Stories of Incredible Fishing

TV host says fishing in Miramichi overwhelming

Daniel Robitaille and Ben Woo are the hosts of a Quebec fishing show, Leurre Juste.  Woo saiad that they had some friends who came to Miramichi last year and participated and heard about the fishing action here from them.  Woo also said he is friends with Pete Bowman from Fishing Canada.  "Bowman was talking my ear off about this event, so I called Jeff MacTavish, and he thought it was a great idea to come here to film an episode," said Woo.

Bowman called last years event "crazy".  But Woo said he was prepared for the fishing in Miramichi not to be as good as everyone was saying.  You know how people exaggerate.  But it exceeded their expectations.

"The fishing here is hard to describe, because it is so overwhelming," said Woo.  "We were a bit skeptical about how good it could actually be.  Stories about trolling motors hitting fish, or that you could almost walk across the water because there was so many stripers in the water.... We took it all with a grain of salt."

"When we got here Thursday, for the first time, and got out to practice, we were blown away.  We fish everywhere, and right now as we speak, I can't think of another fishery that is similar or even close to Miramichi.  Action, fun, and easy of fishing.  It's all terrific."

The duo said they expected to shoot one show, but because there was so much fishing action to film, they are considering editing it into a two part series.

How was the hospitality in Miramichi?

Woo was also very enthusiastic about Miramichi as a place with many intangibles for fishermen and guests. 

"It was fantastic.  Everyone says hello.  Everyone says good morning.  The Rodd was terrific, everything about it.  What we noticed was the amount of resources, places to put in your boat, and it's free.  People help you, people stop you, there's lots of places to park.  It is really rare to find such a fish friendly environment.  We'll definitely walk away remembering that."

Woo said he and Robitaille also samples as much local fair as they had time for.  "We went to rib fest, tried Pizza Delight, Chatters, had some donairs, and drank a lot of Alpine."

How big will the Miramichi Striper Cup get?

MO))) asked Woo how big he thinks the Miramichi bass tournament can get.

"The fishery here is incredible, and now we have to do our job and promote it.  There is much potential to draw top-class anglers, and the profile of the event will surely grow year after year."

"Our show will air in early 2017, which is perfect timing for anglers who are planning their year."  Woo said they also plan to hype the Miramichi event on social media.  "We have already decided we are coming back whether we are filming or not.  We finished 6th place out of 180 teams after only one day of practice."

But Woo says the city may want to consider how big they want it to get, because he does have one concern.

"The question is, how big do you want this to get?  One comment we have, after participating in may high caliber events across the country, is that there is a big range in types of boats here.  There are some very small boats int he contest.  Wen came here with a 250 hp Princecraft.  There is going to be a point where you have to mange what type of boats can participate, because there is a safety concern, because some of the smaller boats get rocked because of the majority of the boats using the channel.  It's not like a vast lake, that is wide."

Woo said organizers have to ask themselves if they want the Striper Cup to turn into a high-level event, or one that is open to everyone.  

More than 240 fish caught and released in one day

The one thing an outdoor writer is never supposed to experience is a loss for words - but that is what I am facing.  

Honest truth, no matter how many superlatives I use, no matter how much I appear to exaggerate, I can't do justice to the striped bass fishing I experienced last week on the Miramichi River in New Brunswick.  

It was incredible, amazing, astonishing, mind boggling.  The single best day, from a fish numbers perspective, that I've ever experienced. 

In fact, are you ready for this - buddy Jason Gogan and I landed over 240 striped bass up to 20-pounds in less than 7 1/2 hours.  

The reason we know how many fish we landed is that Jason had a clicker around his neck to record the numbers, but he stopped counting well before noon when we reached the 75 fish mark, because when I'd catch a fish and he would stop reeling in his lure to punch the clicker, a striper would nearly rip the rod out his hands.

A couple of other times, we set the stop watch for ten minutes to see how many stripers we could haul over the gunnels and averaged eight, or nearly one a minute.  And we're talking about fish that averaged four to six pounds with scores of 8-, 10- and 12-pound fish. 

And the striper schools we spotted, swirling on the surface, feeding like piranhas, were unlike anything I have ever seen before.  Here is a very short video of two of those striper schools, but when you click on the link and watch it, listen to Jason and I.  There are so many fish bursting and feeding on the surface that we're delirious and can't stop laughing.  Just for fun, too, count how many times Jason says, "Oh, my god, I hope I am recording this".

