To say that Pete and Angelo are technique-freaks or perfectionists of their fishing craft would be an understatement. They thrive on the intricacies of all-things-gear oriented.
Parabolic curves of rods, drag systems in reels, shapes and material make-up of weights, sharpening angles of hook-points, and the list goes on.
In fact, the list spills out and beyond just fishing gear. Their Ram tow vehicle for instance… all the latest features and options means they get to the launch with boat in tow… safely on every trip. Things like Self-leveling air suspension is a must for any serious boater.
And of course, we can’t forget the boat, the vehicle which they call their office.
If you recall, a couple of seasons ago Ang and Pete started the transformation of their stock Princecraft Expedition 200, turning it into a fully customized hand crafted beast they now refer to as FNC1. We’re sure this proves just how serious they are about their fishing…
Bottom line is, by being technique freaks, it allows the boys to better their fishing craft and enables them to convey their new-found knowledge to you, the Fish’n Canada audience.
So… what does this have to do with this episode? There’s a new sheriff in Princeville Quebec (home of Princecraft Boats) and Ang & Pete are going to finally get a chance to meet him; he’s Steve Langlais, the new president of Princecraft Boats. During his transition to Princecraft, he had heard through the grapevine about the Fish’n Canada customized rig. He said “guys… this is something I have to see… and by the way, can we go do some fishing too?”, Pete & Ang’s kind of guy!
Since Princecraft is based out of Quebec, a perfect meeting place would be the Kenauk Nature Reserve, situated just north of the Municipality of Montebello. Kenauk is located in the Outaouais region of Quebec, a 33,000-km2 area which is made up of 80% forest, more than 20,000 lakes, numerous rivers and two reservoirs. Located close to Ottawa and Montreal, Outaouais region is unique with its proximity between city and nature, making it easily accessible.
As for Kenauk, this place is like no other!
One of the things that the boys could not wait to show Steve was the rubber checker-plate flooring… that’s right… rubber. It’s extremely comfortable to walk on, totally skid resistant, it’s simple to clean up, and to our knowledge, never been offered by any boat manufacturer. It is functional and looks awesome too!
“Since I’ve been a muscle car lover and a “speed-freak” my entire life” says Ang “FNC1 wasn’t gonna be a slug on the water… trust me. With all the modifications we made, we inadvertently added extra weight. So, a massive “weight-loss” program came into play. Without sacrificing any structural integrity, we trimmed the fat so to speak, and when pushed by a big Mercury Verado Pro 250, she came out as a fire breathing monster”!
The cockpit of the custom Princecraft is command central. Outfitted with all of the latest Merc Smart gauges and slick console mounted shifter, it’s the heart of FNC.
The final thing they wanted to show the guys was the electronics, as well as give them a few tips on how to use them. FNC is equipped with 3 Garmin 7600 series GPSMap touchscreen units, all networked together to give the absolute best fish finding technology, as well as displaying the tiny hotspots that fish seek cover in. These “super computers”, show detailed 1-foot contours with LakeVu maps, they have the ability to scan with SideVu, ClearVu, and even can scan in front of, behind, and pretty much everywhere in between the boat with innovative technology like Panoptix.
However, before the guys were to meet up with Steve and JP they had to give their rig the ultimate make-over to “clean-er’ up”.
“We decided to take the rig,” says Pete “to one of the top graphic design companies in the business, ‘Ink Your Ride’ in Barrie Ontario. They eagerly took on the task of taking our rig and giving it a face-lift. Ang and I felt that subtle would be nice but it still had to have a mean feel to it”.
When you let artists like these graphic experts at a project like FNC1… the sky is the limit.
TIME TO HEAD OUT
With our stunning makeover complete, it was time to head to Kenauk and let Steve, as well as JP from Princecraft, give FNC1 the once over. With this being Steve’s first encounter with our boat, Ang and Pete had no idea what to expect!
“That said,” says Ang “If they’re nice to us, then maybe we’ll get them out for a fish on one of the many lakes that Kenauk has to offer”
Our home base for this trip is the Papineau chalet on Papineau Lake. Unlike most of the lakes in Kenauk, this lake has no boat and motor restrictions, making it the perfect display room for FNC1.
