When did you start fishing?
I started fishing with my brother Shawn at a very young age. I was 6 years old and he was 4. We spent many of our summer holidays growing up at my grandparents’ farm. There was a beautiful brook running through their property and it was a great place to hang out as children. We had such an amazing time playing in the brook with our cousins and other children from the neighbourhood. We learned to swim, fish, build forts, and take in many of mother nature’s gifts.
How did you get involved in fishing?
We often had fresh trout to enjoy on the farm. My older cousins and sometimes my Aunts or Uncles would bring trout and other fish to my grandparents for a nice feed of fresh fish. One fine sunny day my Aunt Katherine took my brother and I to the brook on the farm and taught us how to catch trout. She was an incredible woman, we loved her dearly, and she had a gift when it came to fishing. Aunt Kay, as we called her, could out fish anyone, so we learned growing up. Well on that day we went with her to the brook and literally within minutes she was showing us some tricks on what to do and where to do it. We were so proud going home that afternoon with our own stringer of beautiful brook trout. Well Shawn and I have been hooked ever since.
What do you like most about fishing?
This is a tough question because there are so many benefits to fishing. I love nature and being near or on the water, soothes my soul. You never know what you are going to see. Beautiful scenery, all kinds of wildlife from tiny frogs to moose and all kinds of critters in between. You can spend time alone or enjoy the company of others. For me personally, it allows me to escape from the pressures and struggles of life and work. It is a chance to unplug from the hectic pace, to relax, have fun and hit reset. There is an old saying that sums it up nicely, ‘a bad day fishing is better than a good day at work.’ It is my quality time with nature, family and friends.
What kind of fishing do you enjoy most?
I love all types of fishing however I am an avid Smallmouth Bass fisherman. These beauties pack a lot of punch for a small fish. Ounce per ounce they fight as good as most. Using light gear is an excellent and exciting challenge to land a big one. They will power dive, head shake, jump out of the water and if you are not on your game, they are very good at getting away. My brother and I took up competitive bass fishing many years ago, we practice catch and release and do our best not to harm the fish we catch. Smallmouth bass are very territorial like a German shepherd. Release them unharmed and you can come back in a few days, they are not too far away and you can try to outsmart them again.
Where do you do most of your fishing?
I have fished in Northern Quebec, Labrador and Newfoundland, Maine USA and New Brunswick. Our province has so much to offer when it comes to fishing. From ponds, brooks, streams, rivers and the Ocean, we really have it all. We have a beautiful River that flows from the top of our province to the Ocean, the St. John River, originally known as the Wolastoq. By far my favourite place to fish is on the Wolastoq River, from Lower Gagetown to the mouth of the Aroostook River. Magnificent scenery and an incredible fishery of many species.
Do you fish from shore or a boat?
I began fishing brooks, streams and ponds. I just loved wading brooks and streams and going on hikes to find secluded ponds and catching some decent trout for a good feed. I had a motorcycle accident in my early twenties which over the years made it more and more difficult, if not impossible, to run up and down brooks and trudge through the alders. Shawn and I caught a couple Smallmouth in my early twenties and we actually had no idea what we had caught. We were in a canoe at the time. They fought like crazy, were decent sized fish, and we took them home and enjoyed a good feed. Since my early twenties I have been fishing from a boat for the most part. That was the beginning of our journey to competitive fishing. We fished as a competitive team for many years, loved the challenge, spending time together and hanging out with many other like-minded people. We made many lifelong friends, learned how to think like a Smallmouth bass and in 2010 we won the championship of the NB Pro Bass Tour.
What are your top 3 fishing tips?
One, it is not just about catching fish. Of course, catching fish is fun, however spending time with family and friends and taking in all mother nature has to offer is good medicine.
Two, pay attention to our elders who know how to fish. With age comes wisdom. If you are patient, respectful and keen to learn how to fish, they may just share some of the secrets they learned over the years.
Three, safety is paramount. Know the waters and the weather conditions, always wear proper safety equipment, dress appropriately, be careful in the sun, have lots of fun and teach your children the joys of the outdoors.
I will give you another secret passed on to my brother and I by one of the best smallmouth bass fishermen we ever knew. Once you learn to think like a fish, you will have no problems catching them.