I began this blog nearly 3 years ago (August 27th, 2009), and never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined the stories it would contain, or where life would lead me. The blog started off as a diary of my fishing adventures, a place I could share them and from time-to-time read back and re-live those moments. I write these stories just as they happen, and often find myself out on the water with the words of my next blog coming to mind as the adventures unfold. I am really excited about writing this one!
Since I was 5, fishing has been something I have loved. I was introduced by a family friend, Arnold McNeil. After a bass and a few walleye, I was hooked and back at Twin Oaks Lodge every summer of my childhood to fish with Arnold. That’s how it started for me.
Myself, Arnold and my brother fishing on Lake Kashwakamak on one of our fishing trips
Twin Oaks Lodge on Lake Kashwakamak was the very first place I fished. It wasn’t just a place to sleep, somewhere to eat and fish – it was an experience. The people and the atmosphere surrounding it made the memories lasting ones. I can still remember the big ice cream freezer, and running wild in the woods with my brother catching frogs and turtles, and that feeling of reuniting with friends that seemed more like family each year. The fishing was the reason for being there, but the people were the reason for going back. A lot of these memories came back to me after my recent trip to New Brunswick.
I was invited as a co-host on one of my favourite fishing shows – Fly Nation TV!!! As if things couldn’t get any better, it was an Atlantic salmon adventure for 10 days in New Brunswick, and it was a fly fishing trip! Excitement is an understatement! Time flew by so quickly, and before I knew it I was boarding a plane in Toronto to Moncton and meeting up with the crew I’d be spending my longest trip away from home with. I had no idea what I was in store for!
The moment we arrived in New Brunswick, the filming began. I am normally the one to take photos, but the guys from Vantage Point Media (that produce Fly Nation TV) had everything completely covered! I snapped a few photos on my phone (like the one below), but they didn’t miss a moment of capturing our experience as it happened. So, here’s the part where I introduce them 🙂
Victor Cooper, Yoshi Aoki and myself – these guys were exceptional to work with!
As my first time hosting a show, I was walking on a cloud. I was so excited, but also a bit nervous. This was something I had always wanted to do, and it was really happening! I felt completely comfortable with these guys right away and I was able to be myself and just live in the moment. Victor and Yoshi did such an amazing job of capturing the real experience as it happened. They are both avid anglers as well, so they didn’t miss a thing because they knew exactly what was going on.
Our crew also consisted of two New Brunswickers – Serge Collin and Jacques Héroux. Serge planned out our entire adventure (BRAVO!) as he is involved with tourism in New Brunswick. Jacques is a local fishing guru and famous for fly tying. It was very evident that both guys were proud and knowledgeable about New Brunswick. They did an excellent job of showing us around!
Restigouche River Lodge
First stop was the Restigouche River Lodge on the Restigouche River. The river flows in the north-west of New Brunswick and in the south-east of Quebec. It was the clearest water I’ve ever seen in my life, and is surrounded by rolling hills, evergreens, wildlife, and is filled with Atlantic salmon. We were welcomed by the staff, unpacked and then went fishing! What a start! 🙂
Yoshi Aoki photo
I can’t give away all the fishing details, because you will have to see the show 🙂 But I will share a shot of my first Atlantic salmon!!
Yes, we did a ‘kiss the fish’ challenge and Serge had to smooch the salmon!
The Restigouge River Lodge was a great start to an amazing trip. Wake up, eat, fish, eat, fish, eat, sleep and repeat! What could be better? The food was fantastic and we had each meal at a big dinner table with some of the staff, and other guests where we told our fishing stories from the day, and aside from fishing that was one of my favourite parts about being there! We got to know each other and laughed until our sides hurt. I slept like a baby each night!
Wilson’s Sporting Camps
Our next stop was Wilson’s Sporting Camps
on the Miramichi River, which is east-central New Brunswick. Wilson’s is stunning! From the moment we arrived, I knew we were in for a great adventure. The lodge sits high up, surrounded by the cabins all overlooking the gorgeous Miramichi River.
Yoshi Aoki photo
We spent our time on the river with Karl Wilson, a fifth generation at the lodge and Ernie, who has been on the river for 70 years. These 2 guys had great stories to tell, and valuable knowledge to share. I am so thankful we met them!
Karl took us on a special trip for sea-run brook trout – and I landed my first one ever (on a dry fly too)!
I’ll never forget the time spent at Wilson’s. Enjoying a piece of paradise on the Miramichi with guides who literally grew up on the river. They radiate with their passion for fishing, and passing along their knowledge. What an opportunity.
Upper Oxbow Outdoor Adventures
The Upper Oxbow
was our last stop, and they were very excited to have us! They are located on the Little Southwest Miramichi where they have been since 1823. Our guide Brett, took us to the most beautiful fishing locations I have ever seen!
Sneaking up on some Atlantics with a dry fly… this place was unreal! Yoshi Aoki photo
Brett took us through some rugged country to get to breath-taking scenery, and what was even more breath-taking was the amount of Atlantic salmon I saw. Those images will be in my mind forever!
Brett, myself and Victor behind the camera
Another incredible place I’ll never forget; haunting images of fish stacked in pools, the crazy treks through the woods to get there, looking down from big rock cliffs, the stories and laughter and ending off the day sitting by the campfire with other guests, and visiting with the staff too – it was nothing short of wonderful!
There is so much left to tell about this adventure, but it’s hard to fit it all into just one blog. It was the opportunity of a lifetime to be able to experience all of these lodges, the hospitality, the locations, the FISHING and the new friends. Not to mention, experiencing the production of one of the best shows around! Thankfully it will be all be jammed-packed into a one hour episode of Fly Nation coming soon! I will keep you posted on that… but until then, here’s the TRAILER 🙂
Thanks Yoshi, Serge, Jacques and Victor – for an amazing 10 days! Can’t wait to see the episode!!