Tag Archives: ontario

Life’s Adventures, & Working ON A Ferry. (update)

I know it’s been a while since I’ve written a blog post. The past couple years has been… well full of adventures, exciting, exhausting, chaotic, and down right life changing to say the least.

Since my last post back in May of 2019 my life has basically been turned upside down.

My life started to change when I had done some serious self evaluations and realized in March of 2019 that I had to make some serious changes. The fact was I simply, was not happy in my life, and I was spiralling into a deep depression.

I had made the very hard decision to leave my wife of nearly 20 years. Now my ex wife was and is an amazing individual it’s just we seemed to have grown apart. I guess this happens sometimes. And as unfortunate as the circumstances were at the time I feel that this was the best decision I could have made, not only for me, but also for my children and my ex wife.

Today my kids are doing very well, we have a much better relationship, I feel they don’t walk on eggshells around me and when I’m over visiting they are engaged in conversation, well most of the time anyway, lol, and spend their time with me, instead of locked up in their rooms playing video games. I’m not saying that never happens of course but at least they are paying attention to their father and vise versa more often than when I lived there. And we are doing things together more too.

My ex has a great guy she has been seeing for over a year and seems to have a bit of pep in her step lol. In other words she seems to be loving life again for the most part. I think the only stresses she has in her life still has to do with some loose ends she and I had yet to sort out lol.

And I have moved on with a relationship as well with the love Of my life Erin. Since I started dating Erin in September of 2019, I have discovered new hobbies and interests in my life that have kept me/us very busy, These are common interests both Erin and I share together which has been such wonderful experience to share with a partner.

Erin and I both have a love of being on the water, infact both our careers involve being on the water. We both work for the MTO working on separate passenger Ferry vessels in the KFL&A region.

In our spare time during the summer we spend the majority of our time on our sailing boat exploring Lake Ontario, The Bay of Quint, and the St Lawrence River throughout the 1000 islands .

During the past year, trying to work through and deal with the challenging times of Covid, Life still proves to be active and very interesting.

Of course because of Covid most of us have been unable to spend time with many of our loved ones like family, for me I have not been able to spend time with my parents, or sister and her family as well, I have now missed out on seeing them for 2 Christmas years and my nephew and niece are growing up and I miss them dearly, this type of thing has been hard on so many of us I know. I hope things get back to some normality soon so we can all get together again.

At work both Erin and I have realized that We have been very lucky to have the jobs that we do. Despite the everyday challenges of the working environment, if I sit back and think about life on the boat, it really is very interesting and I know I am super lucky to have a position in a company and in the industry I have come to love and have a passion for.

It’s funny when I chat to many of our passengers and just people I know in general, about my specific job, I get similar interpretations of what people think life on the ferry is like, in other words I get asked regularly if my job is boring?, they say it can’t possibly be to stimulating to run the same half mile stretch day in, and day out? Well, I say to most people, although they are not wrong about sometimes it can get a bit monotonous just running the same stretch everyday, what many people don’t see is what makes the job interesting.

What could that be you ask? Well, I’m glad you asked? Lol. You see, the fact is, that this job isn’t just running back and forth the same half mile everyday parking cars. This job requires that everyone is certified in some respect. From a deckhand to Captain we all require certification that enables us to work on the vessel, and at different positions, such as Marine first aid requirements, firefighting, operator certification, marine radio licenses, we all must have medical updates to maintain a specific level of health, ok sure so we need to be certified, but there’s much more to it than that.

You see we are a customer service type of service, answering people’s inquiries about the area, we give recommendations for local restaurants and sites to visit, wineries to try, we are a human version of Google maps for the area giving passengers directions, I personally on several occasions have helped law enforcement or ambulances do emergency runs across the bay, in other words, we are public servants. We have been front line worker’s throughout the covid pandemic with little to no recognition really a thankless job. So what makes a job like this so great?

Well other than the obvious about being a government job, with so many benefits to that alone. There is the fact that we work outdoors, YES, the winter can be a bit Harsh at times with extreme cold, or heat waves in the summer of course, but for the most part the winters aren’t too bad as long as you dress for it, and really I am Canadian so what are we gonna do, complain ? Ha ha ha. But there are some really great things about working in the winter too. For one, when all the bodies of water are frozen in the area, the ferry creates an open track (as pictured above), the local fire department sometimes does open water ice rescue training right in our path which was really great to witness.

This track we keep open during the winter also allows wildlife to congregate so they have fresh water to drink, it provides a hunting ground for birds, so we get a vast array of bird life to watch during the winter months from ducks, and swans, to owls and Bald eagles.

Owl watching me from a near by building
A bald eagle waiting for the propellers of the ferry to churn the water and send up a meal to the surface of the water

The sun rises are absolutely stunning. You can never get tired of watching the sun rise or set over the bay when it’s covered in a blanket of ice and snow.

