Saturday, April 26, 2014

Fish of a Lifetime!

Well today I took a group of 10 kayak and canoe fisherman out to sturgeon alley.  All but one of the group is part of the Greater Saint John Kayak Anglers, and many of them have never actually caught a sturgeon before.  So our goal on the day was clear; to help a few guys catch their first sturgeon.

I am very proud to say that every one of our anglers caught at least one sturgeon on the day, save for one who started very late, and was really only there to take pictures!    5 fishermen caught their very first sturgeon today, and between the group of us, 29 sturgeon were landed in total!   That is a fantastic day, beyond what any of us could have hoped for!    A write up on the Greater Saint John Kayak Angler's website as well as another video can be found here.

To add to the excitement, my friend John Cail hooked into something VERY heavy, and then proceeded to fight it vigoursly for 35 minutes!    John said it dragged him towards my kayak several feet before stubbornly sticking it out on the groud, but still John fought and fought and fought.    Eventually John put on the gloves and as he couldn't make any headway with the rod, started to hand line in his catch.     Well, John will never live this one down, his BIG sturgeon turned out to be a burlap bag of rocks!!!!

It wasn't all laughs at John's expense though, there was a big fish caught on the day.   My first fish, ended up being something I'll never forget, for several reasons!    I hooked into something that turned my kayak around 180 degrees, something I've only had done by a Striped Bass previously.   It didn't feel like a striper, but rather something bigger than I had ever encountered before.

Anticipation building, Charlie, one of our group members floated right into me trolling his line.    Not only did he snag my line with this massive catch, he caught my anchor line as well and basically tied all the lines together.    After asking Charlie as nicely as I could to give me space I could no longer use my rod, but then had to hand line in this fish..... a 54 inch short nose sturgeon!!!!

Unable to belive my eyes at the size, I had to then figure out how to get this giant fish into my kayak.    Manipulating him around so that I could grab his tail I hauled him into my lap, did not tip over in the process, and then proceeded to try my best at getting some good pictures, and an accurate measurement.   Without folding the tail down he was easily 53 inches.   If I had taken him to dry land to get a proper measurement, he may have broken 55 inches, but I am content with calling him 54, which I know was definately not an exaggeration.

I may never catch a fish like this again..... what an awesome day, not only for me but for the entire group of us!    I can't wait till our next group outing when we will be going for some trophy trout!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Sharktooth Product Review
I finally made it down yesterday to Calais to pick up a package of Shark Tooth product that had been waiting for me a couple of weeks!    As it isn't available in stores yet in Canada, many of you may not have heard of it.

If you have ever had a spool of line unravel in your pocket or your gear bag, and really, we have all had that happen many times, then you will find this simple little device very neat!

This device, invented by Robert (aka Bobby Brown Trout) Holt from Fly Fishing Xtreme will save a ton of aggravation and time by preventing your leader spools from getting unwound and tangled.   When it comes time to take out some new leader, you just haul out the amount you want, fold it back over the built in protected blade, and cut the line.    You have you leader cut, and about an inch of line left sticking out of the band ready for you next cut!

I'm happy to say that every participant in either the NB Paddler's Derby or the Hammond River Classic this year will receive a Shark Tooth to take out on the water with them along with their tournament token!   Now that is a fantastic sponsorship!

Here is my first ever video product review!

Interested in getting your hands on the SharkTooth?    Stay tuned as this product will be introduced to retailers over the next month or two, and hopefully soon after it will start showing up on store shelves.   Don't be afraid to mention it to your local favorite fishing retailer, and should they be interested in carrying this product, have them get in contact with me and I'll put them through to the Canadian Distributor.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Battling waves and wind in Sturgeon Alley

I somehow knew today was not the day to be heading out to Sturgeon Alley, but with Anna and the kids home from school for the holiday, I was not able to let this Easter Monday pass by without hitting the water!

