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Monday, November 3, 2014

My 2014 fishing season

Well folks, it's that time of the year again, when my open water gear is just about stored, maybe a couple more outings before safe ice forms. Perfect time to reflect on what has been another spectacular fishing season for myself, as well as for my family. Always tough to decide how to properly structure so much information into a blog post, but I think that a mix of chronological events along with their species should be a good way to start, ending it off my the usual personal records we managed to break in 2014. As pictures as worth a thousand words, I'll include a nice quantity of them as well, after all, I did invest a considerable amount of time and effort to get these shots.

Only hit the ice 5 times in 2014, mainly for some nice Jumbo perch from the Eastern Townships, which I kept for the table, as I rarely eat anything from waterways surrounding Montreal.

Was lucky enough to have a few days on open water in February, and took advantage by landing some smaller carp with my son while visiting Dallas.

I tested my brand new Licorice spice flavored boilies, with success on my first batch:

Got back to reality the following month, hitting the ice again for some late March pre-spawn pike to end the winter:

Once the ice finally melted, I hit the open water at ice out for carp, one the few open species available in April, and one of the only species worth chasing around that time of the year:

As May rolled in, fishing activity increased, and action heated up as expected. Early in May, Eli landed his first lake trout fishing on Lake Champlain:

Levi landed his first carp of the season as well:

The big female carp started putting on some weight as well as the month wore on, both my garlic pepper and hazelnut cream boilies did the trick on a regular basis:

Carp were not the only species that came to play. By mid to late May, the predatory species woke up to feed as well:

Northern Pike:


Longnose gar:

Black Crappie:

Eli's first channel catfish:

And even a surprise redhorse sucker that hit a jig and grub that I was casting for walleye:

Was lucky enough to visit Dallas again in June, took advantage of an extra day to chase some Alligator gar for the first time with Ari. Landed some nice ones, and a bonus double header:

As well as a rare hybrid gar (cross between alligator gar and longnose gar):

Avi got in on some good catfish action as well:

As the water warmed up a bit, I headed out for some late spring trout up in the Adirondack Mountains of Northern New York:

As summer rolled in to end the month of June, the kids and I all had a blast on our yearly family trip to Mijocama for largemouth bass. Some pike showed up to play as well:

We were lucky enough to manage a couple more trips up North to le Domaine Shannon, fishing 5 days on the first in mid July and 4 days on the second trip in August. We enjoyed some well spent family time together in the great outdoors, in the pristine forest setting of the Outaouais region of Quebec. Simply nothing like having an entire lake to yourselves, undisturbed by anyone else, and nothing to focus on except for catching fish. Pike and walleye showed up to play, though they made us work hard to get them. Ended up with some keepers for my freezer, as well as some bigger ones.

Besides for the decent quality of fishing, the kids got to sample some of the other local wildlife species you typically won't find in your average Montreal back yard:

Locally, we pretty much stuck with targeting carp for most of the summer, along with the occasional Channel catfish. Both species are among the biggest in our rivers accessible by shore, and make for great outings, not to mention some real nice pics. You can view some of our catches on by 2014 carp picture gallery page by clicking: 

I was also lucky enough to get invited to fish with some of my friends that are professional fishing guides, landed a variety of species that each specializes in catching:

Caught some nice midsummer muskies with Mike:

As well as some late summer bass with Jimmy:

Not to forget Avi's first ever sturgeon outing with Patrick:

All in all, an amazing summer for the kids, myself, and some lucky customers that made the time and effort to come out with me and have the times of their lives catching good numbers of big carp.

As fall arrived, the fishing slowed slightly as expected, but the average sizes of our catches increased exponentially. Though most of my outings were for bigger species, I did have a couple good outings for bass, including my first bass fishing trip to Lake Champlain in September:

As well as an October bass outing chasing smallmouth lunkers near Cornwall, Ontario:

Besides for bass, the carp started putting on some weight:

Bigger muskies and sturgeons came to play as well: 

As you can see, the effort put in to fish in cooling and sometimes miserable conditions, paid off in big results.

Which leads me my favorite part of my yearly season review, namely, personal records that were broken. As most of the family all broke some personal records, we'll go through them starting from youngest to oldest:

Chaya caught her first smallmouth bass, as well as her first ever largemouth bass:

Eli landed his first few channel catfish, the biggest about 12-13 lbs:

As well as his biggest bass at 4 lbs:

And his biggest lake trout at 6 lbs:

Levi had a tougher season than his siblings, but was finally rewarded in mid October with his biggest carp at 24.5 lbs:

Avi broke the most personal records between my kids this season, landed his biggest channel catfish at 16 lbs:

His biggest pike at 13.5 lbs:

His biggest carp at 24 lbs:

And his biggest sturgeon at 52 inches:

Ari fished less than his siblings this season, but still managed his biggest channel catfish at 19 lbs:

As well as his biggest walleye, just over 6 lbs:

My wife came out on a few outings, ended up beating her biggest carp 3 times.

First in July at 23 lbs:

Then in September at 24 lbs:

And again in October, at 27 lbs. I held it for the pic as it was a team effort and she didn't want to get slimed:

Finally, I beat a number of personal records again this season. I fished on more days than ever before, total count is at 96 days and counting. Also fished 6 separate management zones in the province of Quebec, namely zones 6, 8, 10, 11, 14 and 15. Made it to the Montreal Gazette for the first time, they dedicated the entire page A4 to me and my web site, as well as some live footage and and online video: See: 

As for record catches, caught my biggest redhorse sucker:

My first ever ling cod, caught while deep drifting for walleye:

My biggest mirror carp on one of my hazelnut cream boilies at 22.5 lbs:

My biggest lake sturgeon at 57 inches:

My first hybrid gar:

As last but not least, my first alligator gar. At 61 inches and estimated to weigh 65 lbs due to it's extremely thick girth, likely the biggest fish I've landed to date:

So there you have it folks, another great season in the books, possibly one of our best ever. I'd like to take this opportunity to thank God for giving me the opportunity to dedicate this much time to pursuing my passion. my lovely wife for putting up with my fishing addiction, my kids for coming along and keeping me company on the bank, especially when I'm in testing mode, my fishing buddies for making the time to fish together with me, my customers for choosing me as their guide, and last but not least, you, my blog readers.

Please remember to stay safe on the water, especially during this time of the year when the water is near freezing temperature. Always check conditions on the water before heading out, wear proper gear such as survival suits when needed. Lastly, use your common sense. Before taking any foolish chances, ask yourself if catching a fish is really worth the risk it may put you in.

Wishing everyone the best of success for the upcoming 2015 fishing season.

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