Avi and I met up with Patrick at 11:00 AM, and headed out to our spot on the St Lawrence river near Montreal. Within 1 hour, Avi was on to his first sturgeon of the day. After having a bit of trouble fighting a big one last year, he had a better idea of how to effectively fight a big, powerful fish without tiring too much. A few minutes later, he was happily holding his first sturgeon of the season.
A nice 49 inch sturgeon to start the day for Avi, he was able to relax a bit having caught a nice sized sturgeon early on.
I hooked the next sturgeon not too long after. After initially running towards the boat, it decided to head off towards Quebec city. Had to muscle it a bit more than usual, and eventually got it running back our way. The big sturgeon put on one of the best sturgeon battles I've enjoyed, it simply wouldn't give up. Eventually, the strong fishing rod with a heavy backbone got the better of the fish, and the sturgeon surfaced. Patrick netted it after a couple more feeble attempts to dive back to the 35 foot mark where it was hooked.
A chunky 55 inch sturgeon, easily weighed over 40 lbs:
About half hour later, I hooked into another sturgeon, which ran straight at us again. Offering almost no resistance as I hauled it out of the depths, I initially thought it wa a smaller one. Pumping the rod, I got a glimpse of the sinker. Before I had a chance to see the fish, it shot straight out of the river like a missile, within a couple feet of the boat. That's when I knew I was on to another big sturgeon. Another decent battle, but less intense than the first fish. This one measured 55 inches as well, but noticeably thinner.
Fighting big fish and getting a good picture are always great, but often forgotten are the proper handling, and especially release techniques. The best way to safely release big fish like sturgeons is to have a big, solid cradle. The fish recovers in the water safely without being overwhelmed, and when it's ready to go, you simply let it out and watch it swim away. Very rewarding to watch it head back home to grow bigger and fight again another day.
After catching another couple small sturgeon under 40 inches, I hooked into another decent fish. I handed the rod to Avi, as he was having no hits after his first fish. Another good battle, and he landed this 48 incher:
It was getting late in the day, and the bite seemed to have slowed a bit, when Patrick's rod went off. He offered it to me, but I let Avi have another run at it. This fish just stayed on bottom, playing tug of war with Avi. I had a hunch that it may have been a very big catfish from the way it was fighting. I kept suggesting that Avi put some more muscle on it to bring it up, but he was starting to wear from his previous battles. About 10 minutes into the battle, I Avi's back started hurting, and with the fish about halfway up the water column under the boat, I took the rod from him, just to try and force it up to get a glimpse. Took less than 20 seconds, and I had another big sturgeon blowing air bubbles near the surface. Another big one in the net, turned out to be Avi's biggest aver, again at 55 inches, with a decent girth as well.
It isn't often that the 3 biggest fish of the all measure 55 inches, but I guess that's fishing. With 5 of our 7 fish for the day going over 4 feet long, we definitely hit what we had hoped. Patrick came through again as expected, you simply can't beat fishing for big fish with an expert fishing guide at the top of his game for the target species.
Sturgeon season in zone 8 around Montreal closes on October 31st, Patrick still has a few dates open for guided outings until then. Contact him by clicking: http://freshwaterphil.com/contactpatrick.cfm