I had an opportunity to get out for some laker action the other day and can honestly say we had a complete blast. Thanks to Kevin Gibson and Richard Dunlop for taking me out. Here are a few pics of the day
It was a great start to the long Anticipated, Open water season, on The Bay Of Quinte this past weekend. Every year thousands of anglers migrate to the Bay Of Quinte to fish the opening walleye season. Kiwanis hosts the biggest walleye derby of the year this weekend every year. Many anglers come in the hopes of catching that trophy walleye that the bay is so famous for. Every year many Anglers struggle to even catch a fish let alone a trophy.
over the years that I have been fishing on the bay, I have come to realize that The Bay Is definitely a trophy fishery, and it lives up to the name every year. Trophy fish are trophies for one reason, because they are dam near impossible to catch.
We were fortunate enough to be able to land a few fish this weekend, most in the 2 to 5 LBS range, and our 3 biggest were 6,7 and last but not least our largest walleye of the derby was just shy of 8LBS, not too shabby, for a regular day of fishing, but not good enough to get us onto the leader board of the http://www.kiwaniswalleyeworld.com/ Derby
I want to thank my good friends Adam Mamak/ Wooly Mamak, Richard Dunlop (SeaFour Lures) for participating and fishing with me this year, as well as my sponsors, #fishbumoutfitters (http://fishbumoutfitters.com/) , #SeaFourLures ( http://www.seafourlures.com/ ), and Liquid Mayhem ( http://liquidmayhem.ca/ ), for continuing to make exceptional products and helping us succeed in landing fish every time I’m on the water.
I hope every one had a great weekend during the opening of what will sure to be a great year on the water, and please remember to like and share this post and come back often to see updates on whats happening with Sea’s The Day fishing Charters.
We are now open for the Season and have some openings to fill so give me a call to book your next walleye adventure.
I had a great time in Wellington Ontario today lending a hand and volunteering my time. Along with several other volunteers that showed up I wanted to thank Mr AL Van Dusen, a local fisherman that has dedicated his time to heading up many projects like this over the years in the hopes to create a more sustainable fishery in Lake Ontario.
Also thank you to all the volunteers over the years that help out with projects like this one in Wellington that help to make the fishery we are blessed with on Lake O’.
Just over 1 month to go before Thousands of anglers hit the open waters of The Bay Of Quinte for the famous walleye derby we have here every year, The Kiwanis Walleye World (live release) fishing derby. to find out more on the derby click the link. ( http://www.kiwaniswalleyeworld.com/ )
Anyway every year this is my favorite event to enter. Its open to the public, there are so many prizes from boat, motor, and trailer prizes to winning tickets, or even just a hat. You can even win prizes if you don’t fish the derby. I wanted to give a bit of insight into what I do in preparation for the coming open water season. I have out board motors and always have, so that is where my experience lies when it comes to the preventative maintenance. First and foremost if you don’t know what your doing, it’s best to take your boat to a boat mechanic for any work done to it.
1st. When the good spring weather begins. I go over my boat to see how it has wintered, Being that I live in Canada and winter can get extremely cold. I check for weather cracks in the hull and the motors top to bottom, pay special & close attention to the lower end units of your outboards even the slightest hairline crack in your prop can cause major problems and may become costly to repair if not addressed immediately.
2nd, The batteries are a major concern for me, it would be better to take them out of your boat and stored properly over the winter, however lets face it even if you take the up most care of them that doesn’t mean they are ready to perform at the top level they should after a long winters nap. If you do not know how to properly check if your batteries are in top working order then take it to your boat mechanic to get them inspected thoroughly. If there is any Question about their functionality, have them replaced. To clean your batteries use a recommended product by your Mechanic, I use WD-40, clean the terminals using a wire brush or terminal cleaner, and make sure to coat the terminal posts with some sort of grease either a silicone compound or maybe an easier method which you may have in your house already Petroleum Jelly, either works fine, but we expose our boat batteries to moisture every day on the water, so it will help protect them from rusting on you. make absolutely sure to test the charge of your battery. they should charge to 13.2 V or more, leave it for 24 hours then come check it to make sure they hold that charge. If you are loosing a charge then perhaps its time to have them replaced.
3rd. Change your fluids, although you should have changed all your fluids at the end of the season before winter it is a good idea and doesn’t hurt to change your lower end oil again or at least check it if you did change it at the end of last season. oil and fuel filters should be changed out at the beginning of the year as well as your plugs. Check the gas to make sure no water or condensation built up in the tank. If it did pump it out before trying to start the motors.
