My Multi-Species Fishing Obsession

The amount of variety in fishing has always fascinated me. Half of the excitement for me is not always knowing what you’re going to catch. Growing up in the small community of Baie Verte, along the east coast of New Brunswick, there was never a shortage of the variety of fish to target. Wild Brook Trout, Sea Run Trout, Smelt, Mackerel, Flounder, Eels, Striped Bass, Cunner, and Mummichog are a few of my favourite that can be easily found near my childhood homestead.

Following my career led me to the ‘big city’ where my fishing took a hiatus for a number of years, until the urge grew too stong to resist. l found myself longing for the saltwater coast but had to suffice with fresh water rivers and lakes, which to my surprise held bigger fish than l had ever seen let alone caught. My first encounter in a small lake near my house with a chain pickerel left me with a bloody thumb and a taste for more. Discovering these toothy critters were savage but relatively easy to catch made for hours of enjoyment. It wasn’t until l had the opportunity to be guided by my friend and mentor, Robert McNeil, who is responsible for introducing me to the toxic obsession of Muskie, putting me on my first, second and third Muskie with sizes from 34”,38” to 40” fish. l became enthralled with this elusive species which, apparently according to DFO, didn’t exist. After catching my personal best at 48.5”x 22” weighing approximately 34lbs, l can assure you they are very real…

People often ask me when is fishing season and when is it over ? To which l reply never… l have managed to catch a fish consecutively every month for 53 months (fingers crossed). Now some months are tougher than others; but if you know where to look and what to target, it’s totally possible. l consider myself a multi-species angler for there isn’t any one particular fish l obsess over ( anymore ). I enjoy catching them all; Catfish, Suckers, Eel, Smelts, Hake, Flatfish, Tommy Cod, Sturgeon, Mackerel, Pollock, Cunner, Cod, Yellow Perch, White Perch, Sunfish, Fall Fish, Chub, Brook Trout, Lake Trout, Landlocked Salmon, Burbot, Whitefish, Smallmouth Bass, Large- mouth Bass, Striped Bass, Pickerel, Muskie, and discovering new species is a challenge and my obsession.

Whether it’s from a boat, kayak, raft, on shore or in waders standing in a river, being eaten by bugs trugging a brook, standing on a rock, a dock, a log or on ice, in the snow, on a beach in the rain, sunshine or wind, as long as there is fishing involved l’m not hard to persuade to go, if i’m not already gone… Through my fishing experi- ence, l have met a lot of interesting people, made friends and close buddies, seen amazing places, witness crazy ongoings and doings to which l could never had experienced or even able to explain, without having the privi- lege to go fishing… Let’s hope to make more great memories…

Fish on…Fish East !

Nathan Chapman – Fish East Contributor