|Letís be honest 2008 was not a year a lot of us will want to remember. If youíre in the stock investment business you might not want to get up in the morning. Then again, most of your customers may hope you donít get up in the morning. Big industry seems to be in trouble everywhere. Many people have lost jobs and a lot more people are expecting to lose jobs. The tourist industry from coast to coast is in big trouble. Those dependable corporate accounts have just about vanished. Our high dollar up until about September turned off a lot of visitors from south of the border. In the States the fishing and marine industry has taken a beating. Up here in Canada, tackle sales are still strong and the marine industry, or at least the ones Iím affiliated with are holding their own and happy with their sales in these times of restraint.|
Out west, the renown Pacific salmon fishery for kings and coho left a lot to be desired. It seems like a million different reasons were given for the collapse of salmon stocks in many areas. Over-fishing in the past by commercial operators could be one factor. Climate changes were also a definite problem. Salmon smolt dropping out of rivers for the saltwater stage of their life cycle had tough times trying to find enough food to survive on. In fact, it seems that the vast majority of salmon didnít find enough to eat and died early in life.
But I like to use the phrase, Ďthat thereís always a light at the end of the tunnelĎ. For starters, weíve been through recessions in the past and weíll come out of this one. We may have to pull in our belts a little, but we will get through this mess. An interesting fact Iíve come across, is that during tough economic times the sport of fishing actually grows in strength. Letís be honest, fishing for the most part is not an expensive sport to take part in. It may cost a few bucks to hit the links with your little white balls, but even in urban areas there are those angling hideouts that are often as close as the nearest golf course and you donít have to drop fifty to a hundred bucks to drown a dozen two dollar night crawlers. If you canít justify a day pass for the family at Wonderland, a trip to Center Island with the kids and a couple of fishing rods is a whole lot easier on the wallet. I know, Wonderland and Center Island relate to Torontoís urban population, but no matter where you live in Canada, thereís a stream, pond, river or lake close enough to drop a bait, cast a lure or troll an offering.
Iím a little different than most TV guys that can be found on the boob tube these days. When it comes to fishing, Iím getting to the point that I donít like competitions when it comes to fishing. I mean tournaments and big money contests. The only type of competition I want when I have a rod and reel in my hand, is maybe giving my a kid a lesson or two. I donít mind betting a buddy a beer on who is going to come to shore with the best catch. But I like to go on the water or sit by a pond and just enjoy the outing. I want to smell the air, take a little pleasure in the woods around me and clouds passing by in the sky.
Trust me, this year do yourself a favour and load the wife and kids in the car and enjoy fishing. Catching fish is fun, but itís not what itís all about.
|Outfitter & Lodge Spotlight|
|Geez, I look at what Iíve done and where Iíve been over the past 40 years while publishing Ontario Fisherman Magazine and then hosting Going Fishing TV and I have to admit Iíve been fortunate. Iíve dropped a line in some of the best waters on this continent and in South America as well. Iíve visited some of the finest fishing destinations and in all honesty been to more than a few stinkers as well. We are almost ready to enter a new year and some of you will be planning summer fishing vacations. Here are a few destinations I can confidently recommend to those wanting to take the wife and kids on an ultimate fishing adventure or help you guys pick a spot to escape with the guys.|
Murphy Sportfishing - www.murphysportfishing.com 1-877-218-6600
Dave and Marilyn Murphy are a brother and sister duo Iíve been visiting on the west coast of Vancouver Island for a number of years. These two siblings know how to fish. They grew up in the fishing business. They also know how to keep their customers happy at Murphy Sportfishing. If you like to fish for trophy spring salmon, coho and halibut then make tracks for any one of the Murphy locations at Ucluelet, Barkley Sound or Kyuquot Sound. There is also world famous freshwater salmon and steelhead fishing at the Murphyís Riverside Lodge at Port Alberni. Iíve had the opportunity to fish at all their locations, but have a special fondness for the lodge at Kyuquot Sound.
