Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Year in Review

2015 was an epic year for me!   I hope you were able to have half as much fun as we did here in the Greater Saint John area.    As many others do, here is a little recap of my fishing related exploits through the past 12 months.     Here are the best of the pictures I've collected through the year.

If you cannot see this slideshow, the pictures can be found here.

Prior to getting the kayaks on the water, the NB Sportsman Show was held in Moncton in March.    I was invited to go and host a booth promoting the sports of kayak fishing and sturgeon fishing.   This was my first time running a booth in the fishing industry and it was a blast!   A huge thank you again to my friend Craig Cochrane who came and helped out for the whole three days.

We first launched the kayaks later than hoped on April 19th as the Winter was long and hard.    The Spring Sturgeon season was fun and I was able to bring out my first ever guided fishing clients who were all successful in catching their first ever shortnose sturgeon.

In May I was able to take my first trip up to the Miramichi to go stripers fishing with IPop.    We didn't catch a lot but we did get a few and have a better idea as to how we want to fish them on our next visit.   I've already got plans and dates in mind for this coming May!

June was a blast as with the warmer weather a Craig, Ipop and I took a trip up to visit Clay at the amazing Long Lake Adventures.   Unfortunately it was quite windy on that huge lake which made kayak fishing a bit of a challenge, but I did catch my first ever land locked salmon!    I am hoping to get back again on a calmer day this coming year and try for a huge lake trout.

Several times this year I was able to take one or both of my boys fishing, and both Fynn (8) and Rowan (5) have now caught their first sturgeon.   Fynn did amazing out in his own kayak fighting a 3 foot sturgeon and was exhausted by the end.    Rowan has more of a love of fishing than Fynn and spent more time with me in my Predator 13 through the year.   He has about 14 species now under his belt including mackerel in the Bay of Fundy and even won the kids division in the NB Paddler's Derby against kids much older.

Speaking of the NB Paddler's Derby, we had great weather, a big turnout and a lot of fun again this year.   The derby for 2016 is on June 18th so mark your calendars and plan to join us in Oromocto!

In July I was invited to join other Old Town and Ocean Kayak Pro-staffers in Orlando at ICAST, the worlds biggest Fishing Expo!    I was able to meet many of the other fantastic team members I am honored to be a part of, go fishing a few times, and mingle with many of the industries finest.    Mike Conneen had me on a kayak just 3 hours after getting off the plane paddling around manatees and catching my first tarpon!   That's an experience I'll never forget!

In August, after catching my breath from the Orlando trip I ran the Hammond River Classic which was an amazing success.   We had 57 paddlers on the water which makes it the biggest ever such event held in Eastern Canada.   Next year it promises to grow again as word of mouth continues to help bring in lots of new people to the event and the sport.

In September I decided to spend the Labour Day long weekend with the boys out camping, paddling, swimming and fishing.    We loaded three kayaks down with all the gear and paddled out to an island in the middle of West Branch Musquash.   Rowan was able to go fishing alone in his own kayak for the first time, and caught chub after chub with no assistance, while Fynn had a great time exploring the island and paddling around the lake.   We will be making this an annual event and hopefully grow it so that other parents/kids join us next year.

With the Fall comes Sturgeon Fishing season again.    And with this I hosted Newfoundland Sportsman as they came to film an episode with me for their television show.   Dwight, Peter and Jim all were able to catch several sturgeon and capture lots of great footage!   I can't wait to see the show air sometime in the New Year.   It should hopefully be great publicity for our wonderful recreational sturgeon fishery.

In 2015 I started a guided fishing venture.   Almost all the interest I received focused on people wanting to try their luck at sturgeon fishing.   Even through the middle of the summer when it isn't an ideal time to fish sturgeon I had people asking to go fish for them and almost every time my clients were able to land their first dinosaur!    It has been an honor and a pleasure to help young kids catch their first ever fish with their Dads next to them, or to assist a few 70+ year old gentlemen catch their first sturgeon in a kayak.    I've met a lot of great people through guided fishing, and am looking forward to next year as I've already had three groups from outside NB book me for April!

Finally, through 2015 I was able to contribute my first ever articles to several publications.   From Kayak Angler magazine, our local Ossekeag family of community magazines, and the Fisherman's Journal my writing and promotion of our sport has been able to reach tens of thousands of people!   That is really something I'm quite proud of!

My last fish of the year was on Boxing Day.    December has been very unusually mild so several kayaks have been fishing for most of the month out at Sturgeon Alley.   The last fish of the year was a nice 49.25" sturgeon.. .a fantastic way to close out 2015!

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Boxing Day Sturgeon Fishing!

Forget the long lineups at the stores, the best place to be on a sunny and warm boxing day is on the water enjoying some epic sturgeon fishing with friends!   Usually by this time of year, the rivers in Eastern Canada are covered in ice, so it is a rare treat to be able to spend some time over the holiday weekend out enjoying our favorite past time!

