Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Denali Rods for 2014!

My Denali Rods have arrived! Much thanks to Denali for sponsoring me for 2014! I'm am very excited to get out in the kayak and try out these beautifully crafted rods that promise to deliver an angling experience unlike any I've previously enjoyed. Among the 5 rods I'll be regularly carrying with me this year are:

  • The Jadewood Drop Shot rod: Will be my key medium action spinning rod for smaller fish such as perch, catfish and others.
  • The Kovert Misc Spinning rod:  An all around medium action spinning rod I'll for many species like pickerel and Small Mouth Bass that will put up more of a fight.
  • The  Rosewood Finesse rod:  A great medium action spinning rod to try many different approaches for fighters like Small Mouth, Trout and Land Lock salmon
  • The Rosewood Spinnerbait rod:  My first of two medium heavy action bait caster rods to target sturgeon, musky, and striper.
  • The Mark Tyler Signature rod:  A very high end medium heavy action casting rod again to be used to target bigger fish like sturgeon, musky and stripers.
This dream collection or rods would not be possible without the support of Denali.   I hope to earn this support through the year as I use, review and promote their product throughout New Brunswick.   I am confident that with these rods, I'll be better equipped than ever to land more fish than ever before and have a fantastic time doing so!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Forming a new group of local kayak and canoe anglers!

 I've come to realize there are a lot of kayak anglers in and around the Saint John, NB area, which should not come as a surprise to anyone. Locally we have a very wide variety of both freshwater and saltwater species available to fishermen. With the Saint John and Kennebacasis Rivers in our backyard, a salmon river, and an abundance of ponds and lakes, plus of course the Bay of Fundy, there are angling opportunities for every type of fishermen, young and old!

Talking on a local internet forum, I threw out the idea of getting a group of us together to do meets, share tips and advice, possibly trade kayak for a trip to give each other a better chance to experience what different types and styles of kayaks offer,...etc. The feedback I received, was all positive so I went ahead and created the Greater Saint John Kayak Anglers website. It is only a few days old, so the numbers right now are pretty low, but I am sure they will grow as the kayaking season draws closer.

Going into the 2014 fishing season, we plan to do several meets and group outings, and if our numbers grow sufficiently, perhaps organize some community events to get more kids out with their parents in canoe or kayak. We will encourage anyone with our without a canoe or kayak to contact us and if they want to try it out before purchasing their own, we will have members of our group ready to assist.

Check out the link to the Greater Saint John Kayak Anglers website, poke around the site and let me know what you think.   If you are local to the area, go ahead and join up and then come the Spring you can join us as we head out as a group and experience some new angling adventures!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Sponsor Update: Sea Specs have arrived!

Today I received a package from Sea Specs with my new sunglasses.   These sunglasses are specifically aimed not just at those with an active lifestyle, but rather at those who carry out their sports activies on the water!

Like any decent pair of sunglasses they are polarized and provide %100 UVA and UVB protection for you eyes.  But what sets these apart from a lot of more expensive brands, are a couple of key features I really like.

For kayak anglers like myself, these glasses will be great!  Not only will they help me look good (and yes, I need all the help I can get in that department!), but they have a lot of features that a kayak angler will immeadiately appreciate!

  • Built in adjustable strap keeps them sung and comfortable.   You can wear these sunglasses running, on a bass boat motoring down the river, or paddling down Reversing Falls, and they will not budge!   While wearing the glasses, just move the adjuster (not sure what else to call it) to one side to tighten the strap, or the other way to losen it!    So they are easy to put on, tighten, losen and take off.
  • They float!   Anything, and I mean anything you bring out with you in kayak that floats is something you appreciate after you lose that first item into the water
  • One size fits all.    With the shape and design of these sunglasses, and with the adjustability of the strap, my wife Anna who typically wears a much narrower pair of glasses than I could wear these sunglasses.   They would look as good on her (ok, probably better!) and she would find them just as comfortable as I.
For the price point  ($50 a pair, buy 2 get 1 free) these glasses are certianly a bargain!   I can't wait for the ice to melt so I can take them out on the water and look good bringing up some trophy fish!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Mother Nature is not being kind!

This has been one unusual winter to say the least. For a while there the whole country was under a deep freeze with record low temperatures, ice storms, and massive prolonged power outages. Now, here in mid January when you expect temperatures cold enough to freeze your nose hairs with every breath, here in New Brunswick we are getting several days (and nights!!!) with temperatures at or well above freezing, along with heavy rains.

As a result, the ice that had built up very nicely has all but eroded away. At the Renforth warf, one popular area for Ice Shacks locally, there had been 18 - 20 inches of solid ice a couple weeks ago. Tuesday night I was out there, and there was about 12 inches left, undoubtably less today. Just down the road from Renforth a couple of kilometers is another popular location at the base of Cameron Road in Rothesay. I just came back from there with the pictures you see above. Unfortunately I suspect that some folk may lose their ice shacks into the drink over the next few days as temperatures continue to be unusually mild.

I don't know if there is a lesson to be learned in all this. I had been contemplating building my own shack this summer with my boys. After seeing this, I may instead invest in a good 4 man pop up shelter.

Be safe out there! Don't take any unnecessary chances, and keep an eye on ice conditions, especially around areas with running water!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Bigger isn't always better

We all want to catch that big fish when we are out with our hooks in the water, and I'm no different normally. However tonight was a different story. Out with a friend ice fishing in a shack for smelt, we were having little luck. There were lots of Tommy Cod, but only a few smelt.

