About me

Born March 24, 1977. Although I grew up in Toronto I had decided to leave the city at a young age. It took many failed attempts over the years, coming back to the city to try and re-think life’s direction, and where I needed life to take me. 

With A desire to travel, and the love of the outdoors, at the young age of 19, I found myself in Scotland working on a commercial fishing boat off the shores of Aberdeen. (Targeted species = Plaice). I did not know it at the time but fishing would one day become A passion.

A few short Years later, (age 25) and about after a month after I was married to my first wife, I followed my calling again and found myself on a commercial fishing contract, only this time, it was off our own, Canadian shores, of Advocate Harbor in, The Bay Of Fundy, (The targeted species this time, were Scallops). 

A few years passed once again, and at the age of 35, I took the spring of 2012 to Start a new venture, following my passion of fishing and just being out on the water in general. I ended up doing the necessary courses required in order to take paying clients out on the water and do what I loved the most. FISH. That’s right, I bought myself my first fishing charter boat, That’s when Sea’s The Day Fishing Charters was born, and when I officially became a Captain. 

Sea’s The Day Fishing Charters 

Starting a guided fishing business from scratch with no previous guiding experience proved extremely difficult. To date it was by far the hardest job I’d ever been faced with in order to try and make a living to help support my family. 

I tried my best to make a living at doing the one thing I was most passionate about, other than being a father to my 2 boys at the time. “Fishing” and, just being on the water, day in, and day out, was where I wanted to be. Chasing trophy fish around the waters of The Bay Of Quinte and Lake Ontario, I barely made enough money to put food on the table for the first 3 years. 

A day out with my son Joseph

After the first 3 years of guiding, I seemed to do a lot better in the business. I learned about the fish of the areas, I fished much better than when I started, I gained the friendship of some of the other guides and locals which really is key to a successful guide in any area. The more up to date information you attain from others in any given area, the better the fishing will be for you and your clients. You can’t do it “Successfully” alone

Still times got tough financially, and I was occasionally forced to try and make some quick cash in order to continue to help support my family.

So once again in 2015 James decided to travel to the east coast to try his hand as a deck hand of a commercial Lobster fishing vessel, The Crystal Dawn, out of Mabou Harbour, Cape Breton. 

Caught a rare blue lobster 
Celebrating the Last day of lobster fishing with the Captian

Living in my trailer with no power right at the warf I started homing in on a new set of skills. “Survival skills” sometimes fishing off the docks for food or cooking up a lobster or fresh cod caught in the days catch became fairly routine for me. Taking a daily ocean bath, and creating fire for heat was not just for comfort it had become a necessity. Living like this for my first long term outdoors camping experience gave me my start to a new love of bushcraft and survival.

I have been a hobbie fisherman my entire life, I am well traveled and have experienced fishing in the glacier fresh water of Alaska all the way to the salt waters in the Gulf of Mexico and way beyond.

In 2017 after a terrible tragedy of having my fishing Charter business sabotaged by a suspected competitor, I decided to Embark on a 6 month, cross country, fishing adventure. I did this for several reasons. 

1st- in order to get my name out across the country as a fishing guide, I figured it would help my business back home, on the Bay Of Quinte where I planned on returning, getting my boat fixed, and back in the water to guide. Little did I know it at the time but my guiding days in my local waters were over.

First, I needed money. Money to feed my family back home, money to fix my boat, and money to pay for this cross country adventure to help get my name out as a reputable, and generally good fishing guide. 

So, I worked the summer at a northern Ontario fishing lodge called Slippery Winds as a fishing guide, it was here that my outdoor experience would blossom and take root. Making fires for shore lunch on a daily basis was routine. Being prepared for any situation was a must. Building quick shelters to get out of bad weather and being able to start fires and cook in the bush in the rain , & not just for me but for a group of grown men, was just everyday life in the North. The groups I went with were not to knowledgeable when it came to survival skills. (Infact some of the people were so clueless about how to survive the outdoors, I was bewildered to come to the realization that if a guide had not been with them and literally showed them every little thing they would not have made it 3 days on their own. So why on earth would you spend thousands of dollars to put yourself in a situation where you have to solely rely on someone else to make sure you survive the week. I could think of better ways to spend your cash) lol nevertheless they were there and I was their guide and that’s how I was making a living at the time.

Living off the land and being able to feel comfortable in the middle of nowhere became a new passion, I miss that part of life so I’ve decided to write about it and to practice the skills closer to home these days just to keep my mind and outdoors skills up to date incase one day I’ll need that skill set again.

I partnered up with a great outfit called The Canadian Fishing Network. A social media network of anglers at the time was almost exclusively in Ontario, however with my help of travelling across the country, I almost singlehandedly united the country’s fisherman joining them together in one community on a social media setting. Until then, there were small social groups in local areas, or you could watch “professionals “ like Italo Labignan , or Bob Izumi on TV. But after my attempt at crossing the country to unite anglers through the Canadian Fishing Network, social media fishing has exploded. So many other sites have piped up and the fishing forums have gained in popularity. Of course I’m not saying I did that. I’m just saying the trip I did, definitely helped with the idea of bringing other fishing communities together.