Myself and IPop, two real beauties!
The air temperature was a balmy 4 degrees Celsius, with a little breeze helping to keep us cool while the water temperature on my fish finder read a steaming 37.8 degrees F!    With 15 - 20 cm of snow in the forecast for the following day, this was the day to get out and enjoy some great sturgeon fishing before finally packing the kayaks away for the winter.

On the day I landed around 15 sturgeon with my biggest being a nice 49.25 inches.    John (Ipop) landed about 7 while Chris got 10, Jeff got something like 10, and Trong was still catching them when we left.   Knowing Tran he probably beat my 15!

I was able to get some great videos and a few nice pics on the day.   The notable catch was Jeff's tailless sturgeon.  The first such fish anyone I know have ever seen!

I gave IPop a GoPro to use on the day and was able to put together a nice little piece of him.   This may be the only Ipop Kayak Fishing video out there!

Finally here is my video from the day.   The GoPro ran out of power so I wasn't able to capture the big fish on the day, but I got plenty others on there!

Monday, December 7, 2015

You never know what you will bring up!

You never know what you might catch when you go fishing!   Sometimes you bring it a great fish, sometimes you bring in something completely different!   Such has been the case a few times now in the past month out at our local hotspot - sturgeon alley.

Trong with a great shortnose sturgeon caught and released Dec 5th
A couple kayak fishing friends of mine were out a few weeks ago.   Chris and Trong each use sit inside kayaks and have landed a ton of sturgeon in them this year.    But as with the case for any of us, Chris got a big tangle and Trong came over to help him out.     While they were both preoccupied, a sturgeon came along and bit into Trong's bait, and swam off with his rod!  

Well, just a week later, both Chris and Trong were out again and Chris hooked into a sturgeon.   After landing it, he noticed another hook in the sturgeon's mouth.    Pulling in the line, Chris found Trong's rod at the other end!    Now what are the chances he'd hook into the exact same fish that a week earlier took the rod out of Trong's boat!

Chris with another nice catch!

Not to be outdone, this past weekend Trong brought up another surprise.   Back in mid-October I had been out with a group of 5 friends fishing Sturgeon.     I had made the mistake of improperly fastening the anchor to one of the kayaks, and as such, the Grappler Anchor pulled all the line plus my Yak Attack sidewinder off into the water!     Well this past weekend Trong hooked into my anchor line and returned back this gear which had been under water for nearly 2 months!    Even in the brackish water of Sturgeon Alley, the Grappler Anchor still looks brand new!   Now that is quality!

I still have an expensive rod/reel at the bottom of Sturgeon Alley somewhere.  While I suspect the reel is toast at this point, I'd love to get that rod back!

The best catch of course was my friend IPop back a few year ago who fought a 'huge fish' for a good 45 minutes.    When he eventually hand lined in his big catch it proved to be a bag of rocks!     To this day, IPop hasn't lived that one down!

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Rowan's Sturgeon!

I took Rowan out this morning to see if he could get his first sturgeon into the kayak.   Earlier this year Rowan hooked one and got it to the surface but I lost it as the hook fell out right next to our kayak.   So this time we wanted to amend that!

Several times through the morning Rowan would exclaim, "I got one!" but there was nothing there.   He likely did feel bites but wasn't hooking up.    About an hour into the trip, and after I had already caught 4 myself, Rowan yelled "I got one!  I really, really, really do this time!   It's heavy!".     Sure enough, he finally hooked into a sturgeon all on his own and was in the process of reeling it in!

I made sure to tell him to hold on tight to the rod, as I didn't want to see it go over the side, and set the camera to record.   Then I reached back, just to keep a few fingers on his rod to prevent an accident, and let him do all the work.   Rowan had been practicing the lift-and-reel routine at home, and knew exactly what he needed to do.

Congrats little buddy on getting your first sturgeon into the kayak!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Some nice feedback!

Below is an e-mail I received recently from a fellow that was part of a group of 5 whom I took out sturgeon fishing a few weeks ago.   It's great to get such nice comments back and really keeps my drive up for continuing with the guided fishing experiment I started this year!

If you know someone who would enjoy coming out to fish for sturgeon in the Spring or Fall, or taking in one of several other adventures through the summer think about giving a guided kayak fishing gift certificate this Christmas!  

Halloween morning, 2015, found my canoe buddies and me in full-on costume, ready to encounter some prehistoric creatures. We were on the shore of the Kennebecasis River, bundled for the cold, and ready to experience sturgeon fishing for the first time. 

Joe met us on arrival, with kayaks lined along the shore, and gear and hooks ready for action. From the first moment, we were impressed with Joe’s dedication to providing an outstanding fishing experience. Boats and gear were top notch, including the GoPro cameras thoughtfully mounted to record our adventure. He had even thrown on some calm and sunny weather for the day. 