4th. This item seems to be missed so often but it is maybe as important as your boat plug and that is you Bilge pump. before you even leave the house in the spring make sure you test all of your electronics, examples would be, your gauges, lights, and horn, all important, but maybe the most overlooked is the bilge pump. this item is a major emergency tool that will save your boat from sinking on the water if something goes very wrong. It gets a lot of use during the season and on every trip, so make sure it is running smoothly. Also make sure the bottom of your boat is clear of debris, when water gets in, it is amazing what will find its way to the bilge pump clogging it and rendering the pump useless just when you need it most. On top of checking to make sure it works maybe have a spare on the boat just in case.
5th. Check all your Safety equipment, although this is a given it is a good idea to make sure you have all the proper safety gear for your boat and it is back on board, and that none of the equipment has expired. It would be a shame to get everything in order just to have your trip ruined because your flares were out of date, or your flashlights batteries died, or your charts were not updated, etc. each category or class of vessel has a separate set of rules for the safety equipment you are to have on board, so make sure you have the right safety gear for your boat.
6th. Testing your boat. It is a great idea to get your boat in the water before opening weekend or before you go away for a boating weekend with your buddies and give the boat a good run up a lake. Let the boat soak for a bit. then open up any port holes and see if any water got in from anywhere. This gives you time to fix any problems before you go away with all your buddies only to be found stuck on land because you didn’t check out the boat before you left. This is also where you will find out how your impellers are working and if they need any attention or not, of course you may have done that at home with the garden hose but if not this is where you’ll find out LOL.
7. Boat ramp etiquette. Ok this is not about boat maintenance but I think is a topic that still needs to be addressed. I have seen it so many times at the launch especially in the early spring when a person may not have a lot of experience launching a boat or even been at a launch ever in his or her life, this is where you will find all the newbies. but what disgusts me is the attitude everyone else in line waiting to put their boats in, have. It eould be nice if everyone had some patience for these people. We have all been in this persons shoes before, we were not born to be able to back up trailers or automatically know what to do when launching a boat so please be patient with these people and better yet, offer assistance, show them what to do. help the situation, stop being part of the problem, I can assure you it is not helpful to yell at someone taking a bit longer and stressing them out even more than they already are. put yourself in their shoes believe me when I say, “you have been there at some point in your life before”. ways to avoid stresses of boat ramp rage is to get to the ramp extra early, especially during the opening of any fishing season.
8th. On the water . This is my favorite. I love the Kiwanis Walleye derby every year, what I get very annoyed with however is the amount of people that have a serious lack of respect for others on the water during this event. Now there are literally thousands of boats throughout the Bay of Quinte on the water for opening weekend, however many people seem to forget who has the right of way on the water in many circumstances, so all I am going to say about this is I would recommend everyone refresh yourself about the rules of the water prior to launching your boat, and not just this year, but every year. It does not take long and you can do it on line. here is just one link, there are several. http://www.boaterexam.com/canada/education/c6-nauticalrules-en.aspx
I hope this was useful for you, and hope everyone has a safe time boating in 2016.
Being from the heart of the city of Toronto Ontario, many would find it odd that I have spent many seasons as a commercial fisherman. A few people have asked me over the past few months let alone years, what it’s like and how to go about getting a job on a commercial fishing vessels in different Area’s of Canada when your not a local.
Over the years I have had the pleasure of experiencing the commercial fishing industry in many areas first hand. I have fished in Canada on The Bay Of Fundy (Advocate Harbour) in (2002), out of Mabou Harbour Cape Breton Nova Scotia last Spring (in 2015), and over seas in Aberdeen Scotland U.K. ( in 1997-1998) as well. Every time I have fished somewhere it has been a very different situation or circumstance.
BOATS I HAVE FISHED ON OVER THE YEARS.
boy gordon 02 – Copy – Copy Plaice /crab/ skate
Aberdeen harbour Scotland
Lobster season 2015
Mabou Harbour Cape Breton N.S.
Advocate Harbour N.S This was not this boat, but the old boat I was on is no longer there.
lobster boat i fished on when our boat was broke down
Mabou Harbour N.S. 2015
No job is alike, and every species is fished differently. I suggest if you are seriously considering giving this type of work a try, then you do your homework to find out exactly what type of species you’d like to fish for before just jumping into the deep end. Last Spring, although I have been on several types of boats and fished many species, I found myself fishing for 1 day on a snow crab boat and let me tell ya, I thought I was a hard core fisherman, but that 1 day on a crab boat just about killed me LOL.
This was the boat for 1 day for snow crab & I did 2 days lobster on this vessel as well while the boat I was on had some mechanical problems and was getting repaired.
