Last year I received a phone call about presenting seminars at a new trade show taking place in Saskatchewan in spring 2015, the Regina Outdoor Sports Show. As an Ontario native, the thought was very exciting to me as I had never been any further west than Manitoba. I love my home waters and fishing in South Eastern Ontario but I also love to travel, meet anglers and learn about fishing around the country. Canada is beautiful and I hope to see so much more of it! My favourite part about this trip was that the organizers of the show also factored in a day on the ice with two local fishing experts: Jason and Jeff Matity of Matity’sGetFishing.com. It could have been our incredible day on the water, or the massive fish we caught and released, but I instantly became friends with these two guys and I knew right away they are as genuine as they come.
I’ve had a lot of experiences fishing with people I didn’t know beforehand, for example: in tournaments with random pairings or taking the chance and going fishing with someone who invited me. While I have met so many wonderful anglers over the years who have become friends, I can’t say that all experiences have been as positive. I’ve laughed when guys have tried to show me how to lip a bass during a tournament, or get a little offended when I suggest where we should fish or tactics we should try when we aren’t catching much on the same presentation….all…..day….long. Fishing has been a part of my life since a young age and being female has never held any relevance in my mind to the act of fishing and catching fish. Certainly there is a larger demographic of male anglers, but I hope to reach more and more women and show them inspiration through my adventures to get out there and try it!
Meeting up with Jason and Jeff on Thursday morning, we hit the ice right away. They were thrilled to show me a Saskatchewan ice fishing adventure and I felt honoured to get to spend a day on the ice with them. Our passion for fishing was the instant connection that made it feel as though we had known each other long before. I soaked up the experience and their knowledge and tactics like a sponge. Jeff didn’t hesitate to get me rigging the 7″ sardines we used as bait for our first targeted species of the day: northern pike. It made me smile to get out there and get my hands dirty and be treated entirely equally. Before heading on this trip, all I hoped for was to catch a nice pike as I had seen so many photos online of the monsters that come from Saskatchewan. To be honest I was just thrilled to get out on the water because usually I don’t get the opportunity while I am at a trade show.
We set the sardines up on quick strike rigs with steel leaders and 20lb Sufix braid main line. Although we were using Tip-ups, they were the HT Ice Rigger Tip-Ups which are designed for a rod and reel combo. Jeff and Jason prefer using medium/medium-heavy rods and 2000/2500 sized reels on the ice to accommodate the long runs (lots of line) and using the rods to battle it out with these large and powerful fish. They find it much more effective than setting the hook by pulling on the line and hand-bombing these larger fish in (the typical ‘tip-up’ method). After set up, we sat in Jason’s Tacoma which was parked on the 3-4 feet of solid black ice and watched the action on his underwater camera which had a wireless connection to his iPad. Jason was the media guy during this adventure, capturing the moments on video (which I will hopefully be able to share with you later) and snapping some great photos too. We were lucky to have a gorgeous bright sunny and warm day for February weather. Moments after settling in, we saw two pike swim into view on camera and a few seconds later the first flag popped up! Wow, that didn’t take long!
At the sight of the largest pike I had ever seen, I wanted to get a video for everyone back home, which I posted on my social media pages:
Release video of my first Saskatchewan northern pike!
At that moment, I said to Jason and Jeff:
“My trip is made!”
What an experience! After pike-slimed high fives, we reset the line and kept on fishing. I was in complete awe over landing the biggest pike of my lifetime! The best part of catching fish of this calibre is releasing them to breed on and be caught again. Trophy fisheries don’t just happen, we have to take care of them to keep them that way. It didn’t take long for fish number two to grace us with her presence, a 38″ northern that Jason got on video! Still a beast in my books! We quickly released her.
Just when I thought things couldn’t get any better, I got to battle it out with another unbelievable monster pike! This time I got Jeff in the photo with me (above). I was losing my mind over the size of these fish! This third fish was a 43-incher with a 19.5″ girth. These big girls were on the feed and ready to breed soon. All three fish were averaging 20 pounds each! What a morning! We got off the ice and hit Subway for lunch, then stopped by the Fort Qu’Appelle Fish Culture Station, where Jeff works as a biologist.It was fascinating to see various species of trout in the early stages of their life. This is the only hatchery in the province and if you live in Saskatchewan or visit you should definitely check this place out! The hatchery stocks fish for public angling opportunities.
My favourite part about the hatchery was seeing this stunning female brown trout broodstock fish.
It was great to visit the hatchery and meet some of the guys who work there tending to these fish every day: Nelson, Chad, Kiley and of course Jeff. I really enjoyed the tour and I certainly hope to visit again next time I am in Saskatchewan. After leaving the hatchery, we hit the ice for the remainder of the day to target some walleye and cisco. Walleye season is closed back home until opener in May, so I was excited at another opportunity to chase one of my favourite fish through the ice during my visit.
The afternoon weather had changed quite a bit with a drop in temperature and clouds moving in. We fished with rods and reels (no tip-ups this time) jigging Rapala Snap Raps tipped with minnow heads and cisco eyes, as well as using small jigs. We each landed several walleye, cisco and I also scored another pike! Darkness came all too quickly and the adventure was over, but I was grinning from ear to ear after such a fantastic day on the ice with two wonderful anglers! Thank you Jeff and Jason for showing me a world class experience! I had an amazing time and can’t wait to be back.
With one day before the show, Friday was ‘media day’ and started off an in-studio interview at CBC Radio Saskatchewan. Stefani Langenegger asked some great questions and the staff were so kind. Thank to those of you back home that tuned in! James Turner from the Regina Outdoor Sports Show drove me to my interview and to check out some local tackle shops before we were off to my second interview at Big Dog 92.7.
After a busy day, I got my Powerpoint presentations all ready to go for my seminars on Saturday and Sunday. There was a great line-up of speakers with topics on both hunting and fishing. I tried to catch some of each presenters seminar throughout the weekend.
When I wasn’t doing seminars, I was hanging out at the Mainline RV booth, an Alumacraft dealer from Rosetown, Saskatchewan. They had a big display at the show with a variety of Alumacraft boats on hand. Going to a show like this is a great opportunity to get up close and personal with these boats and see the fine details that make them top notch! I had fun giving lots of tours, answering questions and of course, talking fishing!
Needless to say, I had a fantastic time in Saskatchewan and hope to be visiting again soon! Thank you to James and Paul from the show who made sure everything ran smoothy, Jeff and Jason for an unforgettable fishing experience and to each and every angler that came by my seminar or stopped me to say hello. It blows me away that I hopped on a plane and traveled to a different time zone, but still met lots of anglers that I connect with daily through social media.