In no time, we were all bobbing over the fishing spot, within sight of the put-in. It was mere minutes before yours truly hooked the first sturgeon of the day, and from there on, it was a steady chorus of “I’ve got one!” from the party. While nobody landed a fish to rival his own height or weight, we were thrilled with the fish we did bring in (all released, of course, to fight another day). 

Joe was constantly available to lend a hand with gear, suggest a better spot to drop a line, photograph a lucky angler and share some fascinating information about the river and the fish we were enjoying.  Our location was ideal, with bald eagles wheeling and crying along the clifftop above the solid blanket of brown oaks: the last color of the season. The sun sparkled off the wide, calm river, and we all ran the risk of mild sunburn, despite November being visible around the next bend. When it was time to head back to shore, nobody was in a hurry, and there was much talk of a return visit. This was certainly a memorable experience—one that can’t be easily replicated. Thanks, Joe!

Friday, November 6, 2015

Being a Kayak Fishing Guide

Kayak Angler magazine, the worlds #1 magazine for those in our sport has published another one of my articles online!    This time I talk about some of the lessons I've learned in putting myself out there as a kayak fishing guide.  

In a nutshell, there is far more work and planning required, and way less money that you might think, but the experience is priceless!  Give it a read and see what you think here!

Oh, and if you are looking for a Christmas gift idea, a subscription to Kayak Angler is a great choice for any friends or family you may have in the sport!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Non-stop Sturgeon Fishing Blitz

Whew, that was a long weekend!    I don't know about you, but I'll be heading to bed extra early tonight!  Since Saturday I had the pleasure of taking out a group of 5 anglers for a half day of sturgeon fishing, followed by more full days with another group of 5 who drove down all the way from Ontario to experience kayak fishing in our own Sturgeon Alley.  

On Saturday a group of five friends came down from the Fredericton area for a half day of fishing and got to exprience some fantastic weather and excellent fishing.    Between all of us somewhere around 20 sturgeon were caught with just one in the group not landing a sturgeon.   Here is a slideshow of the pictures I captured from from this trip.   If you can't get the slide show, you can click here to view them.

After this trip was Halloween night, which in itself is always an adventure when you have a 5 and an 8 year old!    This year they dressed up as Sonic the Hedgehog and Link, both from video games.   My wife Anna made the costumes again this year as she does ever Halloween.

On Sunday I met some very dedicated anglers who have a goal of catching as many species as they can.    A 9 inch Tommy Cod is as specials to these folk as a 48 inch shortnose sturgeon!    George, the eldest of the group in his 70's has over 750 species to his name, which is amazing.    Out on the Kennebacasis River on Sunday George managed to land an American Eel, Tommy Cod and multiple sturgeon in the Old Town Predator MX kayak giving him three new species to his life list! 

Everyone in our group caught at least 3 sturgeon on Sunday despite the cold and wet conditions.   Ken, in the Tetra 10 kayak let the way with 6 sturgeon and the largest on the day measuring in at around 45 inches.

Sunday brought a mixed bag of weather with sun, clouds, calm, wind in one direction, wind in another direction...etc.   While we didn't get wet as we did on Saturday, the fishing wasn't all that great.   Between myself and Mike we landed 8 or 9, but none of the others caught anything other than Tommy cod.

Here is a slideshow of the pictures I captured over the two days.   Again, for those unable to view the slideshow, here is a link to the pictures.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Late October Sturgeon Update

September is typically known as the first month in which sturgeon fishing gets started while October is generally viewed as hot, however this year it seems that good sturgeon fishing has been delayed.    For weeks now I've expected to experience and hear tales of people having great times catching lots of big dinos out on the Kennebecasis but with a few exceptions, it hasn't been happening.

Local kayak angler Chris Hardt with a big one!

Not until this weekend that is!    The unseasonably high water levels has finally started to drop off and with that the numbers of sturgeon in the traditional area of 'sturgeon alley' finally seem to be picking up.   Not just in number but also in size!

On Saturday I took a couple of guys out to fish sturgeon, and met a few other local kayak anglers who had already arrived.   Add in a few guys in a scanoe and a few more other boats and there was as much traffic around the mouth of the Hammond as I had seen all Fall!   While I can't speak for the boats or the scanoe, most of us in kayak did quite well through the day landing somewhere around 20 sturgeon with about half of them being in the 40 inch range or higher!

47 inches, second biggest on the day for me!
 With the Fall colors on the trees being as bright as they likely will get, the sun beating down and a few eagles flying overhead, you really couldn't have asked for a better day on the water than Saturday.   Enjoy the pictures I have here and hopefully next weekend I'll have another album full of great pictures like this for you to enjoy!

Enjoy this slideshow of pictures. If the slideshow doesn't work because you don't have Flash on your phone then click here to check them out!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Article in this month's Fisherman's Journal!