Sunset over Picton cement plant
Sun rise on the Adolphus side of the river

During the Spring all the way to end of Fall, watching the magnificent boats of all sizes and classes pass by our position is fascinating. From fishing boats, yaughts & sail boats to big Lakers. They all pass by and I think about where they are all going and where they came from.

The scenery on the water is constantly changing and it’s absolutely mesmerizing. The Bay is my office and it a view that is constantly changing. Even if it is only a 1 half mile stretch of water.

Every day is just a little different, sure sometimes things go wrong, but tell me a job where nothing has ever gone wrong, it’s all about what’s going right that one should focus on. So for me it’s obviously the scenery and atmosphere, the people I get to work with, and the people you meet. I met my future wife at this job, so that should tell you it’s a pretty awesome place to be lol.

So that is just a few of the good points of how life working on a ferry boat is for me lol. There have been so many other changes in my life over the past 2 years but I’ll leave that for another blog (soon to come)

New blog site

Hi folks I wanted to let my followers know that most of my ne content can be seen on my new blog site. Follow the link to see it and press the follow link to get updates on my newest blogs. Any fishing related future blogs will continue on this site.

LINK :        https://oldsaltydog.blog

Cheers everyone


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.


Video of some my May fishing trips

Bay Of Quinte Fall walleye.

giant eye'sI Have been fishing the Bay for some time now and I have done a lot of research on walleye and their Habits over the years. What I have found is this. There seem to be 2 definitive groups of walleye here in the Bay. I have spoken about this before and other reputable Anglers have spoken to this topic so I thought I would speak about my own findings.

1st the Resident walleye, These walleye stay in the Bay all year round you can catch them from walleye opening weekend in May right through to the end of the ice fishing season at the end of February. These walleye tend to stay in their own areas of the bay and do not venture very far. they may move as far as across the bay on windy days when there are plenty of smaller fish to feed on such as the shad or Perch when they enter the bay to spawn at various times during the season. The reason I believe that these fish do not venture too far is for the simple fact that they are lazy and that there is really no need for them to expend energy and go anywhere. there are plenty of feeding fish such as perch in these areas all year-long and there are a variety of fish throughout the year constantly coming in and out of the Bay creating a rather large buffet for these resident fish.

Here is how to catch these kinds of walleye. you will need to follow the bait fish to their habitats, where there is perch there is Walleye. Perch are a bottom and close to weeds type of fish so that is where you need to put your baits. I have found when the Walleye are primarily feeding on perch you will find that they will be close  to weed edges and right tight to bottom. also I find that these types of walleye tend to have their feast in 10FOW and less. If the walleye are feeding on Alewives, or shad you will see large bait balls suspended in the water column, you will need to get your baits just under the bait balls as the walleye feed in an upward motion and will hit your bait first if it comes across it before it reaches the bait ball. If  you find a baitball and see a few big hooks on one side mark this on your finder and position your boat on the far side of the bait ball. try putting on a 1/8 ounce jig and twister tail and cast over the bait ball to where you marked those hooks, if you can entice a strike then don’t leave the area where there is one there are potentially more feeding on the same meal.

2nd is the Migrating Walleye, These Walleye Tend to enter the Bay through the Adolphus Reach and the Trent canal from the open waters of Lake Ontario. they start entering generally in late September to mid October and as the weather and water temperatures get colder the better the fishing gets as the more fish enter into the Bay. However unlike their cousins (the resident walleye) these fish seem to react based on what their Buffet is doing. As the cooler weather approaches the Shad and Alewives head into the Bay Of Quinte to Spawn and as we start to see mass amounts of large bait balls throughout the Bay following close behind are the massive trophy Eye’s that everybody comes from all over to find.

These fish spend all winter feeding on the bait fish and getting fat so they have the energy to create their eggs and spawn in the spring just after the ice breaks up and leaves in the spring. During the Fall popular areas these Walleye can be found are throughout Adolphus Reach, Picton Harbour, Longreach, and into Hay Bay. Typically these are a deeper water fish and spend their time in cooler temperature water, therefore generally speaking you would want to change-up your presentations to a deeper diving crank bait when fishing for these migratory fish. There are so many different types of crank baits on the market today I can’t really get into them all, in fact I couldn’t even if I wanted to as I am learning about new and older baits every day it seems, some I have never heard of or tried. It will take a bit of time and or effort to figure out what works for your style of fishing but when you find what works for you the time and effort you’ve put in will pay out with fish of a life time.

The one thing to remember it seems is, no matter what time of year it is, if you want to find the Walleye then all you have to do is find the bait fish.

Capt James Mathias.


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