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Story 2008 La Belle Province Nine Days

Page history last edited by Jerome Moisand 12 years, 3 months ago

La Belle Province - Nine days of pure fishing pleasure




May 25th to June 3rd, 2008


Province of Quebec


Fishing with new friends

See also

Private Picasa albums



The story


I had planned since my discovery trip last year to go back to "la belle province" (namely Quebec), and spend a full week fishing before the spawn.


May 25th


After months of thinking about it, studying Google maps and satellite images and depth maps, establishing contacts with local anglers, I was finally ready to go. My car was packed with gear and bait, I got going on the road, and 6 hours of driving brought me to Montreal mid-afternoon. I was very relieved that the custom guys at the Canadian border didn't ask to check my (somewhat radioactive) trunk!



I registered to the motel, found the exact spot where my new friend Martin (thank you, Internet!) pre-baited for a few days, and I chummed with some of my flavored maize. Then I walked a bit along the river and noticed a couple of nice spots that would deserve a visit later on. I topped up the bait and it was time to go buy my fishing license and more maize.


When I came back, I was warmly greeted by two locals (Daniel & Melanie) who recognized me from pictures posted on the Internet! We set up to fish for a couple of hours as a warm up. I landed the first fish rather quickly, but... what the hell is this midget carp (which I weighed at 4-12lb)? Am I really fishing the St Lawrence? Give me back my money!



No, that was just the big river playing games with me. Upper teens and twenty pounders found their way to our net as the sunset started to show its colors. And here is a new PB for Melanie, at 20-8lb.



 And a new PB as well for Daniel at 23-8lb. A bit of rig tuning improved their catch rate quite significantly!



Eight fish for me in a few hours up to 24lb (before the last catch at 10pm), meeting with two very nice people, now that's a pretty good start!


May 26th


An early 18 pounder for me in the spot where I did so well last year in October, then Daniel joined me and well, no activity at all for several hours. Ok, maybe this isn't where they congregate at this time of the year!



We moved to a third spot early afternoon, where our friend Martin was going to meet us. I had bought some gear from Wacker & Resistance for Martin, and I told him "show me first you can catch carp!" (that is, in French, this is Quebec, remember?). Which he did rather quickly, with this 17lb. So we started to unpack, Martin commented that it felt like Christmas Day! 



Another run on Martin's rod, who kindly gave it to Daniel, and this turned out to be a splendid 28-8 pounder!



As to me, I had chosen to cast farther away, towards what seemed to be a carp highway, and for once, I got it right in my analysis of a new spot, I landed a good number of upper teens and some low twenties. We even got a double catch, one on my rod (Daniel took the run), the other on Martin's rod. Amusingly enough, both fish had exactly the same weight, 20-8lb. Two happy anglers!




May 27th


Walking around the day before, I had noticed a nice water outflow from a pipe, so I decided to give it a try. I had chummed in the evening and early in the morning, so after a quick breakfast, I set up and madness began... Three hours of fishing, a single rod (Quebec's regulation, didn't bother me a bit this day!), a run every 15 minutes... And my first 25+ fell to my corn mid-morning. Plus a strangely shaped two-tones.



After lunch, I took a nap and had to go fill up the fridge, but around 2:30 I was back to where Daniel & Melanie greeted me. Based on yesterday's experience, I wasn't too sure this was a good spot for big carp, but was quickly proven wrong, a 25lb to start with, then a 26lb, then a 22lb... I spare you the entire list, and will just show the biggest one, a superb 28lber, which turned to be quite a "bolter".



End of the afternoon, we were fishing with Daniel, Martin, his son and Carl. Which of course led to a few double catch. Amazingly enough, Daniel caught a fish on a 15 feet rod, and landed it expertly!



A cool pic of Carl and Martin's son. We fished until the sunset, and the action never stopped.



I finished the day with 17 fish, average definitely over 20lb, now this is a fishing day to remember. Can't do better than that. Can we? Hmmm, we shall see.


May 28th (AM)

I did some scouting of another large bay, but didn't like it too much. So I drove to a small canal in another town where carp had been reported. 30 minutes after setting up, a 18lb rewarded me, then a couple of more fish, and then complete surprise, a mirror carp (which are extremely rare around here). And I have a witness!


Two more fish, then silence for an hour, I started to wrap up and... Big run, long dogged fight, is this the 30 pounder I was hoping for? Not exactly, but very close! This was a hefty 29-4lb. Super cool. Or maybe 29-3lb if I had seen and removed this ugly lamprey.



A bit more scouting, and I came back to the first spot to meet again Martin, Daniel and Melanie and fish with them in the afternoon.


May 28th (PM)


Four anglers (Martin, Daniel, Melanie and myself). Four rods. I opened the show with a 21-8lb, and everybody was onto fish quickly. Melanie improved her PB twice, at 22-12lb, then 24-8lb. Two doubles, including this one with Melanie's new PB and a smaller fish for Martin. Melanie was religiously following my recommendation to release the carp we caught downstream from our fishing spot.