As anyone who may follow the blog or knows me is already aware, I've enjoyed submitting a few articles here and there to a couple of publications this past year.    Today, the October issue of The Fisherman's Journal was released and I'm very excited to say it features a three page article along with pictures and a mention on the cover!

Head over to The Fisherman's Journal and give it a read!   I hope you like it!

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Thanksgiving Day Beast

Yesterday was Thanksgiving here in Canada and a good friend of mine, Ricky went out to fish for some sturgeon with his wife Emily and two kids.   Well Emily showed Ricky how it was done landing this huge 52 inch shortnose sturgeon!    At 52 inches, it is the biggest sturgeon I'm aware of that was caught this year, and it is back in the water today for you to chase!

Congrats Emily, great catch!!!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Hosting Newfoundland Sportsman

These past few days I have had a wonderful time hosting a great group of fellow Newfoundlanders as they came here to the Kennebecasis River to shoot film for an episode of the television show Newfoundland Sportsman.   Host Dwight Blackwood, guest Jim Mansfield, and cameraman Peter Barfoot got the experience some tremendous October weather and catch a lot of fish over our two days out on the water!

A huge thank you to Pure Fishing for their support with fantastic Fenwick, Abu Garcia and Spiderwire gear, as well as Maritime Worm for all the bait used on this trip.   Thank you as well to Stormr who provided my outwear for use in the night and during the colder parts of the morning.  I am going to be well equipped to handle any wet/cold weather this Fall!

The guys arrived Sunday and came over to my place so that we could get introductions out of the way and have time to chat.   I prepared a feed of smoked shortnose sturgeon from my one keeper this past Spring.   The guys loved the dish, making quick work of it as we discussed the plans for the next two days.

Monday morning we met friend Rob Dekany who had agreed to help out for a few days by providing his boat and any assistance needed at Meenan's Cove beach.    We loaded up not only all of us and our gear but also my Old Town Predator 13 kayak on his boat and made our way out to sturgeon alley though some very thick fog.  

Once we arrived we unloaded the kayak, rigged up the rods and baited our hooks.   In short order, the anchors were down and we were fishing.    Then withing the first 10 minutes Jim had the first sturgeon of the day hooked!    This we certianly a great sign of things to come as we landed somewhere in the range of 17 to 20 sturgeon on the day!

Once lunch time hit, we went back to Rob's place which is right on the Hammond River for a bite to eat and then back to the river for a few more hours.   Then we headed back to Meenan's Cove, went for a bite to eat and met up again at Rob's place to head out to try our luck for some night time striped bass fishing.    This time I left the kayak at home!

Unfortunately, after the massive rainstorm we endured last week the water in the Kennebacasis was still quite high and dirty.   That meant difficult striper fishing conditions and the guys weren't able to experience their first ever striper.    Oh well, that just means we have something for them to try next year if they want to come back!    Luckily the next day a baby striper was caught during our sturgeon fishing, so they did get to see one up close!

Once we finally wrapped up our second day, we had caught close to 30 sturgeon overall, with a few cracking the three foot mark.    It was a very successfull trip and I can't wait to see the episode they are able to put together from the footage we gathered.   Here is a little video I put together from my GoPros.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Stormr Gear for the Fall!

Back in July I had the opportunity to attend ICAST as a promotional representative for Old Town and Ocean Kayak.   While there I had the opportunity to see booths and products from hundreds of companies servicing all aspects of the fishing industry.   One of the most impressive lines of products I had the opportunity to see was from Stormr. Stormr produces a line of neoprene outerwear unlike any you have seen before.

Like other neoprene products you be familiar with, you get the expected windproof and waterproof benefits in addition to significant warmth.    However Stormr offer much higher maneuverability and comfort than other neoprene products as they use a unique thin, soft and flexible shell that you can't find elsewhere.

You really have to see these products to really appreaciate the quality.   Once I viewed them on the showroom floor at ICast I had to talk with the sales reps about what I could do to work with them to promote the products here in Eastern Canada.  

Take a look at the Stormr website and learn about the great features that are built into their products including high stretch, water repellent, positive bouyancy neoprene and the light weight, breathable vapour tech shell.  

Today I recieved a shipment of Stormr products to wear to help promote the brand with in our area.   For all my Fall/Winter kayak fishing needs I have everything I will need to keep my dry and warm, even on rough Atlantic Canadian weather days.

The Stormr Stryker Bibs, jacket and gloves all look amazing and are remarkably lighter than what you may expect. Wearing these great products, I can say they are amazingly comfortable and easy to move around in. Unlike other neoprene products, they do not feel like they weigh me down or restrict my movements at all.   The gloves are going to be ideal for paddling and reaching into icy water to pull out the dozens of sturgeon that will be caught over the next few months!    Finally the beanie neoprene hat will be fantastic for keeping my head and ears warm on those cold November nights!

