A Full Day of Fishing

My best pickerel of the Day.

My best pickerel of the Day.

James and I decided to go fishing on Saturday.  We decided to try trolling for bass along the St.John River in the morning and then go to Chipman in the afternoon.  These plans would work if it was not windy in the morning.  I picked James up at 5:45 in the morning and we were off.  It was not very windy so we went to the St. John River.  We drove to the bridge that takes you to Oromocto.  We put the canoe in under the bridge.  We started to troll down the left hand side of the river and then decided to cross over to the right and fish the bank by the large island in the middle.  We continued to make our way down without any luck.  We were trying different baits that would dive as we trolled.  After a bit I changed and put on a spoon that is fire tiger in color.  On another rod I was using a top water frog that the back part spins as you reel it in.  I made a few casts with the frog and then had a hit.  We were not sure what it was as it missed.  The spoon on the other rod was sitting on top of the water and a nice sized bass jumped right out of the water at it but missed as well.  We were happy just to start to see some fish.

We made our way down to the end of the island and decided to cross again.  As we began to cross, James had a strike so I stopped the trolling motor.  It was a small bass but again, we were happy to finally have a fish in the canoe.  We crossed over again and thought we as far over as we could go.  We started discussing the fact that we must have been close to Hart’s Lake.  We first thought it might be to the left but decided to continue going up the river.  As we continued going up the river we realized we could cross one more time and we saw the entrance to Hart’s Lake.  We decided to go in and try for some pickerel.  We made our way around the edge of the lake and James caught a few small pickerel.  As we continued fishing we saw something in the woods.  We thought it was another cow as there are cows on one of the islands back on the river.  As we got closer we realized it was a lama.  Yes, a lama!  If you told me I would go fishing and see a lama in the woods I would never have believed you :)

24 1/4 inch pickerel.

24 1/4 inch pickerel.

As we were leaving the lake we (finally me) had some more strikes along a weed bed in the middle of the lake.  We were both using red sekos for the pickerel.  As we made our way back across the river there started being a lot of larger boats on the water.  I always get nervous in the canoe as I do not like the waves the bigger boats make.  We got to the tip of the last island and I got a strike on the fire tiger spoon.  It was not a real big bass but I was very pleased to have landed a fish.  We took a picture and put it back.  I casted out the spoon and caught another bass right away.  James also had a strike in the same area and it ended up being a good-sized chub.

St.John River bass.

St.John River bass.

We made it back to the car without any other strikes.  It was a calm morning with very little wind.  I never thought we could cross all the way over in my 13 foot canoe but we did and had a good time.

We loaded up the canoe and made our way to Chipman.  We arrived there a little after three and it was still nice and calm.  We put the canoe in and started fishing in the cove where we always do.  I had a strike right away but it missed the senko.  We then went by the colverts and we both had some strikes, again, with no luck.  We crossed over and started fishing along the edge of the bank in the middle of the cove.  As we did, another boat came into the cove.  Now, do not get me wrong, by no means do I think that the cove belongs to me but these guys go around us in their 16 foot boat and move in right beside us and start fishing.  I mean no more that 15 feet away from us.  I could not believe it.  We are in a little canoe and they decide to start fishing right beside us.  I felt this was very rude.  We went by them and I had a very big pickerel strike the frog I mentioned earlier.  It jumped out of the water and I saw him.  It was one of the biggest pickerel I have seen in that cove.  I caught it using my bait cast reel.  I did not have the drag set properly and my line snapped.  I was upset for two reasons: I lost a huge pickerel and I lost the frog I just bought :)

Yes, it is a lama!

Yes, it is a lama!

The fishing was very slow as we made our way around the cove.  We decided to go through the colverts.  The water is still high enough that we could paddle through.  As we got through I made a cast to the left after James did.  I got a strike (the pickerel liked my red senko better than James’ I guess) and I finally landed my first pickerel of the day.  We went along the edge of the bank for awhile with a few strikes and then decided to go back through the colverts and fish for a few minutes and then go home.  As we got back to where we put the canoe in James amde a cast and got s huge strike.  It also jumped out of the water and we both saw that it was a very nice sized pickerel.  We got it in the net after I missed a few times (not on purpose).  It measured in at 24 1/4 inches.  By far our best of the day.