Something else you'll not believe - the water where we're fishing is only a few feet deep.  Literally, three, four, five feet deep.  So, there is no possible way you can throw out a lure and not have the fish see it and attack it. 

Jason nabbed a magnificent 20-pound striper - our biggest of the day - but I had a giant striper savagely strike and immediately take off for Moncton when I set the hook.  I've caught muskies up to 57 1/2 pounds and they didn't streak away, pull drag and tear off like this fish did, so I have no idea how much it weighed.  But I am guessing in the 30-, 40-, maybe even 50-pound range.

And talk about a success story.  

In the 1980s and 90s the striped bass fishery along the east coast was on its last legs due to commercial and sportfish overharvesting.  But smart, modern, conservation regulations were put in place including the use of single barbless hooks, a tight one-fish per day slot limit and a catch-and-release only season and the fish have not only bounced back, they've returned with a vengeance. 

The only unfortunate part of the story is that the best fishing lasts for only about a month in the spring - from roughly mid-May to mid-June - which means that if you are anywhere near the Miramichi River over the next week or two, drop everything on your agenda and wet a line for stripers. 

Trust me, while you may find yourself at a loss for words at the end of the day, you will not be disappointed. 


Listen to Gord Pyzer live every Saturday morning on the Outdoor Journal Radio show.

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16 year old wins top prize at Miramichi Striper Cup
It was the chance of winning a big prize that made a woman buy two registrations for her husband and son for the inaugural Miramichi Striper Cup. And it paid off, as a shiny new bass boat from Cabano Marine has a new home with a lucky 16 year old in Miramichi.

The last thing that was done at the closing ceremonies of the tournament was to draw the name of the person who won the grand prize. Anyone who paid to enter the tournament had a chance to win. 840 people paid $20 to enter the individual category, along with 114 teams who paid $150. Each individual got one ballot, each team got four. So with over 1200 people with a chance to win, the lucky person was  Shawn Doucet of South Esk.

Shawn and his parents were not at the ceremony, but were called shortly after they won, and came right to the curling club to pick up their prize. Jeff Wilson, the co-organizer of the tournament, said the Doucet were speechless. He said Shawn didn’t believe him, and when the phone was passed to his father Fernand, who also thought someone was pulling his leg.

 “I told my mom, and she screamed and said “What!”. Then I told my dad and he screamed and said “What!” Then we started rushing around to get ready to come here to get the prize,” said Shawn

Shawn said they fished at the enclosure during the tournament, but will be fishing from that boat next year. “My friends won’t believe this,” Shawn said, “I image they’ll be whooping and roaring.”

Winning Team Says Knowledge of River And Special Inspiration Are Reasons For Victory
A team of 3 men and one woman captured the Team title and the $5000 cheque at the Miramichi Striper Cup on Sunday. Each team weighed their biggest two fish on both Saturday and Sunday, and the highest two day total determined the winner. The winning team got hot, and beat the nearest competitor by almost ten pounds.

The team members were from McKees Mills, St. Antoine, and Bouctouche: Rejean Basque, Luc Allain, Marcel Goguen, and Renee Allain.

“We didn’t know where the big fish were exactly, but we know the area. We have been fishing bass in Miramichi for 4 or 5 years, and we know where the fish hold. And we can tell you that Renee is the one who caught all the big fish.”

“We are here every weekend, because my parents have a place in Blackville,” said Rejean. The team claims all their equipment comes from a family owned fishing store in St. Antoine, and the store is actually the team’s name: Basque Fly Rods.

Renee hinted that the team might have had a little extra help in the tournament. “There are two of our fishing buddies that passed away, and we said to them,” Renee said, looking skyward, “and before we started fishing we asked them to be with us.”

Rejean said it wasn’t hard to keep their hot spot a secret, as a lot of other boats were fishing where the bass were spawning, with lots of activity on the surface of the water. Rejean said they didn’t think fish would take there, and decided to try their luck nearby, hoping to catch some big stragglers that were looking for a meal.

“We found where we were catching bigger fish, they were all big fish. We were throwing back 10 pounders all day long,” said Rejean. “