All posts by Old Salty Dog

I am a long time Mariner with over 20 years experience of being on the water. I am a multi species angler, outdoors enthusiast who loves to share my stories and adventures with others.

Ice Fishing Video

This past weekend I had the opportunity to take Filipino TV and the crew from the Canadian Fishing Network {CFN} out for a weekend of fun in the sun, well on the ice anyway.

I wanted to pack as much into our weekend as possible. Its not every day you get the opportunity to showcase what you do for a living to a large population or viewership at little to no cost. People or companies pay big $$$ to get this type of advertising for their businesses.

Sometimes its nice to just be able to kick back and relax with a few friends and not worry about catching the biggest fish. With social media widely used, fishing seems to have taken off in a crazy 180 degree hard left turn over the last few years. everyone and their dog seems to think that if you want to be considerate a fisherman these days, you need to have the latest gear, the best electronics, the highest end latest and greatest tackle, and of course if you are not sponsored by someone then you are a nobody and why even fish at all, right? Well I like to think we can still just get out and fish for a good time, maybe meet some fellow fisherman, get some people introduced to the sport, that kind of thing. So that is exactly what I had in store for CFN and Filipino TV.

I had CFN meet some of their fans up on the Moira Lake to go fishing with, we had a good old fashioned fish fry on the ice, we had multi species targeted over the 2 day weekend, we introduced youths, both males and females to the sport and they all caught their first fish through the ice, we had great food prepared on the ice by chef AJ, for lunch, and it was one of the best trips I think I’ve had on the ice in a long time.

click the link below to see the weekend show.

https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100009627498906&fref=ts

First Ice 

(One of the walleye caught this morning  on our trip thanks to Calvin Pyle)

Although we seem to have had some decent ice early this season, I wanted to remind everyone to be careful when venturing onto the ice. I have been able to find “safe” ice, however with the heavy snow falls we’ve had, it has insulated the ice in many area’s resulting with ice freezing extremely uneven. I have seen people out with ATV’s already and when walking out, the ice was no thicker than 2″ under slushy spots covered by snow. I would not go out anywhere at the moment without spudding my way out, I would definitely not be taking a snow machine of any type on any body of water at the moment. Stay safe people. 

ICE FISHING 

Its that time of year to start booking in your ice fishing excursion’s for this up coming 2017 winter season. 

    Last year we barely got enough ice in the region to safely be able to take clients out on the hard water. This resulted in many local outfitters closing up shop and cancelling trips, local tournaments. Many local fisherman were left frustrated and disappointed.

2017 at the moment is starting to look better however only time will tell. If you want to start thinking ahead and want to have the best chance at getting onto the ice this coming winter, we are already working hard to keep trails open to our many different lakes to be able to give you a ice fishing adventure of a lifetime. 

     Check out our many options we are able to provide you this year by going to our ” ice fishing Package page” and select the trip that best suits your desires. call us soon as availability is slimming.

Merry Christmas and have a great 2017 winter fishing season 

Season’s END

First I wanted to thank everyone that has made this year an encredible year. #FishbumOutfitters , #SeafourLures , and #LiquidMayhem , you guys have helped with putting, well, too many fish to count on the deck of my boat and my friends boats during 2016. 

All the people that have come out fishing with me, without you guys I would not have the opportunity to live life to the fullest and do what I love the most.

I want to give a special shout out to a couple people that have contributed to some of my sucesses this season. 

First Kevin Gibson,  We only met and started fishing together in the spring but I have learned a lot from you and gained a good friend. Some of my favorite times on the water was with you this year, from catching monster Lake trout, and salmon, helping to put the first walleye’s in your boat, to getting skunked on a midnight run in the middle of Lake Ontario, what a blast ha ha ha. 

2nd To all my fishing  friends and competition in the Bay Of Quinte, you guys have shared your thoughts, given advise, and helped me along the way to get me where I’m at now, I know I have a long way to go but you guy’s give me something to strive for.

3rd To Tony,  My Boat Mechanic, thank you for helping to get my boat up and running when several others tried and failed to do what you were able to do.

4th To Scottie Martin and Red Andal, with The Canadian Fishing network, you guys were a blast to fish with and showcasing my fishing stories this year has been giving my stories the exposure I was hoping for, you guy’s rock.

 If you want to see the monster walleye that Ed Mackenzie of Chasin Eyes and myself were able to Get Scottie and Red on them click the link below .  

10 minute Episode with Scottie, Red, & Ed. https://youtu.be/cB46JYR74jE

5th Last but definitely not least, of course Ed Mackenzie with chasin Eye’s charters, you have been there for me this season like no other. taking people out last minute when I was stuck helping with showcasing both of us with Walleye Wednesdays, and of course endless other gestures trying to help a brother out. I cannot thank you enough for your generousity.