With a marina situated just down the shoreline from our chalet, we had the perfect spot to show the guys all of our modifications.
“Now, Ang and I know,” says Pete “that although JP and Steve came along to visit us and our big rig, we also know that both of them are fishing nuts! They did not come to Kenauk just to go boating… unfortunately, the immediate weather forecast was nothing short of brutal. When we snuck out of our calm protected bay to look at the main lake, it was big wind and rain, with the possibility of sleet and snow. Add to that, the fact that our intended fishing area was about 5 miles through this nasty stuff in the big water of Papineau Lake”.
The guys decided not to put Steve and JP through that misery. There are a ton of better options on the Kenauk property.
Plan B was to find a small protected body of water and Jamie Pistilli, a local fishing guide from the Ottawa area, and a guide in Kenauk, had a perfect one in mind… Otter Lake.
As with the majority of lakes on Kenauk’s property, Otter is a “No gas motors allowed” lake. Ang was relieved at the “no gas motor” rule when he first heard it; FNC1 would be a “bit much” here. “Remember my need for speed” says Ang… “Not gonna happen on this puddle”!
Since it was October and the guys were limited to transom mounted electric motors on small Kenauk boats, trolling was their absolute best bet.
Although you may think that spinning gear, while using light line, is the only way to troll for trout, believe it or not, trolling flies on fly fishing gear is also an extremely effective way to cover water, especially for suspended trout. Fishing guide Jamie Pistilli rigged both Steve and JP with fly rods and reels and set them up with a bunch of dark colored Leech patterned sinking flies.
“Trolling flies on these small trout lakes,” says Jamie “is a killer way of tricking Rainbows, as well as Specks into biting. I usually tell my clients to lay out a relatively long line (as to not spook the fish since they are trolling) and then vary the speed of the boat with the electric. Once you find a speed the fish are hitting at, stick with it until things change.
While Steve and JP trolled flies, Pete and Ang pulled small EGB spoons on light spinning gear.
“EGB’s” says Ang “are my absolute favorite spoons when it comes to trout fishing. If you look closely, they have a patented swiveling line-tie at the head of the spoon, which means less hardware… anglers don’t need to add on a swivel. EGB’s come in an array of colors and sizes to suit all trout fishing needs”.
“To be honest” continues Pete “I had never used EGB spoons before I met Ang, but man am I glad he put me onto them! They are heavy for their size (making them extremely easy to cast) and have a fantastic action… without twisting your line… that’s important”.
Although their day started out rainy on Otter Lake, it didn’t stop the fish from biting. Both flies and spoons caught tons of Rainbows.
Even in a small lake like this, fishing electronics are very important.
“I ran the shorelines” says Ang “with my portable Garmin set to traditional, Clear Vu and Side Vu (keeping an eye on cover close to shore), while Pete ran his Garmin in more open water, looking for bait and trout.”
“Sometimes simple is best” continues Pete “although I love the advanced technology in Side Vu, Clear Vu, Panoptix etc., in this open water I often prefer to simply run my Garmin on the traditional screen. I can see water temps, trolling speeds for reference, as well as baitfish and game fish directly under the boat. When I find the fish, I then simply pop in a waypoint and concentrate on that area either until I get bit, or if the action’s hot, until the fish stop biting. I then move on and repeat the process.”
Overall, this was a great meeting with the Princecraft guys, and as for the fishing? They pulled their flies into well over 20 gorgeous Rainbow in a half-day’s fishing “and” they added a couple of bonus Largemouth to the mix!
Cheers to great relationships and fantastic friends!
GETTIN’ THERE with RAM TRUCKS
Today’s great fishing destination took place at Kenauk Nature in the Outaouais Region of Quebec. To get there, we first drove east on hwy 401 to hwy 416 north. We next turned east on Hwy 17, and then kept travelling east on hwy 174 to the ferry in Cumberland. Once across the Ottawa River, we took 148 east, then North on 323, east on Cote Ezilda, north on Cote Angele, and finally followed the signs to Kenauk Nature’s entrance gate.