Keep watch over the next few months as I end up the year fishing several times a week wearing these clothes.  You'll see a lot of pictures posted where they are keeping me warm, dry and comfortable!

Stormr is carried by Cabela's, BassPro and online though Amazon.   Hopefully with BassPro opening this coming Wednesday, you'll be able to find this great gear at a Grand Opening special price!

Monday, September 28, 2015

A Weekend of Memories

This past weekend I had the opportunity to take three groups of people out kayak fishing in sturgeon alley.   From Friday through to Sunday afternoon, it was non-stop action for me from packing up kayaks and gear, prepping the boats on shore before everyone arrived, fishing for several hours at a time, and then packing it all back up again after each trip.   A lot of work goes into guided fishing beyond the time spent on the water!

This was also the first weekend for me to really put my new camera to work.    I'm loving the quality of these shots!

First up there was a family of 4 including a Grandfather, Dad, and two boys (12 and 6) who came out for an afternoon/evening fish.   Young Liam at 6 years old sat on a footstool behind his Dad on the Old Town Predator 13 and had a wonderful time.  Liam caught his first ever fish (three white perch) and was delighted with the experience!   Unfortunately, outside of the several white perch and eel that Liam and his Dad caught few other fish were found that evening.   I did manage to catch a small sturgeon just before we headed back to shore, so at least the boys got to see and touch a dino!

Next up on Saturday were a couple of experienced kayak anglers both looking to land their first sturgeon.   Nothing but a sturgeon would do here, so the pressure was on!   While the weather was fantastic with lots of sun and just a small chilly Fall breeze, the fishing was very slow.   In the end however it was a successful day as both Shane and Noah hooked into and landed their first sturgeon!    Both guys were extremely excited, especially Noah as his sturgeon (about 3 feet long) crushed his previous biggest fish by at least a foot!

Finally on Sunday I accompanied two brothers, one visiting from Alberta out for a try for their first sturgeon.   Jake had been out with me before with his nephew John (10 years old) who had caught 3 small sturgeon back in the summer.   This time Jake and John's Dad Adan wanted in on the action!   Fortunately, despite strong winds and current, we had better luck!   Both guys caught a sturgeon with Adam getting two! 

Thank you to all the guys who allowed me the opportunity to help make these great memories of the weekend!   The fishing is only going to get better, and the fish bigger as the Fall carries on!   If you or anyone you know would like to get out and enjoy a little adventure like this, be sure to let me know!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Salmon farming coming to in my hometown?

News came out today that salmon farming giant Greig Seafood is looking at moving into Newfoundland and setting up their home base in my home town of Marystown.   According to the article, Grieg was proposing to invest $300 million to transform Placentia Bay into an aquaculture epicentre with a goal of producing 35,000 tonnes of Atlantic salmon annually.    Through all this about 600 people would be employed which is work that I can tell you first hand, the hard working residents of the Burin Peninsula desperately needs!

With that being said, I really hope saner heads prevail here, as do the good folks at Newfoundland Sportman.   Accepting Greig seafoods in with open arms would be tantamount to setting up a toxic waste dump site in the bay.    The environment repurcussions of open pen salmon farming even on a much smaller scale than is being proposed here are enormous.    Farmed and Dangerous is a great website to read up on this industry and the problems that may come with it.

Naturally, Clyde Jackman, the local MHA and Stephen Harper puppet has been boasting about this opportunity like a good Conservative Choir boy.   What the good people of Marystown and surrounding area need to know however is that the Federal Conservatives will cut every corner possible, ignoring any environmental warnings and push to move forward with these types of projects regardless of the consequences.

It does not take long to search the Internet and find heaps of articles and papers discussing the impact of salmon farms on their surroundings, or on the appaling approach Stephen Harper takes to science on the matter.   Anytime there is scientific evidence against a project that Harper wants to have happen, he either buries it or ignores it.

A variety of links on these and other related topics which I quickly found are here, here, and here.
One of the most disturbing facts about salmon farms is the rediculous amount of tax payer money they take in from the government who are obligated to pay for dead fish.   Here in NB, I've heard such stories about Cook Aquaculture who operates these types of salmon farms locally. They have encountered disease with their fish rending those fish unfit for market.   The result of this is that taxpayers paid $13 Million dollars to cook for the lost product. 

What isn't written in that article however, and I only heard through word of mouth (so I cannot verify its authenticity), is that the fish disease was discovered early but instead of killing those fish while they were young, the diseased fish were kept till they were of age to go to market.   At this point, killing the fish off triggered the requirement that taxpayer dollars had to be spent to reimburse the company!

There are alternative ways to bring the salmon farming industry into an area like Marystown to create jobs safely.   That is by looking at companies like Sustainable Blue out of Nova Scotia who operates by using a closed containment system rather than open pen farming.   When my family buys salmon we only purchase Sustainable Blue product today.   

