Carp fishing guide

Montreal carp fishing guide

Monday, December 30, 2019

My 2019 fishing season

As 2019 nears its end, time to recap another epic season. Many great fish caught, records beaten, lessons learned, etc. As I've been posting monthly reports over the past few months, I'm not going to bother recapping the entire season in pics. For this one, I'll link up to some of the blog posts relating to the pertinent themes.

As most of you know, my dear father passed away in mid February. As such, I was bound to fishing close to Montreal due to kaddish obligations. Though my original fishing plans were to explore some waterways and regions further from Montreal, I figured I'd make the best of the situation, and do more frequent but shorter outings closer to home.

The big surprise for me was the amazing quality of largemouth bass fishing I ended up enjoying until the end of the season in March, and then again from mid November until my last outing for bass this morning.

Ice fishing blog posts are at:
http://freshwater-phil.blogspot.com/2019/01/2019-ice-fishing-season.html
http://freshwater-phil.blogspot.com/2019/11/fishing-freezing-water-and-first-ice.html
http://freshwater-phil.blogspot.com/2019/12/late-fall-early-winter-ice-fishing.html

The next big theme of the season for me was fishing with topwater lures. While everybody loves a good topwater hit, I pretty much stayed exclusive to topwater lures for the majority of my casting throughout the season. Having caught my first bass on a topwater lure under the guidance of my dad z'l as a child, this season, those topwater hits were more meaningful for me than in the past. Mainly bass, with some nice pike, topped off with a good sized musky on a topraider from my float tube.
As much of my topwater fishing was on my float tube, you can read more at:
http://freshwater-phil.blogspot.com/2019/10/montreal-float-tube-fishing-season-2.html

The icing on the cake was "converting" 3 of my sons from using live worms for bass to throwing topwater lures on our annual bass trip to Mijocama. See:
http://freshwater-phil.blogspot.com/2019/06/mijocama-bass-fishing-trip-20198.html

Moving along to bigger fish species, my carp season was relatively dismal in comparison to previous seasons due to a variety of factors. I still managed to land some very nice ones, check my carp picture gallery at: http://www.freshwaterphil.com/carp-fishing-pictures.cfm

As far as trophy fish, I managed to break my personal best for sturgeon twife on the same outing late in October, while out fishing with Mark. See my October post at:
http://freshwater-phil.blogspot.com/2019/10/fishing-cooling-water-in-fall-october.html

And last but not least, en epic 3 day saltwater adventure for big hammerhead sharks in Florida in April with my friends Mike and Yohann while visiting my daughter and son in law. Won't be forgetting that trip any time soon. See:
http://freshwater-phil.blogspot.com/2019/04/big-game-shark-fishing-fort-lauderdale.html

Aside from all the great catches, perhaps the most meaningful was smashing my previous total for amount of days fished. While many of the outings we under a couple hours and local, I managed to get out on 150 days in 2019, beating my previous record by a longshot. Another one that is going to be very tough to beat.

As opposed to previous seasons, I did much of my fishing alone in 2019. It gave me much time to reflect on and reminisce about the good times I spent fishing with my late father, in total peace and solitude, no matter if I was was in a densely populated urban area, or off the beaten path floating around in warm water on my float tube.

In closing, I'd again like to thank everyone I fished with for either hiring, inviting, and/or putting up with me. My amazing wife for being cool with my insane fishing habit. And of course, to Good Lord for giving me the chances and opportunities to keep pursuing my passion.

Hope you all had a great 2019, wishing y'all  even better for 2020






Late fall early winter ice fishing - December 2019

After an extreme cold front formed early ice mid November, December temperatures hovered above and slightly below the freezing mark for most of the month, creating limited opportunities for ice fishing around Montreal. Still had the chance to make it out to smaller water bodies, testing many new areas. My spud bar was essential, saved me from going through thin ice on multiple occasions over the past few weeks.

Fishing wise, I really had to move around a lot to find safe ice, and when I did, it wasn't always necessarily productive for fishing. On most outings, I prefered to avoid the hassle or anxiety of having to check for safe ice every few feet, choosing safer, though often less productive spots instead. It's not always about catching trophies or large quantities of fish. Prospecting allows to to make or eliminate spots, which all make up part of the game we call sport fishing.

Managed a mixed bad of perch, crappie, sunfish and small to mid sized bass for most of the month.







Most were caught jigging a Rapala Jigging Rap (w3).



