Friday, June 23, 2017

The End is Near!

Well this is a difficult post to make.   Unfortunately, come the end of July, my time fishing in New Brunswick will have come to an end.  Over the past several weeks I have been in conversations with one of the biggest and best companies in the world, Amazon and have been recently offered a position as a Software Development Engineer with them based out of Detroit, MI.    This opportunity is one that for me professionally, I cannot pass up, though it was a difficult decision for my family.

So sometime in August I will be moving with my family to the Windsor, Ontario area.   I will of course bring kayaks along for all of us, but I probably will not be active in the promotion of the sport of kayak fishing in that area until I am settled into a new home and into a regular routine with my new job.   Hopefully this Fall I will be able to show off the Old Town Predator PDL to folk fishing the Great Lakes and the Detroit River but I certianly will not be offering guided fishing services of spearheading the growth of our sport to the level I have been in the past few years.

I have to thank everyone who has been attentive of this blog for the past few years, and helped it grow in popularity.   I had never anticipated breaking 5000 views when I started, let alone 140,000!   If I do decide to maintain the blog in the future, I may need to rename it to something more appropriate to where I move, or perhaps something like!  

Kayak fishing has blossomed in New Brunswick the past several years, and it has been wonderful to watch.  I have made a lot of close friends thanks to this sport and the community of anglers here is strong, close knit and more like a family than I could have anticipated.   It has been wonderful being part of it, and I certianly hope I am able to join a similar community of anglers when I get settled in Ontario.

Thank you to all the great locally owned retailers in NB as well who have supported myself and the community through fishing derbies and such.   Marc Doiron (Doiron's Sports Excellence), Jeremy Cline (Outdoors NB), Paul Wright (Ecological NB) in particular are great people to deal with and I encourage everyone around to continue to support them!  

Tight lines folks!   I hope you all catch the big one next time out!

Sunday, June 11, 2017

2017 Shad Derby Recap

A wonderful day for fishing!
Well for the first time ever I can say I won a fishing derby!    But really, that comes secondary to the great memories made again this weekend up on Salmon River near Chipman, NB.   Sam, Ralph and the others that work to make this event an annual event do a fantastic job running this community level derby and ensuring that everyone has a wonderful day of fishing.

Who will win and become immortalized this year?
As usual we gathered at the Queens County Inn in Chipman for a wonderful breakfast donated to the participants of the derby.   Rowan, being Rowan, went around to tables full of adult anglers, sat down and chatted like one of the guys, which was great to watch.  The guys have taken in Rowan essentially as one of their own after he participated for the first time in the event last year and showed what a 5 year old could do in kayak.    Since the event ended last year, he's been looking forward to this day once again.

The event is a Shad derby with first place going to the two largest shad by weight.   There is also a lunker prize added this year for the single biggest shad.   Also, there is a side event where you can enter the length of your biggest perch and chub for a medal.   Rowan plated two 2nd place medals last year and was aiming to get another this time around.

After breakfast we headed out to a launch point on the river and started our fishing.   It was tough fishing for a while but Rowan landed a chub before long to get him on the board.     Now, this was my fourth year attended this event and I've yet to land a shad here.   So my goal was to not come in empty handed.   My first year here I hooked two shad, my first two ever, but without experience on how to handle these delicate but hard fighting fish, I lost them both.

Eventually I hooked into a shad, and my heart started beating.    I played it a little while and then as soon as I reached for my net, the fish got off!   Arrgghh!!!    Soon thereafter I hooked a second shad, and this one I was determined not to loose.   I put my drag down to near minimal, and let the fish play around for a good 5 min before bringing into my kayak.    Finally I landed my first shad at the derby, and it was a huge one, probably my biggest shad ever.    Hmmm, might I have just landed the lunker?

Rowan and I holding my two biggest shad on the day
Now I needed to get a second shad to have a shot at one of the top prizes and a place on the plaque that hangs in the Hotel!     As we continued to make our way down the river, Rowan kept catching chub and perch, and I landed a few more shad.  By the end of the day, I had 4 shad in the boat and had lost 2 others.   I was feeling confident!    One of Rowan's perch was a decent size for that river so I was hopeful he would get a medal there, though he was unlikely to get one for his chub, he only caught a few smaller ones of those.

Finally, it was almost time to get off the water and Rowan gave a big yell,  "I got one Dad!".   I looked and his rod was bent right over, definately not a perch or chub.    I thought, "Oh my God, Rowan has a shad on!!!"   "Loosen the drag" I yelled frantically, and Rowan expertly did so, letting the fish then take line and swim a little more freely.    After a few minutes we came to realize it wasn't a shad afterall that Rowan hooked but a nice pickerel, a rare fish in those waters.    Rowan got to grab his net and get some practice landing the pickerel that way.   As you can see in the video, it took a couple tries, but he was eventually able to do it on his own!  

Rowan's pickerel
Unfortunately, while the pickerel at 21.5" may have been the longest fish on the day, it didn't qualify for a prize.  But it did give Rowan something to brag about at the awards ceremony back at the Inn!

Rowan getting his gold medal for perch
As it ended up, my first shad came in at 1.45 kg, winning the lunker prize by 0.05kg!    I also won the biggest 2 overall shad for a first place finish, the first time I've ever won at a fishing derby.   No other angler caught 4 on the day, so overall I had a fantastic day.
Some cash for first place
Rowan did get a first place medal for his perch, and got to pick out some miscellaneous prizes as well.   Everyone was again very impressed that a kid his age could handle the kayak, anchor, rods and nets as well as he does, though most didn't see how many tangles I had to help him sort out!

My name on a plaque and a wonderful fly rod for the lunker prize
Thanks guys for another wonderful day!   We will remember this one for many years to come!

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Fishing in Windsor, Ontario

Joe with a nice Drum

This past weekend I made a trip to central Canada where I spent a day in the downtown Detroit area followed by a weekend of fishing with a fellow kayak angler.   One of the great things about social media and the sport of kayak fishing is that you get to meet, at least virtually, a lot of outstanding people, not just across the country but in some cases across the world!   In this case, Joe Lafontaine, a very accomplished and well known kayak angler in the city of Windsor, offered his hospitality to me for the weekend.   It was very much appreciated, and I had a wonderful weekend thanks to Joe.

A view of Detroit under the Ambassador Bridge
Windsor is located between two of the Great Lakes, Lake St. Clair to the North, and Lake Eerie to the South.    Along the edge of town is the Detroit River connecting the two lakes and separating Canada from the U.S.   Over the weekend we took a couple trips out on the river where I was able to catch three new species, Walleye, Drum and White Bass (or silvers as they are commonly called there).   I also caught a rock bass and a small yellow perch.

My first drum
We got out fishing two times, once on Friday afternoon/evening, and then again early Saturday morning till mid-day when the wind picked up. 

My first walleye
By the end of the second trip I had landed around 8 walleye, 10 white bass, 2 drum and a single rock bass and yellow perch.  Also in the area are muskie, gar, carp, and muskie.  I'm sure other species as well are caught there in the river.

White bass, very much like a light colored small striper
We also met another local angler, Dan, in his souped up Trident kayak.    Dan had a great set up with a trolling motor, rudder, lights and more rigged up on his kayak.

I was disappointed to miss a local kayak derby that weekend but I did make the best of it, met some great folk and got to experience Ontario fishing.   All in all it was a great weekend!