Sunday, September 28, 2014

Matt's wild weekend!

Last night was the third in four nights that I hit sturgeon alley in kayak with a group of friends.   Up till now we've caught lots of tommy cod, eel, catfish and white perch but no sturgeon.    Finally last night we had some luck!

Matt McDonald who is new to sturgeon fishing this year has caught a few through the summer and last night was a pretty special night for him.   After several hours of Matt, myself and a couple others having no luck, he finally managed to land a nice 34 inch shortnose sturgeon.    A little later he landed a 21 inch atlantic!   So Matt appears to be 'the man' at this point!   

Finally I manage to land my first sturgeon in a few weeks with a 31 inch short nose, it was nice to get that monkey off my back.  

But Matt wasn't done... a little later his hooks what he says is a striper!   The fish jumped in the night right off the start but we barely glimpsed it with our headlights.   Then the fight was on!    Matt was taken in circles fighting this fish for 6 - 10 min!     We were thinking striper, but finally he gets it to the surface and sees it's a huge sturgeon!     After getting it in and giving it a measure, it ended up at 50 inches!    Congrats Matt on joining the 50 inch club!     The sturgeon went back into the water to be caught again next week (hopefully by me!) at the sturgeon derby!

Thankfully Matt didn't break one of my records 2 nights in a row (I have a 52 and 54 inch sturgeon in my name)!    Friday night he hauled in an absolutely rediculous American Eel measuring a whopping 32 inches!    That easily breaks my personal best eel of 29 inches!     It was a great weekend for Matt as you can see!

Matt's success has come using the rigging and technique that I came up with for sturgeon fishing and have had good luck with this past year.   If your not from our area and would like to visit and go out in search of one of these dinosaurs, take a look at the "Fishing With Joe" section and we will see if we can get a picture of you holding your own trophy fish like this!

Friday, September 26, 2014

The new ride, outfitted with Yakama!

So several weeks ago my 2003 CRV, which has served me well since I bought it new needed more in brake/suspension/body work than the vehicle was worth, so it was time to bite the bullet and get a new ride.   I ended up with a 2014 Jeep Wrangler Sport Ultimate (which just means 4 doors).   It's a great vehicle, though off the lot wasn't really equipped to carry my Predator 13 without using my trailer.

So I looked to a kayak angling and blogging friend, Chris Arnold, who also has a 4 door Jeep Wrangler for some advice and decided to install the Smittybilt SRC rack.    The rack looks awesome, allows for the hard top and soft top to be switched, and can carry 300 lbs.    The downside though is that it's extremely loud in the wind, especially with the soft top on.    To counteract this, I put in a couple of wind deflectors, one above the windshield and one on the rack itself.   This made a huge difference in the noise, but still with the soft top on it wasn't 'quiet'.     With the hard top however, noise really is no longer a factor, so that was a relief!

So, having the rack on, I then needed to get a kayak rack.   For this I turned to Yakima, who were happy to accept me into their VIP team.   My sincere thanks to Yakima for this.   Talking to one of the great reps at Yakima, we decided to go 2 paris of Mako Aero and the Showboat 66.   With these items, loading my 93 pound Old Town Predator 13 up onto the roof rack of the jeep (about 6 1/2 feet high) becomes easy by myself!    I simply lift one end of the kayak up onto the rolling bar of the Showboat 66, then lift and push the other end till the kayak has rolled up onto the kayak holders, from there I just strap it in!

One very nice feature of the Yakima Mako Aero kayak holder, is that the straps that come with it have a rubber coating over the heavy metal piece where the strap loops through.    This allows me to toss the strap over the kayak without having to worry about any damage being done to the Jeep by the metal parts.   Someone was really thinking there!

Another great advantage to the Smittybilt Rack and the Yakima gear on a Jeep is that it offers a natural safe place to store and transport your rods!    I can just slide 4 or 5 rods under the kayak above the rack, with the reels in the front and they are good to go.   For added safety I use a small bungee to hold the rods in place on both the front and the back.      Here I have 2 of my Denali MH rods set up for sturgeon fishing in Rod Gloves, and a couple of bigger rods for stripers ready to go tonight

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Ready for Sturgeon Season!

One of my favorite fish to catch is sturgeon, and those of us in the Kennebacasis Valley are blessed to have world class sturgeon fishing grounds right in our back yard.    The Saint John / Kennebacasiss River systems are one of the few river systems on the East Coast of North America, and the only one in Canada where shortnose sturgeon come to spawn and winter.   While in many places sturgeon fishing is simply not allowed, here we are allowed to fish them, though they have to be 120 cm in length in order to be kept.   A sturgeon that long could be 30 - 60 years old!    The 54 inch sturgeon I landed (and released) in the Spring may well have been over 60 years old!

