Under the eaves of a low-slung brown building set into the east side of Clover Point is a handmade sign that reads: “CLOVER POINT ANGLERS ASSOCIATION EST 1933.” From our house overlooking the Point it’s a building shrouded in mystery, from which it was months of living here before I saw anything leave or enter. When it did, it was a small aluminum skiff quickly rolling down the ramp and disappearing into the water, gone so fast you were left to wonder at the accuracy of your eyes. So when I saw a work party down by the building I knew I’d better waste no time and get down there to hear its story.
“The boathouse was built in 1933 (in the background: “You weren’t even conceived then!” “Heck no. My folks weren’t even married back then.”) In 1932, a big storm came through and washed away a number of private boathouses situated along the waterfront of what’s now Dallas Road. The City said: “What we’d like you guys to do is to form an association and we’ll contribute $200 towards the building of a boathouse and a ramp - the estimated cost was $800 at the time - and we’ll lease you a spot on Clover Point in perpetuity. Everybody except for one boathouse signed up for this - and eventually something else happened to his boathouse and he ended up joining the club. If you look over there between two apartment buildings you can see a green house - that was the original site of the meetings and that’s where the official registration of the club was out of, before they built this.
Now, the Point here looked a lot different back then. It was rocky like that [pointing to the shore adjacent to the boat launch] all the way up to here [where we’re standing], and originally the boathouse had railroad ties going all the way down to the water - people would launch from there. This used to drop off right into deep water. Back in the day there were even windows in the boathouse, because no one would break in. But times change. The boathouse has burned down twice - the last time in ‘78 maybe - and been rebuilt twice. We've had multiple cars come off the road and go into it - we were able to get the city to put the barriers up along the edge of the road to get cars to stop coming off and we haven’t had any issues since then.
So the club was started in 1933 - we’re one of one of the oldest angling clubs in British Columbia. And also, we’re very unique: We’re the only one I know of in BC where we have dryland storage of the boats and the boats go directly into the water. All the original members of the club lived in the Fairfield area, but that’s no longer the case because some of the members have moved out. To join the club you have to be a resident of the City of Victoria, Victoria proper - it’s restricted to that area. To get into the club you have to get in touch with me and get put on a waiting list. It’s strictly a fishing club - it’s not a sailing club, it’s not a canoeing club, it’s not a kayak club or anything like that. You have to fish every year; if you don’t, you get kicked out. It’s not like most marinas you go to where ninety percent of the boats never move - here, it’s 100% participation.
(In the background: “I got a 36.4 pound lingcod yesterday.”)
Which isn’t the biggest cod in the club, mind you - I know there was a 44-pounder caught a couple years ago.
(“I caught a 70-pounder, but it wasn’t in season so I brought it in here. And it was strange: I couldn’t get the thing in the boat and I had it in the net - it was just out here - and I came in and there was a guy standing there and I said, ‘Do you wanna see a big fish?’ He says, ‘Sure.’ So I said, ‘Gimme a hand!’ And so we pulled it up here and then one of these massive tourist busses came along and - I never got a picture of it - but they were all click click click, and then the fish swam away like a submarine...”)
Read more about the history of the club, the boathouse and the surrounding parks here.