Flying Solo

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This morning I had only one person with me in the boat. Stephen was in from Maryland with his mother, checking out McGill College and wanted to experience some fishing on local waters. I thought what better way to show him than to try for a few dinosaurs! I headed right back to the new area I had fished yesterday but wasn’t sure if I would be able to anchor in these strong winds. They were blowing out of the SW at 10 to 20 knots and seemed barely doable. If they increased, we wouldn’t have a chance! I decided to give it a try and dropped anchor above where I was marking, hoping it would hold. We got lucky as it did and I was excited for him. With lines in, we waited in anticipation for the first bite. Unfortunately this was short lived as the winds started gusting and eventually the anchor started to slip! I attempted one other reposition, unsuccessfully and finally pulled the plug on these fish. It was too bad as I really wanted him to land his first ever sturgeon! Time for plan B!

I headed to open water and informed him that we would be drop shotting for bass & walleye. He didn’t mind at all as he was just looking forward to catching fish! After moving from our first spot to the second one, he hooked up immediately. Although small, this was also his first walleye and he needed a pic. We continued making drifts in the 2 foot rollers and each time he was hooking up. Both bass & walleye were being landed but nothing big. I really wanted him to catch something larger after the disappointing sturgeon start. Although he did manage to get into some good fish, in the remaining time, the bite seemed a little slow. He landed a number of bass & walleye and was quite happy anyway. I had livewelled two of his keepers but found out later that he was staying in a hotel and wouldn’t be able to bring them back. Oh well, the afternoon clients would have a good start to their day!

Stephen may only be in his teens, but has the passion to become a great fisherman. He is already good at handling the equipment and knows a bunch of different techniques. Now he knows a couple more! If he manages to choose a college in Montreal, I’m sure I will be seeing more of him. Hopefully the next time he will get his shot at a real giant! Better days ahead!

Texas Big

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Jimmy & his wife Sheila had booked this trip a couple of months back, hoping for some great fishing. A slight weather delay turned today into a half day due to giant east winds and torrential rains earlier in the morning. We finally hooked up about 10:00 and headed out in a misty rain and 2 to 3 footers from the SE. As I got further out, the waves started to diminish and I decided to try a new area to see if I could hook them up on a really big fish. Sturgeon was going to be the targeted species and I was crossing my fingers, hoping for a few bites.

I hadn’t fished here before and had marked some hooks on the bottom that reminded me of what I’m use to seeing. I thought we’d give it a try and see if I was right. With 3 lines in, we waited with high expectations. Eventually one of the lines was bit and I reared back into heaviness! Jimmy was immediately handed the rod and the battle began. As this was a new area and also the first sturgeon of the year, I pulled the other lines and made way for his battle. This creature didn’t jump but instead stayed deep and gave him one heck of a fight. Eventually he managed to bring it close enough for the net and after almost ten minutes, he had his catch. Neither one of them had ever imagined landing anything this big in freshwater and pics were needed for the proof. Back it went afterwards and back we went to try & lock Sheila up with one of her own.

It wasn’t too long after the first one when we were bit again and this time his wife had the pleasure of her own fight. This one did manage to take to the air not once but three times and the leaps were spectacular! Sheila struggled to reel her fish back many times and each time she thought she was winning, it turned and went right back out again. Another 10 minute battle finally ended and I think she was relieved that it was officially in the net. Jimmy held her catch for the pics as it was a little too large for her to comfortably hold on her own. Once again it was released and we went right back at it, looking for bigger!

This time it really didn’t take long for the next bite and Jimmy was tight to what turned out to be the largest one of the day. His fish fought amazingly and several jumps were also made. Each time it re entered the water, it sounded directly to the bottom, screaming line from the reel. This was a real tug of war! It finally was brought to an end when I slid the net under his biggest fish ever. Pics were taken and he texted some of his friends back home in Texas where everything is bigger. Except these fish of course! Another immediate release and we tried for one last fish for Sheila.

We had the lines in for a while and other than some trash fish nibbles, we hadn’t had a touch from any sturgeon. I was beginning to wonder if we should have left after the third fish but then it happened. Another bite and Sheila was with bent rod for her second time. Although this fish was much smaller than her previous one, it still battled her for over five minutes with multiple aerials & long runs. Once in the net, we realized that she would be able to hold it on her own for some great pics. It was quickly released afterwards and we were out of here. I packed everything up and headed for some northerns.

Both Jimmy & Sheila had never caught pike before and I wanted to tick another species off their lists. I set the lines in and began the troll in an area that had been productive recently. With the winds out of the NE blowing a pretty big chop on the water, I wasn’t sure how these fish would react. One of the long lines was finally hit and Sheila landed her first ever northern pike. Soon after Jimmy also had one on much larger but the hooks pulled out on the way to the boat. No worries, as another reel went off soon after and now he also had his first ever northern. A few more were also landed but I wanted to see if I could get them a walleye and with limited time remaining, I headed out of this area hoping for another species.

The winds were terrible for drifting and I was forced to cast for them instead. About 1 minute in we had a double header drop shotting and one more was ticked off the list. They were also keepers and would be accompanying us to the restaurant tonight. I was planning on having the fish as an appetizer and Sheila & Jimmy would be enjoying their catch of the day. Another walleye was also landed a few minutes later before we ended the day.

What had started out looking like a possible cancellation of the day turned out to be a great 6 hour trip. They had battled monsters and landed three species of fish that they had never seen other than on TV or in magazines. This was definitely a trip to remember! To top it all off, they even had some of the freshest fish they had ever eaten and tasted walleye for their first time as well. All in all a pretty good day if you ask me!