Now that we are into Fall and the temps are starting to drop, the sturgeon are going to start showing up in greater numbers in our rivers and start to become more active feeders.   That means, of course, sturgeon fishing should start to heat up anytime now!

I've been out fishing in sturgeon alley the past few weeks looking for a sign, but have had limited success.   Last week I landed a couple, and Matt from the Greater Saint John Kayak Anglers have landed a few (including 2 yesterday), but they are still pretty hard to come by.    I gave it a shot for about 4 hours last night and managed to catch 5 species (white perch, yellow perch, eel, cat fish, tommy cod) but no sign of a sturgeon.

Last week of course I landed 2 sturgeon plus had an amazing suprise adventure with a 38" fat striper, but again, that took several hours.   I'm hoping to see a much better rate of success before I declare sturgeon season officially on!

With the sturgeon derby around the corner on Oct 5th, I'm hoping for a stronger sign of success soon.   Note, traditionally, I've found the hours directly before and after high slack tide to offer the best sturgeon fishing and I've not been able to get out in those hours recently.    Friday evening though, high slack tide should be around 7:30 - 8:00 PM at sturgeon alley, so I'll be there in prime fishing time hoping for the best!

Have you gotten out and had some success fishing sturgeon in kayak this fall?   If so, and you have some good pictures you'd like to share, send them to me ( and I'll post them on the blog!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Kayak Angler's Choice Awards

It's nomination time for the 2014 Kayak Angler's Choice Awards!    If you have a retailer in mind who you think deserves recognition, a favorite new kayak or kayak fishing product, or heck - perhaps even a favorite blog (hint, hint), then be sure to fill out the nomination form and get your pick on the voting list!

Among the categories you can submit nominations for are:

  • Kayak Angler” of the year
  • Kayak” of the year
  • Kayak Paddle” of the year
  • Kayak Angler Forum” of the year
  • Kayak Angling Journal/Magazine” of the year
  • Most Innovative Kayak Angling/Fishing Product (non kayak)” of the year
  • Kayak Angling Retailer/Outfitter/Bait Shop” of the year
  • Kayak Angling Location” of the year
  • Kayak Angling Online Video” of the year
  • Kayak Angling Blog/Blogger” of the year 
Plus there is a bonus category where you can submit what you think would be a good idea for an additional award category as well as your nomination for that category!    I've got my nominations in.  While I  won't say all the ones I submitted, I will say I nominated Canadian Kayak Anglers for the forum award and Eco-Logicial Adventures for the retailer of the year!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Kayak Fishing Magazines

There are going to be times for all of us when we just can't get out on the water for whatever reason.   Weather, family, work, or health (in which case I wish you a speedy recovery) can keep any of us off the water for extended periods of time, or possibly worse - during peak fishing conditions!

If your like me, during those times when fishing cannot be done, it is still forefront on our minds.   Where will we go next, what species to target, who may join us, what's the forecast calling for..... Tell me your not thinking those same things and I'll say your full of it!

Well one way to keep yourself distracted, and perhaps motivate you to put your all into it on your next trip is to spend a little time getting acquainted with some of the premiere kayak fishing magazines available online.  I've got 2 that I regularly keep an eye on, and a couple others that I check in on from time to time.
Ben Duchesney and the folk at RapidMedia have a collection of online and print content including Kayak Angler Magazine.   They put out a great print magazine several times a year, have contests, tips, awesome articles and several of the dedicated kayak anglers from around the Atlantic provinces have been featured in pictures or articles in their publications.

Personally, I've been honored to have been asked to partake in a few of their 'ask a pro' articles this past year.
A smilar name, but a completely different publication, YakAngler offers a lot to folk like us in addition to a pretty sweet logo!   For one, they do an annual Kayak Angler Choice Awards where recognition is given to a variety of areas including gear, anglers, blogs (cough, cough), and more.    Be sure to check out YakAngler online, get inspired and go out and catch yourself your own trophy catch so that you too may get featured in their magazine!

Some more online publications you can check out for even more articles, tips, pictures and such include:

Both of these magazines are great supplements to your online reading on the sport of kayak fishing.   Check out what other anglers are doing in other parts of the world.   If your like me, drool at the variety of 50, 100, even 1000 pound monster fish being caught in kayaks.

Product Reviews, tips from the pros, videos, news, articles, contests, and more can be found to satisfy your needs while off the water.    Whats more, if you have something to contribute, these or other such publications may be interested in what you have to share!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Another PB! 38" Striper landed in the kayak!

