Sunday, August 31, 2014

Gear Review - Malone Kayak Cart

With the new Old Town Predator 13 kayak I'm riding this year, transporting my kayak became a little more difficult.   The Predator, being 93 pounds empty, is a lot heavier than my Old Town Dirigo recreational kayak.   I can pick the Dirigo and carry that boat fairly easily, but the Predator is tough!

To address this, I picked up the Malone Kayak Cart from Paul at Eco-Logicial Adventures in Oromocto.   Paul recommended this, and knowing that Paul really knows his stuff, I took him at his word.   This kayak cart has big rubber wheels, adusts to width of the scupper holes to fit virtually any sit on top kayak, and breaks down very quickly for easy transport in the kayak.

 Launching yesterday at the Hampton Dock, I decided to make use of the kayak cart and fully load up the Predator up in the parking lot.    5 rods, a full milk crate with 6 plano boxes of gear, my anchor, several rod holders, net, a cooler with snacks and worms... all adding up to somewhere between 150 and 200 lbs.   With the kayak cart placed in the scuppers directly under the rear of my seat (closer to the middle than the rear of the kayak), I was able to easily trasport my kayak around the parking lot and down to the water with just 1 hand!   No more multiple trips from the vehicle to the water!

Once at the water, it was pretty easy to lift the rear of the kayak off the cart and have it just fall out.   Then I just unsnapped the tires and put them in my front storage bin, and put the frame of the kayak cart on the far rear of the Predator, secured with the bungee cords.

The return trip however proved to be trickier.   Once finished with the fishing trip, I had to get the kayak cart fitted back into the scupper holes.    The only way I could do this on my own was to tip my kayak sideways.   With a second person, one could lift the kayak while the other maneuvers the cart into the scuppers, but that's not possible on your own.    You have to take off whatever loose gear is on your kayak, tip it sideways and put the cart into the holes and then reload the kayak (quickly as it's about to be unloaded at the vehicle) before walking it back.  

Pulling over 150 lbs back up the hill wasn't as easy as coming down the hill obviously, but with 2 hands this time on the kayak, it was easy enough!

Need a kayak cart for your sit on top?  Then check out the Malone Xpress Cart from Paul at Eco-Logical Adventures.   I'm sure you'll be as happy with it as I am with mine!

Friday, August 29, 2014

10,000 views contest results

There was a great response to my first ever contest, with 32 people submitting their names and most providing some great feedback.   I put all the names into a hat and the very first submission into the contest turned out to be the winner - Tom Callary out of Sydney, NS!   

For winning the contest I'll be sending Tom:
 - A personally designed sturgeon rig with which I've had great success (Owner Hook frog hook, 4/0 open face hook, 30 lb mono leader, snap swivel, slider snap, and weight
 - Streamside hat
 - 2 Sharktooths
 - Lymans Lure
 - Knot 2 Kinky titanium leader
 - Invisaswivels

Congrats Tom!     I'll do another such contest at 20,000 views!

Among the great feedback received was the following:

