Sunday, October 19, 2014

Long day on the Kennebacasis

Well yesterday I had high expectations, being given permission to spend as much of the day as I liked out on the water.   So at about 6 AM I hit the water with Peter, one of the other kayakers from the Greater Saint John Kayak Anglers, and was soon met by Craig and Chris in their kayaks as well.   The goal was to catch sturgeon, and possibly one of the big stripers we were hearing about.  

I quickly caught a catfish, which surprised me as I hadn't seen a catfish around there in a while.   Other than that we all caught a bunch of tommy cod.  It was actually hard trying to keep worms on the hooks for sturgeon with so many tommy cod around!

So Peter and I decided to paddle up river towards whats known as the Deep Hole in search of better fishing.   Other than finding a yellow perch and Peter finding a smallmouth bass, it was still only tommy cod that we were able to catch however, so eventually we made our way back towards sturgeon alley.

Along the way I stopped at a spot where I hooked a couple sturgeon last week.   It took a while but I finally landed a 36" sturgeon.   After getting it into the kayak, I took my other rod to put it securely in the rod holder, while I delt with getting the hook out of the sturgeon and measuring it, and found I had one hooked on the other rod as well!   Turns out in 11 hours on the water, I only caught 2 sturgeon and they were back to back!

I'm generally pretty careful to only hold the sturgeon by the tail where the scutes are not as pronounced.  Though for the above picture I held them by the bodies.... oops!   By doing this I often ended up with some cuts on my fingers like these.   They may be small, but they are very tender for a few days!   The smaller the sturgeon, the sharper the scutes!

I caught a baby striper at this same spot last week and did so again yesterday before I met Sam Andrews.   Sam is working on a project at UNB to study our local Saint John / Kennebacasis / Hammond Rivers striper populations.   This involves taking scale samples of the very young stripers to be sent off for genetic testing.   Catching these young stripers though isn't easy when you are trying to catch them!   Fortunately, while talking to Sam, I was able to catch 2 more baby stripers, including one that was barely 7 inches long!

It's pretty neat that I was able to contribute to the project by catching these two baby stripers for Sam, so that he can collect the sample he needs for testing.  I certianly look forward to hearing the results of his study and finding out once and for all if these baby stripers are actually native to our river system!   Unfortunately, given the nature of genetic testing, the results may not be avaiable for a year or longer, so we will have to wait to see what happens!   Sam gave me some items that I can use over the next little while to collect samples for him as well, and then of course return the baby striper back to the river unharmed!

After a while I left Sam and made my way back to the mouth of the Hammond where I met Matt, again one of the members of our kayaking group.  Matt's caught some monster fish this year including a 32 inch eel and a 50 inch sturgeon, but today was a very slow day for him as well.   That is, till he hooked into and landed a 41 inch striped bass!    Way to go Matt!!   Note, Matt did release the fish for someone else to enjoy catching later!

We eventually got off the river at about 4:30.    A long day, with 5 species landed, but none of the trophies I was looking for.  At least I was able to meet Sam, and video Matt catching his trophy!

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