Kyuquot Sound is advertised by Murphys for being the ultimate fish highway for Canadian salmon and the Jurassic Park of the Atlantic for true barn door halibut. The spring salmon can range from 40 to 50 pounds. Coho to 20 and those halibut, well lets just say one really gets excited with monsters over a 100 pounds. In 2005 Murphys established a new land based lodge Ďdowntowní in the small village of Kyuquot. Now you have the experience of one of the best small lodge comforts on the entire coast. David and Marilyn have a toned down operation that guarantees world class sport fishing and at the same time offers top class comfort and accommodations.
Almost as much fun as the fishing, the drive from Campbell River to Kyuquot is one of the best in the province. An hour north by major highway from Campbell River and you turn left for the scenic trip over the rugged Vancouver Island mountains. The scenery is spectacular with towering fir covered peaks, deep gorges and some of the finest tumbling rivers imaginable.
Do yourself the favour of checking out Murphy Sportfishing. Itís a destination that I recommend to anyone and everyone journeying to the province of British Columbia and especially Vancouver Island. Iíve been there, but again, Iím almost there every year.
|Leuenbergerís Fly-in Lodges and Outposts www.leuenberger.ca 1-888-246-6533|
Back in 1960 the fabled Leuenberger tourist operation began with a borrowed canoe, a tent thrown in and an enterprising adventurer with a dream. His name was Ernie Leuenberger, a Swiss immigrant, railway labourer, professional wrestler and outdoorsman. Ernie would greet visiting sportsmen at the Nakina railway station and paddle them into the wilderness. That little operation has grown dramatically over the years. Today, Ernieís son Malcolm is controlling the reins of one of Ontarioís largest fly-in lodge and outpost operations. For starters, there are 16 remote outposts. Each are on their own lake or river system and each offer abundant fish populations of walleye, northern pike, lake trout , brook trout and sturgeon. Then again, thereís also the Lodge at the Kag. The Kag, stands for Kagianagami Lake and what has to be one of the prolific bodies of water found anywhere in the country. Itís a lake where your arms will fall off before the walleye will quit biting. Itís a lake where the northern pike grow to humongous proportions and can be caught just about anywhere in this big body of water. Itís also home to lake trout that grow upwards of 35 pounds or more and can be trolled for just a few minutes from the front door of your cabin.
I almost hate to admit it, but Iíve been fishing with the Leuenbergers for more than 30 years. In all those visits to the lodge and the many outposts Iíve never once been disappointed. The solitude and wilderness scenery is always there and so are the fish. Always there, till my arms feel like they are falling off.
|Metionga Lake and Ignace Outpost Ltd - www.ignaceoutposts.com 1-807-934-2273|
To be honest, Iíve only fished Ignace Outpost Ltd.ís Metionga Lake once in my life, but let me tell you I plan on getting back to this lake and water system a lot more times before I leave this world. A few years back I took the Ignace Outpost owners Karen and Brad Greaves up on an invitation to visit the lake called Metionga. Just one visit and I was hooked, just like the 400 to 500 walleye I also hooked. You know that old expression, ďcatching them til your arms fall offĒ well itís more than true at Metionga and happens every day.
The fish are everywhere in this lake and also in a number of slightly smaller lakes nearby, if you class 6 mile long lakes as small. But, to me it is Metionga itself that catches my attention when I think of ďone of the bestÖ.Ē Just minutes from the cabin, actually just a few hundred yards a fast flowing river empties in to Metionga and itís here that the fishing begins in earnestÖwalleye after walleye after walleye. One afternoon I found out just how strong the northern pike population is as well. On 6 consecutive drops of the jig and Gulp Minnow, I consecutively hooked 6 spunky walleye ranging from 2-5 pounds. Not that surprising you ask? Well, let me add that 6 consecutive northern pike also latched on to all six of those walleye. Not small northern pike mind you, but pike that ranged between 36 and 44 inches in length. Trust me; Metionga is a true fish factory. Itís the perfect destination for the boys or the family. Three big cabins are set up on this lake and you even have a camp custodian available on the lake.
If I had one lake to own in all of the north or one lake to have a wilderness cottage on, it would be Metionga.