First Time Smallies

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Max & his son Easton had never caught a bass before, but that was about to change today! We had tried for sturgeon for about 90 minutes, unsuccessfully, and headed for smallies immediately afterwards. They were only with me for the afternoon and I wanted to get them into as many fish as possible.

We pulled up on the first spot and I instructed them on how to fish the baits properly. They were throwing soft plastics and it didn’t take long before Easton got hit. Unfortunately his hookset was a little early and the fish got off. Not to worry, plenty more where that one came from! We moved around slowly and several more fish were hooked into but they all came unpinned before coming to the net. I reinstructed them on how to set the hook & slowed them down even more and then it started to change. Max was officially into his first smallmouth bass! It may not have been a giant but it was a good fish, acting like it was even bigger. They had never experienced them before and now knew what everybody was talking about. « These things really pull », he said! A few quick pics and they were both back at it, looking for more.

Easton still wasn’t having much luck hooking up, but he was getting them to hit his bait. He just wasn’t setting the hook at the right time, missing them in the end. Eventually with more coaching and another bait change, he finally locked up on his very first bass as well. He too couldn’t believe how hard they fought as they were use to fishing for walleye & pike back home in Calgary. Shortly after I netted his catch and more pics were taken of the smallie. A quick release and they were back at it hard, looking for more of these brownies to battle.

In the next hour or so Max & Easton managed to land a few more bass each before we pulled out of this area completely. We relocated to another spot much further away in order to drop shot for deeper fish. With limited time remaining in the day I wanted to give them another technique to be able to use back home. We set up for a drift in deeper water and it didn’t take long before both of them were hit. Rods loaded but the fish were lost! Soon after and on a delayed hookset, they both landed small walleye. I could see that the bottom was loaded with fish and wondered why they weren’t biting. Several different position drifts were made with similar results before I relocated once again. It was here that on their first drift multiple hookups were had. Both bass & walleye were landed and although they had caught plenty of quality eyes back home, this was the first decent one from Quebec. A quick pic and we were done. The time had flown by so quickly and before we knew it, 4:30 had arrived.

It may not have been the banner day I had hoped for, but they had caught good fish and on two new techniques. They had also landed a fish that they both wanted to experience and that made it all worthwhile! They left happy and that’s all that counts! Good day of fishing!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another Initiation

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Gilles was with me this morning thanks to his girlfriend! She had given him a half day trip with me and today was the day. He was from France, living in Montreal but had never fished the local waters from a boat. This would be a real treat for him as I planned on giving him the grand tour!

We headed on the water shortly after 7 and due to the north winds, I opted for an early morning troll. I thought that with the waves, we might be able to stab a big walleye quickly. With only two of us in the boat, we limited our chances for hookups but were still able to get a bunch of northerns in the process. We spent about 90 minutes trolling the area but weren’t able to scratch up any of the big eyes and pulled the lines to relocate. With the winds dying down, I wanted to get him into fish and drop shotting open flats was up next.

I wasn’t quite sure how our drifts would be with this cross wind, but figured I’d give it a try. With the proper boat angle, I managed to make good drifts along the areas I wanted and he hooked multiple fish on each pass. Plenty of walleye were landed and a few good keepers went into the livewell for him to bring home tonight.

Sometime late in the morning the winds switched to a west and increased, allowing me to drift the paths I wanted. From this point on, multiple hookups were made bringing plenty of walleye into the boat. Unfortunately it was cut short quickly as our time was done. I had extended the morning slightly with the wind change, but time was up for this trip. Half days always pass by way too fast!

Gilles had experienced several different things today and caught plenty of fish in the process. He learned a few new techniques and caught pike & walleye for the first time as well. Hopefully this will open him up to future fishing while in Montreal. Maybe he’ll even come back for the sturgeon when they arrive! Another short but productive day on the water!

Loads of Action

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Connie, her husband Rich and their two children, Sandra & Gavin were with me this afternoon. They were in from Ottawa and wanting to catch any type of fish. They were about to do just that and piles of them too!

We hit the water about noon and I headed directly to where I ended the morning trip with John. I had left the fish biting and was hoping they were still eager to eat! It didn’t take long to realize that they were here and they were still biting as we immediately had a triple. Gavin was the only one that didn’t lock up but that was alright. There were tons of fish marking and I knew it was only a matter of time. With each drift we made, multiple fish were landed and even more missed or lost. Gavin however still wasn’t on the board and beginning to feel left out. He was obviously waiting for a bigger fish because when he finally hooked one, it turned out to be a nice keeper walleye. They had hoped to bring a few fish home and this was definitely one they would be taking.

I moved around throughout the afternoon, looking for active fish and hit them everywhere we stopped. Everyone was having a great time and catching tons of fish in the process. Both Gavin & his sister Sandra managed to get some good sized northerns as well in the deep water, as an added bonus. Connie seemed plagued with the day care fish but eventually contributed to the livewell with a nice keeper near the end. We called it a day at 4:30 after the last good keeper eye and headed back to the launch to take out.

I don’t think they had expected this much action today with everyone catching so many fish. In fact, they didn’t even bring a cooler to take some of them home, after their last fishing trip. Today was a different experience all together! They had landed high numbers of fish and we culled through some of them to be able to take home a limit of nice walleye. They would be eating fresh fish tonight and remembering their great day of fishing, here in Montreal. Who could ask for anything more!