Unfortunatly due to recent sircumstances I had been forced to close my season down early. This, due to some mischievous behavior in the Picton Harbor & resulting in my vessel taking on too much water and almost completely going under. It is unclear exactly what or WHO, happened?   Behavior like this, and vandalizing property behind someone’s back is one of the most Cowardly acts a person can do in my opinion.

 Your actions have not only cost me money, which Iam SURE was your intention, but you have taken food off the table in our home, and caused my children, family, and the charities we donate to,  to go without this christmas. 

I do not need you to speak up to say who you are, nor would I expect that based on your cowardess actions , however you should know that your actions create reactions and I’m not sure what my family or children did to deserve the hard times you have and are  putting them through. 

 I apologize to the folks that were looking forward to joining me  for those open water  trophy Eye’s in the Bay this Fall, but never fear Im sure I will get things sorted out and  back on the open water again in 2017. 

Ending on a happy note we are all set for the 2017 hard water season and looking forward to having lots of ice and a successful winter season. 

Merry Christmas to all and a happy new year

Part 5: Cruising The St Lawrence

At The Helm

The Canadian Empress runs with two crews.  The Hospitality and Navigation Crews. I was on the Navigation crew. This consisted of 2 Deck Hands (one on day and one on night shift), a Chief Engineer,  a First Mate, and of course the Captain. Our crew worked hard. The Navigation Crew is a combined effort that is ultimately responsible for the boat, the crew, the passengers, and getting the boat safely from A to B. As some of you have read in my past posts, my experience  has mainly been in the fishing industry when it comes to working on boats. This has been an amazing experience over the past few months.

20161004_212147 Mate Pap enjoying an off duty, drink I chose for him.

With all amusement set aside,  I want to take a moment to show my respect to my Officers at the helm of the ship. The First Mate, Mate Pap. Although surprisingly young for this type of position, he takes his job seriously. Mate has completed his courses necessary and has put in the time needed to be in this position. A very impressive accomplishment. My children had the opportunity to meet Mate Pap. While it was slightly amusing to introduce a gentlemen a handful of years older then my kids as my ‘boss’, he was a great example and inspiration to show them what one can accomplish with dedication and determination.  I enjoyed working for Mate Pap over the past few months. You need to be a people person when working in this environment and Mate Pap has that down. However the vote is not in yet whether Mate Pap was always being requested for photo ops  because of his approachable sunny personality or his manicured, waxed, curly mustache the lady passengers would ga-ga over.

20161004_103632Captain Emtage dressed in his blues, helping his crew scrub the back of the Empress at UCV.

I have saved the best for last (to clarify, this is considered sucking up), Captain Emtage. This Captain is absolutely remarkable. It was a pleasure to work for such a calm, knowledgeable, & professional Captain. Captain Emtage is modest, well respected in the industry, and any company would be better off having this Captain at the helm. He is not affraid to get his hands dirty. He helps his team with tasks when the ship is at dock. And when it is not, he amazes me with his skill.  The Captain can efficiently maneuver a large vessel any day, but especially in high winds, in a small harbor ,filled with very expensive boats. The slightest touch would send most of the other boats hurtling to the bottom of the harbor, and Captain puts a 200 tonne boat filled with passengers gingerly onto a small dock with ease. He does this while looking as if he is ready for high tea. I know from experience, this is a very high stress position, however Captain Emtage makes it look easy. I can only dream to be this talented one day.

After completing a season of running (more like walking) a marathon with 4 levels, 8 stair cases, 2 ladders, and 5 hobbit like hatches of obstacles I can surprisingly tighten my belt a few holes even with James sizing all my 5 star meals. I have met and heard incredible life stories from the guests aboard the Canadian Empress and have shared many laughs with guests and crew alike.  When this crew arrived in Quebec City on that inaugural cruise with me as their new deck hand I am sure they imagined this 300lb man would not be of much use.  I feel (and hope they do too after seeing that this large man is not a lazy man), that embarking on this adventure with me aboard, made their jobs easier, made them smile more often, and left them wanting me by their side next year. While my body may need some healing I am happy to announce my boat is now fully repaired and ready to begin Sea’s The Days fall walleye season. As I flip back to position of Captain, sadly I won’t need or have a crew of 13 for support, to tie off my boat, heal my ‘hangry’, or assist my clients going forward this fishing season. But I will see you all in May, hopefully with stripes on my arm (hint hint Jason)!

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Part 4: Cruising The St Lawrence

A Crew That Keeps Me Going

Over the past few months i have learned that every ones job on a cruise ship is just as important as the next. It takes everyone to create a smooth running opperation.

 The Galley is the busiest areas of the ship and the Chef and Galley Assistant have an incredibly difficult job. They pump out up to 80 plates three times a day out of a searing hot, tiny compact galley.  The food is extrodinary. Don’t piss these guys off or you may not be eating.

