Carp fishing is still a young activity that needs to be developed in Quebec and Canada. For a few years now, tournaments have been organized here and there. But recently Canada now has an official tournament, the Fish’n Canada Carp Cup, qualifying for the World Carp Classic which has been held every year for about twenty years. The Canadian tournament lasts 72 hours, brings together 23 teams from all over Canada and the spots are spread from Upper Canada Village in the south to Long Sault in the north, about 18kms on the St. Lawrence River. At this location, the river is dotted with huge islands and is at its widest about 6kms wide and about 20 to 30m (60 to 90′) deep.
With El Padawan we decide to participate together in the 2019 edition. Once the registration process is over, we start the preparation of the bait and the equipment. Me (PoissMan) who never fishes with zig, and has never even fished so I plan to have this weapon in my arsenal just in case. As far as the bait is concerned, I stay on my basic bait which is a balanced (snowman) of corn for the feeding hours of the fish from the end of the day until mid-morning. For the rest of the day, I plan my mount armed with a 15mm orange pop-up and a fake yellow fluo corn grain.
Concerning the baiting we agreed to prepare micro-grains and corn in quantity (45l and 60l). In addition, I am planning different kinds and sizes of pellets as well as babycorn and priming flour. This year’s training sessions will have been a real pain in the ass. Indeed, the large amount of snow fell this winter, a late and long end of winter and a sudden thaw made the river rise suddenly. One week before the start of the competition, we set off with the boat’s deep and sonar to explore the different spots. The fact that the deeper records the bathymetry mapping on the cell phone is a great help. We were thus able to classify the spots according to our preferences: those we absolutely want, those that are correct and those that we definitely don’t want. Indeed, the drawing of lots is done in 3 steps: we draw the order of the teams, then each team draws a first ball, if it fits perfectly, if not it draws a second one and must keep this second one whatever it is. We were still able to cover the twenty or so spots during the day. Spotting is always an important part of fishing, both to save time but also to soak up the places and to be able to refine your choices according to the weather.
Here we are at last, Wednesday 29th May. We meet at the Long Sault campground with El Padawan while waiting for the draw which will take place in the evening at the McIntosh hotel in Morrisburg at 7pm. While waiting for the time, we make the last checks of the equipment and take advantage of the opportunity to fish a little bit at the same time to warm up the net! In the evening, we meet everyone at the meeting point and the atmosphere is friendly. Once some announcements are made concerning regulatory changes and a possible expansion of the tournament, we go to the draw. Christian and I inherit the 18th position out of 23 teams. We’ve known better. But still. At the end, at the end of the suspense we draw one of the best spots: the pines (the pines in English because there are several pines on the spot). It’s a spot that is regularly fished all year round. After the draw, we will eat before going to bed. The night is going to be short but the excitement is there!
5 am the alarm clock rings, the day rises and we leave to put the boat in the water at the boat trip close to the spot. We take the opportunity to load the equipment on the boat because the spot is 100m from the parking and the way to get there is very muddy, impracticable even with a wheelbarrow. Once all the camp installed, we jump in the boat and probe the spot precisely. The spot is facing south, a bridge and a dike at 150m (450′) on our right. It is a spot occupied by a team, facing us the open water, with a break from the edge and an average depth of 5m (15′) and a bay on our left. The bottom is clean and hard with some grassy spots. A vein of current comes from the right to the left passing 50-60m (150-180′) from the shore. A nice spot in short!
At 8am sharp, the tournament starts and the lines are in the water, we start to feed as it should be. After not even an hour of fishing, first fish in the net. And off we go! Several teams chain the fishes during this first day. We, since our morning fish, no more hits. We continue to work on our spot and we agree to wait until Friday morning to see how the spot will react at night.
At the second weigh-in, we go straight into the middle of the ranking. The difficulty is not to make fish but to increase the average weight. Indeed, the classification is done according to the average weight of the 4 biggest fishes. The podium is played at minimum 50kg (110lbs).
During the three days of fishing we will vary the approaches according to the evolution of the weather and the behaviour of the fish: fishing in the current, in the bay; in the bottom, in snowman, in pop-up, etc. Fun, sharing and not taking ourselves too seriously while being competitive are our watchwords for the weekend!
