The Joy of Fly Fishing in New Brunswick

The Joy of Fly Fishing in New Brunswick

Casey Hayward Receives A Glass Trophy

Posted: 25 Nov 2012 10:37 AM PST

This was the first year I actually fished for muskie. The anticipations was an awesome feeling. It was Casey Hayward who took fishing, so it was great to see that he received a pretty cool trophy from good friend and fishing buddy Ron Lovean. Both belong to Muskie’s Canada and the Saint John River Chapter.

The picture below is the picture Ron just left on his Facebook account.

casey wins another trophy

Ron Lovean, on the left, posted a Facebook image taken while he was presenting Casey Hayward, on the right, with a trophy for Casey’s Exploratory Outing 1st place win in September 2012 in Oromocto N.B.

Congrats Casey.

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The Joy of Fly Fishing in New Brunswick

The Joy of Fly Fishing in New Brunswick

Dead Sticking For Pre-Spawning And Late Season Bass

Posted: 22 Nov 2012 06:09 AM PST

November 2012 Mactaquac Park ArmI have a hard time sitting still. It makes me feel like life is just passing me by. So when I learned about 'dead sticking for bass' I really wasn't interested.

However as each year passed and I get a little older I find I can sit for longer periods of time so maybe I should give dead sticking for bass a shot and see how long I can last, just sitting and waiting.

In the early spring and late fall when the water temperature is 50F/10C or lower the bass are usually in deep water, just waiting for the temperature to rise enough for them to get back to living and reproducing.

How Does Dead Sticking Work?

Largemouth and smallmouth bass tend to shut down when they find themselves in a cold front or when water temperatures drop below 50F/10C and usually won't chase a bait, unless it's right on their nose. The colder the water gets the slower your presentation gets until your presentation has to stop and just sit there.

If you are patient you can offer a bait, although it has to be close to them, and just wait for them to do something. Often they can only go for so long before doing something with the bait. If you can out wait the bass you win.

When bass are pre-spawn they are very territorial and will often attack your bait just to get it out of their territory. So remember to be quick to release these bass and try to put them back close to their nest.

Casey and I went muskie fishing November 12th which is the latest I have even been out fishing for anything other than Atlantic salmon. It was my first time muskie fishing as well as the first time I've seen the water so void of fish.

The water temperature was sitting at 45F/7C and we had to get into more than 20 feet of water before we saw any fish marking on the depth finder.

What Does One Need For Dead Sticking

Between your hands and that smallies mouth there are 'four plus one' things one needs to catch them, especially while they are suspended deep or guarding their nest and not really feeding. Those things are your fishing rod, reel, fishing line, bait/lure and plenty of patience.

1. The Rod to Use: For dead sticking you want a rod with a stiff backbone for setting the hook. It's good to have a medium to heavy action rod about 7 or 7 1/2 foot long for this.

2. The Reel: A sturdy baitcasting reel with lots of fishing line as there can be some big fish down there and they can run a long ways, in a flash.

3. The Fishing Line: When fishing suspended or pre-spawn bass you will need to set the hook hard and you don't want your line snapping on a fish of a lifetime. Plus these bass really know how to take your line through an obstacle course so be prepared with heavy line.

4. The Bait: Here you have a plethora of choices so you're not limited to just a few baits that will work. You want a bait that will sit there and look real. Maybe a bait that appears as a hurting fish.

5. Patience. Dead sticking is a waiting game so patience is required. Lots of patience but can be so worth it.

The Waiting Game

Patience isn't one of my strong points but for this game it's about who blinks first so it's important to give the bass every opportunity to strike. The closer you can get your bait to the fishes face the better and then wait until their instinct eventually takes over.

For late season suspending fish this could take a while however with pre-spawn bass it might not take as long, especially if your bait is close to their nest. They will see it, not as food, but more as something invading their territory so they may just smack it but they could also chomp on it to kill it.

Once the bass strikes it's too late to check your setup so make sure you have your drag set correctly as they can give quite a run.

The Joy of Fly Fishing in New Brunswick

The Joy of Fly Fishing in New Brunswick

Muskellunge/Muskie Fishing With Casey at the Mactaquac Park Arm

Posted: 13 Nov 2012 07:58 AM PST

casey smilingYesterday I had the opportunity to fish an area I've never fished or even seen before. We were fishing for muskie and even though it was the 12th of November the temperature was suppose to in the teens and the wind was suppose to be minimal.

I was very excited and had been wanted to try some muskie fishing for quite some time. So thanks Casey.

Fishing The Arm For Muskie. The What??

mactaquac parkBefore yesterday I had never heard of the arm and if I did I imagine I was thinking they were talking about a body part. As we were heading toward Fredericton Casey explained that it was actually the Mactaquac Park Arm.

We were going to use the marina to launch the boat but they gates were closed and locked. Guess they didn't get out of bed as early as we did so we had to launch down near the dam.

From there we headed towards the causeway and through the culverts into The Arm.

casey backing boat into water
Casey backing his boat into the water for a day of muskie fishing

We started our day on the water each wearing multiple layers of clothing and as the day moved forward it got warmer and warmer. By the end of the day it looked like I had my entire wardrobe piled in the front of the boat.