Nice fishing so far for us this afternoon. Sounds good? Even better, a triple catch (including a 27-4lb for me)... Yes, we felt quite giddy!



I kept spodding to feed the obviously large group of carp we had in front of us. A first run on the left side for me, a second run on the right side, we netted them, but wait, a run on the third rod, and... a run on the fourth rod! I kid you not, four anglers, four rods, four runs, four fish landed. The perfect quadruple catch. Unprecedented as far as I know. Just plain amazing.



A few more carp followed, and... another triple catch, this time with a 28lber for Daniel. And still a few more before we stopped, totally exhausted, as happy as carp anglers can be when the stars align and even more!




May 29th


Today, I wanted to explore other spots downstream, notably some islands and spots supposed to be spawning areas. Long story short, I walked a lot, fished a bit, grumbled after the one-rod regulation (which doesn't exactly help when scouting new spots), and caught nothing... I met a better fisherman than me (which isn't hard!), and saw some proof that carp do occasionally come where I tried to fish (but I wasn't going to hook this one!).



A lonely rod in front of an ocean of water... The St Lawrence is a mighty river! Then another spot with a nice point of land protruding in front of an island.



At the end of a long and unsuccessful exploratory day, a tad frustrated, I came back to safer ground, and was duly rewarded by several twenty pounders (up to 25-8) and another fellow named Cristian came just in time to say hello and take a pic of my last 20+ of the day.




May 30th


Cristian was there real early, before 6AM. I joined him kind of sleepwalking, but I was quickly forced to open my eyes since again fish graced our rods every 15 or 20 minutes in the morning. Nothing big though. A few fish had lampreys on them, which we removed and killed. What an ugly parasite.



We fished a very scenic spot early afternoon with Carl, this was a splendid location, looking like a quiet English-looking pond, but actually located just behind very powerful rapids. Well, only colorful birds were interested in our bait and we royally blanked!



End of the afternoon, we had an improvised fish-in with Cristian and a few new guests, Mario and his wife Nicole and the brother-in-law, Yvon. Both of them had caught their very first carp the week before, and ready to catch more! Yvon quickly opened the show with this healthy 21 pounder. Quickly followed by Mario with a lively 17lb.



We got quite a few more, but Nicole's rod just didn't want to move. So I gave her a run on my rod, and lucky lady, this was the biggest fish of the day, 27-8lb! She got another one on her rod at the end of the day. Georges (a very experienced carp angler) also joined us, and we took a nice group picture.



In the mean time, hidden a few hundred yards upstream at the pipe spot, Melanie and Daniel proceeded to put to good use the new techniques they learned in the past couple of days, started to haul one after another, and Melanie landed an amazing 32 pounder. Way to go, lady!




May 31st


It's raining. Hard. So where should I go? Easy! The pipe outflow where Melanie did so well! I'll make it short for this day. Usual routine, early chumming, breakfast, go fishing. Martin came to say hello when I got started, and I told him that I had thrown a good deal of bait, so it was unlikely that I'd get a quick run. I cast my rod. Didn't take more than 30 seconds... I told Martin to take the run, and here is a wet fish (duh!) and a wet angler. Which was quickly followed by another one, and another one...



Martin had to go to work, I kept going and had a great stretch with a 23lb, a 29lb (where is my 30+, aarg) and a 27lb. Here is the biggie. Cristian braved the rain and came to fish with me late morning, and he was soaking wet, I tell you... But he got a 26lber and a smaller one, so the weather was (almost) forgotten.



Early afternoon brought a few low twenties, this was becoming routine... Another angler (Radu) came to show me a rare muddler (funny, there are much less of them than in Waddington), which was his new PB (25-8lb). I also made a new friend, which slowly walked around me for hours!



Late afternoon was much slower. Birthday boy Carl tried to catch a 31lb (cf. his new age), but stopped at 17lb. He must be much younger than he thought! I finished the day with a 23lb and a 25lb, listening to music on my iPod while playing the fish, that was so enjoyable and relaxing. Overall, yet another great day. It was tough to drag my feet to throw loads of chum in the water late in the evening to prepare for our official fish-in, which we had postponed to Sunday because of the weather.




June 1st


I woke up early to find one of our best spots occupied by not-so-carp-friendly anglers. Arumph. I was glad I had chummed a good number of openings. I started topping a bit the bait in the other spots, I knew that what I threw last night didn't last long... I looked on the other side of the bay, and this was the longest boat I have ever seen... Watch the pic closely to see the beginning and the end of this huge stretch of a boat! Daniel and Melanie arrived early, bringing some nice gifts for me, plus a new weigh sling they designed themselves the day before. Oh, and a trendy new hat as well!