During the three days of fishing we will vary the approaches according to the evolution of the weather and the behaviour of the fish: fishing in the current, in the bay; in the bottom, in snowman, in pop-up, etc. As for the set up, we remain faithful to our habits. For El Padawan, it will be mounting with lead in derivation with a lead of 5 to 7 ounces (140 to 200g) according to the sector. The whole is followed by a spinner rig (the swivel which allows the hook to turn is replaced by a braided sheath with obviously a part close to the unsheathed hook). The whole thing is cut from its famous big mac trio, namely a pop-up between 2 big grains of corn (Peruvian corn). Baiting level Christian does it mainly with his “famous” corn (he always does it better than me, I don’t know how he does it), tiger nuts and micro grains (bird food). He likes to bait copiously what is a good thing in rivers and streams (I’m more lazy!!!! Ahahahah).
As for me, I also fish in a diversion rig but preceded by a head of line (leader) of at least 5m (15 feet). As for weight, I use the same ones as El Padawan, even if I’m a fan of “the heavier the better”. My first determining factor is the current, the second is the fishing distance. I climb as high as my rods can take it. As far as mounting is concerned, I alternate my two approaches: D-rig mounting in fluorocarbon balanced (snowman) corn (fluo yellow fake corn from Franck Warwick’s range) on feeding time and pop-up sticky peach-pepper baits in orange with the same fake corn grain as for a snowan mounting, on a classic hair mount but made with cheerful braid, the rest of the time to annoy them a little. Baiting level, spombé it’s super precise but it’s hard for the body and with my fly musculature I get tired quickly (yes yes I’m just over 30 years old!!!! Ahahah). So I try to compensate with a more complete priming than just the seed. I mix gooster flour from Decathlon, pellet and honeysuckle flour, pellets of different kinds and sizes (red krill, betaine, babycorn), corn, bird food and tiger nuts.
This is the first time we fish this spot and our approach is successful because we catch a lot of fish. The problem is that we are struggling to get over 25lbs (13kg), except the first part of the ranking is played with at least 100lbs in 4 fishes. The other problem which there comes from the hazards of the draw, it is the situation of the spot. We are “stuck” between two other teams. One at 50m (150′) upstream on our right and one downstream on the left at about 100m (300′). At the last weigh-in on Saturday, the tension rises and the pressure increases. We are around the 11th place. The podium is still possible, we need at least 3 30 lbs (13,6kg) to integrate it or at least get close to it. The downstream spot managed to get fish in these weights and to integrate the podium. Even if they have the weight advantage of being a wing spot, everything is still possible! Finally, we spend the last 24 hours fishing the entrance to the bay for me and in the bay for El Padawan. For my part, I swapped my snowman and pop-up for a fluorocarbon D-Rig mount with an orange wafter with a biological tracer on it from Carpballs Canada to excite them even more.
Despite an increase in pace and weight of the fish we are struggling to climb the rankings. The fight is tight. The last night we finally manage to get some fish into the bay. El Padawan makes there a fish and a breakage. But we limit the weight of the fish. The next day (Sunday) midday, it is the end of the tournament. We put away the material, load it on the boat and go to the boat descent to load it in our vehicles. The competition was exhausting. We didn’t sleep much and we are happy to be back. El Padawan has to go home for family obligations. For my part I’m staying until the end to see the final standings. All the teams meet at the McIntoch Motel for the final word and the trophy presentation. We finish 11th out of 23 teams with 97.02lbs. A great place for a first, we are proud of us! The competition was tough, the first and the second of the ranking is separated by 0.96 lbs or 430g… In the end, one team withdrew, we were 22 to compete and everyone made at least one fish. The organizers are delighted, the fishermen too.
The Fish’n Canada Carp Cup is a great event and well organized. The Canadian television channel Fish’n Canada has signed a partnership to organize and broadcast a summary of the competition every year for a few years to support the development of this fishery in Canada. The event will continue to grow. The wish of the organizers and the anglers is that the tournament can welcome at least 30 to 50 teams. At the beginning, 2 years ago, there were 16 teams. This year, there were 23 spots and there was a waiting list to register beyond that. Moreover, the bigger the event gets, the more it will help to spread this passion and attract new partners. All this on a territory as magical as Canada. What more could you ask for! We had a great time, so see you next year!
Team Carpe Aventure. 🙂
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