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!