I hit the water early, and John Cail (aka IPOP) showed up a little later.   On the way out to the alley, the wind was somewhat at my back, allowing me to actually ride the waves in parts in my kayak!    As much fun as that was..... I knew there would be hell to pay on the return venture!

Overall it was a terrible day out there.   The wind and waves were so strong that it was difficult getting anchored without being pushed along.   It was the first time my 10 lb gym weight struggled to hold me!   I had forgotten my favorite gloves in the back of the CRV so most the day my fingers were numb.

Just as John arrived I managed to catch a 31.5 inch shortnose, and then a 32 inch atlantic.   These are basically average size sturgeon for our area.   Notice the longer, narrower nose on the second sturgeon, as well as the very pronounced scutes along it's sides and down it's back.    It could be very easy to cut your line on those bony protrusions if you were to wrap your line around it, which is why I use 50 lb braid for my main line and 40 lb mono for my leader!

On the second catch, the atlantic, I was using my Denali Signature Series Mark Tylor MH Multipurpose rod.   It's a fantastic rod that is light as a feather, amazingly sensitive, and plenty of strength to handle most anything in our local waters.   I'll be using this rod for a lot of my fishing this year!    I love the bend the rod gives, which is shown well in this video.     Another thing you may notice is all the gear that comes up with the sturgeon.   Both of my lines got wrapped around him and caused quite the massive tangle!   I ended up cutting both lines and remaking the leaders again!

I hope you enjoy the pictures and video!

Friday, April 18, 2014

First successful fishing trip of 2014

Easter Weekend and finally the rivers around my area are ready for kayak fishing!   The water is amazingly high, very muddy and we are weeks behind the regular seasonal schedule for fishing.    So this morning I went out with fellow kayak angler JC Cormier and a few other friends and tried our luck fishing for trout, or even perch! 

Through the morning nothing was biting, which was no big surprise.   So after a few hours we headed back to the Darling's Island bridge and met with a very nice reporter from the Telegraph Journal who is interested in doing a piece on kayak fishing.    The story came out great!

JC and friends headed home at this point but I was no where near done for the day!   So I made the 30+ minute paddle out to Sturgeon Alley to see if I might have any luck!    Sure enough, it was a very productive day!

After 15 minutes I got several hits, and landed a 34, then a 37, then a 38 inch sturgeon!   A very heavy one hit shortly after but I lost it as I tried to bring it to the surface with too much force.  Just by weight I would have to thing it was as big or bigger as the 46 inch sturgeon I brought up a little later in the day.    Over the next few hours I brought up a few more and ended the day landing 7 sturgeon, and losing 2 others.    Three of the sturgeon was over 36 inches, which are my first three entries this year into Kayak Wars!

I'll probably get out again on Monday, possibly for trout but otherwise again for sturgeon.    I want to hit that elusive 60 inch fish. and so far with this great start to the season, it may be sooner than later!

Here is a video capturing the day.    I'm still getting used to the GoPro, and am sure to improve on camera location as I get more experience!   Am thinking I should have publishing this at a higher quality... I choose 'YouTube' quality, will try HD next time.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

First fishing video!

After scoring a GoPro Hero 3+ Silver off Kijiji this past week, I was able to get a video together of my first paddle of 2014!  My good friend John Cail and I went out on the tidal section of the Hammond River in search of a rare pickerel and then later striper/sturgeon, knowing our chances were slim, but what the heck, we wanted to get a paddle in!

This, being my first trial with the GoPro, is naturally a rougher video than what I hope to be able to present as the year goes on.   One lesson I learned, was not to be too liberal with the recordings.  I had turned on the camera as I left shore, and didn't turn it off till it ran out of batteries!    That was a mistake!    I have a few spare batteries ordered now, but I'll know to be a little more careful as to when I leave the camera running!

Anyhow, here is my first video... if you watch till the end, you'll see that I actually did catch..... 'something'!

Edit:  The first video was made with copyrighted music, which I know now is frowned upon by YouTube, so I had to remake it using free soundtracks.   There's another lesson learned!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

YakAttack, Vexilar, and new team jersey!

