We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.
The latest reviews. The lowest prices. The perfect place to shop for hotels.

“A day of fishing and knowledge” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Always Catchin' Fishing Charters, LLC

Always Catchin' Fishing Charters, LLC
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: Always Catchin’ is a fully licensed and insured guide service providing Salmon, Steelhead and Sturgeon fishing trips on the Columbia and Willamette Rivers, from Portland to the Johnday River. Guided Fishing Trips Make great gifts and an excellent adventure for family and friends.
North Clarendon, Vermont
Level Contributor
7 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“A day of fishing and knowledge”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 28, 2013

We had the pleasure of spending the day with Jess fishing for salmon on the Columbia River. Not only did he put us on fish but he also explained the mysterious cycle of salmon and how this precious animal affects the NorthWest. It's the efforts like Jess that make sport fishing available and help disseminate valuable information about the hatchery programs and the fate of the salmon.

Visited August 2013
Review collected in partnership with this attraction

Helpful?
Thank 777jan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jess Z, Owner at Always Catchin' Fishing Charters, LLC, responded to this review, December 19, 2013
Thanks for the review on Tripadvisor. We sure enjoyed have you spend the day with us on the Columbia River. hope you come aging soon!
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

27 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    22
    3
    0
    1
    1
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Herndon, Virginia
Level Contributor
240 reviews
22 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 74 helpful votes
“Good choice for a local guide.”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 17, 2013

Booked a half day charter with Always Catchin' for sturgeon fishing with my spouse. Had a great morning. When we met Jess he said " absolutely we'll catch fish". I had heard that before from other charter captains, but Jess is the first one who truly lived up to the promise. Within 15 to 20 minutes from leaving the dock we were anchored in position and had fish on the line. We caught 20+ sturgeon that morning. Jess is a good guide/captain, he is calm, explains the fish and fishing well and handles to boat confidently. Also, he lives right in the area and loss to talk about his home town and home waters. His prices are reasonable.

Visited August 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank ontheroadforgci
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jess Z, Owner at Always Catchin' Fishing Charters, LLC, responded to this review, December 19, 2013
Hi guys, I really enjoyed having you guys come out fishing with me this last summer! I hope your trip went well and thank you so much for the great review of Tripadvisor.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
“Always catchin'”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 15, 2013

Went for half a day and had the best time! Caught chinook and steelhead, so worth it! Best charters, best value!!! Keep catchin'

Visited August 2013
Helpful?
Thank bulgarian18
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jess Z, Owner at Always Catchin' Fishing Charters, LLC, responded to this review, December 19, 2013
I am so glad you guys had a good time on the river. Thanks for coming out and I hope you enjoyed the fish.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Phoenix, Arizona
Level Contributor
6 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
“A fishing charter that truly, accurately lives up to its name--and exhaustingly so!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 12, 2013

I want to once more thank Jess Zerfing and Always Catchin’ for just an amazing time out on the ‘Gorge on June 4, 2013. I cannot recommend him enough to anyone considering doing any fishing in the area.

I had scheduled a multi-day stay for fun in the Columbia River Gorge area and one of the main things I knew I wanted to do (as I like to do in just about any new area I visit), was go fishing. Unfortunately, the listings for fishing charters on TripAdvisor for the area are pretty scant or kind of disorganized, so I was forced to rummage through the Internet search listings for options. I basically stumbled upon three different charters, one of which was Always Catchin’, and e-mailed all three separately with some basic questions (what do they fish for that time of year, charter cost, will they pick me up, do they accept single charters, etc., etc.). Of the three, the biggest (or at least most heavily advertised) charter service did not even bother to respond. Always Catchin’ was one of the two that did. In his reply e-mail Jess was informative, enthusiastic and, most importantly to me, answered all of my questions. He offered to pick me up not too far from where I was staying, take a credit card to reserve my place, and he even invited me to call him directly in case I had more. While I didn’t book right away (as it was still a few months out), I knew thatjust because of his responsiveness and service, in all likelihood I would be going with Always Catchin’. And when it came time to book about a month or so out, Jess was just as helpful and accommodating with booking me over the phone and my latest questions.

The main thing about Captain Jess is that he is truly a professional. Even though I was only booking for me, and even though (on that Tuesday) it ended up only being me, Jess was true to his word and honored the booking. (I have had more than one situation with charters who outright lie about unforeseen boat or engine “problems” that mysteriously arise when they don’t have a certain minimum number booked)

The other thing that struck me about Jess was his impressive expertise of these waters and the fish we were going after. We were at his first favorite spot of the day and no more than, oh, ten minutes after dropping bait when the rod tips started barely twitching. Never having fished for sturgeon before or knowing what to look for, I started focusing on the rod tips and when I saw one barely move, I remember saying something to him but also remarking that it was probably just the movement of the boat (due to waves). “No. It’s a fish...” Jess replied immediately. Now that’s confidence. But, unlike a lot of charter captains, Jess backs it up; literally seconds after that little exchange, he jumped up, grabbed the rod, held it for a few seconds, then set the hook and handed the rod over to me for what would be the first of several 20-plus minute fights that day—a 40 lb.+ monster that was between 4-5 feet in length! The strike was so subtle, I would never have even known anything was there.

