Monday, March 29, 2010

A Bold Fly Reel

I was contacted last year by a Spanish company called Thinkfish about the launch of their new fly reel, the Thinkfish Bold. I was interested because i love different fly reels. I have things as simple as a Fenwick, to the cool Backwinder. When I got the information for the Bold, i was intrigued.

It is a 3 speed, semi automatic fly reel with their patented Surge drag system. Here is a quick run down. The reel has no handle to reel it in. Instead it has a lever or trigger that can be used to bring in line, fast or slow. One of the great features of this is that with your rod hand, you can use the lever to haul in slack line when a fish is hooked at amazing speed, without backlash. By simply using the lever at a slower rate, you can bring in a fish as the fight progresses.

The other great thing about this reel is the drag system. It has a 6 ball bearing, mixed cone, multi disc drag. This allows the drag to be deactivated during retrieval of line, allowing high speed retrieval, but engaging as line is fed out.

Top it all off, it looks fantastic. It is a little odd in North America. There have been some cheap automatic reels with no or useless drag systems. This is an engineered reel that rivals any reel you will ever see in build quality and execution. You can see more HERE. If any one has any questions or wants more info, you can email me at I can order them or send you more info. I will be fishing this reel in the next few weeks and will update on them as the season goes along.

Fishing season in Nova Scotia is three days away. Can't wait.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Nova Scotia Trout Management - The Anglers Role

In any documents i have read about managing trout in Nova Scotia, they talk about "angler buy in". Basically it means getting the end user in the fishery involved in the process of collecting data and implementing programs. The toughest one of all comes down to finding a happy medium when it comes to creel limits.

As i mentioned before, when i was young, no one wanted to leave without "getting their limit", which was then 10 fish. Now at 5 fish, far too many fish to "get the limit". With that in mind, the limit for trout in type A waters should be reduced. Now i am not a catch and release only fisherman, but i keep in the area of three or four wild trout in a season now. One or two early season (mayfly) Brookies, and one or two sea trout in July. Everything else is released. Can the limit be reduced to one or two in Wild Trout Management or Type A waters? If they want to do it, they can. There might be backlash, but that is a necessary evil.

We as anglers can do other things on our own. Some of them very useful.

1- Set your own one or two fish limit- Have you ever thrown out a freezer burned fish? If so, you have likely been overfishing. For those who like to eat trout, and i am one, we know fresh ones are by far the best. We don't need a freezer full.

2- Barbless Hooks - With fly fishing this is, in my opinion, far less important than with live bait. Trout inhale things like worms and the hook can kill a fish before you even get a shot at releasing it by a barbed hook. A barbless hook makes a world of difference.

3- The Anglers Report Card- If you value the trout fishery in Nova Scotia, keep an accurate catch record, fill out the report card stub on your license and send it in. The more of these that Inland Fisheries receive, and the more accurate they are, the better the data is. This data can be key to identifying and planning the future of trout waters all over Nova Scotia.

I am very lucky. I fish Type A waters every year. I have a camp secluded in the middle of them. The truth is, there are a lot of them. The populations may not be what they once were, but the quality and size of fish is Trophy like for Nova Scotia. The thought of damage to these is something i don't like to think about. In the past 15 years i have changed a lot as an angler. I have done my share of damage, especially as a younger man. Now it is time to see what i can do to help. I have decided to join Trout Nova Scotia this year and try to do my small part to help control a bigger problem.

Maybe if a lot of anglers do this, the native population of Wild Brook Trout, which is a true natural treasure of Nova Scotia, can be saved and even improved. I have been asked in the past what my obsession with fishing for Brook Trout is. I never had a good answer other than i love doing it, until last year. Last year i caught a trout early in the season. Steven snapped a picture of me with it in the canoe, and it was then released. When i saw that picture it sort of hit me that i got to hold a living, breathing part of nature in my hands for a few seconds, and captured it forever in a photo. How may people really get to say that?

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Trout Management In Nova Scotia

This winter, I have wondered if there is a trout strategy in Nova Scotia. The Brook Trout fishery in Nova Scotia. Is it in crisis? If so what can be done to help it? If not, what can be done to make sure it won't happen? More importantly, what is being done.?

So before I start looking close at the urban fishery, I decided to look province wide. In 2005, the Nova Scotia government released their Trout Management Plan. While it was seen as a good start, albeit a late start, it was not without issues. Trout Nova Scotia combed through the plan and identified the weak points and areas it thought needed further study. You can read further on that here. Here are some key points in a nutshell in my opinion.

1- Identify "Type A" trout waters: Using anglers, conservation groups, and Inland Fishery resources, identify the waters and areas in Nova Scotia where the wild stocks are healthy now. It is much easier to keep them healthy now than it is to revive them later.

