Sunday, November 20, 2016

Taking the kids out in search of sturgeon

Fynn's first attempt at landing a sturgeon... the anchor doesn't help!
Here we are getting into the latter part of November and we have a Sunday with temperatures at or above 10 degrees Celsius, and next to no winds.  Those are unheard of conditions around here for this time of the year!   How could I not take advantage of a free day like this to get the kids out to try for their first sturgeon of the Fall!

Normally I am booked up for guided fishing, meaning I don't get time to get the boys on the water, but today I'm free from any guided obligations.   So we packed up the Tetra 10 for Rowan, the brand new Trident 11 for Fynn, and the Predator PDL for myself and hit the road!   The Tetra 10 and Trident 11 are amazing kayaks for both kids and smaller build adults.   They offer plenty of stability and storage, and yet are very light and quite fast for anyone with a decent stroke.

Having not been in the kaayk in quite a while and having to paddle into the current, both boys struggled a little but made it from our launch to the fishing hole.   Once they dropped their anchors, it was time to start fishing.  

I caught a small sturgeon almost immediately, so that was a good sign, but then there was nothing else for a while outside of tommy cod.   I caught a couple of those, then Fynn caught a few and finally Rowan brought one in which made his day.

Eventually I landed a nice size sturgeon, a little over three feet in length.   Figuring we may not have a lot of time left in us, I brought it over for Rowan to hold on to, and then I brought it over to Fynn.   Each boy enjoyed getting a few pictures with it.

Soon ready to go, we gave it another shot and then I hooked into my third on the day.   Being close to Fynn, we maneuvered the kayaks around so that we could exchange rods, allowing Fynn to try to land a sturgeon on his own for the first time.

The sturgeon managed to get caught around Fynn's anchor line, which made the task a lot harder for him, but he was determined and sure enough, after a few tried, was able to lift the fish onto his lap.   Unfortunately, while I was trying to untangle the mess, he let it go before I was able to get a nice shot of him holding it up!

Next time out hopefully Rowan will get his chance to try to reel one in!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Need the perfect Christmas Gift?

So with the Holiday season around the corner I am sure many people are like myself and starting to thing about what to get friends and family for Christmas.   For those of you in the Greater Saint John area the best value for the dollar has to be a guided kayak fishing adventure from yours truly!

Just think, for only $100 you are able to give someone all of this!
  • A 4 hour rental of a top of the line fishing kayak from Old Town or Ocean Kayak.
  • Rental of all fishing equipment that is needed for the outing including rod, tackle, bait, net,...etc.
  • A fishing guide who will be there to offer advice, point out the key fishing spots, tend to any tangles, replace any equipment that may get broken through the day,...etc.
  • Delivery and set up of all equipment to the fishing location, as well as clean up of of everything after.
  • Quality pictures to remember the adventure
  • An option for GoPro video

That is a value that simply cannot be beat!  For just $75 more, make it a full 8 hour outing!  

Just going through my blog or Facebook page will show you lots of pictures of people with great fish, especially sturgeon.   But kayak fishing can be so much more than just hunting for that 4 foot dinosaur.

Adventures can focus on fishing for a particular species, or simply be a relaxed paddle and light fish along some of the amazing rivers, ponds or even ocean that we have in our area.    The day will be want you want to make of it!   Nothing else you can give will combine the peace and serenity of sitting back in a very comfortable kayak witnessing some of the best that Mother Nature has to offer with the excitement and adventure of hooking into fish, possibly one even older than you (sturgeon can be over 60 years!) on a kayak.

Certificates can be used for any type of fishing outing that is offered throughout the year, I just ask that the recipient contact me well in advance to discuss what type of outing they are most interested in so that we can mark our calendars accordingly.

If you know of a group of friends who would enjoy such an outing, I can accommodate up to 5 people, both children and adults!

If you know a parent of a young child between the ages of 4 and 8, a parent/child outing is also available.   Depending on the size and abilities of the child he/she may sit behind the parent and fish together, or be in their own, smaller fishing kayak.   As a guide I will give close one on one assistance to the child (and parent!), baiting hooks, dealing with tangles, and of course capturing the great memories such as the child's first fish on camera.

These outings last as long as the child is able to go, up to 4 hours and costs just $125.