Then I haul up my line to check the bait, and what do I find, but a baby lamprey eel! Not having done a heck of a lot of ice fishing, and only the last few years fishing in NB, I've never seen a lamprey eel before. From the top, with it's very big eyes, it looks almost cool. Turning it upside down however and seeing that tiny mouth full of teeth was a different story!

Recently on a trip we caught the blue perch I reported on earlier and now tonight a lamprey eel. Who knows what surprises are in store come my next trip on the ice, likley this Saturday!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Off season project - Worm Farm!

During the winter months, Ice Fishing is a great way to pass the time while waiting for the ice to clear from the rivers so that my real joy - kayak fishing - can start back up.   However these months are not to be wasted, they are a prime opportunity to invest a little time to grow some bait for the new season.   As great as lures can be when fishing for different species, there are lots of cases where nothing, and I mean nothing will beat a nightcrawler!   Sturgeon fishing is certianly a prime example of this, and I do a lot of sturgeon fishing!

This past year I made use of a local fellow that does a fantastic job raising worms commercially for the local stores, and from him I learned a few things about maintaining my own worm farm.   Now, just a couple months into my first try at raising worms, I'm seeing some great results!

My worm farm is a styrofoam cooler held in a freezer in my 'man cave' which I've converted to a beer fridge.   As I haven't brewed beer in about 6 years, I was able to take some space from the fridge for my worm farm.  I have a thermostat added to the fridge from which I can maintain an exact temperature of my choosing.   I usually keep it about about 45 degrees fahrenheit (7 celsius).

In the farm itself, I simply put worms that I had left over from the fishing season, and newspaper that was cut up and gently soaked.   I have also added the grinds from used tea bags every now and again, and that is it!

The maintenance of the worm farm is minimal.   Once every couple weeks I look in on it, but other than pick baby worms off the cover, have nothing to do.   Every other month I take some time (usually while watching football) and clean out the worm farm... this takes a little more time.   I seperate out the newspaper and the worms, leaving nothing but worm poop and eggs.     The worm droppings make fantastic fertilizer for gardens and I've got a grocery bag full collected.   With a spoon I carefully seperate out the eggs, and return them to the farm; this is what takes the most time.    Then I return the old and some fresh newspaper to the farm, along with the worms and then return it back to the fridge.

I don't know yet what to expect in terms of numbers in the worm farm come Spring.    I started the farm with about 30 worms, and from the look of the baby worms, that number could quadruple or more, and from then on continue to be self-sustaining!

I'm looking forward to having to neither dig nor buy worms this year.   I don't know if I'll be able to get through the year without having to get more worms, as I use quite a lot sturgeon fishing in the Fall, but for sure, I should save enough energy and cash to make the effort worthwhile!

Saturday, January 4, 2014

A first for New Brunswick?

Today, John Cail (IPop), and another friend we met on the New Brunswick Fishing Forum went up to French Lake, out past Oromocto to go ice fishing for the day.    While that in itself is not blog-worthy, what was caught is certianly worth the time to post about. 

About half way though the day, after we had already caught some pickerel, lots of perch, some cat fish and a chubb, John hauled up something none of us have ever seen before.   A blue perch!   This fish, about 8 inches looked exactly like a yellow perch, only it was blue!

Initially John thought it may be a 'logperch', however in looking online I don't think that is it.   I think it may be an actual yellow perch, just with some sort of skin ailment (bacteria some have said on the web) that has caused it to turn blue.

Blue perch like this have been reported in Ontario and some US States, and there are pictures to be found online.  However I cannot see any instance of where this has been reported in New Brunswick!   If this actually is a first, it is pretty cool to have been a part of it!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

New Years Ice Fishing

A few days before New Years, I got out to participate in launching a friend's Ice Shack out at Dominion Park in Saint John, NB. Being late December, it is early for typical start of the smelt season which is usually in the first or second week of January, but the ice conditions and weather was great to get the shack all set up. We only caught 4 smelt between us, so my friend John took them home for his breakfast.

On New Year's eve, as I was not planning any other holiday celebration, I took another trip out to the Ice Shack. As it happened I got there about 3:30, got the wood stove burning, and set up my lines at just the right time. Smelt were hitting the line immeadiately, and together with another guy, we quickly caught a good 30 - 40. Dale, Steve, and John showed up closer to dusk and we kept fishing till well after dark, though once the sun started to set, the smelt all but disappeared. Through the evening we caught a handful of Tommy Cod and a couple more smelt, but that was about it. Out of the catch I brought home 20 or so smelt to cook up for the family.

Cleaning them was a lot easier than I imagined, and in about 5 min had them all ready for the frying pan. Not having had smelt before I wasn't sure what to expect. As it turns out, they taste great, and are a lot easier to eat for a small fish than I would have thought. The boys ate a few, Anna had some and I took care of the rest.

 From what I hear about ice fishing smelt, they freeze well, and when they really run it's no trouble for one person to catch 50 - 100 at a time. That means we should have a few meals tucked away before the winter is out, and I'll be able to catch a few meals for friends I know that don't get out to fish themselves but do enjoy a feed of smelt.

 This weekend I'll be heading up to French Lake for some pickerel fishing with John. There I'll get to experience a whole different type of ice fishing with tip ups spread around over several holes and no shack to keep warm in. 

 It isn't kayak fishing, but it's a great way to spend a few hours every now and them while waiting for the waters to thaw out!