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Story 2009 Carpe Quebec Junior Event

Page history last edited by Jerome Moisand 13 years, 7 months ago

 

Carpe Quebec Junior Event 2009

 

When

May 30th, 2009

See also

Picasa album #1

Picasa album #2

Picasa album #3

 


Introduction

 

I’ve had multiple experiences introducing juniors to carp fishing in the past few years, and this always left me with great memories.

 

Of course, the St Lawrence junior tournament comes to mind, acting as a marshal out there is one of the best experiences an angler can have. Witnessing teenagers displaying patience you would never believe them capable of, seeing them finally landing a big fish after many hours of nothingness, see this amazing bright smile on their face when taking pictures, this is really something. And if somehow you played a small role in the process, helping them to practice “pump and reel”, giving them some tips, encouraging them to recast, suggesting the use of some magic dip at the end of the day, then this becomes truly fulfilling.

 

Fishing with just a few kids could be equally rewarding, allowing to spend more time chatting with both kids and parents, catching more fish, seeing how parents turn from skepticism to bewilderment and sheer pleasure while watching their kids catch several fish bigger than anything they ever caught themselves!

 

At the end of a year 2008 which made me discover the fantastic fishing that can be enjoyed in Quebec (on the St Lawrence, of course!), when we discussed with my new local friends what could be a nice goal for 2009, doing something geared at juniors seemed in order. This was actually triggered by Carl, a local angler, who introduced a kid named Marc-Antoine (mark this name!) to carp fishing and both came back with stars in their eyes. When hearing his story and his enthusiasm recounting it, it became clear that a local junior event could be a really good thing.

 

Our goals were not to set up a big tourney or anything competitive, but just to introduce a few local kids to the fun of carp fishing and have a great day together. Still, a few prizes do help closing the day in a nice manner, so a few e-mails were sent to tackle shops, and we received positive answers right away, which was really nice to see, given the ever increasing number of sponsoring requests to a small number of tackle shops. Many thanks to Andy Sprinkle from The Bait Stop, and Andy Phinn from Resistance Tackle generously providing bait and bite alarms. Many thanks to Paul Pezalla from Wacker Bait & Tackle which provided a bunch of spools of good quality fishing line. My friends also tried to find local sponsors, and unsurprisingly, mister “nice guy” Jeff Vaughan from the Canadian Carp Club came to the rescue, as well as Sail Baron (a local general-purpose fishing & hunting shop). Finally, at the last minute, the Hilton Bonaventure hotel provided a good number of drinks. This is a special hotel, they have a small river with kois in it, definitely a venue for carpists!

 

We selected a venue with plenty of space, and where we had terrific fishing last year. Then we defined a few rules, only kids were allowed to play the fish, we’d have a good number of fairly experienced carp mentors attending to take good care of the juniors (and to allow more rods in the water, cf. this annoying ‘one rod’ rule in Canada), we’d fish from 8AM to 4PM, and we’d give the main prizes to the biggest fish and biggest total weight while trying to give a little something to every junior. And we planned a chumming campaign starting 10 days before the event. Oh, and everybody started to give phone calls to friends, colleagues and family to recruit participants.

 

This all seemed reasonably well oiled, but the weather didn’t exactly cooperate. The two weeks before the event saw a mix of cold wind, cold temperature and rain, and this messed up fishing pretty good. Potential participants started to cancel, some mentors were getting demotivated, plus we discovered late in the process that we were competing with a much larger bass fishing event organized the same week-end. I had to push hard to make sure that mentors would come, that chumming would happen every day, and that we’d secure participants. The local meteorologists changing their mind every few hours didn’t help either, the weather prediction moved from 70F to 60F, from sunny to cloudy weather to rain, and everything in-between.

 

The event

 

This was finally the day of the event, wake-up call at 6AM. One of the mentors (Jesse, a very experienced French angler) was already on the bank, he was there at 5AM, some people just don’t sleep… The last weather prediction I had seen seemed reasonably ok, some showers, cloudy weather, a tad cold. We lightly chummed every swim, and the other mentors started to arrive. The weather turned out more rainy than expected, so bivvys were set up. Ok, we’re ready. Er… Where are the juniors? Carl finally came in with two kids in tow, Marc-Antoine and his buddy Benjamin. They chose some bait (thanks again, Andy), they set up at one of the upstream swims, and Benjamin landed a 24 pounder within minutes! Cool. First catch of the day, his very first carp and a real nice fish.