 Two personal bests this week!    Last night I took my Old Town Predator 13 out to sturgeon alley in hopes of hitting a few nice sturgeon.   The forecast was calling for clear skies, no wind and a brilliant display of the Northen Lights so what better time to do an overnight fish!   I hit the water at about 6:30 in the afternoon ready for several hours of fun!

Unfortunately there are rather big hills overlooking the river at sturgeon alley so I was unable to take in any of the light show.   The fishing was rather slow for the first several hours as well save for many small eels!    The largest eel was about 17 - 18 inches, but most were babies at 10 - 15 inches.    Definately not worth the hassle of catching!   

Eventually, after moving to a few spots to try and avoid the eels I did manage to hook and catch an Atlantic Strurgeon.   It was small, about 23 inches, so I didn't bother with a picture and let him go as quick as I could.  I had bigger fish to catch!

Finally about 10:30 I got a good bite.    Almost immeadiately there was a huge spash in the darkness and I got a glimpse of a fish going back into the river.    My first thoughts at this was striper!    After a 2 -3 minute fight, I got the fish to the surface and found it was a nice 34 inch shortnose sturgeon.   Finally, a fish worth making the trip out for!

With renewed optimism I keep fishing, eventually moving down with the current 20 feet and trying again.   A half hour or so in this place and nothing so I brought in my first line, then went to reel in my second line and BANG!    Fish On!!!!     It was immediately apparent this wasn't a regular 3 foot sturgeon... this was a monster!    He went one way, and turned me completely around.   Then he want the other way, and again turned me completely around.    My Denali Rod (Mark Taylor Signature Series) was a complete U and my reel was giving out line.... this was what I had been waiting for!   

Eventually I spotted the fish at the surface and seen that it was a striped bass, not a monster sturgeon!    And not a small striped bass either!   It took 12 - 15 min to finally get the fish subdued and into my net.    I hadn't realized just how heavy 25 - 30 lbs of striper is in a net till last night!

My only regret is that my Scotty GoPro camera mount broke last week and I don't have the new one ordered in yet.  Otherwise I'd have placed it up behind me and gotten some 'fuzzy' video of the experience.    I guess a few pictures will have to suffice.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Personal Pickerel Record - 25"!

A friend discovered a spot close to home where he's had some success catching pickerel the past few weeks, so I thought I would check it out. I'd been there once before, only landing a single pickerel so while my friend had good things to say, I was still a little dubious.    Where exactly is this spot?   Well, I'm not going to purposely give away a friend's secret spot, so you'll have to figure that out on your own, and if you do, please keep it to yourself.

Yesterday evening after work I packed up my gear and headed out, hoping to catch a few nice ones. One the paddle out, I realized I forgot my net.... DOH! Pickerel fishing pretty much requires a net as often time the fish are hooked in such a way the hook could easily tear out of their mouth or slip out. Lifting the fish by the line is a sure way of losing a decent percent of pickerel. However, as I was halfway to my destination, and after a full day of paddling yesterday at the Muskie tournament up near Frederiction, I was in no mood to turn around.

For pickerel, I've always foud the best luck to be using pink flukes, salamanders, and frog, as well as white frogs. Also, the pink and red/white spinner baits made by Abby at Doirons Sports Excellence are also fantastic pickerel lures. Armed with these favorites I was ready to catch a few fish!

On my second cast, a fish made a leap from the water for my lure, a pink fluke. Having felt no tug or resistance, I reeled in. Sure enough, the bugger had bitten clean through my 20 lb mono leader! I've had that happen before after several other fish had chipped away at the mono, but this was a fresh new leader! Either that fish got really lucky, or it was a big one with very sharp teeth! Was this a sign of what was to come?

It took a while to get another hit, but eventually I landed a small 14" pickerel. Then things went dry for a spell. I have to admit, I was starting to get frustrated. Eventually I landed an 18" pickerel, and then a nice 20" one. At least I wasn't shut out, but I wasn't finding the numbers, nor the size I had been hoping for.

Finally near the end of my trip I struck gold. I put on a very large pink lure that we jokingly call Godzilla. It's big and fat with something like 20 legs. What I do is cut off the first 4 or 5 legs on either side, and rig it weedless with a weighted Owner Hook Beast hook using a twist lock to secure it to the lure.    A fish attacked the lure almost as soon as it hit the water, then again and finally a third time before it finally got hooked.    I knew it was a decent fish, but I didn't expect the fat 25" monster that I hauled into the kayak!    This was the fish I was searching for!

I did get a couple more hits before heading back, and I suspect they were decent sized as well, but none that had the hook set.     I'll have to hit that water again before too long and continue to explore it.    I think for quantity, Kingston Creek may still be one of the best spots around, but it's nice to have new water in the area to explore now as well!