I am very excited to have two fantastic new companies to add to the fold as sponsors!

YakAttack has decided to bring me into the fold as a pro-staffer, and my thanks goes out to Luther Cifers for this. I've heard great things about both Luther and YakAttack from my fellow kayak anglers throughout eastern Canada, so I cannot wait to get some new gear to equip the Old Town Predator kayak I'll be purchasing in the coming month or two! Stay tuned for an update on that!

 YakAttack makes some great kayak rigging gear in the highest quality in the market. Rod holders, camera mounts, leashes and tethers, and of course one piece I really have my sights on is a the VisiFlag.

 My other new sponser is Vexilar, maker of the very cool new product, the Sonar Phone. This little 'bobber' emit communicates to one's smart phone, and together makes a very cool looking fish finder / depth finder / temperature reader! With a piece of equipment like this, you simply need to tie a piece of line onto the Sonarphone unit, drop it in the water next to the kayak, and your phone will show you exactly what lies in the water below you! I'll give a more detailed review of this cool device once I receive it and take it out with the Greater Saint John Kayak Anglers for trial, but if you really want to get your hand on one now, just head over to Doiron's Sports Excellence where they carry this product today!

 Finally, Johnson's Adventure on the Water sent me a team jersey yesterday. My thanks to Jonathan Logan and the folks at Old Town for this. I'll wear it with pride all year long as I continue to enjoy my Old Town kayaks and canoe fishing with friends and family! 

Obviously there is still a fair amount of snow on the groud here, so getting out in kayak hasn't yet been possible.   However this Sunday looks good from the forecast and I may finally get out for my first fish of the year in the Bay of Fundy!    Finger's crossed!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Inaugural meeting of the Greater Saint John Kayak Anglers

Yesterday, after attending a morning tackle swap hosted by the Hammond River Angling Assocation, 11 members of our newly minted fishing group, the Greater Saint John Kayak Anglers got together for a meet & greet, to share some smoked pickerel and sturgeon from our local waters, and to talk all things fishing.

It was a pretty good turnout on a dreary Saturday afternoon for this group which has over 30 people either signed up on the website, or liking our Facebook Page. We all met some new faces, shared a few stories, talked about our fishing history and our kayaks, and then established some core principals the group will try to abide by.

Our first, and probably most imporant principal, will be to respect other members of the group, and to understand that having access to some of the information shared, such as 'secret spots', or 'honey holes' is a privledge, not a right. We are asking all members to keep locations of these spots that other members choose to share to themselves. We all know what can happen to a great spot when it's location becomes common knowledge!

Fish in the egg smoking
On a related note, we feel it is important for group members not to feel pressured to share their secret spots if they are uncomfortable doing so. Again, this comes down to respect and trust, and making the group as attactive as possible to perspective new members.

Smoked sturgeon
For communication, we have chosen to make use of an established web forum,, where many of our members already have profiles and are active. We will post a new thread each week about the coming week's outing and nail down the specifics there. Once we know for sure what we are doing that weekend, I'll update the facebook page and the website schedule as such. This is also a great forum for members to pose questions as to what gear to bring, coordinate car pools, and so forth. Being a public forum, we are hoping that others will see the conversations, want to get involved and join the group.

Finally the schedule itself. It took remarkably little time to come up with 1 or 2 outings every weekend from the beginning of May through to mid-October. Paying attention to what fish would be likely to be hot at a given time, local tournament schedules and so forth, we expect this list of outings will have something for everyone!

No member of the group is expected to make every outing, but with 30 or so members in the group, and growing fast, we expect every outing will have a healthy number of anglers!

Smoked Pickerel
We are fortunate to live in one of the most diverse areas in the country for fishing, and being in kayak we are essentially unlimited as to what we can fish for! Take a look at this schedule and see what you think!

Personally, I expect to make 80% of these outings, and that these outings will make about 1/3 of my overall fishing excursions this season. It's going to be a great year!