Remember also that Brad and Karen also have those other fish rich bodies of water just waiting for you to test you skills. This summer I plan to do a little more experimenting at Ignace Outposts, but Iím definitely returning to Metionga as well.
|Lindberghís Reindeer Lake Lodge - www.fishreindeerlake.com|
Who has the best northern pike fishing in all the land? Thatís a simple question for me to answer. Itís Brian Simms, the owner /operator of Lindberghís Reindeer Lake Lodge. With more than 2,000,000 acres of water, Reindeer is the worldís 22nd largest body of freshwater and it truly is the Ďmotherí of all northern pike lakes Iíve ever fished. I donít believe Iíve ever had a day on Reindeer where I didnít catch at least one trophy northern pike over 40 inches in length. My biggest on the lake sits right on 50 inches, but there were a lot more brought to the boat that would challenge that mark as well.
Now, how much do I appreciate the northern pike fishing at Lindberghís? Well for starters, Iíve gone out on a limb more than a few times in the past by stating that I firmly believe Linderberghís Reindeer Lake Lodge truly does offer the finest pike fishing found anywhere on the North American continent. On more than a couple of occasions Iíve had other camps and even sponsors complain that I had no right making that statement in public either because I also fish their camps or am sponsored by their provinces. Seems some operators donít like the competiton and some of the provinces donít like acknowledging that Saskatchewanís monster pike really do exist. In a few instances, Iíve had camps so disappointed in my support of Reindeer Lake that Iíve even lost a couple of trips to other lodges. One provincial tourist representative wonít even carry on a conversation with me on the matter. My reply is, open your eyes guys. If you have a better big pike hot spot, prove it to me, because I certainly havenít been there.
Reindeer Lake also offers close to the lodge, lake trout fishing and I mean big lake trout and plenty of them. Twenty pound lakers start the trophy category, but the big ones weigh more than 50 pounds. Hereís a lake where you can catch a hundred a day if you really want to. The walleye fishing is also first class especially if you like jigging in the rapids for old Opal Eyes.
But itís the pike that attract the visiting anglers to Lindberghís Reindeer Lake Lodge. Iíve never really found Ďhammer handlesí in this body of water. The average northern will measure from 30-35 inches, but there are unbelievable numbers of 36-50 inch monsters prowling these waters. Guests of the lodge annually catch more than 1,000 trophy pike a year.
Lindberghís Reindeer Lake Lodge offers first class 5 star accommodations, but donít forget, they also have a number of super outpost cottages scattered around the lake and on smaller isolated bodies of water.
Put it this way, Lindberghís Reindeer Lake has it all!
|FDA Urges Consumption of Fish, Despite Mercury Scare|
Seems the Food and Drug Administration is urging the American government to amend its advisory that women and children should limit how much fish they eat. It seems the benefits of eating seafood outweigh the health risks and that most people should eat more fish, even if it contains mercury.
The FDA says the greatest benefits would come from eating more than 12 ounces of fish a week, which is the current limit advised for pregnant women, women of child bearing age, nursing mothers and young children.
So click on the post above, smarten up and eat more fish. It keeps you young, keeps you healthy, keeps you thin and keeps you good looking. I think Iíve said that before.
But the important news is, the folks in the know acknowledge that the benefits of consuming fish outweighs the risks of consuming fish.
|This newsletter should arrive just in time for a little pre-Christmas shopping down at the local tackle shop. I think this year of all years; it will be a case of shopping smart. With that in mind, what better presents than fishing presents. That should hold especially true with those youngsters that are too old for toy trains and too young for their first car. Now is the perfect time to introduce them to manís favorite pastime, even if the ice is on the pond.|
|Abu Garcia Soron STX - www.abugarcia.com |
Hereís a spinning reel that belongs under any anglerís Christmas tree this year. The Soron STX is one of a kind and it comes in five models from the ultra-light STX 10 at 8.2 ounces all the way up to the 21.7 ounce STX 70.
For starters the Soron STX comes with a special Abu Garcia Superline spool system that eliminates line slipping. No longer is tape, a special knot or monofilament backing required when fishing with super lines such as Fireline. This special superline spool is available only on the Soron models. Itís a direct tie to the spool method thatís simple and quick. The body, body cover, rotor and bail arm are constructed of corrosion resistant alloy that is super light and extremely durable aluminium. Then there are the bearings and this baby is loaded with 11 high performance corrosion resistant bearings that make this a great saltwater reel as well.