  • Keep up the good work Joe. You are a great asset to the NB angling community.
  • Love following ur feeds, we target alot of the same species (stripers and sturgeon). Also follow your YouTube channel. Enjoy seeing the falls for stripers.
  • Well what to say about your blog.....I really enjoy it as is, look forward to the pic & videos & stories, like the ones with your boys and of course your dad. Keep doing what your doing.
  • That looks really cool, I have always wanted to try kayaking and to combine it with fishing is even better.
  • That is a very nice sturgeon in the pic, it would be really cool to try to catch one of those by kayak.
  • I enjoy reading this Joe in all honesty. You fish a different way and for different species than I go after so I am all about learning new techniques.
  • Great Blog Joe. Very informative, great pictures.
  • You're doing a great job on it. It would be nice to be able to comment on it, but that would take more admin cycles from you.
  • Love the blog man keep it up
  • It's a pretty great blog Joe. I enjoy reading it when I can't actually be out there experiencing the joys of fishing! Keep it up!
  • Enjoy reading your posts on nb fishing
  • Doing a great job!!!
  • Great blog Joe, even for non kayakers !!
  • Nice blog.   like to see more on fishing from shore & best time of year to fish for each diff. species
  • Great site.  Always enjoy reading about fishing.
  • Just keep churning out great content
  • Really enjoy your blog as it is local and honest.  Neat to hear of places to fish that I am not aware of, unfortunately most are a fare distance from Riverview.
  • Always a nice read well I'm away at work keep it up joe
  • I think you are doing a great job.  Good write ups for most major days on the water.  I enjoy reading them.
  • Love reading your adventures, and seeing the videos. I have only yak fished once, and besides learning that I need either floats for my gear or lanyards, it was a good time. Hoping to get my own yak soon! Keep the lines tight!
As well there were some great requests fed back!

  • Some content on Brook and/ or Brown trout
  • Any info, stories and pics on fishing in the Fredericton area is always welcome
  • Maybe more info on rigging/bait for the different species in NB
  • The sturgeon how-to last fall was great. Maybe you can do a similar species series and write about different species and when to find them, where to look for them (ex/ undercut bank not specific locations unless larger bodies of water), gear to use, bait/lures, etc.
  • a blog about IPop's yak and tips for people who maybe interested in building a DIY yak (or even a guest blog).
  • Maybe blog about ipop taking you out and schooling you on catching smallmouth LOL
  • Guest bloggers reviewing their kayaks and/or mods
  • Gear reviews, especially stuff you have received and really had a chance to test on the water
  • Great blog, I would love to see you fish some obscure spots anywhere north of Miramichi. Id also love to see more rainbow trout, I know they are rare here, but they are beautiful and photograph well!
  • MORE SHARKS, SALMON AND STRIPERS, some trout would be nice too

I'll see what I can do on some of these requests.   I'm really hoping to address the lack of trout content in the Spring with a trip to visit Clay at Long Lake Adventures.    I had intended on spending some time out at First and Second Lake this year but could never find the time to get out there.

As for detailed how-tos on species other than sturgeon, I'm still in the learning phase myself on many of the species.   I have a ton to learn on smallmouth fishing, and am only just getting started in striper fishing.   Hopefully over the next year though, I'll be able to discuss more species beyond sturgeon!

I like the idea of blogging a little about IPop.   For those of you who don't know IPop, he's been a fantastic mentor to me over the last 2 years.   We fish together often, and I'm sure I could get some information from him on his homemade kayaks and good content on how he routinely kicks my butt in smallmouth fishing!    At least I'm keeping up with him for the most part in several other species!

I am hoping to hit more waters in and around NB that I haven't had the chance to yet explore including the Mirimichi area!   Perhaps soon I could be up in that next of the woods.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Saltwater Joys

Yesterday a group of 10 other kayaks from the Greater Saint John Kayakers and I hit the salt water in Blacks Harbour to head out in search of Mackerel. The weather was fantastic, and we all had high hopes of catching a few of these tremendously fun fish.

With mackerel, one typically uses a sabiki rig, which has 4 or 5 small feathered hooks, plus a weight at the end, which in my case was a 2 oz salt water jig.    Being about to catch 4, 5 or even 6 fish at one time in a kayak makes for an absolute blast!

My first catch of the day, was on the rig I had set up with some gaspereau, hoping to catch a dogfish shark.   It hooked into a scallop shell with an old barnacle on it.   That shell I brought home to Rowan who was pretty pleased.    My next catch surprised me... a little smelt taking after the jig which was nearly the size of the smelt!

Finally I hit some mackerel, and was able to pull in 4 at a time.    At one point I had on 5, but one dropped off.   On the day I brought home something 16 mackerel, which isn't very many when they are really running, but on this day, when the fish were hard to find, I was satisfied. 

