I'd never been to a fishing show before, so I figured I would check out the salon de la peche show at place Bonaventure this afternoon. I wasn't planning on buying anything, just looking around to see what goes on at this sort of show.
I arrived aroung 2:00 PM, paid my $11 entry fee (I got a $1 coupon online before visiting), and started the tour, realizing I forgot to bring the recorder to shoot some Youtube footage.
Walked in to see Patrick Campeau giving a sort of tips and tricks seminar. He had a decent crowd aroung him, mainly elder / retired people. Not too interesting if you ask me, so I kept moving along.
Passed a few exhibitions selling lures, gear, t shirts, but the main exhibitors were boats, vehicles and outfitters. I guess that's where the big bucks are at, and they (the boat guys) need more floor space than anyone else. They must have had half to two thirds of the entire floor space. As I'm in no position to spend that sort of $$$ on a boat, I strolled through the outfitters area. Stopped at two booths:
1) I checked out the guy at Domaine Shannon as I have a free trip there this summer, so I figured I would chat him up. Nothing too interesting that I didn't already know, so I took his brochure and map and moved along.
2) I checked out the guys from the Mistissini reserve / lake, I'vew always been fascinated by the place and would love to head out there. Turns out that it's accessible by paved road from Montreal. Down side is that my boat is probably not suitable for a lake that size (100 miles long), and the lodges in the area are way too expensive at about $400 per person per day.
As I kept moving along, I realized most exhibitors are there to move there products, and as I wasn't there to shop, I looked to see what I can find that was different. Here is what I found interesting.
1) I stopped by a booth that is run by a fellow that runs a fly fishing service for underpriviledged kids to keep them off the streets in Verdun (Point de Mire). They organize fly fishing trips for about 12 kids at a time, take them out fly fishing with instructors. It's some sort of charity project, the guy tried to sell me a bag of coffee, but as I'm no cofee drinker, I gave him a small donation. That was all I spent all afternoon.
2) I then hit up the Quebec ministry of natural resources booth, the guys seemed very bored. After all, who's going to a fishing show to talk to conservation officers? I suggested setting up a program where I could share profits with them if I put them on to poachers through their S.O.S Braconnage hotline, the guy said he would love to but it wasn't going to happen. We did have a good laugh though.
3) I then checked out the Ontario national parcs booth, guy seemed very bored as well. Turns out he is one of their top guys as well as heading there conservation dept. I believe he was based in Algonquin Park, but I'm not sure. Anyway, I drilled him with all sorts of questions I wasn't sure were fact or myth, here are some interesting things I found out.
a) They occasionally do undercover stings, where the guy will pose as a fisherman, though he might not even have any bait on his hook. If he notices any poachers, he'll radio for backup to come in so he remains undercover.
b) Drinking alcohol in parks (except camp sites) or any public area in Ontario is prohibited. That being said, they'll usually just issue a warning for beer unless someone is completely wasted, though they have the right to fine violators.
c) Drinking in a boat is exactly the same as drinking in a car. It is prohibited to have alcohol on a boat unless it has sleeping quarters and is anchored at the time. The driver can be charged simply because he has access to alcohol while driving even though he hasn't had any, the passengers can be charged for drinking in a motor vehicle. He did seem pretty confident that anyone caught with alcohol on a boat was an automatic fine, not much way for leniency. I guess I'll be switching to water next summer...
d) Conservation officers and park rangers have the same authority as police officers, bottom line is don't mess with them.
Not much else interesting, got some Sepaq brochures, walked around a bit more and finally left as I was kind of bored. Total time spent there was about 1.5 hours. I don't think I'll be returning next year, once is more than enough.
What I did find strange as a carper, is that there was not 1 booth or even 1 item at the entire show dedicated to carp fishing. I know it's not the most popular species here, but given the number of European and Asian immigrants in Montreal, I would have though there would be at least one. I guess no one in that field needs to waste their time or money.
Show runs until Sunday Mar 1st, admission is $12, but you can get a $1 rebate by visitng their web site.