Itís a reel you just donít want to be without.
|Abu Garcia Revo STX|
If you are in the market for a low profile bait casting reel, then look no further than the Abu Garcia Revo STX. With a 7:1:1 high speed retrieve , the eleven HPCR bearing driven reel is one of the finest, if not the finest found anywhere on todayís market. Swedish engineered, the Revo features Linear Magnetic Brakes, Dunagear brass gears and synchronized level wind. Itís also manufactured out of X-Craftic Aluminium Alloy that makes it lighter and stronger than the competition. All Revos include Infini 11 spool design for the smoothest of operations.
I love these models and have made the switch over on all my bait casting rods. Whether itís largemouth, smallmouth, walleye, northerns or anything else that swims, for 2009 it will be Revo STX for me.
On a final note, this past autumn I noticed a growing number of steelheaders switching over to smooth flowing level winds, instead of center pin float reels on their long rods. The Revo STX is already threaded on to my 13 footer.
|Berkley Gulp Alive - www.berkley-fishing.com |
If you havenít heard of Berkleyís Gulp Alive youíve been living on the moon for the last couple of years. Gulp Alive is without a doubt the most popular and lethal fish catching bait to hit the tackle market since the introduction of the spinning reel.
All Berkley Gulp Alive baits are bio-degradable and water based. Donít even think of asking what itís made up of, but I will tell you itís a better secret that the Colonelís recipe and itís just as dynamic on fish as the chicken is on us. Iím not going to even get into the number of designs and sizes of the multitude of Gulp Alive baits, but honestly a version is out there to meet every one of your fishing needs. There are worms, grubs, lizards, critters, minnows, crazy legged jerk shads,Öyou name it and Berkley has developed it.
Gulp Alive bait juice is 20 percent stronger than the original Gulp. Even more important all Gulp Alive baits come in their own containers of liquid Gulp Alive. You can use the baits, then take them off the hook, drop them back in the container and regenerate them for another day.
It should be noted as well, that Berkley Gulp Alive comes in a variety of containers. The big baits are packed in original round buckets and the new oval jars to hold those big baits. Heck there are even Berkleyís new Berkley Gulp Alive Micro Baits that come packed in mini jars for easy storage in a fishing vest.
Berkley Gulp AliveÖI donít know whatís next, but this definitely is the best.
|Brecks Inc - www.brecksinc.com |
Every time I attempt to promote a couple of products by Brecks Canada I get myself in trouble with some anglers for not mentioning enough of the fabulous products produced by this fabled Canadian company. The company was founded way back in 1947 by George Breckenridge who began tying flies and making lures out of his home. Over the years his son David has taken the helm and expanded it into a giant in the Canadian tackle industry. Today out of their 22,000 square foot in Sherbrooke, Quebec the company continues to supply anglers with premier fishing tackle. Walk in to any tackle shop and choose a Mepps spinner, Williams lure, a Mooselook lure, a bag of Mr. Twister, a pouch of Exude baits or a spool of Maxima monofilament and you are purchasing a product from the folks at Brecks.
Iíve known Dave Breckenridge for so many years I canít remember, but I will say he only manufactures and markets quality. He produces and distributes too many products to put in this newsletter, but let me just say when you purchase a Brecksí product you can depend on it to improve your fishing anywhere, at any time.
For the past decade Iíve been getting serious with my serious fishing buddies. Iím just plum tired of having these guys mooch lures off me on our annual fishing trips to the north woods. Iíve smartened up and now call their wives every year with the suggestion they buy their boys presents of fishing tackle and it starts with Williams spoons and Mepps Spinners. Brecks produces special species kits of each of their baits. In the Williams category there are a number of spoon specials that meet the bill for any trip to the north. From panfish to walleye and musky.
