Monday, July 28, 2014

Modsley Lake

This past weekend a small group of us packed up our kayaks and paddled out to Modsley Lake, near McAdam, NB.   This is a very isolated lake, full boulders all over the place and as such is not really accessable to motor boats.   However for those with kayaks and a love of great fishing, it's an absolute dream!   Not only are there a ton of pickerel, and some very large smallmouth and fall fish in this lake, there is also an awesome cabin located in the middle of the lake on it's own little 1.5 acre (give or take) island.  Much thanks to our friend Sako for arranging for us to have use of the cabin over the weekend!

Peggy, Andrew and myself all arrived Friday evening, in time to set up camp, and sit back to relax by the fire pit after the 2 hour or so paddle to get to the cabin. While my Predator 13 can hold a ton of gear, it does turn from a surprisingly swift vessel to a big slow barge when weighted down with what must have been 500 pounds of cargo (including myself)! We explored and fished the lake all day Saturday thinking Craig and John wouldn't make it after they hadn't turned up when we finished for the day around 8... but after dark while sitting around the fire pit we heard a noise; it was Craig and John finally arriving at the island! They had gotten on the water earlier in the day and had fished all day before joining us.

There are all sorts of little grassy areas all around Modsley lake and also a ton of huge boulders thoughout. The pickerel fishing was awesome, though I didn't land any monsters. Andrew did land a 24.5 and a 25.5 inch pickerel which was awesome! I'll be back there sometime in hopes of hitting and landing the eleusive 30 incher!

Here is some video of just a few of the 40 pickerel I landed this weekend.

In addition to the 40 pickerel I put into the kayak I also caught a white perch and a nice size Fall Fish (Chub). I wasn't able to land a smallie, though to be honest I didn't spend much time trying for one.

Andrew caught the biggest fish of the day at 25.5 inches!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Fishing with my Dad!

This past week has been a blast introducing my Dad to both Striped Bass and pickerel fishing, the later from kayak! I grew up fishing with Dad, which meant taking our backpack full of gear, a rod and hiking a few hours into the woods to walk around a pond and fish for trout. That is all I ever knew of fishing for most of my life.

Now that I've grown to love the vast diversity of fishing that is offered here in New Brunswick, and moreso the joys of fishing from kayak, I was determined to take advantage of this rare visit to get my Dad out on the water. On Thursday, as the weater cleared up, my friend Mike Donovan was kind enough to take us out to Reversing Falls for a try for Stripers. After taking us down through the falls and back, we trolled a little and Dad managed to hook and catch his first ever striper! it was a nice little 26 inch schoolie that we took a few pictures with and released. What a great start to a few days of fishing!

The next day we took the two kayaks, with me in the Old Town Predator 13 and Dad in the Old Town Dirigo.   This was Dad's first ever time in a kayak so I didn't know what to expect.   Dad doesn't know how to swim and he is typically very nervous around water when he doesn't feel like he's in control.   I had to work quite a bit on Dad to get him to agree to even give this a try!

After a few minutes near shore, Dad seemed to be pretty comfortable in the kayak and was ready to start paddling.   We had a great afternoon fishing for pickerel, with me getting 6 and Dad landing 2 nice ones.   He would have had a few more but he tried to get them in before I got to him with our only net.

So now Dad is hooked both on pickerel fishing and fishing from a kayak.   He's having a great time and we head out again on Satuday.  This time Rowan is with us.   Well the Pickerel was hitting strong and they were big!    Dad landed 11 while I landed 9.    The biggest was an impressive 23 inches!    However as we were getting ready to head home, Dad dropped and reached back for his paddle... then he was upside down in the water!!!!

 I forgot to bring the GoPro this day, which was a real shame as we could have had some great video of this!   Dad can't swim but with the life jacket doing it's job, having the kayaks to hang on to, and with the water warm, what could have been a scary experience for him turned into a great learning experience and a fantastic memory.     I had told Dad to always keep his head and shoulders above the cockpit and to grab the ridge around the cockpit to steady himself when he turns around, but he didn't take my advice so accidents happen.

Undaunted, we gathered our wits, and headed out for a third day of pickerel fishing on Sunday morning.   Dad was a lot more careful with his movements in the kayak this time and didn't have any further accidents or close calls!   He did have his own net this time (tethered to the kayak), and used it to land another 11 pickerel, some above 20 inches!   I landed 12 and lost several more, but did manage to hold on to the biggest of the day at 23.5 inches!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Kayak Safety course

On Saturday, my wife Anna and I took advantage of the kids being off with their grandparents and attended the Introduction to Paddling kayak safety course put on by the folks at OutdoorsNB.    This was the first time in perhaps years that Anna and I did something fun together without the kids outside of the house!  

While both Anna and myself are comfortable in kayaks, neither of us had ever tipped over or had to get back in a kayak out in the water and it's a skill and experience that anyone who enjoys paddling really should have.

The course went over a lot of topics including preperation, gear, having a float plan, and so on.  While the course pertained to sea kayaking, much of the course material easily translated to my sit on top fishing kayak.  