Also, I managed to catch a couple pollock.  Like smelt and mackerel, I had never caught pollock in a kayak before, so I was able to add 3 new species to my kayak fishing resume on one trip! 

Not everyone caught fish on this day, but most of us did.  Afterwards, 4 of us headed back out to Reversing Falls in the evening to try to turn some of the mackerel in to Stripers.   All I accomplished on that trip was to lose a lure and several hooks from snagging up on bottom.  Craig and I headed home around 11.   Then at 1:30 AM, I got a text from Steve with a pic of him holding his first ever striper, a nice 28" fish!   Way to go Steve!

It looks like we may do a repeat of this trip next weekend!   I can't wait!

Friday, August 22, 2014

10,000 view milestone! Time for a contest!

Wow, I never would have anticipated 10,000 page views in a year when I first started this blog.   Either the site somehow got mixed up with a porn site on google searches, or I must be doing something right!   To celebrate, I'm going to do a little giveaway.

As I don't want to create a Facebook site to coincide with the blog, I'm going put a comment section on this particular post.    If you want to be entered for the contest, simply fill out the form below.   It isn't quite as straightfoward as a like/comment/share Facebook contest, but to be honest, I get annoyed by all the things people share on Facebook just to get a 1 in 1000 chance of winning something like a hat.    It may be great advertising for the companies, but it's an annoyance to most of the general public... at least in my humble opinion.

That being said, if you feel this blog, or even this contest is share-worthy, than please do so, but it is certianly not a requirement of the contest!

So for the contest itself, I'm going to put together a package of one of my own custom made sturgeon rigs, plus some items that I've picked up from some of the great companies that have sponsored me this last year.   As it stands now the prize package will be:

- Sturgeon rig (slider swivel, weight, snap swivel, leader, 2 Owner Hooks)
- 1 Lymans Lure
- 1 Pack of InvisaSwivels
- 1 Pack of Knot-2-Kinky titanium leader
- 2 Sharktooth

Hows that for a nice little variety pack?    To enter, just fill out the form below!

I will draw a winner at random next Friday morning.   Good Luck!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Kayak Fishing Jerseys!

As part of the Greater Saint John Kayak Anglers (ok... founder), I'm very pleased to have a group of over 50 kayak fishing friends that I can call on to accompany me on my various adventures.   Last night I was able to meet one such angler and take to the waters above Reversing Falls to fish for Striped Bass.   It was Steve's first time kayaking in that area.   As I got off the water, Steve then met up with John from our group who was just heading out and stayed out another 4 hours fishing there in the dark.   

There are all sorts of stories like this of kayak anglers meeting others in the group and getting out together to explore new areas of fish for species one hasn't had a chance to fish with before.    This weekend for instance we are hoping to hit the salt water in search of Mackerel, something many of us (including me) have never done before in a kayak!

Over the past few weeks, I have been working with Fishbum to come up with a kayak fishing jersey that members of our group can wear.   We have finally come up with what we believe may be a final design that looks pretty sharp.     (Ignore the spelling error in my name!)     I hope you like it!

Hopefully many members of our group will decide to purchase one a jersey for themselves.    Also, anyone from basically anywhere who likes this jersey can purchase their own through our group for $105 (plus tax/shipping) and have the name of the group on the arm customized!     If you are not part of the Greater Saint John Kayak Anglers and would like to look into ordering this jersey, just let me know!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Hammond River Classic Recap

The Hammond River Classic was this past Saturday, the second of two kayak/canoe derbies that I had organized this summer.   Thankfully the weather was good and things went off without a hitch!   34 participants competed in high, dirty and fast waters after heavy rain in the preceeding days.    Last year this tournament had just 18 anglers, and was in danger of not continuing.    Hopefully with this great turnout, we have turned a corner and will continue to see this event grow as the kayak angling community grows here on the East Coast of Canada.