Hit a variety of spots, from very urban, to more remote.





Some bigger predators came to play once winter rules kicked in and I was allowed to use dead bait on my flag lines.


As well as some unforeseen surprises you occasionally find on ice.


All in all, another good month of prospecting. Looking forward to hitting bigger lakes in other regions of Quebec and beyond as the winter fishing season progresses in 2020.


Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Fishing freezing water and first ice - November 2019

The major cold front we experienced early in November made for below average water temps. Eventually, we ended up first ice in November for the second season in a row. So much for global warming...

First outing in the month turned out to be my last open water outing of the season. Headed back to a wintering spot for carp. After some major storms, the water level had gone up to where I couldn't fish my regular spot. Luckily, I was able to fish from the comfort of my heated car at the boat ramp nearby.


Bite started on fire, had hooked into 4 small carp within the first hour or so, and then bite died down completely. This smaller carp closed the book on one of my toughest carp fishing seasons in over a decade, for a variety of reasons. Hoping for a better one in 2020.


2 weeks later, I was finally able to hit first ice at one of my early season spots. The day turned out well, ended catching a mix of crappie, pike, bass, bluegill sunfish, and a perch.


Kept some for tastier ones dinner that evening, kids were happy dig in to the early season rewards.



I returned to the spot 3 days later, not being able to find safe ice at a spot I planned to hit for perch. Someone else had been fishing there the previous day, and seemed like the spot was close to being fished out. Only managed 3 small crappies and a bluegill as far as panfish go, and every time I marked a bigger fish on the flasher, it was too finicky to bite.

I finally got one of those big marks to bite by teasing it for a good 5 nerve wracking minutes or so, and when it finally did, I knew if was a big one. I though it may have been a small carp from the way it was pulling, until I fought it up to the surface. The ice was clear and thin enough for me to catch a glimpse at a big largemouth bass, with one of the biggest girth I've seen on one. As it was magnified through the ice, my first thought is that it must be in the 7 lb range. Eventually was able to grab it by the lip under the ice hole, and was very happy to have landed this superb largemouth bass that weighed in a exactly 5 lbs, despite being only 20 inches long.


A mandatory selfie with it using autoshoot on the camera that was prepped on my folding chair.



And released to it's home to hopefully spawn next spring and pass on those big fish genes.


A few days later, I made it up to fish 2 small lakes in Quebec's zone 9, which closes at the end of the month. Wasn't able to drill as many holes as I would have like due to auger blade issues, but did manage the winter's first smelt on one lake, while the friend I was with caught some perch on the other.

That ended my November 2019 fishing with only 4 outings. Still not bad considering the conditions.  More than happy to have landed some tasty crappies, and especially that giant largemouth bass, which was my second biggest on ice, and tied for 3rd heaviest ever.

Funny enough, 2 of my top 4 largemouth bass have come on ice, including my biggest ever last February. Not what one would expect from what is considered a warm water species, but I'll take it any day.

With another cold front moving in, hope to have some more spots with safe ice next week.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Montreal float tube fishing - season 2

As opposed to last season, where I posted periodic updates to my first float tube season as outings were done, for season 2, I decided to compile one blog post to encompass significant outings from the entire season.

With a late start to the season due to cold water, the first few exploratory outing I did with my float tube were not productive as far as catching any interesting fish. On the flip side, I was able to cover a good deal of water, and add / remove spots from my list. I also got some well needed practice with rods and lures of various lengths, weights, etc.

When bass season finally arrived in June, I was ready to hit a couple of my spots. For the most part, topwater lure fishing is about the only sort of bass fishing that interests me, so I brought along a couple of my favorite topwater lures on the float tube, casting with a medium light action spinning rod.

First few outings of the season proved to be excellent, the largemouth bass came to play each time out. One spot seemed to have a dominant Pop R bite, landed a good dozen or so mid sized bass, as well as a couple bigger ones.

This one was my season's biggest from the float tube, measured 20.5 inches and weighed 4 lbs, to me for a bit of a ride.



One of my other spots for largemouth bass wouldn't yield any hits on the Pop R. After switching to a larger Zara Spook, the bass came to play. I landed 5 of 6 bass one that lure during a few hours on that given outing, this one the biggest of the day.



