Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Year in Review

2015 was an epic year for me!   I hope you were able to have half as much fun as we did here in the Greater Saint John area.    As many others do, here is a little recap of my fishing related exploits through the past 12 months.     Here are the best of the pictures I've collected through the year.

If you cannot see this slideshow, the pictures can be found here.

Prior to getting the kayaks on the water, the NB Sportsman Show was held in Moncton in March.    I was invited to go and host a booth promoting the sports of kayak fishing and sturgeon fishing.   This was my first time running a booth in the fishing industry and it was a blast!   A huge thank you again to my friend Craig Cochrane who came and helped out for the whole three days.

We first launched the kayaks later than hoped on April 19th as the Winter was long and hard.    The Spring Sturgeon season was fun and I was able to bring out my first ever guided fishing clients who were all successful in catching their first ever shortnose sturgeon.

In May I was able to take my first trip up to the Miramichi to go stripers fishing with IPop.    We didn't catch a lot but we did get a few and have a better idea as to how we want to fish them on our next visit.   I've already got plans and dates in mind for this coming May!

June was a blast as with the warmer weather a Craig, Ipop and I took a trip up to visit Clay at the amazing Long Lake Adventures.   Unfortunately it was quite windy on that huge lake which made kayak fishing a bit of a challenge, but I did catch my first ever land locked salmon!    I am hoping to get back again on a calmer day this coming year and try for a huge lake trout.

Several times this year I was able to take one or both of my boys fishing, and both Fynn (8) and Rowan (5) have now caught their first sturgeon.   Fynn did amazing out in his own kayak fighting a 3 foot sturgeon and was exhausted by the end.    Rowan has more of a love of fishing than Fynn and spent more time with me in my Predator 13 through the year.   He has about 14 species now under his belt including mackerel in the Bay of Fundy and even won the kids division in the NB Paddler's Derby against kids much older.

Speaking of the NB Paddler's Derby, we had great weather, a big turnout and a lot of fun again this year.   The derby for 2016 is on June 18th so mark your calendars and plan to join us in Oromocto!

In July I was invited to join other Old Town and Ocean Kayak Pro-staffers in Orlando at ICAST, the worlds biggest Fishing Expo!    I was able to meet many of the other fantastic team members I am honored to be a part of, go fishing a few times, and mingle with many of the industries finest.    Mike Conneen had me on a kayak just 3 hours after getting off the plane paddling around manatees and catching my first tarpon!   That's an experience I'll never forget!

In August, after catching my breath from the Orlando trip I ran the Hammond River Classic which was an amazing success.   We had 57 paddlers on the water which makes it the biggest ever such event held in Eastern Canada.   Next year it promises to grow again as word of mouth continues to help bring in lots of new people to the event and the sport.

In September I decided to spend the Labour Day long weekend with the boys out camping, paddling, swimming and fishing.    We loaded three kayaks down with all the gear and paddled out to an island in the middle of West Branch Musquash.   Rowan was able to go fishing alone in his own kayak for the first time, and caught chub after chub with no assistance, while Fynn had a great time exploring the island and paddling around the lake.   We will be making this an annual event and hopefully grow it so that other parents/kids join us next year.

With the Fall comes Sturgeon Fishing season again.    And with this I hosted Newfoundland Sportsman as they came to film an episode with me for their television show.   Dwight, Peter and Jim all were able to catch several sturgeon and capture lots of great footage!   I can't wait to see the show air sometime in the New Year.   It should hopefully be great publicity for our wonderful recreational sturgeon fishery.

In 2015 I started a guided fishing venture.   Almost all the interest I received focused on people wanting to try their luck at sturgeon fishing.   Even through the middle of the summer when it isn't an ideal time to fish sturgeon I had people asking to go fish for them and almost every time my clients were able to land their first dinosaur!    It has been an honor and a pleasure to help young kids catch their first ever fish with their Dads next to them, or to assist a few 70+ year old gentlemen catch their first sturgeon in a kayak.    I've met a lot of great people through guided fishing, and am looking forward to next year as I've already had three groups from outside NB book me for April!

Finally, through 2015 I was able to contribute my first ever articles to several publications.   From Kayak Angler magazine, our local Ossekeag family of community magazines, and the Fisherman's Journal my writing and promotion of our sport has been able to reach tens of thousands of people!   That is really something I'm quite proud of!

My last fish of the year was on Boxing Day.    December has been very unusually mild so several kayaks have been fishing for most of the month out at Sturgeon Alley.   The last fish of the year was a nice 49.25" sturgeon.. .a fantastic way to close out 2015!

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