People started to come and to start fishing, and it didn't take long for Martin to catch the very first fish, a nice 25lber, and win the first prize, a carp artefact I bought in Hong-Kong a couple of years ago.



Carl and Daniel started to catch upstream, so I went there to take some pics.



Now walking far away from your rod can be a big mistake... When I came back, Martin made a strange face and told me that he landed a real nice fish on my rod. Nothing less than 33-12lb, the 30+ I just couldn't catch so far! I guess I made a face as well when seeing this thick fish, but thought that it was a really great symbol of our work together in setting up this fish-in, and everything we had exchanged so far, and a new friendship materializing. And I was truly happy by then.



Then Martin paid a visit to the other guys, and Georges landed a 26lber on Martin's rod! Then I caught a 25lber. And then Martin landed a 30-8lb (this time, on his rod!). The heavy spodding Martin and myself went through earlier in the morning was paying off, our swim was hot!



By now, the undesirables had moved away from the platform (taking a few carp in their trunk, grrr), and Cristian plus some new participants came in. After a quick crash course, Jean-Sebastien, Stephane and his wife were catching their first carp. Cristian landed a nice one too, and Duc did get a run on this creative rig!



Upstream, Carl, Daniel and Melanie had a blast as well. I had multiple runs myself, and couldn't keep up with the pics taking... Melanie and Daniel moved closer to us, and kept catching! Melanie definitely deserved the "lady angler of the week" award.



Martin had a bit of a slow time, but then caught the third biggest fish of the day, 27-12lb (he was on fire this day, he reeled in the three biggest!). As to Stephane, he was so happy to catch a couple of more carp that he laid an egg. Don't ask me how.




And I finished the day with a late-minute 24lber, my rod was lingering while everything else was wrapped up and procrastination paid off! Martin and myself were two happy and exhausted fish-in organizers, I tell you! Overall, around 30 carp caught, two thirties, multiple high twenties, several new guys initiated to carp fishing, everything was just... perfect.




June 2nd


Fish-in is over, I slept like a rock and I was fishing for myself this morning. I wouldn't mind another 30+...


I landed a 28-8lb at the beginning of the day (yeah, bad pic). A good number of fish in-between, plus some scouting of other potential swims and a nice lunch at a restaurant which didn't mind feeding a ravenous and dirty angler. 


Another Daniel came with his family early afternoon, I gave him a couple of runs, and he landed a 26-4lb (new PB, of course). And I got another 28-8lb at the end of the day. Another great day of fishing, but where are those thirties? I was greedy, I wanted more and my time was running over!




The highlight of the day was of a different nature though. Martin showed up at the end of the day with a totally unexpected and really cool gift, with three pics which best illustrated our experience so far. Thanks, buddy, very much appreciated, and now hanging in plain view in my home.



June 3rd


I had to leave and go back home now. But I woke up early, and a quick check of my notes told me that I landed 91 fish so far. I couldn't stop there. I needed to catch 101 carp! Yes, seriously, this is exactly what I set up as a goal for the coming few hours. Call me crazy, but I wouldn't leave until I landed fish #101.


Fish did start to come, one after the other, although I lost a few due to bad hooks (me and my lazyness with damaged hooks!). And suddenly, a really big run. Took a while to bring this baby home. Could it be... I had to recheck that the scale is properly zeroed. It did look like it... No, better put the scale in a stable position on a tree... And yes, I landed a 30-0lb, I swear to the god of all anglers (no, Scott or Iain, this isn't you!).



Now that was cool, but back to my goal of 101 fish. Another nice 24lber after the 30, and then another run. This one didn'go far, but it was heavy... It gave me a heart attack by escaping out of the net when I was quite sure I had nailed it, but it finally made it to shore. And amazingly enough, this was my second 30+ of the day, a magnificent 31-10lb. I love when those Reuben-Heaton scales make a complete revolution!



Back to fishing. I still have three carp to catch to reach my goal and things are slowing down a bit... I landed fish #100 (24lb) and I now had to share my swim with other folks. But no matter, I did get my last one, a scrappy 15lb which pleased me so very much... Now I could go buy some French books & magazines at Renaud-Bray and drive home, I was done.



When I organized pics at home, comparing notes and pictures, it turned out that this was actually fish #105 or so... Plus around 15 carp landed on my rod by somebody else. I did some math with Excel, my notes aren't perfect because it was sheer madness at times, but here it goes. An average size very close to 20lb... More than 2400 pounds of fish... Three 30+ and a slew of upper twenties...  I just love to be able to claim that I caught "a ton of fish... litterally!". No wonder my arms still hurt. Fisherman tendinitis, if there is such a thing! And more importantly, multiple new friends, all really nice people. Can't get any better than that.


I think this will stay as my best 9 days of fishing ever. "La belle province" clearly deserves its name.

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