Friday, 21 July 2017

1000 Plus Inches of Channel Catfish

Schedules and stars aligned the other day when we made it up to the Red River at Lockport. Parts of the previous day had been spent catching fresh bait to maximize our time on the river the next day and boy were our efforts rewarded. We were on the water and fishing by 8 a.m. and it didn't take long to get a bite. The first channel catfish I landed measured out at 34 inches and was followed by another that measured the same. Jay followed that with a freshwater drum and Frodo with a nice greenback walleye. It was a good start as within the first hour we landed five fish and missed many more bites. As the bite tapered off we decided to stick to the plan of making small moves as needed and having faith in our bait.

At this point there were about a dozen boats within site and not many of them were hooking up with catfish. We dropped anchor upstream of a 15 foot hole that had treated us well in the past and got our bait back in the water. Less than two minutes had passed before I hooked up to another catfish and this one felt heavier than the first two. It hit like a freight train and went peeling downstream, all I could do was hold on and have faith in my gear. After a few seconds of running with the current, it turned on a dime and barreled upstream towards the boat. I burned the line in as quick as I could keeping the rod bent and after a few minutes of tug of war near the surface and under the boat, the beast was in the net. It measured out right at three feet in length and weighed 25 pounds on the dot. Not my personal best but one hell of a nice fish and another great start on a fresh spot.

We landed a few more catfish within the next hour however the bite had slowed down again so another move was in order. This scenario repeated itself throughout the day right up to our agreed upon departure around 3:45 p.m. We spent just over 7.5 hours on the water and during that time caught 31 channel catfish totaling just over 1000 inches in length. 17 of which were over 34 inches with the longest at 36.75. A few double headers made for added excitement and the last fish of the day landed by Frodo was tagged. It turns out the tagging of this fish took place 5 days earlier and it had already been caught, released and reported twice.

Thursday, 6 July 2017

Hook in my Hand...OUCH

After a very successful morning of fishing I was unhooking my Berkley Flicker Shad from the mouth of another fish. Before I could finish the process the fish gave a quick head shake and the free treble of the lure quickly made its way into my thumb. It was a sharp de-barbed treble hook and it didn't really hurt when it punctured me however trying to extract it caused a fair amount of pain.

It became clear that a trip to the local ER for some lydocaine would be needed in order to get the damn hook out so we headed to the launch, loaded up the boat and headed home. It being a holiday Monday the local walk in clinics were closed, leading to a bit of added strain on the ER. Ironically there was another man in the waiting room with a hook in his hand , although his was not debarbed.

After a four and a half hour wait I finally had the pleasure of getting the hook out of my hand and the needle administering the freezing was the most painful part. The whole process took less than 5 minutes but I did note the fellow with the barbed hook was in there for over 90 minutes and came out with quite the bandaged hand. Two days have since passed and the wound has healed, swelling is gone and my thumb has regained its movement.

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Some Heavy Manitoba Common Carp

Pictured below are 3 of the more impressive common carp I have caught so far this season. Each one surpassed 33 inches in length and they each weighed over 30 pounds!

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

First Mirror Carp

I spend a handful of sessions on the waters edge targeting common carp each year as the quest for a personal best is always on my mind be it weight or length. Even deeper in my fishing obsessed brain is the desire to catch a mirror carp and to say they are rare around these parts might be an understatement. A unique semi scaleless pattern on each fish is due to a genetic mutation and some can be almost completely void of scales. Luck was on my side the other day when I finally landed my first mirror carp and while it was not huge, it was definitely a fish I will remember for quite a while.

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Fishing with Friends and Family

The end of May brought a trip that I had been looking forward to for a while. The weather wasn't perfect, but the experience was pretty close to it.  We were camped with some family friends along the Whitemud River and my goal was to make sure the kids would catch some fish. Lucky for us the rain shower that had started when we arrived had passed and the freshwater drum were biting. I spent the next 2 hours or so running between our fishing party netting fish, baiting hooks and helping out wherever I could. Everyone was catching and having a blast with plenty of drum big and small eager to bite. The highlight fish of the first evening was a 27 inch drum caught and released by Ron, it put up one hell of a fight and he handled it like a pro.

Day two of the trip I had planned to fish with the Jay and Frodo at least all morning and I was awake long before they were to arrive. The fish were biting and I took advantage of it to kill the time, landing a few handfuls of drum while I waited. We were on the water shortly after 7 A.M. and it didn't take us long to find a stretch of the river with active fish. The fishing was phenomenal and I will leave it at that. We went back to camp around lunch and made a plan with everyone else for the afternoon on the river. The action wasn't quite as consistent but we were rewarded for our efforts with my wife landing the biggest drum of the trip at 28 inches.

After a fish fry of walleye and drum, we began fishing from shore. Emma was putting on a clinic and hammering drum as she had done the previous evening, meanwhile her brother Tom was a ways down river sitting patiently and couldn't buy a bite. This all changed after about 30 minutes as he began to hook up to fish after fish. A 20 inch carp gave him a run for his money, but the real kicker was a 27 inch drum that put him and his gear to the test. He had caught over 22 fish within 90 minutes or so and was clearly having a good time.

Day three I awoke at 5:30 A.M. to rain pelting the tent and the outlook on the day was grim. I grabbed a fishing rod and some bait and immediately got fishing. The action was consistent but I couldn't break the 24 inch mark with any of the drum I caught and once folks were awake and it was clear the weather wasn't going to improve we decided to get packing. The trip as a whole was a success with everyone having a great time. Tons of fish were caught and released with a few retained for meals, lots of different birds were heard and seen and excellent conversations and meals were shared. I don't think anyone left disappointed.

Monday, 29 May 2017

The Start to the Season

It's been a few weeks since the open water season began in Manitoba and it is shaping up to be another good one. Day one was a challenge but a few nice fish were caught with carp being the initial target species. The first fish of the day didn't disappoint as a familiar and welcome fight ensued with the carp barreling away with ease. I was soon able to get it to shore and in the net where it measured out just over 30 inches. The action that followed wasn't hot and heavy, a few carp were landed with the biggest of the session topping out at 31.5 inches. With the wind picking up as the morning wore on we decided to head off to a few more shore spots with mixed results.

River fishing is usually a blast early season and I've had a few sessions soaking bait on some of my favorites, again with mixed results. Walleye, northern pike, freshwater drum, common carp, yellow perch, rockbass, shorthead redhorse sucker, channel catfish and black bullhead have all been caught so far ( some in good numbers) and it speaks highly of the variety and opportunity in Manitoba's rivers.