Jeremy went over paddling techniques, different types of strokes and when to utilize them, and eventually the part we were all waiting for, falling out and getting back in!    After demonstrating this to us, Anna was the first to tip herself.    While the fall wasn't as graceful and it could have been, Anna and her partner did a fantastic job flpping the kayak back over, clearing it of water and gettting back in!

It took a little effort for me to tip over the Predator.   I had to really lean my whole body over the side.   While standing however, it only took a single misstep to lose balance and fall out.   I tried using a kayak ladder to get back in the Predator by myself.   The ladder worked great to flip the Predator back over, really I could never have flipped it back over without it.   However it was useless for getting back into the Predator.  My first time getting back in the kayak was with the help of a partner.   However I fell out twice more (on purpose!) to try figure out how to get back in alone.   Eventually I figured out the trick, that was to use my anchor trolley line to pull myself up onto the rear of the kayak.    While it wasn't easy, I was able to do it a couple of times.

Typically the rear of my kayak is filled with fishing gear.   So if things ever happened to cause me to fall out of the kayak when it's loaded with gear, I'd have to either move the gear around, or re-enter from the front.   

My thanks to the guys at Outdoors NB for putting this course together.   Again, I highly recommend anyone that enjoys kayak fishing to take a course like this and experience what you will need to go through should an accident happen on the water!

Muskie Tournament in Fredericton

Yesterday I spend the day kayak fishing for Muskies up in Fredericton.   There were something like 16 boats on the water with 2 anglers each, plus myself in the loan kayak.   I REALLY wanted to land a muskie and show those guys a thing or two!   It wasn't meant to be however.

On the day 5 muskies were landed, included one monster catch by Clark Rayner.   Clark actually caught 2 on the day.   This 49.25 inch monster and another at 30 inches.

While I didn't catch a muskie, I didn't get completely shut out.    Thanks to Abby's homemade spinner baits I did manage to catch this 14.5 inch smallmouth, hook a second, and then I hooked another fish, that had some considerable fight and weight to it.    I lost it before getting whatever it was to the boat, but it had about the same weight as the 26 inch striper I caught on Canada Day, so it may very well have been a muskie!

While I didn't place in the tournament, I did come out a winner in the raffle, taking home a couple of Muskie spinner baits!   The tournaments have a morning and afternoon half with a lunch break / bbq in the middle, During the break they have a raffle with a lot of muskie lures available.    I brought along and donated a number of sharktooths to the raffle which was recognized and appreciated.

The wind picked up just as the morning session ended and the afternoon was basically a bust for me as I spent most of it battling the wind and some 'interesting' waves.    Even in the Predator which is fairly high out of the water, I got soaked as wave after wave came crashing over the bow.    It was fun but exhausting as it took about an hour and a half to paddle what should have been about 20 min in calm conditions back to the launch.

Are you interested in trying your hand at Muskie fishing?    If you are, then you should check out the Saint John River chapter of Muskies Canada.    There are over 50 members in the chapter now, and everyone is very open and willing to help new members learn and be successful in their efforts.    The local chapter's website where you can find out more and join up is here.

There are 2 more muskie tournaments this year, hopefully I'll be able to be the chapter's first member to land a muskie in kayak at one of them!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

First trip to Walton Lake

Yesterday evening I tried a couple things I've never done before, that is go fishing specifically for smallmouth bass, and visit Walton Lake over on the Kingston Peninsula.    As much as I have been fishing in New Brunswick the past year, it's typcically been for strurgeon, stripers, pickerel and other species other than smallies, so I have a lot to learn in that area!

The launch point in Walton Lake is ideal for a kayak.   It is a sandy embankment, a little steep, directly on the road in a sheltered part of the lake.    

Walton Lake is located about 10 or 15 min from the Kingston Ferry, which makes it about a 20 min drive from my house.   So the location is great for a place for me to practice smallmouth fishing.   They say it's full of smallmouth, but because of pressures on the lake, it's difficult to get any great trophies.

On the evening I did manage to land 2 smalmouth bass, both on a dark red Zoom fluke with a pink tail within a few casts of each other.   The only other hits I got were from some perch earlier in the evening when I tried throwing out a nightcrawler.   The biggest of the two smallies was just 12.5 inches, but still it proves there are fish in the pond and it's a great place for me to practice and develop my skills.   

I'll be back to Walton, perhaps as soon as Friday to try my luck once again!

I did manage to take a nice little blooper video.    As I have no pride, I have no problem sharing it so that you get a little chuckle.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Canada Day Striper!

What a great way to start Canada Day; on the water at 5:30 AM striper fishing above Reversing Falls with my friend John.    I've tried fishing this location about a dozen times, only once getting a hit, and that on my first night out right at midnight.   I wasn't ready for a striper then, but today I've got a fair bit more experience both with bigger fish, and with how to handle them in a kayak.

Almost immeadiately I got a hit, but it was basically next to the kayak just as I was about to take the lure from the water.   It surprised me, and the fish didn't get hooked but it was a great indication that there were fish out there to catch!    Check out the spash from the striper!

It took a while but eventually I did manage to hook into one,... after the GoPro battery died.    So unfortunately I didn't capture the catch on video but there is a clip of me holding it on the video.


Here's a little clip.   I'll be out fishing for these guys a lot more often now over the next few weeks as the weather and tides allow!