Monday, May 16, 2016

Kayak Fishing the Miramichi

The Miramichi is world famous as a salmon river and for good reason.   It is a majestic place and those I know who have had the pleasure of fishing there all speak wonderfully about it.   However salmon fishing may not be the #1 attraction for the Miramichi river much longer.   The striped bass fishing there has taken off in recent years to the point where it may rival or even exceed the salmon fishing in popularity.

After my friend John Cail (IPop) and I left the Pokemouche we headed to Miramichi this past Friday.   By 6:30 we had our campsite set up and were ready to launch our kayaks to see what fun we might have.   Visions of catching 100s of striped bass and large ones (30 - 40 inches) or more had us giddy with excitement!

Ipop started catching stripers almost right away while it took me a little while to find a lure that worked.   A friend on Facebook had suggested to me that blue/red color combinations that had been working for him and sure enough, the blue seemed to do the trick.    I put on a blue jig head with a while Berkeley squiddo Gulp body and almost instantly started catching fish.   Blue swim shads, and even white jig heads with a silver/blue soft plastic body also proved to work quite well over the weekend.    Really though, once you find a school of stripers, I suspect that pretty much anything would work!

On Friday night I managed to catch 16 striped bass with my biggest coming in at 23", which is a perfect keeper size in this river.    We kept that one striper and that night IPop cooked it up using his 'striper bites' recipe which was amazingly delicious!    I have to give a plug here for the fantastic Mantus Snap On Light which is mounted here to one of my paddles, an amazing camping light with tons of great features!  

On Saturday we met David who travelled to the Miramichi with friends from Montreal and wanted to give it a try in kayak.  Despite me not being able to speak French very well, and David's english being only a little better, I was able to outfit David on my Ocean Kayak Big Game 2 and he loved it, catching many stripers though the day.    We didn't have an easy time of it however as it rained (often heavily) for about the 6 hours we were on the water and then the wind picked up pretty strong for much of the remainder of the day.    Still though, I ended the day with another 35 stripers landed in the kayak, but I was still searching for a big one.    

Finally Sunday came and we had to be on the road heading home by noon, so we got up early enough to be in the water by 6:45 wanting to find a big fish.    We had heard that big stripers were being caught further up river so we started paddling that way.   An hour into that paddle we realized that we wouldn't be able to make the desired spot, still out of sight, so we turned around and paddled back towards Beaubears Island where we had been catching Stripers the past 2 days.    Turned out the fishing there was insane Sunday morning.   In just the 2 hours we had fishing that location, IPop and I landed almost 50 between us, with IPop catching one he believed to be at or above the 30" range!

We ended the trip with the count being IPop: 80 stripers, Joe: 75 stripers.     IPop landed the only fish over 24" as he had something like 5 in the 24 - 32 inch range and my biggest topped out at 23.5".  

The Miramichi is a ton of fun if you like lots of action.   There really is no other place like it around here where one has a reasonable chance of catching 100 fish in a single day.   However personally, I'd rather catch 2 or 3 stripers in the 36" or bigger range than 75 stripers less than two feet long.   I want to hook into that monster striper than is going to tow me and my kayak a mile or two before I'm finally able to land it.   For that type of fishing, the Saint John and Kennebecasis Rivers may be a better place to try.   Hopefully I get that experience this Fall when the striper fishing picks up locally and the average size is north of 30"!

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