To purchase a gift certificate, contact me, Joe Tilley, at 506-650-0395 or e-mail to

Monday, November 7, 2016

The new Old Town Predator PDL

This year Old Town has offered up a new twist to their award winning line up of Predator fishing kayaks, the peddle driven PDL.   After taking the 'Best of Show - Boat' award at ICAST this year (making it the 3rd time in 4 years an Old Town Predator model has won this prestigious award), I knew I had to get my hands on one.   The updates to the chair, layout, and of course the option to peddle rather than paddle were all tremendously appealing for me.

I brought the PDL home from the factory in Maine this past Monday and had to make some decisions on rigging it up before hitting the water.   Like with other Predator Models, there are mounting plates placed strategically around the edges, as well as two new ones up front (ideally for a fish finder and/or camera).    To keep things fully customizable, I opted to install a 12 inch YakAttack Top Loading Gear Trac on both of the front mounting plates; 12 inches fit perfectly.    These tracks are long enough to support multiple accessories from any of the major brands.     Together with the built in flush mount rods holders, and the YakAttack Black Pac I had a place to put anything I could need for things like rod or camera holders.  

Setting up the peddle drive in the PDL is very easy.   Just slide the metal cross bar through the obvious holder, and then either position the unit in the top resting position, or lay it down in the lower driving position.   With the built in handles, moving the PDL unit from the drive position back to the top is very easy.

After spending 2 days on the water in the PDL I came to discover a few things about it.    First, the seat is tremendously comfortable, and is raised even higher than in any of the other Predator models.   Being a big guy, I am typically concerned about having a high center of gravity, but that really didn't come into play at all over the weekend.    I'll get it out in some rougher waters in the Spring and see how she holds up there, but I don't think there will be any concerns.  

The season also offers a fantastic new slot for storage right in the front just under where you sit.  Here I stored gloves, a hat and other such clothing that I wanted to keep close, but I didn't want to get wet.  A wide plano box with gear could also fit in here easily.  Under the seat I was able to store more gear, not to mention the side pockets where it perfectly holds a few tubs of bait on one side, pliers, lip grip and flashlight on the other.  Even more dry storage which I didn't use was available in the center console floor!

So, at this point I am on the water, very comfortable with all my gear stored and organized in an extremely convenient way, with storage space to spare.  Time to get moving.   Taking the paddle of the newly designed and highly improved paddle holder I pushed myself off from shore and out into open water.   Once clear of the weeds, I put the peddle drive down into the operating position, locked it into place and started peddling

This is where I need to stop and figure things out.    First thing to note, is that it is November here in Eastern Canada.   The temperature was around 5 degrees (about 40 F), and I was wrapped up to stay warm.   With insulated compression underwear, plus 2 other layers down below, just walking up stairs was a challenge, so peddling this new kayak for the first time was bound to be a little difficult, especially as I am not exactly in great shape!  

At first I tried peddling it as if I were riding a bike and going for speed, but couldn't maintain that speed for long.   After a few adjustments I found that I needed to angle my seatback to be leaning back a little and to move my chair back enough so that my legs were very nearly fully extended at the end of the stride.   Having done that, I was able to ride at a relaxed pace of roughly one revolution per 1 1/4 seconds and maintain it for as long as I wanted.

On Saturday my friend Matt came out in his Predator XL Minn Kota.   We decided to move up river, against the current a ways to try a different spot.     We both pulled up anchor and set off at the same time to our destination about 500 meters away.   I got there first, and by a wide stretch, which surprised me as I wasn't racing, but peddling at a reasonable pace which I could maintain in the many layers of pants I had on.   Matt had said upon arriving that he was going full speed and couldn't keep up!   Wow... that I had not expected!    

Over the course of the weekend pretty much everyone who was on the river commented about how fast the PDL was.   This boat is going to open so many doors for me for trolling or covering a lot of ground in a day!   When the summer comes again, and I can get out in just a pair of relaxed pants or shorts, it will really be a breeze to move around in this boat!

Aside from peddling, I cannot wait to take this boat out in the weeds to fish pickerel.   I got the flat floor console that comes optionally with the PDL just for places like Kingston Creek or the Nerepis where it is very weedy; having a propeller in those areas just wouldn't work.   When paddling, I plan to move the seat forward to use the front of the cockpit as foot rests, and then when ready to fish, I'll move the seat back and give myself a massive amount of space to stand and fish.    Pickerel fishing may never be the same!

If you are in the Greater Saint John area and may be interested in getting one of these kayaks, let me know and I'll be able to show you mine, and perhaps even take you out for a demo.   To purchase one, see the guys at Outdoors NB or Eco-Logical Adventures and tell them I sent you!