A huge thank you to all our sponsors, and to eveyone to came out to take part.   I trust eveyone had a great time, and hopefully our numbers grow again next year!

It was a lot of work this year to put my first ever two derbies together, but in the end it was definately worth it.   Between the two, we had nearly 80 kayak anglers in the water, raised over $1200 for our causes, and gave away perhaps $2000 in prizes not including a Trident 15 angling kayak at each event.   Both kayaks were won by individuals who enjoy the sport but did not already have their own kayak, so it's great to know that both kayaks will be put to great use!

On Saturday, after getting everyone paid and registered, Rowan and I hit the water an hour or so after everyone else.    We made a bee line to sturgeon alley to try our luck there, and caught a white perch, yellow perch and a 27 inch sturgeon!    Something much bigger took a piece of gaspereaus I had down for bait, but I had my drag set way too tight and ended up snapping my leader off.    It was either a striper of a much bigger sturgeon, hard to tell which but I definately got a feel for it's weight.   If it was a sturgeon, it would have been in the foor foot range, which would have then claimed the lunker award.

Oh well, at least we got one sturgeon, and that was key as it vaulted us into 4th place overall!    My best finish ever at an event like this!    Not bad considering our late start and early exit, about 90 min before the rest of the group as I had to pack up my kayak and get all the prizes laid out for the end of the day.    That extra time could have allowed Rowan and I to find a smallmouth or Sunfish which would have given us third place!   Regardless, for my prize I was very happy to select this expandable, floating net courtesy of Doirons Sports Excellence in Saint John.    I had really hoped to win one of the trophies, to award to Rowan, but we missed both the lunker prize and third place by just 1!   So close!!!

The next derby is going to be a Muskie event in Sept, and then the next one I'm really looking forward to - the Sturgeon Hunt in early October!   Given all the experience and success I've gained over the past year with sturgeon fishing, I'm really looking forward to trying to win that one... and the $1000 that goes with it!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Mackerel, Whales, and Dolphins in the Bay of Fundy

Yesterday I was invited out by a friend to try out shark fishing in the Bay of Fundy.    While we didn't have any success luring Jaws to our boat, we did have a great time fishing for mackerel, and we got to see some fantastic wildlife during the day.

Leaving from the St. George area we travelled out to Campobello Island, my first time in those waters.   It was a beautiful clear day with no wind nor waves to speak of.    A lot of other boats were on the waters, including a huge yatch, whale watching tours and other fishermen.

We started off around the Campobello area and had the good fortune of finding mackerel almost immeadiately.   I had a 3 oz cod jig for weight on the bottom of my Sabiki rig from Owner Hooks and it worked great.    As soon as my weight hit the floor, I tested, felt resistance and pulled up 4 and 5 mackerel at a time!

Apparently they are late arriving this year, but over the next few weeks the mackerel should start showing up in more and more places around the Bay of Fundy.    After finishing our mackerel fishing, we went around and tried fishing for more impressive fish in a few other spots, but struck out.   The only thing caught was a crab who paid us a short visit and went back in the water.

We did however see lots of seals, a huge whale (see if you can spot him in the video), and a school of porpoises decided to play around and even under us for a while!    That was very neat! 

I hope to get a chance over the next month to pay this area another visit, and do some fishing... only next time in my kayak!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

A 5 species day!

This morning I headed off to explore an area of Kingston called Gorham's Bluff with some friends in search of pickerel.   The area isn't far from Kingston Creek.. or so we thought.   After getting back and measuring the distance we paddled, it turns out we did a 15 kms round trip.. much more than I expected to do! 

 The wind was somewhat fierce on the way back, making for very rough water and a tough paddle into the wind.   At times it felt like buckets of water were being thrown at me one after the other.    It was a lot of fun though, and while I wasn't worried at all, I did not dare to take my hands off the paddle to turn the GoPro around and get some footage.  One wrong decision could have spelled disaster!