For anyone who may be from the Burin Peninsula who happens to come by this blog, please take some time to read a few of the links, read up on the alternatives and be very vocal to your federal/provincial and municipal government representives as well as to the local media.    Once you cross the line and bring in a company like Greig, there is no going back!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Goodbye to Summer

We are officially into Fall now, and with that comes the best sturgeon and striper fishing of the year on the Kennebecasis River.    From what I see first hand, and hear from others things are still a bit slow at the moment but should be picking up any day.    The few sturgeon that are getting caught are a good size on average with myself landing another 40+ inch fish this past Friday night.

My guided fishing service seems to be picking up steam thanks in large part to word of mouth.    A big thank you to anyone who's helped to promote this unique oppotunity to others to may have an interest.    I'll be out with groups Friday evening, all day Saturday and again on Sunday!   This past weekend I had a gentleman out who hadn't been fishing in 35 years.    After out outing where he caught 1 sturgeon and several white perch, he told me he was planning to order a kayak in the next week or so and has already joined our local social group "Greater Saint John Kayak Anglers"! 

If I don't get bookings for next weekend I plan to do night fishing both Friday and Saturday nights.   Sitting in kayak out under the stars at midnight on the river is about the peaceful and enjoyable experience one could have in these parts!

I did recieve a new toy yesterday in the mail.    A new camera I plan to use to take higher quality pictures for guided fishing clients.   The Nikon 1 AW1 waterproof mirrorless camera, with both a close range and distance lens (30 - 100mm) lens should really help capture fantastic shots and memories!   I'll be getting out with a friend tonght for a short fish and will get to try it out then!

Finally, my side hobby of writing articles beyond this blog is continuing to go well.    I've had seven articles published now in our local community magazine.  As well, I've had a few articles in the online publication of Kayak Angler Magazine, and finally I've just had an article accepted for the upcoming October issue of The Fisherman's Journal!   Formal writing had never been an ambition of mine but now that I've had a taste, I hope to continue with it over time to promote New Brunswick and the sport of Kayak Fishing.

Stay tuned for updates, pictures and videos featuring lots and lots of sturgeon in the next 2 months, and hopefully a striper or two as well!

Monday, September 7, 2015

The first Annual Tilley Boys Kayaking & Camping trip!

This being labour day, and the last weekend before the kids go off to school I wanted to do something memorable with the boys.   Anna is a teacher so she wanted to spend a lot of time getting her classroom prepared for next week which left me with an opportunity to wisk the boys off for an overnighter somewhere.

With the weater calling for nothing but sun and warm temperatures, I packed up three kayaks and all our camping gear and took the boys off for an adventure at West Branch Musquash.   This is basically a huge pond littered with islands of various size with most of them having sandy beaches.   There are cabins all around the lake, though most of them are concentrated on the Western side, so there is no trouble finding an island beach that is isloated and private.

With Fynn being 8 and Rowan being 5, I would typically place Rowan on a footstool behind me on my Predator 13 and have Fynn ride the Tetra 10, but with all the camping gear I wanted to bring, I opted to give Rowan his own kayak!   Between me in the Predator 13, Fynn in a Trident 13 and Rowan in the Tetra 10, we had lots of room for gear... and used it all!

The paddle out was slow as you can imagine.    I ended up packing some mismatched paddles so Rowan was forced to use a half paddle, forcing me to tow him out.   The water was very high this weekend so many of the beaches were underwater, however after about a 2 km paddle, we found a beach that was perfect for us.

Once at the beach I began the process of unloading from all three kayaks and setting up the tent, air mattress,...etc.   The boys decided they wanted to paddle out to explore a little island about 400 feet from our little beach.   Rowan jumped in the back of the Trident 13 and off they went.    It was great to sit on the beach, have a beer and watch them do it all on their own perfectly.   Fynn paddled the kayak to the island, landed it and then pulled it in to help his brother get off.   Then when they finished they did it all in reverse and paddled back.

The boys went off to explore the island.   They found a few paths and eventually a meadow people had been using for camping before, what was once a part of a cabin and even a toilet in the woods which, by the looks of it, still is in use today!

There wasn't a lot of fishing done at this point.   Finally once we had the camp all set up Rowan wanted to take out his kayak (the Tetra 10 was his by this point) and go fishing.    Fynn stuck on land searching the island for more surprises while Rowan and I went out to see what he could do.    I baited a hook for Rowan, gave him the rod, and in 2 casts he had himself is first fish solo in a kayak!  I didn't even have time to get out the camera to get it on video!

He caught several more before we went back to shore where we had a lunch, went swimming and the boys played hide and seek.    Rowan then grabbed his rod again and decided to try fishing from shore.  Wouldn't you know it, he caught several more decent size chub!