The same holds true in the Mepps directory. Picking which of worldsí most popular spinners gets a whole lot easier with these little presentation kits.
|Rapala Fish n Fillet Knives - www.rapalaworld.com |
Letís be honest, when it comes to fillet knives, the Rapala Fish n Fillet model taught the world how to fish. As matter of fact, this simple birch handle and the progressively tapered Scandinavian stainless steel blade models has probably sold more knives of itís kind than all the others combined. Sheathed in fine Laplander leather and available in four sizes for every fish and every filleting task at hand , it seems that every fisherman has one, but every fisherman can always use another.
|Iíve got a Fish n Fillet tucked away in just about every tackle box I own, in my fishing vests, in my boats and hanging at the fish cleaning station. A long time ago I also threw out the original steak knives in the cutting block and replaced them with Rapala Fish n Fillet knives as well.|
The folks at Normark make these knives available with a single or dual stage knife sharpener. The trick it to use it on the knife and use it frequently. I once meet an old butcher who loved to fish, but loved even more to show off his fish cleaning skills when a crowd was around. This guy could clean any thing with fins and always did a clean and competent job on the fillets. He told me once his secret was more in keeping the knife sharp than anything else. If he was filleting a mess of walleye, he would pass the Rapala through the sharpener after every fish. That sharpener that comes with the knife is as important as the knive. Use it and use it regularly.
These knives are value at any price. The best thing is these knives are such a value they make for great stocking stuffers.
|Cote Knives the Best of Custom Knives www.coteknives.com |
Okay what does ATS-34, OPM S30V, special stabilizer woods, horn and G-10 have in common with heats that are judged at 58-60 RC, then given a little cryogenic quench. One of my good friends posed the question to me when he produced one heck of a handsome blade on a recent fishing trip to Lodge 88 in northern Ontario. Well after I did a little homework I found out just a little bit of what goes into creating a world class custom knife.
Thereís just something about owning a custom knife. Better yet thereís something about being presented with a custom knife, especially a custom built filleting knife for a special occasion. One of the countryís finest knife maker resides up in Elliot Lake, Ontario. Guillaume Cote is regarded as a master of his trade. His knives are treasured by those who own them. From the very rawest of materials his creations are sculptured, heat treated and finished with pride. Each knife is individually handcrafted and created like no other.
Looking for a special presentation knife for that special personÖ. Purchase a Cote Knife.
|Live Target Life-Like Lures - www.koppersfishing.com |
Okay, so what if Grant Koppers is one of the best Lake Ontario fishing guides Iíve ever shared a day with on the water. So what if he had a clientele that keep him rich, famous and busy 365 days of the year. So what if I thought he was crazy when he told me he was going into the tackle business. It wasnít up to me to tell him he was nuts when he told me of his dream to make the perfect bait.
|Well, guess what? Koppers is in the fish tackle business now with his Live Target Life-Lures. Heís being readily accepted by expert fishermen and expert tackle manufactures across North America and Europe and to be honest heís only just begun.|
Hereís something to look for when you look over one of Koppers Live Target Life-Like Lures. First off the baits are ultra-realistic in detail. His baits are made with that Ďmatch the hatchí theory. They are some of the best made baits for clear water situations. When you buy one of Koppersí baits you get a tip and tech sheet to give you the special knowledge on using the lure to catch the big ones. There are all those facts on depth curve data with the trolling depth guide. Every lure also comes equipped with premium brand Daiichi hooks that are ultra sharp, stick deep and hold. Each and every lure runs correctly right out of the box. Every bait is tank tested.
His baits are so real, I find myself wanting to coat them up with you know what and put them in the pan.
|Cronzyís Breading and Batter www.campfireproducts.ca |
Okay thatís it for a last minute Christmas and New Years newsletter. Youíve got my ideas on where to send your favorite family members and just what to put under the tree and in the stocking this year. One final suggestion though. If the stocking is big enough, run out to your local Canadian Tire or your favorite tackle shop and pick up one, two or a dozen bags of my favorite coating to put on anything that swims. Like I tell my friends Darryl Cronzyís Breading and Batter mix will make you a better fisherman, make you smarter, make you better looking and keep you thin.
I hope everyone has a great Christmas and fabulous New Year. May you enjoy your future fishing adventures and please respect the outdoors.