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Muskies with Marc

The sun had not yet risen on a cold, late November morning as we headed down the dark highway towards the boat launch near Sorel on the St-Lawrence river just East of Montreal. It is the fourth oldest city in Quebec, once a major industrial sector with oil refineries and steel mills and processing plants and other heavy industries that were built on the shores of the river. There had once been giant shipyards that built frigates for the Canadian Navy and most of the industries that remained were  involved in metallurgy, heavy equipment manufacturing, ethanol and grain processing plants, most with needs requiring their own dockage along the river to both ship and receive materials. These factories were surrounded by small,tough, working-class francophone communities where most of their inhabitants, like the generations before them, toiled in the industries along the river. It only seemed fitting that we would be fishing for the toughest fish in these waters.

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Fortune and Glory

IT WAS SOMEWHERE AROUND LAKE HURON that we decided to drive south towards hogtown and spend our last day fishing with Greg Amiel’s Fishing4Tails charter service for steelhead and king salmon before heading back down the final leg of the highway towards home. After one month of fishing everyday, we needed a little fishing to break the trip up and it was the perfect opportunity to finally fish with Greg. We had initially become acquainted  through a variety of internet fishing social networks but this marked our first occasion to meet in person and fish together. Despite the sketchy last-minute arrangements, mostly exchanged through text messages as we worked our way across Northern Ontario, he was incredibly generous with his time and created a hole for us in his busy schedule. Read More »

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The Unatrouter

This is neither a cautionary tale nor a work of fiction. Rather, it is a factual account of the activities that took place a week ago last Friday, as all official records will indicate, during my latest trout adventure. Little did I know that the roles were to be reversed and that it was the fisherman was to be the catch of the day.

For one almost fateful morning my person was the subject of a joint manhunt co-ordinated by agencies of both the United States of America, land of the not so free anymore since the passage of The Patriot Act, and Canada, land of the timid politicians who do not want to ruffle the feathers of the bald eagle. And then there was little old me, middle-aged, fish-addicted, and somewhat still suffering from two months of cabin fever who needed to feel the tug of a fish the way a junkie needs a fix. I was a trout junkie. A trout terrorist…..the Una-Trouter!

The day started quite inocuously, the sun was shining, birds were chirping in the treetops, squirrels played and life was finally returning after a long winter. Then it began to turn into a hellish nightmare which had nothing to do with the fishing. You see, I was fishing border waters and had parked my suspicious black truck at the end of a dead-end country road in the middle of nowhere, not fifty feet from a snowbank and large obelisk shaped stone with U.S.A. painted in red across it that demarcated the borderline between Canada and the US. This border is the longest unprotected border in the civilized world and many parts of it, like this one, are basically patrolled by squirrels and crows. Read More »

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fishing

Fishing as a sport has often been described as an activity mostly consisting up of long periods of boredom followed by short and intense periods of exciting activity. While this proposition is not entirely untrue, the statement misses the point of the exercise entirely and fails to underscore the importance of the events that happen outside those moments of intense activity – which for many is a big part of why they fish. The down time between catching fish allows us those requisite moments of respite from civilization for solitary reflection and introspection, observation and thought about the quarry and nature, or of time to talk and further deepen a close friendship. If one takes a moment to think about it, if we only fished to catch fish that the whole enterprise could logically be viewed as an exceedingly productive way to waste ones time.  The scientific method and catch statistics can back me up on this. Should one be so inclined to do the mathematical calculations of catch rates vs. effort or hours fished they would also quickly arrive at the conclusion  that ninety percent of their time was spent staring at their inert lines and not much else.  In the real world people get fired for such a lack of productivity. But here is where logic and mathematics fall to the wayside and where statistics hold no currency. Read More »

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The Gar Wars

It was not only the hottest day of the summer but the highest on record in the last twenty years, the mercury at a blistering 108F with the humidex close to ninety percent and severe storm warnings in effect, further proof that global warming  was a reality.The entire week Environment Canada issued warnings broadcast on the radio advising both the elderly and infirm as well as the very young to remain indoors and drink plenty of fluids during the heat wave. The heat was infernal and while most sane people sought to find some respite in their air-conditioned homes or swimming pools, we revelled in the torrid heat that was a harbinger for the massive numbers of gar that congregated during summer in the Bay of Quinte. This heat signalled the prime time for gar and we waited impatiently near the marina in downtown Belleville for my friend and guide extraordinaire Glen Hales to show up with his boat and take us out for a few days on the Bay of Quinte. The Gar Wars were about to begin and the force was with us. Read More »

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Stoned Fish?

It seems that all the trout in my neighbourhood are really stoned – at least according to the findings in a recent study of the St-Lawrence River near Montreal, where a team of researchers have discovered large quantities of anti-depressants in the local trout populations.

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