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Story 2007 St Lawrence in January

Page history last edited by Jerome Moisand 8 years, 7 months ago

Saint-Lawrence in January


It was... not the Bahamas!


When Mid January, 2007
Where St Lawrence, Waddington
Who Fishing with Chris & Scott


The story


Following the (frozen) tracks of Iain and Rick (check the story on this CAG forum thread)... Chris and myself drove to Waddington mid January, on a Friday afternoon. We spent the night at the Riverview motel, and early Saturday morning (was hard to find a breakfast place!), found the right place. With Scott's car close to the swim, the crazy guy had arrived during the night and drove straight into mud, but didn't get stuck... yet.


Day 1: will they really bite in such cold weather?


So we set up our rods, convinced that action would come to us quickly. Well, took two hours during which we started to have serious beliefs that Iain and Rick were Photoshop masters and were actually pulling our chain. I recast one of my rods to the horizon with a flavored pop-op, and this proves to break the spell. I landed a low 20, Scott got another run within minutes, we released the fish, I recast to the horizon, got another run right away, and oh yeah, here is a super nice 28-8 pounder, bigger than anything I caught in 2006! In the mean time, Scott was discovering that those fish are darn cold to manipulate...


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After this good start, fishing was slow, but the average size was impressive. Took me a while to catch a fish below 20lb, believe it or not. Fish came into small bursts of 2 or 3 runs, always very close to each other although rods were widely spreaded. I will never understand that! 


At the end of the day, we caught a dozen fish, and we actually ended up the session with a triple run, my two rods and one of Scott's rods. So I asked Chris to play one of the fish, and we started to have fun. Not long for me, because I lost my fish. Scott landed a small one, and lucky Chris had the fish of the day, a beautiful low 20 mirror. Well, it's really his fish and mine...


Here is a muddler for Chris, a nice release pic, and the mirror.


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By the end of the *cold* day (air temp varied between 15F and 24F, was so good when the wind finally stopped during the day), Scott was burned out (figure of speech!), and went to his car. Chris and myself kept fishing for a little while, then started to drag our gear.


Now remember that Scott didn't get stuck in the mud during the past night? Well, this evening, he did get stuck, with flying colors. Let me point out that, in the morning, he spent 10 minutes trying to convince me to bring my car close to his, and I stubbornly refused... Well, Scott stopped arguing in the evening... laugh.gif We left the sorry car in the mud, had a great bowling game, went to sleep.


Day 2: rescue mission and more (cold) fishing


In the morning, our savior Ed Sheffield, came to the rescue early in the morning... I tell you, finding a more helpful & generous guy would be an interesting challenge. Ed also gave me better gloves, gave Scott a jacket and Chris some additional pants. MUCH appreciated. Thank you, buddy.


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While the guys were rescuing Scott's car, I had started to set up and took a few interesting pics of the local conditions. Did I mention it was cold? I spodded a bit, my line was freezing while I was reeling it... Look at my rod's eye. I tried to cast a couple of times while forgetting to clean it up. Didn't work too well!


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Similar scenario as the first day, it started slow, fish came in small bursts, the average fish kept being well over 20 pounds, except for Scott who admittedly caught more than Chris and myself, fishing with a method ball, landing multiple teens. He did catch up with a nice biggie.


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One of the fish had a small lamprey attached to it. Those things are really ugly monsters...


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We were joined by Nick, a local English angler, man, the guy talks a lot...  But he's also a talented angler, and quickly started to catch multiple upper twenties while we were a bit stuck. And I also discovered a writer, who sent me later on an FFF article for the NACA! Cool.


Scott left early afternoon, Nick left later on, and I shamelessly stole Nick's spot at the end of the day! Which gave me two more nice upper 20s, while Chris was finally catching his biggest fish of the week-end (28-6lb). Yes, maybe my grin is a little weird on the last pic, but I tell you, holding a wet fish in a 20F weather is guaranteed to send shivers of cold all over your body, and freeze your fingers for 15 minutes...


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Day 3: snow day

At the end of this second day, we weren't quite sure what to do, Ed told us we'd have bad weather in the following morning, but my wife indicated that the weather prediction was actually quite ok for the following morning. So we went to sleep, started early once again, opened the motel room's door and... what in hell is this white stuff? Snow finally caught up on us... 


We paid a visit to Ed, bought some tackle (he's nicely ramping up with carp gear), then decided that we'd better drive home. Being my optimistic self (or lazy self?), I had left some of my gear on the bank... I borrowed Ed's truck (that's fun to drive!) and found out that the venue wasn't frozen, and could actually be fishable. But we were really too tired at this stage to deal with the weather, yeah, we chickened out...


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We came back to Ed's shop, got rid of a net which had a short & cold (but very useful!) life, and... I am rather happy with this last picture...  Lori, this one is dedicated to you.


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Finally, we started to drive home. Snow, ice, wind, geez, this was really painful and downright dangerous. Hours of slow driving, a wrong turn on the wrong highway (my bad), and we ended up having to take the ferry over Lake Champlain. After driving through the island, we discovered that the other side of Lake Champlain was clearly unfishable... 


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Then we drove through Vermont. Barely avoided a crazy police car sitting right in the middle of the left lane on an extremely slippery road. We saw loads of cars which weren't as lucky and ended up on the "highway shores". A huge truck made a 90 degrees turn and was completly blocking the highway. It took us a total of 11 hours to come home (compared to the usual 6 hours), and multiple heart attacks...


We finally made it. And in retrospect, this was definitely worth it. I can't believe that, mid January, I caught two fish bigger than any of the ones I ever caught in 2006. Great fishing, great comraderie, unique experience, every minute of it is what makes us tick as carp anglers.   


Many thanks again to the St Lawrence winter fishing discoverers: Ed Sheffield, Shawn Rafter and friends.


Post-scriptum: unbelievable numbers!

I did some quick math afterwards. 30 fish landed between the three of us (and a few more for Nick). 18 of them were 20+ fish, 8 of them were 25+ fish. Close to 650 pounds of fish total. All of us had an average higher than 20 pounds. Mine was the highest (yeah!), a staggering 23-6lb average. 


And this is *nothing* compared to what the FFF guys did on Jan 1st and the few following days... UNBELIEVABLE!

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