Friday, August 12, 2016

Conrad's Personal Best Musky



A few weeks back, while on my summer vacation road trip I stopped in Peterborough for a few days to fish for Carp and Musky with my friend Conrad.    Now Conrad had come to visit me in the Spring with his friend Mark to fish sturgeon and while the fishing was a little slow, but managed to catch a few dinos, and while here crashed at my place.

So I had high hopes for Peterborough given the pictures that Conrad had sent me, of catching some huge carp and hopefully a nice musky as well.   Now, having arrived there well into my 2 week road trip, where I have been sleeping in a tent for the most part and had been in kayak every day, I was a little tired.    So after getting to what would be our carp fishing hole for the rest of the night and after taking a brief paddle around  I opted to sit back for a little rest.


"Conrad", I said, "Go try out the Predator 13 and see what you think."   So off he went, with the rod and lure that I had already set up to troll for a Musky.    Not 10 minutes later I hear him shout "Joe, I got one!".  

There, just across the river was Conrad fighting what looked to be a pretty good sized fish.   After a few minutes, he had the net out and and the the fish was safely on board the kayak!    Great job Conrad!

A quick paddle back to shore, to unhook this beauty, get a measurement and some pictures and then back in the water for a safe release.    At 35", this was Conrad's biggest muskie to date, and the first in kayak.   Well done!

Of course, I hit the water right after, re-energized and hopefully of duplicating the feat.   It only took me about 5 minutes however to get the lure snagged on a rock and then I lost it for good!   Guess the Muskie may have sheared the leader and I hadn't checked it.   Oh well... I did catch my own first musky a few days later, but they were miniscule compared to Conrad's great catch!


Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Recap of Kayak Fishing / Camping Roadtrip

Though the last half of July I took a couple weeks vacation away from work, family and life in general to celebrate my 40th birthday with a solo road trip through Quebec and Ontario.   I was able to set up my tent in several great locations, fish a lot of waters and catch a nice variety of fish I hadn't had the opportunity to catch before.



My trip started with a 3 night stay in Mont Tremblant Provincial Park.   A huge thank you to Martin Savard, a local fishing guide for some great advice.   During my stay in Mont Tremblant I was able to catch 8 Pike despite one of the days being more or less a rain out.   These were my first ever pike and fist fish for me in Quebec, so this was a pretty special outing.    One of the pike, coming in at 29" was caught with an Ugly Stick Elite Ultra Light rod that was still rigged up for pickerel fishing the week before.    Landing a nice pike on an ultralight was a thrill, though keeping it still on the measuring board was sometimes a challenge I couldn't handle!


After Mont Tremblant I made my way to the Madawaska, ON area not really knowing where I'd land.   This area is full of camp grounds, lakes and rivers so I knew finding a place to tent wouldn't be an issue.   I ended up camping in what is mostly a permanent trailer park with a little waterfront area set aside for tents right on the Madawaska river.   During my 2 nights here I landed a few more pike and a smallmouth... nothing to get excited about.


Before leaving I talked to a friend from NB who grew up in North East Ontario.  He was home visiting his family and invited me up to his fishing grounds as I was in the area.  Located about 2 hours North of North Bay, I was really putting the miles on the Jeep!   While I was able to take advantage of a great little cottage on a lake, Hardy was off to a family wedding the night I was there and didn't get to fish with him.   I did manage to catch a few more pike while there though and lost a very nice bass as well.  

Next stop Temagami Provincial Park, about an hour North of North Bay.   Here I had hoped for big things, but pretty much struck out.   The main lake there is beautiful, though huge.   There are a series of other great lakes there as well.    I spent a few hours trying with others in boats for Walleye, but everyone struck out, then a few hours trolling another pond but again struck out.   Oh well.. the fishing had to get better soon right!

After Temagami I headed South to Peterborough where I was able to stay with Conrad, a friend who had come here to fish sturgeon with me this past Spring.   Conrad crashed for a week at my place during his visit and was happy to return the favor!     Carp and Muskie are both very popular fish in the Peterborough area and I still wanted to catch my first of each.

For three nights we baited a local spot with corn and fished for carp till 2 in the morning but only got one bite.   They were there though as we had several bumps of the line, and seen many splashing around.   This only makes me more determined to catch a carp when I go back for another visit perhaps next year!  

Oh, I shouldn't forget to mention that while setting up for our first carp fish, I decided to take a 10 minute rest and told Conrad to go give the kayak a try.  In just a few minutes I heard "Joe, I got one!", and he paddled back with this 36" beauty of a muskie, caught with all my gear... do I get at least half credit for that?  :-)



During the day we gave muskie a try.   I hooked into one Muskie fairly quickly, and had it jump clear out of the water just 20 feet from me.  This was about a 36 - 40" Muskie and I was pretty pumped... but then it got off.   One more bite but no hookup a little while later and that was all the action over th next few hours.   When I got back to shore and put away the gear I made a discovery that I'll probably never forget.  The lure on which I had the muskie hooked had no hook!   Turns out I lost my first ever Muskie fish because the O ring broke!   OK, at this point I'm starting to think I am cursed!


The next day we went back twice more, once in the morning and once in the evening.  In the morning I had three chances, one a huge explosion just as the lure hit the water from what was an even bigger fish, but I pulled back the lure prematurely, and never hooked the fish.   The other two were follows that I clearly seen but didn't entice bites on.   Then in the evening I finally caught my fist muskie, my first two actually.  But they were both babies compared to all the other muskies I had seen up to that point, only 18 and 20".

After Peterborough I headed to Fitzroy Provincial Park on the Ottawa river.  There I had some advice from fellow kayak angler Brent, aka 'EEF', and headed out to try my luck in the vicinity of a nearby damn.   I was able to land several small smallies on crankbaits, and then when I put down worms, I was able to catch my first ever channel cats, and my first ever rock bass.   Finally, a decent outing!

The next morning I caught several more catfish, and smallmouth, before heading back in to rest before my evening trip out to meet Brent.    Brent took me to a nearby stretch of the river and was able to put me onto my first ever crappie and then my best catch of the trip... a Gar!   I had always wanted to catch a Gar and was thrilled that I was able to on my last fishing outing of the trip!


The next morning, while packing to hit the road, I discovered I was missing some gear.   I quickly came to realized that one of my rods (a VERY expensive combo) as well as three tackle boxes completely packed with gear was missing from my campsite.   Yep, I was the victim of theft for the first time ever.   Lesson learned for me - despite the safe feeling you get at a well monitored and staffed provincial park, do not leave anything of value out where others can see, especially if you are stepping away from your campsite.   Fortunately insurance was able to cover the majority of the cost of the roughly $1350 worth of gear that was stolen.


I spent time in kayak for something like 12 straight days, and 5 nights in a row during this trip and ended it tired and feeling a little discouraged at being the victim of theft.   So I took a much needed break from the kayak for the last week and a half to catch up on work, and to recharge my batteries with the family who I hadn't seen much of in 6 weeks due to various vacation schedules.   Now I'm ready to jump back in the kayak, renew my online presence and head into the Fall with lots of optimism!