Mabou Harbour 2015
Before I get into the next 10 questions you should ask yourself Why am I going to try working on a commercial fishing boat? If the answer is , because I have watched every episode of Deadliest Catch over the past 11 years and you want to go earn a tonne of cash in a short period of time, Then you may as well stop reading any further. The reality is, there are a tonne of guys every year that make their way up the Dutch Harbour and places like that where the big boats are looking for work, but unfortunately when they get up there they realize there is slim to no chance to ever land a job like that. there are just too many experienced fisherman living in those areas and have already secured a spot on one of the many vessels long before this was even a thought in your head. Truth is in order to land one of those positions you may have to volunteer your time as a deck hand for free and or work in the less desirable jobs for years before you get the chance to become a greenhorn on one of those boats. However if your answer was, for an adventure, and a life experience then by all means continue reading (LOL).
when looking for a species of fish that you think you would like to try ask yourself these following questions.
- What fish do I want to try? What time of year are they fished?
Obviously, your google search engine will help you with this.
2. What shape am I in, and can I handle the work load?
If you Youtube the type of fishing you are researching you can see what type of physical demands are required. However, remember you will have to repeat these tasks over & over again, all day long, and Youtube will generally not give you an idea of the hardest parts of the job.
- What area is the species caught in?
This information is easily found when researching the time of year from step 1.
- Your job search
You can find a job from home, or, from dockside. You can use your computer and go on Government job listing sites, craigslist, Kijiji, and any other sites you can think of that you can generally find work. Search by province and key words such as, fisherman, deck hand, corks-man,or second-man, and the type of fish you want to fish for. However, to be honest, many of the captains are old school. You may not find very much on line and still the best method is to be ready and willing to work dock side. Not being local you may need to work a little harder. Being dockside the week (or preferably 2) prior to the season, volunteering your time, loading traps, splicing ropes, and odd jobs, is a great way for captains to get comfortable enough to offer you a position or give you a reference to another captain in the fleet. do not over crowd a captain, if he looks uninterested in you then be prepared to hand him a business card with your information and picture on it so he can be reminded of who you were or pass it along to other captains that may be looking for deckhands.
Another great way, is to befriend the waitress at the local pub. She is often the local ‘fishermans therapist’, so if anyone knows the local fishermen, and who is hiring, its her (LOL). Leading up to the season many captains take lunch (in-between 11am and 3pm) at the pub as a break from this busy prep time. don’t be afraid to spend a bit and buy a round to break the ice with a few thirsty boat captains, it can go a long way, trust me LOL. Tip your waitress, she will remember you and every time you are in the pub you will get better service. for the entire duration of your working vacation.
- Can I get to the area cost effectively?
Consider, gas mileage, train or air fair, food, and accommodation. Also, if driving, can you cover car repairs?. Even though we all tend to do things with great intent you may not be able to work as intended. If you can not find work, or cannot handle the physical demands, or discover you get sea sick, you will need to have enough money to come home before you even make a pay cheque.
- Where will I stay when I get there?
If you are one of the lucky few to acquire a job prior to your departure, the captain may be a great resource for cost effective solutions. Otherwise, be prepared to be mobile because once you meet many friendly locals you may have an opportunity to find cheaper short term rental units that are not sourced online and a bit of a distance from the wharf. I have transported my own camper trailer as sites in local parks seem to be the best option. I have even parked my trailer at the wharf for a season at no cost to me. Even though my gas mileage heading there is higher. but I have even put my trailer right at the wharf that I was working out of so as to have $0.00 in accommodation fees. Be careful what time of year you leave with this option as a late thaw can limit availability to operational parks, (ie. power/heat) and leaving you a bit stranded LOL
yes I was a bit early last spring and we were 2 weeks delayed due to the ice. I had no power or running water during this time.
If you are taking a position where you are out to sea for days, weeks, or even months on end, do the math. It may be better to take a cheap motel for a day or two when on land then a monthly rental. If this is the option you choose you will only be traveling with a bag of clothes, pillow, and sleeping bag. You will have to budget for eating out when on shore.
- Do I have enough cash to support myself while I’m away and before I find work?
Like any job you will most likely have a 2-3 week waiting period before seeing your initial pay. It is also important to keep in mind, if you are taking a position in the spring, jobs may be delayed due to a long winter and can add an additional couple of weeks to this time frame.
- How long is the season?
While you can find this information during your initial research, keep in mind, you do not want to financially depend on how long employment would be for the season. While your job may start late due to lingering winters it can also abruptly end due to early ice up.
- How long do I want to give this a try for?