The next day we slept in, took our time making breakfast, went swimming...etc.  Eventually we got around to packing up the camp, and stowed everything away on shore where it couldn't be seen and went out exploring and fishing in kayak.   The boys put in at a few spots to look around for trails or surprises and I managed to catch 1 smallmouth while keeping an eye on them.   Then it was back to pick up all our gear and load down the kayaks and paddle back to the Jeep.

All in all it was a wonderful weekend where the boys got to be boys and have a great time together.   Next year we hope to do it all again, perhaps with a few more families this time!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Recapping the Hammond River Classic

This past weekend I ran the second of two sister derbys that I am the sole organizer for here in New Brunswick - the Hammond River Classic.   Together with the Eco-Logicial Adventures NB Paddler's Derby (held in June) they are the only two derbies of their kind in all of Eastern Canada.   

These events are intended to foster growth in canoe and kayak fishing, encouraging experienced anglers and novices alike to come and spend a day on the water together in a stress free, not very competitive setting.  Parents are encouraged to bring their kids, and everyone is expected to socialize and help each other out on the water.

Anglers are tasked with catching the widest variety of fish they can, measuring only their longest for any tie breakers.   During this weekend's event one angler (Sathe) caught 7 different species, while 4 others landed 6.  Between everyone 10 different species were landed during the day, showing just how diverse our river systems are!

Prizes were gathered through the year from many wonderful and generous sponsor companies, and I laid out all donations across several tables.   The first place finisher was given an opportunity to pick one big prize, plus somethign from a table of smaller items, then second, and so on.   By not front loading the prizes we were able to give everyone a chance to pick a prize worth at least as much as the price of admission!   A huge thank you once again to all sponsors for making this possible!

After the prizes were all awarded, we gave out tickets to all participants, even the kids, and randomly drew a number.   The winner was then presented with the grand prize - an Old Town Predator XL kayak donated by Old Town!    The kayak draw really generated a lot of interest as everyone wanted to win this battleship of a boat.    Congratulations to Bob on winning the Predator!

Bob spent the day in canoe with his Grandson and was swamped by an ignorant motorboat driver near the end of the day.   He lost a GoPro, a Fish Finder and other items but having won the kayak, he still went home with a big smile!

We had 57 anglers on the water for this event Saturday, a huge growth from 36 last year and 18 the year before!    These numbers really show the growing popularity of our sport in this region!     Just over $1100  was raised for the Hammond River Angling Association which I believe may be directed into the purchase of a couple of new youth fishing kayaks for their summer camps!    What a great cause!

Monday, August 17, 2015

Sturgeon Season is coming!

Yesterday I had the pleasure of taking a couple guys out to Sturgeon Alley for a day of guided kayak fishing.   Rowan joined us once again as he never gives up a chance to catch some fish with his dad!   Well, 10 year old John, visiting family from Alberta wanted to catch his first New Brunswick Sturgeon and wasn't able to last weekend.   However he wasn't about to be denied yesterday!

John caught 3 sturgeon through the day!   None were big but they were sturgeon just the same and he did a fantastic job landing them on his own!    Neither the current (which got to be quite strong), nor the sharp scutes were going to prevent this young man from landing those fish on his own!

Jake, his uncle landed a smallmouth bass, some yellow and white perch.    Rowan caught the only eel on the the day to go with yellow and white perch, while I caught 2 sturgeon and some perch.    All in all it was a great day!

John also had the biggest catch of the day, and most entertaining one.    Thinking he had on a very big sturgeon, the line held stationary.   Obviously it must be stuck on bottom I thought.   "It's a fish, I can feel it swim!", John declared.     Well eventually he was able to reel up the catch... a very long and heavy piece of board, plus a yellow perch on a second hook!

My biggest of 2 sturgeon on the day turned out to be 41 inches, a nice fish which I'd love to catch again next week at the derby.   It would have a great shot at winning the lunker award!

While this isn't exactly sturgeon season, there are some out there.   If you want to get out to catch one of these dinosaurs, check out my guided fishing service and contact me soon.    Several dates have already been booked!  

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Been gone way too long!

It's been several weeks since I've posted on here, the longest stretch perhaps I've ever gone between posts!   After getting back from a fantastic Florida experience of fishing and attending ICAST, things have been extremely hectic here around the house and at work, I'm still trying to get everything in order!

I'll post a better recap of this and that a little later, for now, know that I'm still here, and I'll have more good content coming soon.   I have another short video here for now of my Florida fishing on the day after ICAST where I catch my first hardhead catfish, and my first few pinfish.   I also catch another manatee coming over to play with me in the kayak.

Since I've been back I've been out fishing for pickerel, tried to find my first big Atlantic Sturgeon (nothing but eels that day!), and I've gotten Anna out in the kayak a few times.    I also took a young teenager and his older relative out for their first kayak fishing experience on the Hammond this past weekend, so I have been busy!