Of course doing something like this, & doing it for Charity helps so The network chose a charity called Feed My Starving Children to support for this journey. Now to be honest, it is a good charity for sure however it is a United States based charity and raising money in Canada for a US based charity was not the best idea to gain a lot of money, however it did gain a few thousand for the charity and also put Canada on the charities radar which was a good thing. However next time I think if I were to do it again, it would have to be for a Canadian based charity. 

CFN Profile Pic

then in August through to the middle of September, James traveled from Ontario to Vancouver Island and back, fishing in each province and showcasing a multitude of different types of fishing opportunities that this country has to offer, I met up with anglers all throughout the country from one province to the next and showcased the multitude of vast fishing opportunities that Canada had to offer, 

After this epic cross country fishing adventure, I took a hiatus from fishing during 2018 until further notice, while I was attempting to switch Careers, realizing that my dream of fixing my charter boat and getting back on the Bay Of Quinte as a Guide was going to be just that, (A DREAM) 

I started looking to be a captian of not just on my own Charter boat, but larger boats as well.

James at the Helm overlooked by the one, and only, 
Capt Brian Johnson 

In fact I had started working on larger vessels in 2016 where I worked as a deckhand on the passenger vessel called, The Canadian Empress, a 407 Tonne tour boat, that runs out of Kingston Ontario running along the St Lawrence River, through to Quebec City and back again. I took it on as a seasonal position “ just until I got my charter boat back up and running” and continued working there even after I made enough money to fix my charter boat, then in 2018 I became a First Officer ( Or, 1st Mate) for the 2018 season. I took this as a new direction in my life, I had set a career path without intending it, but it seemed to make sense. Making a living on the water, this just seemed to make sense. 

Although 1st Mate Mathias had planned on working on the Canadian Empress for 2019 as well, it seems that another opportunity arose early in the season?

I was hired as an “on-call”1st Officer/Mate, on the Glenora/Quinte Loyalist Ferry boats near Picton Ontario, right on the Bay Of Quinte. This seemed like a great opportunity as it was the start to getting my foot in the door to a government full time position, doing exactly what I love. (Being on the water) 

The year 2019 proved to be a huge year for Me. In the spring I separated from my wife of 18 years, I met a new partner Erin, and started dating her in September of this year, by the Fall/December 2019 I got a full time position as a deckhand with Glenora Ferries MTO. Yes I was no longer a Mate or 1st officer, but getting in full time with the government was a huge deal, it meant, a full pension, and full benefits., something I never had before and it also meant that maybe one day, I’d be able to actually retire. 

2020 was the start to the Global Pandemic (The Corona Virus). But now, as a frontline worker, I was able to keep my job and continued to work right through. 

In the Fall of 2020 I had now been with Erin (my partner) for a year and decided to ask her for her hand in marriage? After Talking with both her mother &partner, and then her father on 2 separate occasions, Erin agreed to marry me, however, our plans got postponed with the plans to start a family first before getting married as age played a part in our families future plans I was now 44 and not getting any younger, plus, we could get married hopefully not to far off, (yet still hopeful, in the near future), (after a baby and the purchase of a home)

Well the announcement that we would be having a new baby boy due in 2021 came fast. We became pregnant that December and, started telling people by March 2021. And then, 

Little Caspian Kain, Coligan, Mathias was born on Sept 6th 2021, weight in at 6LB,7OZ, @ Exactly 12:49PM

It seemed I was correct that the Glenora was a great opportunity, because once again by the fall of 2021, I had once again done another Interview for 1st Officer only this time for a full time position. I did the interview while on Parental leave, and guess what? I got it. Yup that’s right, In November 2021 I was now a full time Mate on a Government Vessel. 26 years on and off , working on the water and I had made 1st officer full time, year round, in a Mariners career, and in Canada to boot. Not too many of those jobs to be had to be honest. 

Also during the Summer in 2021 I had written and passed the exam for a Master Mariner >60T so in order to become a Captain for the MTO & the Glenora Ferries all I require now, is to do a onboard practical examination or what is commonly known as a (walk around) with a representative from Transport Canada and you’ll be calling me Captian once again. 

So of course now I plan to One day Captain the Ferry Boats and possibly the Canadian Empress as well, ( on a part time basis of course , & just for fun)LOL. 

Operating Sea’s The Day Fishing for 6 years, was James coming full circle back to his working fishery roots by merging his dedication as a fisherman, determination of a sportsman, and his years of experience of an entrepreneur. 

Due to unfortunate circumstances, Captain James Mathias was forced to retire Sea’s The Day Charters officially in 2017, however it is only a matter of time before you will see this Old Salty Dog back on the water with clients, making another generation of memories on the Bay Of Quinte through fishing. Only this time he expects to have a first Mate and a Deckhand by his side to help write the next chapter of this epic Journey I like to call, LIFE. 

The next chapter

If you Happen to see 1st Officer Mathias on the Glenora Ferry boats, in Picton Ontario? don’t hesitate to say hello. Or maybe you’ll be lucky enough to see and or meet his beautiful Partner Erin Coligan on the Newest Wolf Island Ferry where she works on the boats as well. Go ahead say hello well be happy to meet you.


Although I am not claiming to be an expert in the field of survival or bushcraft, or even as a hunter. These topics are hobbies of mine and I think I have learned a couple tricks over the years of playing in the outdoors. I’m just happy to share what I’ve learned with anyone willing to listen to me.