Tuesday, June 23, 2015

A fantastic derby weekend!

This past weekend was the 2015 Ecological Adventures NB Paddler's Derby.    This is the second year that I have held the organizer role for this event, and while it is a ton of work, it is also tremendously rewarding.    This particular derby, moreso than any I've ever been involved with before was the most special for me as Rowan, my 4 year old, wanted to compete as well, and he did an amazing job!

The weather was wonderful from Friday afternoon through to the end of the event Saturday evening.   Many anglers opted to camp on site again and I had a great time catching up with friends I don't often get to see.

The event went off without any major issues through the day.   None of the 39 anglers tipped over, everyone caught fish, and there were 13 species caught in total through the day.   After getting through the paperwork, we ended up raising $650 for the Oromocto River Watershed Association to put towards the protection, conservation and enjoyment of the river sytem.

Some of the guys found a nice spot to take a break
Come the end of the day, all the prizes had been laid out among 4 tables, with a kids table, a table for larger prizes, then shirts/hats, and finally an assortment of lures, glasses, line, and other smaller items.  First the kids came up and collected their prizes and then each participant from first place down to  35th came up and selected one item from each of the other three tables.    This approach, while not initially planned, ended up working out as a great format for presenting prizes!
Some of the guys pre-fishing on Friday

As usual Ryan Anderson won the event with 10 species.   I came in a very respectable 6th place with 8 species, but would have gotten third if only the huge pickerel that got off my line just as I was getting my net in the water was landed.

Andrew with his sons Caleb and Jayden

The star of the show was Rowan.   At 4 years old he landed 6 species (including a pickerel which I couldn't get), and would have come in 11th place among the adults.    He easily won the youth division and was overjoyed to select a fantastic snorkelling set, along with a Cabela's Rod and his medal!   Rowan wore his snorkel set home in the Jeep, then took it into the tub and finally wanted to sleep with it on that night!  :-)

My first ever Red Brest Sunfish

The winner of the kayak which was once again generously donated by Paul Wright of Eco-Logical Adventures was Bob Duchesneau who was the original organizer of this event.   It's great to see Bob win the kayak after all he contributed to the event over the years!    We had a lot of new faces this year, and everyone seemed to have a great time.   I'm sure as word of mouth continues to spread, next year will be bigger and better once again!

If you missed out on this event, we are doing it all again on August 22nd, this time on the Hammond River.   Old Town has donated a Predator XL to give away at this one, and I've already lined up even more great prizes, so make your plans and register today!    Oh, if you register and pay by July 15th you'll be entered into the early bird draw of a rod/reel and line combo!

Monday, June 15, 2015

Derby this weekend!

Anyone in the Maritime with an interest in kayak or canoe fishing should give serious consideration to coming to Oromocto this weekend.   The Annual NB Paddler's Derby, renamed this year to the Ecological Adventures Paddler's Derby in honor of the tremendous support given by them every year, is on Saturday.

Since volunteering to take over the organizer role for this event as well as the Hammond River Classic in early 2014, I've been fortunate to gather support from a number of fantastic companies in the kayak fishing industry.   As such we many more and much better prizes lined up for this year's event!    Rods, Paddles, accessories, lures, tackle, and more will all be up for prizes this year.   It's a good thing too because already there are 36 people pre-registered for the event, meaning we will very likely bust through the 50 participant mark for the first time ever!

Of course, the big prize, a new fishing kayak, will be given away randomly!    All paid participants will receive a ticket after the regular prizes are given away and we will then randomly draw for the kayak, so regardless of what you may think of your fishing skills, come on out and perhaps walk away with the best prize of the day!

The derby is set up to be non-competitive, fun and welcoming to new anglers, as I was my first time there in 2013.    It is a multi-species catch-photo-release format.   Basically you want to catch as many different types of fish as you can, get their picture, and release the fish.   You only turn in your phone or memory card at the end of the day showing the fish that you caught.     The person with the most species will pick their prize first, then second,...and so forth.