 I try to take care of these two guys the best I can because I need them to cure my ‘Hangry’ disease (for those who don’t understand,this is when an individual becomes irritable, and angry without just cause due to hunger). If the chef likes you he will take care of you, and he must REALLY like me. This has not gone unnoticed by the rest of the crew. The Cheif engineer now tells the chef, ‘I am good friends with James, if he is looking for a few extras on his plate. You have heard of super sizing your meal at Mcdonalds,? Well on the Canadian Empress we James size.

thumbnail_20160920_084002Chef’s way of curing my Hangry at breakfast

The Chief Engineer keeps the engines running.  A ship this size which runs contsant from may to october has no time for down time.  This is a feat that requires years of experience, knowledge and hard work. It is a thankless job from those you are providing a service for because to the guest, the Engineer is never heard, or seen. For all those guest who never thought to thank you, I salute you.

On the flip side the two most visible crew members who spend their days with our guests are our Purser Lori, and our Bartender Matt. 


Matt, works the latest shift out of everyone.  He is stationed at the bar until the last guest retires to their room. Getting to bed hours after anyones shift has ended. I am sure he can top any story any of the crew can recall from the guests.  Not only does he have a ear to listen and a bar to lean on for the guest but he has to be knowlegable of all the ports the ship visits. Matt has put up with me with great patients as I harass him to keep me hydrated almost hourly.

Without the Purser, Lori, the ships organization would probably get thrown out the hatch. She is the glue of the ship.  Lori takes care of all guest logistics, activities, and ensuring we follow protocol. With all this responsiblity she still finds time for humour.  One day she had me believing I was to lead a napkin folding seminar with my new found talent. I entered the saloon to a room of about a dozen, bright eyed ladies, eagerly anticipating my arrival….all I can say, I wore a new shade of red that day. But it was all a ruse and all I was needed for was to collect the garbage. I had never been so happy to haul garbage!

Part 3: Cruising The St Lawrence

Top Marks For Bravo Team

Today I need to give credit to  the hospitality crew, especially the hostesses. These 4 girls work very hard on our cruise ship. They are the ones that make your bed, clean your rooms, take complaints, take your orders, serve your food, organize and reorganize the dining/ entertainment room, and are basically your personal servant on the boat. While in some work environments you will routinely hear, ‘That is not in my job description’, These girls know what it is to be apart of a team.

 There was a time we were coming into port in Quebec city where the wind was blowing and the ship was being blown off the dock. The other deckhand, myself and the first mate were trying to tie off the 200 tonne vessel to the dock, and we were having one hell of a time! The hopitality girls, while deep in to their housekeeping chores, 


looked out to see if we could use a hand. Covered in sweat, exhausted, hanging on to the ship with everything I got, I was not in a mood to be pleasant. I yelled “get over here!” The girls came without hesitation to lend a hand to tie off the boat. We were now running late and instead of returning to their duties the girls proceeded to help us deckhands get all the passengers luggage off the boat. They worked like  well oiled machines. Getting luggage off the vessel is the duty of the deckhands. Our whole crew has this team mentality.  We drop anything for eachother to get the job done, I have even been known to help fold a few dozen napkins and do laundry (don’t tell my wife I can be domesticated).

 This crew, known as the Bravo crew, is the stongest team I have had the 

pleasure to work with. They routinely go above and beyond and will work back to back cruises when the other crew is short staff becuase they understand the impact this can have on a guest experience. And if this were not enough they will work twice as hard without complaint (ish) when we are short handed.

While we can work like an amazing team, lets get real for a moment. Every work place comes with behind the scenes shenanigans and conflict but at the end of the day you leave it all behind. On a cruise ship you work, eat,and sleep with your coworkers 24/7. However, although one might think spending this much time with those you work with would make less then desirable work conditions, credit must be given to officers and upper management. No matter what could possibly go on in the lower deck crew quarters, everyone provides service in a professional manner. All guests I’ve spoken with feel the cruise runs problem free, a sure sign of a company that knows what they are doing. The guests never realized I was running off the boat at 9pm at night to the grocery store. Phone in one hand, explaining to my wife on the other end, (while she was cozy in her bed back at home) the Chef needs me to pick up 4,000 ml of cottage cheese and I don’t know what cottage cheese is!

While I run unforeseen urgent cheese errands, the guest get treated to nightly entertainment. I can appreciate the amazing talent the cruise line has each night even though they have chosen them based on their retired demographic of guests.  Once dinner had been served and the last person finished eating, (the last person was usually First Mate Pap. I mean WOW that boy eats like a sloth!) the hospitality crew continued to work their butts off. The girls made everything run smoothly, moving dinner tables and chairs into an entertainment setting and back again at the end of each night ready for tomorrows breakfast and lunch. A lunch that included a lasagna with 4,000 ml of cottage chesse specially hand picked by yours truly.

Tied off to a bouy near Gananoque last night