Bass weren't the only target species. I planned to target muskies, pike, and possibly longnose gar from the float tube as well. Having cast big lures on heavy rods for muskies in the past, I was unsure about investing in musky gear before attempting to see how long I can cast with heavy gear from a float tube. Sure enough, I was able to last more that a couple hours with getting sore, even though the gear was lighter than conventional musky tackle. The position of sitting in the water with elbows at chest height, made it tough to retrieve heavier lures at high speed. As such, I was forced to downscale to slightly lighter tackle on my first outing. Move ended up paying off, I landed this thick pike on my last cast that day, couldn't manage to get my hand around it's neck. Still, I managed to land and release it safely, despite being a crazy fight from the float tube. Buzzbait got destroyed!


Eventually, I picked up a couple big topwater lures from my friend Mike, and decided to target muskies, the apex predator in our region. While I've caught many good sized muskies from Mike's boat and a few smaller ones from shore, targeting big muskies from a float tube is quite different.

For starters, trolling is out, as the float tube is one of the slowest watercraft, and muskies are normally trolled at higher speeds. Next, throwing and retrieving big lures for hours on end can get brutal on shoulders, especially when 3/4 of you body is submerged and and aren't able to move to distribute the weight as if you were standing on a boat or shore. And most important, there is no room on a tube for a big landing net, so landing muskies by hand is the only option.

Leading up to my planned outings, I got a crash course in topwater musky fishing from Mike. Various factors come into play when targeting muskies with topwater surface lures. Fishing weed covered shoals that drop off into deeper water nearby is a good place to start. Following to solunar clock is crucial when it comes to musky fishing, with majors and minors being just about the only productive periods to target.

For my first float tube outing targeting muskies, I chose to try a 9 foot medium action rod. Tied on a Topraider, which is a staple propbait style lure, and on of the most popular models used to catch muskies. The extra long rod butt actually makes it a breeze to retrieve the lure, so I can cast for hours without any problem.

Made my way out towards the shoal I intended to fish, plan was to be on my best potential spot as soon as the major period arrived at 10:45 AM. Took me a good 25 minutes to get there by flaot tube from where I launched, so I had ample time to practice casting the big lure with my long rod from the float tube. Sure enough, I got a nice topwater explosion within 5 minutes of hitting my spot, just as we were into the major.

Seeing the big jaws grab my lure, I knew this was the fish I'd been hoping to target. The musky made a run for deep water, which worked out well for me, as I much rather play it in open water, rahter than try dragging it through thick weeds.

A couple small jump, and lots of surface thrashing, there was no way I would be able to land the musky safely by hand until it was played out. With hundreds of razor sharp / double edged teeth and  big treble hooks stuck in it's jaws, the last thing I needed was to get impaled to a thrashing musky out on my float tube. Took a couple shots of the action.



I finally was able to get the musky subdued next to my float tube, luckily I was prepared and brought along some gloves to help land it.


At 42 inches long, it didn't come close to some of the giants I've landed in the past, but being that it was my first intended musky on a topwater lure, and the fact that I had caught, fought and landed it from my float tube, it has to be my most memorable freshwater catch of the season to date.

Needless to say, I was not able to get a selfie with the entire fish in the pics, but this head shot should give you an idea of what I was dealing with.




After the success on my initial musky outing, I was hoping for similar results in subsequent outings to the same area, using the same pattern. No such luck, I ended up getting skunked four outings in a row. Finally, on my fifth float tube outing for musky two months after my initial success, I was finally rewarded with a solid pike that hit my topraider in a massive topwater explosion. Not the biggest of pike, but it's big head could have fit on a fish twice that size.


After a few more outings in cooling water with limited success, I finally stored the float tube imd October. Looking forward to exploring many new waterways with it next season.

Fishing cooling water in fall - October 2019

Not much to report of October 2019, as all the Jewish holidays fall out in October this year, which didn't leave much time for fishing.

On the few outings I did try either from shore or from my float tube, I was not able to get into any smallmouth nor largemouth bass, very rare for that to happen time of year. Not a musky to be seen, and only predator I managed to hook was a pike in the 5 lb range that ended up destroying the sure lock snap on my leader and swam off with my lure a couple feet from shore.

Bottom feeders were a bit better. I had some blank outings for carp, as well as a couple productive ones. Some nice fall colors on these carp, and was able to put my friend Warren onto his first few carp as well.



I did have one very successful outing for lake sturgeon with my friend Mark. Though the sturgeon were being finicky, both bites we got landed my 2 biggest lake sturgeon, effectively beating my PB twice during the outing. Couple redhorse in the 5 to 6 lbs range were landed as well.