2- Set New And Alternative Limits: When I was young, the limit was 10 fish per day. Most people I knew made that their daily goal. The limit was then changed to 5 fish per day. Then most people made that their daily goal. In the waters identified above, the limit needs to be changed. Plenty of discussion can be had on what that limit should be, but one or two fish a day, maybe with a minimum size would be a major help.

3- Specialized Regulations: The implementation of things like catch and release only waters, minimum size catches, no live bait, and fly fishing only to name a few would be useful in identified areas.

4- Angler Involvement: I have always believed that making the angler feel involved will make them become involved. Programs that give them some sort of influence on the outcome are best. Partnering with associations like Trout Nova Scotia, Trout Unlimited, the Nova Scotia Salmon Association and the many river and watershed associations around the province would help make he angler more aware, and feel more empowered.

5- Follow Up And Data Collection: No plan, and no program works unless it is followed up and the data is collected so that both successes and failures can be studied and learned from.

These five things that were identified by Trout Nova Scotia as key points in a new management plan, are all extremely accurate. It is not too late to save some great angling waters in this province. Once they are gone, it is a much bigger task to bring them back.

For those who want to read more about this, visit the Trout Nova Scotia links above and click here to read the Trout Management Plan from the Nova Scotia government site.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

A Foggy Wednesday

My alarm goes off at 5:30 in the morning. I am not in the comfort of my own bed, yet I am still strangely comfortable. The camp at this hour is still dark, and with the overnight fire gone, the air is crisp. The kettle slips on to the just lit burner and the water on it's bottom hisses. Within minutes i am on the front deck, a steaming cup of tea in my hand. The sky is just warming with some light, but the air is damp, and foggy. We have been in since Sunday, and every day has been the same. Today appears to offer nothing different.

It had not been my best trip so far. In 2 full days of fishing, i caught one fish. A 10 inch monster whose catch and release took 30 seconds of my time. I saw many. I had spread fly over the water and was rewarded with moving fish. I just couldn't catch them. While Steven and Derrick were at another lake getting fish each day, my stubborn side kept me at the small lake. Looking for that elusive "lurker" i saw move the first morning in the water. My tunnel vision has taken over.

I arrive at my canoe and look over at the far shore. There is a slight breeze from the diagonal at the shore. Like Tuesday, I release fly and let the breeze take them to the shore. Nothing. I do it again. This time a nice trout moves. Not a "lurker" but a good fish. I cast and my fly lands a foot shy. I leave it and the trout takes. I miss it, and it is gone. Those seven words have been my week. I paddle to shore, and as I am about to get out and head for the camp, I decide to reload with fly and try once more.

My fly make it to shore untouched. The breeze takes them along the shoreline past the white crown land marker. As it does, a raise. Then another. Then two more. I cast into the middle of it. It seems it is another small fish but right now I'll take it. The fish takes my fly and to my surprise, my rod bends heavily as i set the hook. The size of a fish while it is in the water is hard to guess. All I know is it is the largest trout I have ever had hooked. It's tail breaks the surface and sends water flashing to the rocks. It goes deep again and takes line from the reel. As it gets close to the boat it nears the surface. It is huge. It's belly is dark red, and the fins a stark white edged in black.

In the end, 17.5 inches and about 3 pounds of native Brook Trout. A prize any angler would be proud of. Amongst the small talk at the camp in the evenings are the stories of the one that got away and the one that you will hook tomorrow. On this night, my glass of rum warmed me a little better. The foggy morning that did not impress me when i awoke, was the sky i hoped for the next day. After three days of fishing i had caught two trout. One 10 inch monster that took 30 seconds to land, and one a little bit bigger. I couldn't have been happier.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Halifax: An Urban Trout Fishery

I am not an environmentalist. As an angler, maybe i should be but i am a believer in progress as well. I am a firm believer society can move ahead, and co-exist with nature. There is a middle ground. The problem is, we fail to find it and embrace it. Many believe Trout fishing in Halifax is approaching non existent. The reasons are numerous. Overfishing is one. Mis-management is another. The environment and urban development as well. And of course there is the introduction of predators to the trout waters near the city.

The truth is there is still good trout fishing around Halifax. Not the great fishing you get up the Eastern and Northumberland shores, but good. Trout management around the city for too long has been simple stocking for recreational angling. A need for sure, but not a long term plan. There have been successful projects in other places that have not only revitalized the trout fisheries, but have made them into trophy destination fisheries.

So in the new section of the blog i am going to talk about the trout fishery around Halifax. The good, the bad, the ugly. There is still some good fishing to be had for the angler who is willing to explore a bit. So each week i will look at the fishery in and around the city. The past, the present and the future, and maybe what is being done and what we can do to try and help bring it back to it's former glory.