Overall, it was a slow day fishing but it was also a good day on the water.  James and I had some good laughs,  caught some fish, and saw a lama!! :)

Rubber Fishing NetHello everyone.  I am still around, just get busy in the winter with reffing hockey and with work and do not seem to find the time to get on the blog.  I do need to make more time for this.  Before Christmas my father and I went to the new Canadian Tire here in Riverview and of course I went to the fishing aisle to look at the fishing supplies.  They had different nets there and I saw a nice rubber net that a few of my other fishing buddies use when they go bass and pickerel fishing.  I told my father that I was going to most likely buy one for this coming fishing season.

When we went to my parents house for Christmas dinner they had one more gift for me there and it was the rubber fishing net.  It will certainly make a nice addition to my fishing supplies. Why?  I have used other “regular” fishing nets for anything from trout to pickerel and bass.  Even with small flies I would still get the hook caught up in the mesh and also if the fish is active in the net and moving around a lot it can be quite a hassle to get the fish out safely and getting your fly or other bait out without causing damage to the net.

When I used these rubber nets this past fishing season I was very impressed because the fish never got caught up in the netting and your baits/hooks also never got caught up in the netting.  Right now I still have the 13 foot canoe and am hoping it will not get in the way too much but I am sure James and I will make it work.  I can also bring it along if I go on another person’s boat.  I am also still looking around for an aluminum boat as well.

I am sure we will fill the net with pickerel wants the season starts and I am sure it will help us land some fish that we might otherwise have lost.

If you are in the market for a new net for recreational pickerel and bass fishing I strongly suggest buying a rubber net.

Your Favorite Fishing Day of the Season?

Bass at First Eel River LakeAs this year’s fishing season is quickly (and sadly) coming to an end I was sitting here tonight thinking what my favorite days fishing have been this season.  I hope to get out a couple more times but I will have to wait and see if that happens.  I can not honestly say if I can only pick one day as my favorite.  I am extremely lucky that I am a vice-principal and get the summer off.  This allows me more opportunities to get out fishing than a person that works throughout the summer.  I also need to say that this summer is probably the summer that I got out fishing the most in a very long time.  I thank my wife for allowing me to go so much this summer.

Every day was great in it’s own way but  I think I can narrow down my favorites to three.  I know that is not one, but I think I need to mention all three.  I will mention them in order that they happened.  Back in May my friend Matt invited me to go to First Eel River Lake to go fishing for a Saturday and Sunday.   I certainly accepted his invitation and we spent the two days fishing for bass and chain pickerel.  We spent most of our time fishing for smallmouth bass.  We had a great two days of fishing, stayed at a fantastic lodge, and I met three new fishing friends.  Even though it was early in the season we got into lots of bass and had a great time trying different baits to catch them.   We did have some issues with it getting windy but we were still able to have a great time fishing.

Number two on my list would have to be the day James, Casey and myself went to French Lake to do some pickerel fishing.  We had planned to get together for a day’s fishing and it finally came together this summer.  We arrived bright and early and fished all day.  Again, the wind played a factor, as it was very windy for most of the day but in Casey’s 16 foot aluminum boat we were fine.  We spent the day fishing the weeds and also trolling.  We each caught plenty of pickerel and perch.  The best part of the day was being able to share it with two other people.  We spent the day teasing each other, talking, and also listening to music, as Casey has a cd player in his boat.

French Lake Pickerel

Number three on my list was the day that Glenn and I went salmon fishing.  This was the third time that we went salmon fishing together this summer.  We spent the day on two different stretches of water.  Together we hooked into seven grilse.  Glenn landed his first grilse of the season on this day and I landed my very first salmon ever on this day.   It was a great day weather wise and I was very excited to see as many grilse as we did.  I almost landed one earlier in the day and then landing the other one put an end to a fantastic day.  Playing these two grilse has given me great experience and I feel the next time I hook into a grilse I will have a much better idea of how to fight it properly.  I hope to get out salmon fishing one more day before the season comes to an end but we will see if that happens.

