A Salt Water Fishing Trip
Just over a week after Russ and I made our biking trip to Deer Island, my youngest daughter and her boyfriend Ryan arrived from Calgary, Alberta for a week-long visit. Ryan had done some ocean fishing off Honduras and wanted a chance to sample what it was like on the east coast of Canada. After making a few phone calls, it just happened that the only outfit that seemed to fit the bill was based on Deer Island, so I ended up returning there with them near the end of their stay. This time, the weather was overcast with occasional drizzle and about 17 C - actually not bad weather for fishing! We booked our tour with Billy Mac Boat Tours which, although based on Deer Island, agreed to meet us between 8:30-9:00 AM at the mainland departure point of the Deer Island Ferry. This view shows the vessel 'Craig C' waiting for us, with some of the small islands in the background supporting a steel 69,000 volt transmission line structure which (along with submarine cables) feeds power out to Deer, Campobello and Grand Manan Islands.
Equipment: The 'Craig C' is a 40-foot Cape St. Mary's-type boat, capable of comfortably carrying 12 passengers with a protective roof over the benches situated at the rear of the craft. The 3rd photo shows Ryan with Capt. Reid Cline, the owner of the boat, as we head out into the maze of small islands in this part of the Bay of Fundy. It turns out that I knew his brother, Laurie Cline who worked for NB Power as did I. Whenever there were troubles on the transmission supply to the islands from salt contamination, lightning, blizzards, high winds, and so on, I would identify the exact location of the problem remotely via accessing digital devices and then Laurie, living on the island, would be dispatched to the suspect area to pinpoint the details of what the problem was. However, on our trip, the skipper has 28 years of experience with these fog-prone waters, including Head Captain of the Deer Island ferry service for 8 years. The boat's cabin also has a forward galley where it is possible to seek deeper shelter from the elements, as shown in the 4th photo.
- Sailing and Boating
We haul them in!
For the C$50 (US$44) per person price of our 3-hour fishing expedition, Reid outfitted each of us with a rod, equipped with a lead weight and four baitless, sparkling lures with jigging hooks attached. Since we were going for bottom feeding schools of Atlantic Mackerel, the technique was to get out into medium depth water where we would switch the engine off as we each fished off the rear portion of the boat. The line was let out until it went slack as it hit bottom, whereupon we would give it an occasional jerk to see if we could tempt one of the fish to go for the lures. Once a 'hit' was made, a quick jerk would usually snag the fish and, as it made attempts to get free, the other fish in the school would also be attracted to the 'action'. By these means, we were able to haul in fish one, two, three or even four at a time whenever we did strike it lucky. Carolyn was the best of the lot of us, hauling in the maximum four on a single go with one of them also being the largest that we caught. The Mackerel put up a pretty good fight too! Ryan did well also, but I caught the fewest, even though I did bag 3 once (2nd photo). The 3rd photo shows me holding a typically-sized Mackerel as well as one of the Herring that Ryan caught.
Equipment: I did manage to have the greatest variety of 'catches', including my various Mackerel, a Sculpin (a small bottom-feeding fish also known as a Sea Raven, with a big head and covered in small sharp spines), a Sea Cucumber (a slug-like bottom feeder that I snagged while dragging the hooks on the bottom), an empty sac used for some creatures eggs and finally, I lost one set of hooks when it really got snagged on something! During lulls in the action, we also spotted two Bald Eagles flying slowly along the shore of an islet, before they landed in the treetops.
By the way, this outfit also does Whale-Watching trips for C$45 per person (C$30 for 12 years old and under). While we were aboard, another boat radioed that five Humpbacks were presently nearby off a group of low and rocky islands known as The Wolves. I would not have minded seeing whales again, but I've done that a few times in various places - this was my first sea fishing experience, and I really enjoyed it!
- Sailing and Boating