There wasn't much of a breeze all day long, well until about 4pm and then we saw a little chop starting but by then we were heading back to the launch point.

trolling for muskieOnce we were on the water we set the lines for trolling and headed towards the culverts that would let us into the The Arm.

The water was like a mirror, without the slightest ripple. This is one of my favourite times of the day and usually doesn't last long but this day it stayed like this until late afternoon.

Not sure how long we took to get to the culverts but for quite a distance I could see them using the zoom feature on my camera. I was wondering if we would be able to get the boat through them.

small culvertsI could see the causeway from a long ways away and used the zoom feature on my camcorder to look for the culverts. Excuse the image on the right but it was a long ways off.

I kept looking at them as we got closer and was wonder if they were going to get any bigger. Then Casey pointed to the right of those culverts and I saw the culverts we were actually going to go through.

culverts mactaquac park arm

They still didn't look all that big but we were still a distance away and by the time we got there and I saw how big they really were my mind was at ease. A whole lot easier to go through than those at Redbank, near Chipman, New Brunswick. See you on the other side.

I could see all the way to the next causeway, at the other end and it was really foggy up there. When I looked behind us I could see the hills in the distance had very cool looking sky-line that was glowing.

glowing skyline
I zoomed in on the skyline which was about 10km away. Looked really cool.

sun over fishing rodIt wasn't long before the clouds started to break up and allow the sun to shine through. But it was still a couple of hours before it really got sunny.

I took the shot on the right at about 11:30 and by noon I think the sky had cleared and then it really started to warm up. The pile of clothes I was peeling off was getting bigger.

By the end of the day I was down to just a tee-shirt and a lite sweater. Could not have asked for a better day, that's for sure.

I am looking outside today and it's warm but man that wind is strong enough to knock you over. I had to hook a chain up to our dog so she wouldn't blow out of the yard. Okay, I might be stretching the truth a bit, but it sure would be choppy on the water today. Casey picked the perfect day.

skies are clearing
I took this picture at exactly 12:00 and the clouds were all but gone.

still foggy at the other endfog has liftedIt was still quite foggy at the other end of the Arm, which was still quite a ways away, but within just a few short minutes the fog was gone.

It was like I turned my back for a minute and the fog lifted.

Not too long after we launched I had my first strike. It didn't feel like a longer fish would feel so I am kind of thinking it was a big smallie but never found out because I didn't set the hook hard enough and he was gone.

Shortly after that my Rapala lure got smacked hard. I did my best to set the hook this time and had it on for a few seconds, just long enough to believe it was a muskie and it pulled a whole lot harder than any pickerel I've caught. We'll never know because it got away too.

Not too much time later I had another strike. This time I was determined to set the hook better than the last two times but still didn't keep it on the line. The action did heat me up though and I took off another layer of clothing.

Then at about 12:45 just as we were going around the little island above I had another strike. This time I put everything I had into setting the hook and had it on. This time I didn't lose it and Casey had the net at the ready.

As it got closer to the boat I knew it was a muskie, my first ever muskie. I was so excited and even shaking. First time ever fishing specifically for muskie and I get one. I pulled it around and aimed it for the net and we had it landed.

25 inch chain pickerelThen we got it into the boat and that's when I realized it was a pickerel. A big fat 25" chain pickerel and not the muskie I thought it was. Oh well I had that feeling of catching my first muskie, even if it only lasted for a couple of minutes. I was still quite pleased with my chain pickerel.

When I pulled the pickerel out of the net to measure it I was certain it was at least 26 or 27 inches as I've caught a few that were 25", so I was excited to have a new personal best, but the ruler doesn't lie and it measured in at 25". I guess the fact it was so fat it looked bigger.

sunsetting as we leave mactaquac
The sun is setting on in Casey's side view mirror as we are heading home.

The Joy of Fly Fishing in New Brunswick

The Joy of Fly Fishing in New Brunswick

November 07, 2012 Still Striper Fishing in New Brunswick

Posted: 09 Nov 2012 02:59 AM PST

striper fishing new brunswick canadaSince having a heart attack back in 2004 I have been gaining more strength and looking forward to the day I have enough strength to tackle a good sized striper or Muskie.

This year was my best year since 2004 and was even able to do a lot more yard and garden work.

I have already setup my treadmill and have been using it. It sure is different than walking through Moncton on the sidewalks. The first couple of days on the treadmill showed me I have been taking too many pictures and not doing enough actually walking, so the treadmill should do me some good this winter. Plus I'm going to eat lots more spinach.

I always look forward to checking my email in the mornings. Casey always has a great joke to start the day or a funny or exciting video. Just this morning he sent me a link to a YouTube video where a guy was fishing stripers on the Saint John river.

The mercury was reading minus 4C but that didn't stop him from setting up his lines for some striper fun. It only took about 15 minutes and he had this fat striper on the line.

His striper was 32 inches in length and was about 10-12 lbs.

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