Coming up in a few weeks is the big Hammond River Classic fishing derby!   Tell your friends and come out to enjoy this fun event and perhaps you could be the random winner of the new Old Town Predator XL kayak!

Sunday, July 12, 2015

First few days in Florida

Yesterday I woke up in New Brunswick early and was on the road at 5:30 AM.    At 5:30 PM I was in a kayak in Melboure, Florida!   Meeting up with fellow Adventure on the Water Pro-Staff Mike Conneen, we set off in search of my first fish in Florida, possibly a snook, gar,  tarpon or one of a few other species.

If you do nothing else, watch some of this video starting at the 1:20 mark!!!

What a magnificent experience this first outing was!  I was constantly on the look out for gators, as they are all over the place down here, and paddling through thick brush I was somewhat nervous.   Mike caught a very cool looking Mayan Cichlid right off the bat but that was all we landed for a little while. 

Eventually we made out way into a sanctuary where massive manatees were swimming all around.  These things are huge!   It would be trivial for one to pop up and flip us in the kayak, but that would never happen on purpose.   Mike tells me unless you could scare one early in the morning in shallow water which could lead to a flipped kayak, but they are not at all aggressive animals.

Right in the middle of several manatees I finally got a hit from a tarpon, and then a short time after I hooked a nice one.   The tarpon took my lure and ended up running under a log, where I couldn't get him out.   Eventually the line broke and he got away.    Determined not to go home empty handed I finally hooked into a third, which I finally landed.   It wasn't as big as the second fish that hit, but it was about 20 inches.    3 hits and a landed fish in a couple hours isn't bad for my first attempt at a tarpon!

Day 2

Today I got out with Mike and a few others in Indian River Lagoon, near Titusville, FL.   The goal was to catch some nice reds.   There were tons of mullets swimming around, which I learned are algae eaters, and despite being all around, are next to impossible to catch.    Chasing the mullets are sea trout, reds, and black drum.    The lagoon is huge though the average depth is only 3 feet, which makes for a very different fishing experience than anything I've ever had before!

From time to time during the morning, I spotted stingrays and horseshoe crabs in the water.   The biggest stingray that swam under me I estimate was a little more than 2 feet wide.    Very neat!

I did manage to catch a 14 inch sea trout, and hooked but lost another fish.    Mike caught a few reds, a few trout and a pinfish, but overall it was slow fishing this morning.  

That is it for the fishing till next weekend, when a big group of Pro-Staffers will gather for some epic group kayak fishing.    It is going to be amazing!   Till then I'll be working the floor all week at ICast!

Friday, July 10, 2015

Heading to ICAST!

Tomorrow morning I head out to fly down to Orlando for 8 day to participate in ICAST, the worlds biggest fishing show!   It is a week long event bringing in all of the biggest and best names in the fishing industry.   New products are revealed, many of the celebrities in the sport are on hand, and hundreds upon hundreds of booths are set up by all of the various vendors.

My role will be as one of the Pro-Staff working at the Johnson Outdoors booth displaying and promoting Old Town and Ocean Kayak boats as well as Carlisle paddles and Extrasport PFDs.   I'm still somewhat in disbelief that I've been invited to work with such a fantastic team representing the best brands in the industry!

Last Years Amazing Crew at ICast

Not only will the show itself be one of the most anticipated events in my recent memory (coming a close forth to the birth of my two boys, and the annual day of the NHL calendar when the Leafs are mathematically eliminated from the playoffs .... typically sometime in December), but I'll also get a few days this weekend and next to fish various waters in Florida with other Pro-Staffers!  

On Sunday, arrangements have been made for a group of us to receive a special pass to bring kayaks onto the NASA site and fish around the space shuttle lanuching area!   This is a very exclusive and restricted area so I'm very excited for this!   Back in 2001, my last time in Orlando, I had the chance to get an insider tour of the JFK Space Center and remember seeing a very big gator on the side of the road on the drive there.   Not sure what I'd do if I seen something like that in a kayak, cast a line to it or paddle away!  lol

Monday is apparently setup day at the convention center where I'll be helping to put together the booth, set up the kayaks and such for display and so forth.  Then Tuesday we are off to nearby Lake Toho for a day of one the water demonstrations and activities.   Wednesday through Friday is back at the Convention Center to work the trade show booth.    Of course my birthday is right in the middle of it all on Thursday, so I expect something fun to be in the works that night!

During the week you can watch along with what we are up to at the show via a live streaming webcast!  

Finally next weekend, both Saturday and Sunday there will be several of the biggest names in kayak fishing gathered to fish, take pictures and videos, bbq, and so forth.   I'll be hoping to land my first of many species including tarpon, red, snook, black drum, and largemouth bass just to name a few.   

Finally I fly back first thing Monday morning.   With a 6 AM flight I'll likely sleep at the airport, hoping to get a reasonable rest before driving back home from Bangor later that day.