 

 

In the mean time, Martin had brought his two kids, Elijah and Justin. Four juniors, er… we expected more than that. We had twice as many adults as juniors! Plus the weather started to become really crappy, and fish didn’t seem eager to bite any more. Last but not least, two guys came out of nowhere and set up in a good swim close to Carl (my bad, I had forgotten to put some gear in there), and they started to land several carp with an obvious complete disregard for the health of the fish while we had nothing moving on our rods. Urrg. Would all this work end up with a regular fish-in with just a few juniors and a few sparse carp?

 

Fortunately, a 2nd and a 3rd batch of juniors came in a bit late (that’s ok, go get a teenager out of bed on a Saturday morning, and you’ll understand why some flexibility was in order!), and we now had a much nicer group of 10 juniors. Definitely not what we had originally planned (more like 20), but given the weather (which was getting worse by the minute), we were already very relieved to see them arrive. Everybody started to set up and once rods were in the water and kids were dressed with proper rain gear, I did my usual “pump & reel” training session for the newbies. The idea is that teaching how to tie a knot or discussing baiting tactics is rather boring for a junior, but having somebody act as a (big!) carp while they try to reel you in and finally drag you in a huge net, this is much more entertaining! Also having them somewhat master the pump & reel technique BEFORE they get a real carp is quite important, or their first run could quickly end up in disaster.

 

 

While I was doing that, Martin got a run and his son Elijah landed a 22 pounder, his first carp ever. Nicely done! I resumed the training, but Daniel screamed “RUN!!” a few minutes later, and quickly put Alexis onto his rod against a lively fish. His idea was that everybody was fishing close to shore (where it usually works out there), so why not try something different with one rod. Man, this was prescient. The great majority of fish we caught during the day were caught at range, when we started to mimic what he did with multiple rods. This fish also turned out to be the biggest of the day, a 26-8 pounder, skillfully landed by Alexis. Taking a picture wasn’t easy, Melanie and Gildas had to assist Alexis with handling the biggie, but we made it. His younger brother (Vincent, 7 years old) wasn’t to be left out, and landed a nice fish soon after.

 

 

A family with two kids was left fishless so far, but the mentors weren’t to be stopped, and soon enough, we were able to give runs to Jasmin and Joel.

 

 

Time was running much more quickly now than we had more action! Almost all the kids had caught one or two fish each by now. Even the young ones (Justin and Thierry) landed one, with help from the mentors. I believe Thierry had quite a blast playing his fish, and that his dad (another Carl) had an even bigger blast!

 

 

Marc-Antoine was struggling though, he did land his first fish, but then proceeded to lose three in a row (playing a big fish delicately was a concept a bit hard to sink in!). Things started to slow down, I was chatting with somebody, far away from my rod, when I saw a commotion, there was a run on a pop-up which I had cast far away, plus it took time for somebody (Marc-Antoine won the race) to go grab the rod, so the fish had taken a ton of line. We were all over the poor kid (“play it slowly”, “don’t pull too hard”, “easy, easy”)… I finally pushed people away from him, but I was closely monitoring what he was doing, this fish wasn’t to be lost. Plus when I took the rod for a few seconds to show him how to drag the fish laterally, this fish seemed to be quite hefty! It took forever, but Marc-Antoine stuck to it, did play it nice and easy, and a beautiful fish came in the net. Could it be the biggest one of the day… Nope, but this was close, 26 pounds even. While we were releasing the biggie, Georges (who had moved his set-up to another spot) got the last run of the day, just before the deadline, allowing Alexis to catch the last fish of the event.

 

 

It was more than 4PM by then, time to pack up for everybody, to tally the results and give prizes. The math wasn’t too complicated, this was close, we had one total weight at 46lb, one at 45lb and one at 44lb! The big winners were Benjamin (two carp at 24lb and 22lb) and Alexis (big fish at 26-8lb). And as planned, everybody got a gift, including little Etienne who was jumping with delight to have something like his older brothers! Thanks again to the sponsors.

 

 

Overall, a rather slow day, but punctuated by a string of big fish (average weight was around 21lb!), everybody caught except Etienne. Juniors, parents and mentors were all very pleased with their day, and even if it would have been good to have a few more fish and a few more juniors, we did quite well with the conditions of the day.

 

 

Conclusion

 

This event didn’t involve much logistics, a few e-mails to sponsors, a few phone calls to recruit participants, some chumming the week before, a small group of friendly mentors and this was basically it! I have long believed that we could do much more with juniors, too many of our fish-ins and carp events are essentially geared at adults. This is actually kind of silly, I personally think that making a kid catch a carp is just so much more enjoyable than participating to the umpteenth fish-in. It really doesn’t take much to organize a local junior event, just use some determination to make things happen and the rewards will be for you to collect! Hopefully, this report will inspire readers and we’ll see more junior events happening all over North America.

 

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