I'll have the prizes set up, as best I can, so that they are as even as I can make them.    I will not distribute the prizes for the top few finishers to receive all the 'good stuff'.   I expect to have at least 20 prizes that are valued at $30 - $200 in value, and then more prizes beyond that all above $15 in value to ensure all participants get a prize.     At least that is my goal.    Every participant will receive an online subscription to Kayak Angler Magazine as well!     That's pretty great for a derby with just a $30 entry fee ($20 for youth, free for young kids with a parent).

Participants are welcome to come on Friday, set up a tent and camp onsite for the night.  It's a great way to meet some other fishermen, share stories and get some tips.   

So if your available this weekend, come on out!     Pre-register on the website if you can, as that will help keep things moving quickly on the morning of the derby.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Keep your Wheels off the Rivers!

As a volunteer member of the board of directors at the Hammond River Angling Association I hear about many of the complaints regarding illegal behavior along the river.  I know Conservation and Enforcement officers are working hard to combat offenders in order to protect the river and the environment.   We should all want the waters to be protected and enjoyed responsibly so that the fish species can thrive and the sport of fishing remain strong for years to come.
There have been a lot of people charged recently under the Tresspass Act for operation of a motor vehicle in a watercourse.  Some of these folk have had their vehicle confiscated as a result.   Anyone riding ATVs, motorbikes, or even trucks across or through the river is breaking the law.   I didn't know that myself until recently, but it makes sense, and ignorance of the law is no excuse!
Section 5(1c) states:
    - No person shall trespass by means of a motor vehicle in a watercourse. 

“watercourse” means the full length and width of any river, creek, stream, spring, brook, lake, pond, reservoir, canal, ditch or other natural or artificial channel that is open to the air and includes the bed, banks, sides and shoreline.

So that is pretty clear.... keep your wheels out of the water.   Riding through the rivers absolutely tear up the grounds where fish live and spawn, and for a river as fragile as the Hammond that is a huge deal.  I know this may upset those who enjoy the sport of ATV'ing or off roading.    However, off roading can certainly be enjoyed without tearing up the river beds and destroying fish habitats.

Here is a link to a great flyer aimed at educating folk as to the problems caused by riding ATV's through water courses.  

If you know someone is breaking this law and feel comfortable and safe taking a picture that shows the offense and the vehicle's license plate, you could do so and turn the picture over to the Department of Public Safety / Conservation office through your local DNR office, or you can contact CrimeStoppers.   I certianly would if I were a witness to this behavior.

The second big issue that is being found is garbage littering the river area where a lot of people enjoy fishing.   Especially from the Deep Hole up to the French Village Covered bridge, there is garbage and even broken bottles in and around the river.

Please clean up your garbage when your out either fishing, hiking, off roading, or whatever.   If you see garbage around, help out and clean some up, even if it isn't yours!   To help in these efforts, the Hammond River Angling Association will be doing a clean up day this weekend and all are invited to come and help out!   Details of this event is as follows

June 13th
8:00AM – 12:00PM
Come out and help clean up our river, then join us for a BBQ and refreshments after.
Please wear suitable clothing, gloves and footwear etc.
At 8am we will be meeting at the Center, organizing clean-up crews, distributing supplies and then car-pooling to the clean-up sites. We’ll be meeting back at the center before noon to finish up the day and start the BBQ.
Please contact Steve @ 651-1468 or sdelaney@rogers.com for more info.
HRAA CENTER CONTACT # 832-1230 hraa.ca

Friday, June 5, 2015

Rowan's 1st 2015 outing

Yesterday, as the weather was great, I took Rowan out in our Old Town Preadator 13 kayak to see what fish he may catch. Having been to this spot the previous morning for a dawn fish, I knew that Rowan would catch all sorts of fish just by dropping down a worm. The last thing you want to do on the first outing of the year is take a child out and not catch any fish!