Do not over estimate your abilities. You are going to work in harsh conditions, long hours, minimal days off, and grueling physical work. Start with a season which last weeks not months, with the ideas of possibly staying longer. Many captains will work the boat with back to back seasons with different species. They will probably never mention this until the end of one season, and then only if you were a great deck hand that they want back. If you are a valuable employee your captain or another in the fleet will know and possibly offer you further work.
- …and most important, DO I GET SEA SICK?
The worst part about this is, it can happen at anytime, to anyone, and you have no choice but to, suck it up buttercup! No captain will spend thousands of dollars in fuel to bring you back to land. Taking Gravol works but only if taken prior to boarding. If you find out you get sea sick easily, your season is done. If it is happens randomly half way through the season, take medication for the next few working days before trying to go out without it. Sea sickness is the leading cause of most deckhands bowing out and walking out of the industry for good. I myself am lucky for the most part. I do not generally get seasick but I do remember back in Scotland a small period that I could not shake the sea sickness. It went on for 3 or 4 day’s straight and I can tell you I have never felt like I wanted to die like, I did then (LOL).
If everything comes together and all the above 10 tips come together without a hitch then you could be in for one of the best opportunities and or adventures of your life. If you think you are up for the adventure I can tell you its well worth it.
It has now been over 3 years and now into my 4th, since I made the decision to become a full time fishing guide in the Quinte region. Truth be told when I had made this decision I really had no idea what I was in for, and probably still don’t. each year has been a crazy learning curve. I am writing this blog because of the amount of people that have said to me that he/she, either would like to be, or maybe knows someone that they think would make an amazing fishing guide. So I’m going to put into perspective what being a guide is really like and what to expect.
Being a fishing guide can be one of the best jobs in the world its true, but it does not come easy and without blood, sweat, and tears, oh and unless you have a tonne of money in the bank, then be prepared to be financially strapped for years to come. If you love fishing, then do not become a guide. Over the past 4 years and over 400 days spent on the water, I think I can count on 1 hand how many times I have actually gone fishing, TRUE FISHING, meaning where I get to go out and enjoy the act of fishing for myself and not worry about other peoples comfort levels while on the water.
Guiding is one of the hardest industry’s I have ever been involved in, but it sure beats flipping burgers, or a busy city commute, or cutting lawns. If I had thought about it, I would have started guiding a lot earlier, maybe when I was in high school or shortly there after. The key is to begin laying the foundation at an early age by working hard to become the best fisherman you can be, by learning everything you can about fishing tactics, techniques, and by studying the biology and behavior of the species that you want to fish for. This is difficult to narrow down at an early age I know, In fact I’m not sure I really know if I have found the right species for me yet and I’m almost 40.
Now for the part I say to people that think they want to become a guide LOL. Most people that want to get into guiding, fail to realize that “guiding” does not mean “fishing”.I have a buddy who has a son, he takes his son fishing all the time, and because I am a guide, he always say’s to me when I ask him what he’s doing for the weekend? he reply’s that he will be “guiding” his son on the bay for the weekend. Im not sure if he says this to get under my skin, or if he does it because he is trying to relate to me with what I do for a living but either way it definitely gets to me when he calls himself a guide, and over the years now has even hurt our friendship a bit. In my mind you have to earn that title.
When you take a paying customer out on the water, you are expected to be an instructor, a cheerleader, a helping hand, a butler, a maid, a cook, have incredible customer service skills, and in some cases be a babysitter. The worst case scenario requires you to choose a lure, tie the correct knots, teach the clients how to use the equipment, show the client where the fish are, choose the correct speed, and steer the boat, and then stand there and watch while the client proceeds to do everything wrong after a fish bites, usually the client, after loosing the fish due to too much slack in the line looks at you and blames you for not teaching him the correct way. You then have to nod and bow your head as if it were your fault and try all over again.
Before all of this goes on, you are required by law to take separate courses that allow you to take paying clientele on your vessel plus hold the proper insurances all of which are extremely costly, and all before you have any clientele or income into the business to help recoup your costs.
Now that you have done all that and you are trying to find any way possible to advertise your business for free because you have just spent your life savings, your wife’s life savings, the down payment you had for a house, begged, borrowed, and stolen tens of thousands to get a suitable boat and equipment to accommodate strangers, oops I meant clients to go fishing you are all set right? NOPE WRONG.
This is the most difficult part of being a successful guide. Earning the respect of your peers. This is possibly the most important portion of becoming a successful guide. Just because you can put a few fish in your boat does not make you a good guide. If you do not have the respect of the other guides in the area that you fish in you will not last long.