As with any good charter captain, Jess will let you do as much or as little as you would like to do. During the morning’s furious action, he encouraged and guided me through handling the rod myself, and the intricacies of setting the hook on this sneaky prehistoric fish. Midway through the gorgeous day, with the action at our second spot “slowing down” some (I jokingly complained to him that we had not had a strike in fifteen minutes!), I figured we were playing with the house’s money and asked if it might be possible to go after some trophy fish and Captain Jess was more than happy to oblige.

At our final location upstream from Hood River, Jess expertly baited both rods—one with a shad at least nine inches long, and the other with a shad easily over a foot long and probably well over 1 lb.—and cast them into the more rapidly moving waters of this section of the mighty Columbia. We then settled in, me overwhelmed with curiosity (and perhaps a bit of trepidation!) as to what-on-Earth (or beneath fresh waters?) would actually take on bait of that size in one gulp. No sooner had Jess tried to downplay expectations by telling me that, since we were going after bigger game, to not expect as much action as the first two sites, that the large sturgeon upstaged Jess again. Over the course of the final 2-3 hours of the charter, we hooked up with no fewer than four monster, trophy size fish, landing one, coming close to landing the other, and losing the rest due entirely to my lack of skill, fatigue, or both. Through it all, Capt. Z did an incredible job of ditching the anchor, dropping the outboard, and deftly maneuvering the boat to make sure the lines were clear and giving me the best possible chance to land the fish. Although I hate violating the sportfisherman’s code, Jess even mercifully took over for me twice in the midst of what was probably a 30-40 minute fight, to give me a breather, something which undoubtedly helped in landing at least one of the big trophies we hooked up with. And while I wasn’t able to land the dinosaur that gulped down the larger of the two shad baits, we still got it to “greyhound” on the surface and made for one heck of an exciting 30 plus minutes of drag-screaming action.

Starting with the first “warm up” fish of the day all the way through the last (actually landed) trophy fish pushing perhaps 100 lb. and pushing 6 feet long, by the end of the day we had reeled in so many fish that I was a bit concerned about whether my left arm would have some type of nerve damage! And I’ve left out the several fish that we hooked up but weren’t able to quite land, including at least few “double” hookups with both reels dancing but poor Jess too busy snapping a photo of me with the latest one to be able to get to the next fish! (Captain Z is also really good about taking as many photos or video of the action and your charter as you would like or need him to, by the way).

The next day, as I was having my comp breakfast in the dining room of the Best Western Columbia River Inn, a woman came in asking if it was too late for them to have breakfast, since her husband and son had only just come back from fishing earlier that morning. In welcoming the family to go on ahead and seat themselves, the hostess politely asked husband and son how their fishing had gone, to which they both proudly responded that it had been “outstanding” and that they had caught “lots of fish”. When the hostess then asked what kind of fish the two had been fishing for and caught that day, the son enthusastically answered “shad”. I could only smile and chuckle to myself thinking about how the fish that this father and son had caught that day was what Captain Jess Zerfing had used (effectively, to put it mildly) as BAIT for going after monster sturgeon for us the day earlier. I kept my mouth shut and finished my coffee. If they only knew...

Visited June 2013
Helpful?
Thank globalXer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jess Z, Owner at Always Catchin' Fishing Charters, LLC, responded to this review, December 19, 2013
Wow! what a great review!! Thanks a ton for that. It make me so happy to see people enjoy fishing as much as I do. I sure did enjoy spending the day with you and hope we can do it again.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Portland, Oregon
2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Epic Sturgeon Fishing Trip!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 27, 2013

Had our first Sturgeon fishing trip with Jess. We we not disappointed! He made our trip Epic! We caught them left and right, never a dull moment. Took our 12 year old daughter out and she loved it. Toward the end of the day she started complaining "not another catch", she was already wipe out with all the sturgeon we were catching. Caught our limit with no problem. Jess was wonderful with us and was very knowledgeable and answered so many questions we had. Highly comment them! Enjoyed it so much that we are going to make it an annual trip. Can't wait to book our Salmon trip too!

Visited June 2013
Review collected in partnership with this attraction

Helpful?
Thank jenniferjones503
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jess Z, Owner at Always Catchin' Fishing Charters, LLC, responded to this review, December 19, 2013
Hay you guys! I really want to thank you guys for every thing. you guy are so great. I hope you had a good summer. Hope to see you soon.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers who viewed Always Catchin' Fishing Charters, LLC also viewed

 

Been to Always Catchin' Fishing Charters, LLC? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing