After seeing my friend Francois successfully catch both Shortnose AND Atlantic Sturgeon in one day on the Kennebecasis River in NB, I knew I had to plan a trip! Everything came together on the weekend of September 21st, when both Alex and I were able to get the Monday off. The plan was to drive down to my cottage Friday night, pick up the boat, and then drive through Maine on Saturday to get to NB. Unfortunately, I couldn't find my trailer registration so we had to make a 3 hour detour to avoid crossing the border. Friday evening and night would consist of a bit of saltwater fishing, and the rest of the weekend would be devoted to sturgeon fishing and other touristy stuff.
After a long drive, we finally made it to the coast and had about 1 hour of fishing time before the sun was supposed to go down. We made the best of it and caught some Pollock, Shorthorn Sculpin, and Atlantic Tomcod. The Pollock were the highlights and only lifers for us that evening :)
Next I tried scouring some tidepools for Lumpfish and maybe even a Clingfish. The tide had dropped enough to make the search worthwhile, but the targets were nowhere to be found! All I found were a couple of Threespined Stickleback.
After nighttime had fallen, we made our way to the third and final spot of the day: a pier where Francois had managed to catch a Wrymouth. We saw plenty of Mackerel and Squid, but, once again, the target was nowhere to be seen. I did manage to hook one new species, but it got snagged on a ladder halfway up the pier. Thus, I had to climb down into the darkness, untangle the rig, and successfully land my lifer White Hake!
The harrowing climb down the ladder ended our night and we headed to an epic free campsite right on a beach on the Bay of Fundy! It was dark when we arrived, but we woke up to this awesome view:
The only thing on the schedule for the new day was Sturgeon fishing, one of my favourite groups of fishes. We drove to the boat ramp I had marked down, put the boat in, and headed to the waypoints some friends had sent me. The water was shallow and weedy, not at all what I was used to for Sturgeon fishing. I was not confident in the area and decided that we should fish elsewhere, so we headed upriver to a known Sturgeon wintering hole.
This spot seemed much more promising; I was marking tons of fish on the graph! We began rigging our lines and casted out our first rigs while beginning on our second ones. While tying my second rig, I turned around and saw my first rod bent over! I fought the fish to the boat and saw that I had caught what looked like an Atlantic Sturgeon, one of the rarest fish I've ever seen. I sent out a couple messages and the ID was quickly confirmed, I had really landed a true mythical beast!
The adrenaline from that catch slowly wore off, and we returned to attentively watching our rigs. The mix of tidal action, current, and high winds made bite detection quite difficult. We decided that two of our rigs would need to be fished straight down and the other two would be held by each of us. Soon after, Alex felt some bites and reeled up her first American Eel! I was happy she finally got to get the full Eel slime experience :p
Needless to say, we spent the next 15 minutes or so scraping the slime off our hands. We then untangled her rig and got back to bottom fishing. It wasn't long before Alex noticed the rod behind me bouncing. I set the hook and fought up something that felt small; I figure it would be another Eel. After bring it up to the boat, I saw that it was another Sturgeon! The blunter snout made the ID obvious, I had caught a Shortnose Sturgeon :)
Now it was time for Alex to get her Sturgeon. Unfortunately, after this catch, the incoming tide picked up and brought tons of Tomcod with it. This meant that all of our rigs were devoured almost as soon as they hit the bottom (usually within 30 seconds). She caught one more Eel, a Yellow Perch, and dozens of Tomcod... but no Sturgeon :(
The sun started going down and we had to end our efforts before it became to dark to find our way back to the ramp. We spent the evening driving to the town of St-Martin and found an abandoned road to camp on. The next morning was our final bit of time out east, and we spent it exploring some nearby sea caves and enjoying the best seafood chowder I've ever had :)