Lets think about that. Especially if you are anything like me LOL. Ok lets say you get everything in place and you come to a marina and plunk your boat in the water and your ready to start taking on clients, where are your clients coming from? now you need to go and find fish, so you ask one of the other boats your tied right next to and say hey brother so where are the fish biting today? do you think his answer is going to be “? hey new guy, ya the fish were on fire at these co-ordinates xxxyyyzzz”. NO NOT A CHANCE. it will be more like this if he doesn’t just tell you F off, “hey new guy ya we caught lots about 15 miles just west of the red marker out by ZZZXXXYYY”. now excited you just got up to date information and thinking wow what a great guy. you will get up early in the morning have the gear all ready to go, your clients meet you, and you head out to what you think is going to be the best fishing grounds in the area. wondering why you are the only boat out on the water that day, you fish hard all day and nothing to show for it. you head home with your head held low with angry clients that you know will never come back. not to mention you would like to give them the trip for free but the cost of fuel to get to the spot and back and troll around all day almost broke the bank, so you have no choice but to charge the clients you just skunked.
back at the dock you talk to buddy that gave you the co-ordinates and again if he doesn’t just tell you to f-off he probably tells you “oh sorry man I heard first thing that the bite was hot somewhere else so he went there instead”. this kind of thing will probably go on for anywhere from 1 to 5 years before guys will start sharing info but you will have to earn their respect first.
While this 1 to 5 years of initiation from your peers is going on you have everyone and their dog that fishes and knows you, wanting to come out for a fishing day. when you mention the cost they look at you, laugh, and say “ok but how much for me?” LOL thinking you need to find places where the fish are you take people out for next to nothing barely covering costs and definitely not making any kind of a wage.
within the first year, “guiding” has now become more about taking a lot of friends out for a next to free day on the water and because you are a so called “guide” you no longer get to actually reel in any of the fish, you get to watch people learn your spots that you have worked like a dog to acquire and they get to reel in fish that you basically caught for them.
fishing that was once a passion will become a job like any other, where you have to wake up earlier than any job you’ve had in the past, around 4am, any, and every day of the week, and get home late, with what seems like very little reward. This will go on for a while, but if you can get past that time of becoming a guide to the part where you earn the respect of some of your peers, (remember you do not need the respect of ALL of them) then you will start to have fun with the job and it will eventually become the best job in the world.
remember that without the respect of your peers you truly fish alone. even though you are on your own on your boat, make all the daily decisions alone, are solely responsible for all the bills, do the clean up daily all alone, you can not do this job, WELL, alone. I can personally tell you that it is considerably easier to get onto active fish with many boats covering areas and sharing info than to have to find it on your own.
If I were to give anyone looking at becoming a Fishing guide some gentle advise it would be to, 1- remember to take advice from any guide willing to give it. 2- even if some of the information you get from someone turns out to be bogus, make sure you thank them and learn from the experience. 3- you will not like all the advice you get from people so remember to pick and choose advice that pertains to you and even if you did not like what someone has to say does not mean they are wrong. 4- this business is not for everyone and it is ok if its not for you. 5- make sure you have your own & informative good information to share with others, nothing earns respect faster than this, (a good hot lure, or spot) but be selective to who you give it to remember you have worked hard to gain this intel. 6- And lastly, remember your boat doesn’t run on thank you’s, it runs on fuel.
Now for the good part. I know I may have come across a bit sour in this blog up to now but it is the truth about becoming a guide in my eyes. Ok, moving on, so you have got through the initial initiation stage and you have found a small clientele base after a couple years spent grinding it out on the water and your still here. you have made a few alliances on the water, and you know a few good producing spots where you know you can put a few fish on the boat for clients. it is at this point you will start to enjoy your new profession. Even though you started this job thinking you could do it because you were an ok fisherman, now you realize that your potential is limitless with the right people behind you. watching people catch fish, becomes your passion, the smiles and excitement on especially the little childrens faces that you helped put their biggest fish they have ever seen or caught is what drives you to get up every day. You start to take in the beauty and nature that surrounds you day in and day out, that you remember was one of the reasons you wanted to be a guide in the first place. a sense of relaxation consumes you every day while on the water with clients instead of a kind of stress that no individual should ever have to feel, your dream that became a job is now becoming your dream job once again, and it all becomes worth it as you truly make the transition from a passionate fisherman to “GUIDE”. Just because someone has a registered business name and a boat with the proper paper work does not make someone a “guide” it takes time to earn that title, but once you do, then no-one can take it away from you.
So if you think being a “guide” is for you, I would welcome anyone to the challenge and good luck.
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