive.
He did not believe the man was being malicious, which inspired Kilb to create a video.
“It’s tough because there’s a lot of people that go out and I feel like they’re just not properly informed,” he said. “It’s not an easy system to go through the fishing regs and whatnot, but it’s kind of our responsibility as fishermen to do that and it’s frustrating because the salmon populations are dwindling and every year the fishing gets harder and it’s just kind of sad to watch.”
In the video posted to “kilb Outdoors,” the young Smithereen’s YouTube Channel, he goes through, step by step, how to catch, land, remove the hook, ethically take a picture and maximize the animal’s chance for survival.
That video garnered him close to 4,000 views.
And it, as well as subsequent videos, caught the attention of the Bulkley Valley Rod and Gun Club (BVRGC).
“The BV Rod and Gun Club became aware of these videos and were very pleased with the educational component that Marcus is engaged in,” said Brian Atherton, a BVRGC director and former president, in an email to The Interior News.
The club approached Kilb with a sponsorship proposal to assist and support him in continuing his video productions.
“It was a pretty cool opportunity,” Kilb said. “It’s kind of nice to be able to represent somebody.”
The club is happy about it too.
“The BVRGC is pleased that a young person is following his passion for fishing while at the same time educating and entertaining the public in the need to enjoy, protect and preserve the wonderful outdoors that we are so known for in the Bulkley Valley,” Atherton continued.
The videos themselves are definitely both educational and entertaining. Kilb’s knowledge and skills belie his young age and his natural charisma and enthusiasm combined with fast-paced editing is engaging for viewers of all ages.
The club believes the partnership will help it engage with more people, particularly among the younger generation.
“We really need to engage with the youth who are going to inherit all of the responsibility for managing our fish and game resources,” said Dave Hooper, current BVRGC president and a long-time fishing and hunting guide. “We need to go out and enjoy the outdoors, but we also have to take real steps to preserve and protect what we have. Partnering with Marcus is absolutely a step in the right direction.”
The BVRGC also partnered with three Smithers businesses, McBike and Sport, Outdoor Essentials and Oscar’s Source for Adventure to give Marcus a gift certificate for $150 at each of the stores.
For his part, Kilb’s videos now sport the BVRGC logo and he will do product reviews as a segment in future videos.
“I really enjoy going to Oscar’s Fly and Tackle and have a close relationship with them I’d like to say, and McBike and Outdoor Essentials as well so it really works out perfectly,” Kilb. “It’ll be cool to review some of their stuff.”
The Youtube channel was a marriage with another passion of Kilb’s, photography and videography.
“That and my love for the outdoors, and fishing and hunting as well, kind of formed into this channel,” he explained, adding he’d love to turn it into a career some day.