At our destination we found what should be a paradise for the pickerel angler.   However the weeds has completely overcome the area making it very difficult fishing.   I did manage to get a few hits, one from a nice 20-something inch fish nearly underneath me in the clear water, but it was not till we were near the end of our journey in that I finally caught my only pickerel of the day, a decent 19 incher.

So after 4 1/2 hours we returned back to Kingston Creek where I packed up and headed out to Sturgeon Alley.   I wanted to get some fishing in with minimal paddling as my shoulders were really feeling that 2 hour workout of a return trip.   

High slack tide was scheduled for somewhere around 3:30 which is what I wanted to fish.   I've always found the best luck for sturgeon around high slack tide, and today was no different.   After about an hour with no luck, the current slowed to a crawl and I started to get a few bites.     The first fish landed was my first sturgeon of the summer, about 2 feet long.

While dealing with the sturgeon, I got a bite on the other rod, which turned out to be about a foot long smallmought bass.   Shortly there after I got another smallie and then a yellow perch.  So overall the afternoon was starting to turn out ok.

About ready to head home, I made one last stop where I know baitfish usually hang out to see what else I might haul up.   I used my SonarPhone to find schools of small fish, set anchor and in no time at all I started hauling up white perch one after the other.... sometimes 2 at a time!

I kept a few of the white perch that were 9 inches or bigger and took them home for a meal.    I have to say, white perch is one of the best fish out there, so tasty!   They would be fantastic in fish tacos or a dish like that.

It's a great sign that I was able to find a sturgeon today.  Hopefully I'll be able to repeat that next week at the Hammond River Classic fishing derby!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

NB Day Long Weekend - Hammond River & Otnabog

This weekend I enjoyed a couple days of some great fishing time with both of my boys, and then had the opportunity to explore Otnabog for the first time with a few friends.   The weather was great, and of course the memories were even better!

On Friday, Rowan and I set out at Darling's Island to try and catch a few different species and practice for the Hammond River Classic that is coming up on August 16th.   While I did manage to catch my first pickerel in the Hammond, Rowan kept busy catching perch and sunfish in rapid succession!   It was the first sunfish I've seen caugh in the Hammond, so it was great discovering a place we could go to try for them.   

Later that morning I brought Rowan to a place I know is filled with a ton of yellow perch so that he could not just catch many, but also practice steering the fish into a net I was holding.    Over and over, Rowan would hook into a fish, yell "I need the net!", and then steer the perch into the net.    On the very last cast (we ran out of worms), Rowan hooked one, yelled for the net, and then expertly directed the his first ever smallmouth bass into the net I was holding!     Not bad for a kid who just turned 4 a few weeks ago!

The next morning, Rowan, Fynn and I all went together, met a friend and we all set out again on the Hammond for more fishing.  Fynn took to the water in our 12 foot Old Town Dirigo which is way too big for him, but he did great considering!   I'm trying to convince Anna we need yet another kayak (a 9 or 10 foot angling model) for Fynn but that isn't going too well!    Fynn caught a few perch and a baby pickerel, but then got bored and was ready to head back.    He doesn't have quite the same interest as Rowan who could stay out from dawn till dusk, but I think an appropriately sized kayak would go a long way there.

On Monday, New Brunswick Day, I met a few friends up at Otnabog Lake, near the village of Hampstead.   This lake has a few grassy areas that are filled with pickerel, and rumor has it there are some monsters in there.   I was hoping to break my personal record of 23.5", but the biggest of the 10 I caught was a fat 22" one.   

At one point, in some extremely thick weeds, a massive pickerel popped his head out of the water when my lure hit near him, but he didn't bite.   Judging from the head, this guy would have not only easily broken my size record, but may have given the 30" threshold a shot!    I'll definately have a trip to Otnabog on my list of must-do's next year, perhaps in early July before the weeds get too thick.