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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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carpe diem

 

carp on the fly

Every so often I am reminded that even fish are subject to cultural relativism and historical prejudice. Allow me to explain the thought. It is somewhat odd and unreasonable that certain species of fish are viewed by fisherman as trash fish in certain parts of the world while in others reign as the supreme sportfish. There are several examples of this. Perhaps the most notable is the common carp, a fish introduced in the 1872 from Germany by J.A. Poppe from Sonoma, California who imported a mere five specimens to rear in his pond as a cheap and fast-growing food source that, like most invasive species, got out of control and eventually managed to  establish itself in virtually every water system in Continental North America. It has always been perceived a  trash fish, a bottom feeder unfit for both human consumption or sport, its primary use by importers intended as animal food and fertilizer. While there has been some changes in the mindset of anglers in last decade or so (perhaps as a result of globalization and the internet) , and the acceptance by a few «early adopters» that the carp is indeed a worthy sportfish, there are still very few North American anglers that target carp, which is really quite a shame since most of our waters hold healthy populations of carp that can weigh upwards of forty pounds and that can pull like a Kenworth semi truck, testing both anglers skill and equipment. Truth be told they can really put a bass to shame in terms of fight and stamina their only apparent shortcoming is that they do not leap out of the water when hooked, preferring to vaporize the drags pads of your reel with each blistering, bonefish-like run that seems to never end. Yet mention in conversation that you are a carp fisherman and you immediately raise eyebrows and are perceived as somewhat eccentric and odd. Until recently there were very few carp clubs dedicated to this fishery although there are now several hundred across the country. Read More »

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