Will likely be storing the float tube and most of my bass/pike fishing for November, and likely dedicate the most of the rest of the season to finding cold water spots for carp, barring and invites from some friends.


Friday, September 27, 2019

Fishing Summer to fall transition - September 2019

September 2019 turned out to be on the warm side, but sure enough, fall finally arrived late in the month. With the water cooling down a good 10 to 15 degrees F, fishing has been sort of inconsistent. Some outings were a lot better than average for both numbers and size, others were dismal, especially for bass.

Starting off with bottom feeders, we managed to land a good number of carp in the mid to upper twenties, mainly night fishing short outings after dark.








Carp weren't the only big bottom feeders that came to play. Eli landed his biggest channel cat of the season.



And his first encounter with a redhorse sucker.


I landed my first lake sturgeon of the season, fishing with my friend Mark.


Moving on to predators, I stuck to my season's topwater theme, and spent a good bit of time trying to land another topwater musky, mainly from my float tube. Though I wasn't able catch any, I did end up with a nice pike with a massive head that exploded on the big topwater musky lure I was casting (Topraider) from my float tube.




I did have better success with muskies while fishing for musky from my friend Mike's boat. In a short 4 hour outing, we managed to hook three muskies. I landed two of them, some really nice color patterns and markings on these St Lawrence river muskies.




The third (and biggest of the day) jumped clear out of the water three times before throwing the hook, I wasn't able to prevent the jumps from the hyper aggressive beast.

Bass were the least co-operative of my target species, I few missed hits from largemouth bass, but I did manage to land another largemouth bass on the Pop R from my float tube.


As well as a few smaller to mid size smallmouth bass fishing with my friend Mark.



With Rosh Hashana coming up and the high holidays all in October this year, I will be doing significantly less fishing than I've got accustomed to over this past summer. Still hope to get in a few good outings, and maybe some monster fish if I'm lucky enough.

Wishing everyone a Shana Tova!







Monday, September 2, 2019

Summer fishing in Montreal - August 2019

August turned out to be another interesting month this summer. With my wife and younger ones out of town for much of the month, I took the time to explore many of the ideas I had for local venues, being that I'm "stuck" in town due to kaddish obligations. I made the best of the situation by fishing short outings on a frequent basis, almost daily.

My two goals were to catch some big carp, and to fish some big topwater lures for muskies, either from shore, or from my float tube.

Starting with carp, my plans to use giant boilies to try to eliminate catching smaller carp, did not work out, to say the least. There were two schools of thought regarding the plan, the first, being to fish giant tennis ball sized boilies after chumming standard boilies of the same flavour. The second, was to chum with giant boilies, in hope of having smaller carp move off the spot, leaving only big ones.

After many hours of trial end error, what I didn't factor into the equation, were channel catfish. Being that even a smaller catfish's mouth is way larger than that of a big carp, I managed to draw in a catch many medium sized cats in the 8 to 10 lbs range.


This went of throughout the month of August, will see what happens as water temp starts to cool off.

I still managed to catch some good carp, as well as put some friends onto some good carping, using my standard tactics.



Hoping the cooling weather will get me one of those early fall giants in the next few weeks...

The rest of the month's outings were dedicated to fishing big topwater lures for musky, figuring that some good sized pike may be in order as well.

I started off going out with my friend Mike, getting a couple lures from him, as well as a lesson of what to look for, as well as the wheres, whens, and hows of topwater musky fishing.

Hit some topwater success on that outing, I did catch a nice pike on a Topraider.


As well as a small musky caught while trolling.


A few days later, I put the knowledge to test. Headed out on my float tube in hopes of catching my first topwater musky of the season, and putting some teeth marks into my new topraider.


Sure enough, Mike's tips paid off, it didn't take long for me to trigger and explosive bite, hook, and land a nice 42 inch musky. It has to be my most memorable freshwater catch of the season so far, as I managed to land it by hand, after a short, but intense battle.



Turned out to be the only time I managed to get a topwater musky in August, despite a couple more short outings.  Being that a spent most of my good days chasing muskies, I neglected bass fishing most of the month. Did manage to hook a couple smaller ones, nothing too interesting.

As September has arrived, I'm looking forward to catching some bigger specimens of both predators and bottom feeders going on the feed to bulk up before winter.

Stay tuned...