Gary Powell....Canadian Carpin Holidays (Happy Days)
In June my brothers
and cousin took a trip to Canada to fish the mighty St Lawrence
river for the carp that live in its wild waters.
We chose Paul Hunts tried and tested carping holiday. Paul has 22 years experience over there and a pedigree in England that put him at the top of the carp angling tree, he took it over to the St Lawrence and searched until he found the place to settle down. He found a place called Cornwall in the state of Ontario.
Since he started, 100s of trips have been made out there mostly by returning customers. We arrived in Ottawa mid afternoon and was met by Paul's other half Lisa in the carp wagon, which is an air conditioned 12 seater, the house is about 40 or so minutes from the airport, which is a nice ride to see some of the beautiful Canadian country side. We stopped to get our licences, which you must have to fish, then to the beer store to stock up on supplies for the week and then to our home for the week. When we got there, the luggage stowed away, some beer and food and sorted out the tackle, Free Spirit rods a Shimano baitrunners, rod bag, bits box, bag, scales, weigh sling. First morning at the crack of dawn, we were dropped off by Paul.
it wasn't long before the first run of the day and I pulled in to my first St Lawrence carp and it was a hard fighting fish a lovely common came to the net a 20lbs. It was perfect and never been caught before, and most likely never will again. It was Rays turn next and he landed a nice carp of about 22lb, after a scrap that had him all over the place. Then Kevin and Craig's turns. Once off the mark we caught a few fish then, it went quite after a couple of hours Paul came over to find out how we was doing and suggested another of his swims for a few fish, so we packed away our gear and was taken to a bay swim. This was a swim where you had to wade out to fish, the rod rest was put in the water 10ft from bank, we struggled for a while, then Paul came over again and asked what we was doing, and set about changing a few things, mainly the distance we was casting. We put the baits out a lot further, and the bites came straight away, the first fish that came in was a mid 20, then another. What a day. We ended up with 5 - 30s that day Ray had two, one each for the rest of us. Magic. We went back with smiles on our faces that evening. Next day, we fished a swim called the bottom of the garden, another swim where you have to wade out 20 or so feet in knee deep water to a raised bank, there was a bit of a drizzle that day, with a slight wind, so we thought a big hit was on the cards, but as the fish were in spawning mode it was hard work.
It turned out to be a red letter day for us,
within an hour we started to catch one after the other, big carp
with the average weight of 25lb+ came to our nets. We was playing
them whilst someone was weighing another and the runs just came and
came including 3 on at the same time. We had a lot of 29lbers that
day. Ray had another 30 that day so he was well pleased. We went to
a place opposite bay, which was our worst day, And the carp were
spawning round our legs.
Next day we went to an area called the nature reserve, which we had to get to by boat, that was a hairy ride I can tell you there is no speed limit on the water out there and Paul used the boats throttle to the full. When we got there, we had to fish on a tarmac path, which we later found out was an old main road that went through the area. which was flooded a number of years back. Opposite there was an island, which is part of New York state, in front of us about 50 yards out is an old canal bed about 50ft deep, and still has the lock gates in there, which got some of our leads. Craig was in first and he lost a good fish round the end of the spit we was fishing off, the air was blue, I can tell you, like the other days, the fish started to come thick and fast. Before we started, Paul went out in the boat and put out some maize to get them going.
We spodded throughout the day to keep them there, and we had some good fish that day along with a couple of 30s best going to Ray with a 35lber again Kevin and Craig had the unfortunate task of going out into the river to unsnag a line. They found out that you can walk out to the edge of the canal bed in chest deep water. We know the water in that part of the river was cold, it was over 30c that day, but the water was cold. The noise that came from them two in the water was hilarious we have it all on video much to there embarrassment.
As soon as we got a run we had to climb on to a picnic table that was there to change the angle of the line to pull the fish out of the canal bed. We had a great time that day, loads of laughs, good fish and a couple of beers to top it all off. We didn't want to leave there and could have stayed for the rest of the week. Next day we fished a swim called the bridge, when the dam is opened the water flows through the bridge a serious rate of knots and we have cast in to the flow and the lead settle. The bites here are instant and we had some nice carp out that day, but the stamp was lower than usual. Ray, again had another 30, we had a few 28-29s but most was high doubles. Once a week Paul takes you out to the local town about 15 miles away, you have a nice meal Canadian style that means there is a lot of it and very cheap, then he took us to a night club. If you can call it that, it was an eye opener, I've never seen so many baseball caps, shorts and flip flops in one place, we had a few drinks then headed back to get ready for the next and last days fishing. We opted for the bays again hoping the fish would still be in the mood for our baits. It wasn't as productive as the last time on there, but some fish were landed Ray had his obliquity 30, a nice common of 33lb. We had a few up to 29lb again, but the rest of us couldn't break the 30 barrier on that last day. We decided in the week if some one hadn't caught a 30 then we would give our rods up so Kevin took them over for the afternoon, but to no avail, he caught fish to a few ounces under, but no 30lber. Still there will be a next time. The food was excellent and there's a lot of it, when you got up, it was toast or cereals which you sorted yourselves out with and loads of tea and coffee. We ate about 7.00 every evening and we was given a packed lunch every day each with loads of cold drinks and crisps which kept us going until the evening meal. Ray with his PB 35lb common
Pool after dinner, had some more beer with the other lads on the trip and generally talked carp till bedtime. You could sit in the lounge and watch TV or a DVD or read from Paul's library of carpy books and magazines. This a fun carp holiday and I would recommend this trip to any body that wants to have a good time and good company while doing what you love. Keep It Real.