My first grilse.

I am writing this to explain my three most favorite fishing days of the season but I would also like to ask what your favorite fishing day of the season was for you.  I would love for you to write a comment describing your favorite day as I always like to hear other people describe their time on the water.  I look forward to reading your comments.

Pickerel Fishing

Pickerel love waiting for prey in these areas.

A weed bed that will hold lots of pickerel.

Pickerel fishing is a type of fishing that many people have not tried for what ever reason. I was introduced to pickerel fishing a couple of years ago by my friend James and have not looked back since. Over these past few years I have learned what baits to use, what line to use, where to look for the pickerel, what techniques to use, and the pickerels tendencies.

I live in New Brunswick and have found a handful of places to fish for pickerel that are not too far from home. Two of these places have produced very good fishing. These two places are French Lake and Chipman. I have spent many days at Chipman fishing off Salmon River. What is important about both of these places is that weeds and lily pads grow in these two spots. If you are new to pickerel fishing you need to know that chain pickerel love to stay under cover. Once the lily pads are out the pickerel seem to love these spots. They will hide under these weeds or lily pads and ambush their prey, or more importantly, your bait or lure.

Since pickerel like to stay in these weeds or pads it is important that you use baits or lures that can be rigged up weedless. You can certainly use other regular baits or setups if you fish the weed lines but you will have much more success if you get set up weedless and get right in the middle of the weeds. A bait that James and I have learned to really enjoy using when pickerel fishing is the 6 inch senko (rubber worm). Our favorite colors we like to use because they give us our best action are pink and red. You can buy these at most stores in the fishing department. I buy many of mine on Ebay. There are countless colors and lengths to choose from. We set these up weedless and cast them right into the weeds and reel them in right across the top of the weeds. We have had countless times where we have had multiple strikes from a certain weed bed. It is important that when you put the senko on the EWG hook that the worm is straight. If it is not straight it will affects its movement in the water. The pictures below will show you how to rig up a senko so that it is straight and weedless.

When the weeds are thick I find the senko works the best when you cast it out and begin reeling in just before the worm hits the weeds. I find this is important because sometimes if the senko hits the weeds and stays still for a second or two it has a better chance of getting caught up in the weeds, even if it is rigged weedless. What I mean by this is sometimes weeds or grass will get caught up at the front of the bait.

Since chain pickerel have very sharp teeth it is important that you use the proper line when fishing for them. If you are using regular fishing line I will pretty well guarantee that you will have your line cut a handful of times by their teeth. I have used braided line in the past which can withstand their teeth quite well but I have had difficulties with it getting knotted up when casting. I have gone to use Berkley Smooth Cast line and using a steel leader. I find using a black steel leader has given me better luck that the silver ones. I have been using the Mustad 20lb black leaders. When I land a pickerel I also using a glove made for fishing. It has rubber dots on the palm which help keep a hold of the pickerel. It may look a little silly but I like using it because I can keep a good hold and do not worry as much about getting cut by their sharp teeth.

The technique I use the most when fishing with the senko is to cast right at or near the weeds and like I said earlier start reeling in just before the bait hits the water. I normally reel in quite fast. The pickerel seem to like the fast moving baits. I will cast around a certain weed spot a few times seeing if I can induce a strike. If I see some movement or get a hit but do not hook the fish I will cast back to the same spot as the pickerel will usually strike again. They are an extremely aggressive fish this way. Reeling in fast keeps the senko at the top of the water. I like this because you get to see all the strikes and many of the strikes that the pickerel make are very impressive.

If you are new to pickerel fishing or are thinking about giving it a try I hope this information has been useful and hope you get into some pickerel because it is some fun when you do.