It didn't take long for Rowan to start reeling them in. With me fishing with lures primarily looking for nice pickerel, Rowan ending up catching about 3 times the fish that I did on the evening! He landed many small yellow perch, a sunfish, and a few pickerel. .

I got a couple perch, a smallmouth bass and a few pickerel.

 I hadn't expected to see any sunfish here, thinking it may be too early for them. But Rowan had predicted he'd catch a sunfish that morning, and sure enough he did! It's funny, Rowan does seem to have a knack for predicting what he's going to catch! It's happened several times now that he's suprised me with unexpected fish he predicted he'd catch... such as the shark we caught ice fishing that time!

Monday, June 1, 2015

A visit to Long Lake Adventures

This past weekend fellow kayak anglers Craig and John took a trip up to Long Lake Adventures, just outside of Plaster Rock, NB.   What a great place!   Long Lake adventures is a hunting and fishing paradise offering world class fishing for lake trout and land locked salmon.     Here is video describing the weekend followed by some pictures and a more in depth recap.

After making the nearly 5 hour drive, we hit a small snag blowing a tire just before we arrived at the cabins.   Thats what I get for being short on patience and driving a little too fast on the logging roads!  Between the three of us, it only delayed us a few minutes.

Finally we arrived, met Clay and got unpacked.    Clay put us up in one of the great cabins on site which had electricty, a gas stove, fridge, radio, and beds for 4.    There was also a seperate building housing bathrooms for both men and women with showers.    What more can you ask for?   Oh, each cabin also had a bbq set up as well, alongside a firepit.   What more could you ask for out of a cabin out in the deep NB wilderness!

Well, on to what we came for, the fishing!   The wind ended up being much stronger throughout the weekend than we had hoped for, which can make kayaking trecherous on a big body of water like Long Lake. However we came prepared with Craig and I riding out Old Town Predator MX's along with John in his homemade Fundy Tiger Shark.

On Satuday, I hooked into and landed a 20" land locked Salmon in just about an hour.   That was a great start!  However I ran into problems with the Rapala lure.   The O Ring to the hook in the fish split open as I removed it, so I went back to a nearby beach to move the front hook back to the rear.

With minor surgery complete on the lure, I headed back out... Wouldn't you know it I get another hit!   This one started spooling the reel, I could tell it was a much bigger fish.... and then it was gone as quick as that.    I reeled in to check the line and found the last hook again missing!     The second ORing split open....  Dammit Rapala!!!!

Back to the beach.  This time I took a hook and O-Ring off a Lymans Lure, noticably much higher quality as I know that Lymans uses Owner Hooks for thier materials.    I was not taking any more chances with the built in Rapala hardware... even removing the lead O Ring from the front of the lure and tieing instead a Rapala knot.

Unfortunately, there no more hits for me on the day.    John however did have some great luck as I found out later in the evening.   Never one to be out-fished, he landed an 18" and then a 23" land locked salmon on the day.   Craig also had a hit, but was unable to land his.

We wrapped up after a little over 5 hours on the water of near constant paddling and relaxed for the evening in hopes of doing better on Sunday.   We met some other kayakers, chatted to a few of the other groups who were there to fish in their boats and chatted with these guys who bottomed fish out in the middle of the pond for lakers.    We didn't realized what strategy was needed to target lakers but now that we know, we hope to be back to try this out ourselves!    Imagine catching these monsters in kayak!!!

Sunday brought even higher winds and rain in the morning.  It didn't bode well.   But Craig, John, and I tried it just the same.   With the winds on our backs the paddle out was great, we flew!   But once it was time to come back, things got very tough.    I had to paddle hard for 2 hours straight to go about 1 km, stopping for a moment meant the wind would blow me back immeadiatly.   Fishing in those conditions is no fun at all!    At least my new Cabela's jacket and bibs kept me warm and dry!

We will absolutely plan to visit Clay and Tanya at Long Lake again, hopefully on a weekend where the wind is much more reasonable.   I want to catch that land locked salmon that got away and add a laker to it!