Throughout all of our lives there have been many special defining moments that helped shape who we are today unfortunately most of us don’t realize at the time just how profound that effect maybe, in fact in most cases we don’t even know that we’re actually having a moment. We’ve always been of the belief that by sharing our love and passion for the outdoors and in particular fishing, it will somehow make a difference in people’s lives. Well, on this Fish’n Canada show there are defining moments written all over it. It’s called Fish’n Boot Camp and it has all the earmarks of a life altering experience for 40 grown men.
This whole idea started one evening a couple of years ago on a wilderness fishing trip in northern Canada, the participants were Roy Armes and Scott Jamieson of Cooper Tires and Ang and Pete.
After an incredible day of Pike fishing they started reminiscing about previous fishing trips and how fortunate they were to have been blessed with so many incredible opportunities and experiences, which all lead to the same conclusion, they need to find a way of sharing these with other folks who might otherwise never get a chance to sample mother nature’s defining moments.
“Now” says Ang “you might be saying to yourself that we’ve probably been sampling a few too many camp pops making a comment like the above, after all we’ve been sharing these experiences with you, the television audience, for 30 years.
“But we’re not talking about that, we’re talking about touchy feely, in your face, mano a mano fishing experience camp style… and that was it. Why not put on a fish’n boot camp” and that night the seed was planted.
And here we are 2 years later, with our first official fish’n boot camp.
For this pilot project, Cooper tires was put in charge of selecting the campers and with no surprise, they all came from the tire industry with ties to an Ontario based distributor called Tire Discounter Group, based in Orangeville.
Fish’n Canada took on the task of assembling the faculty, writing the curriculum and selecting the venue. That was a no-brainer; our choice Chaudière Lodge on the legendary French River.
“For the faculty” says Pete “aside from Ang and I, we’re bringing in a rod expert, long-time angling specialist Scott Delong, from Carrot Stix rod company, a local fishing expert who knows these waters like the back of his hand, owner of Chaudière Lodge, Steve Neidzwieki, Auto Racing super star Johnny Unser of the legendary Unser Racing Family and as a surprise bonus for the campers, we also invited our old fishing buddy and rock star of the fishing world, none other than Roland Martin. This has all the makings of a life altering experience for a lot of folks, yours truly included”.
When the campers arrived at the lodge, the looks on their faces said it all. There was a certain electricity in the air, we all felt it, something very special was brewing. It’s the magic that happens when you assemble a bunch of like-minded people in a wilderness environment for the purpose of fishing.
The only person unaccounted for thus far was Roland Martin. We found out later that he missed his North Bay connector plane at Toronto and had to spend the night. Luckily, the next day Roland pulled up to the dock, raring to go as if nothing happened… let the party begin!
Inside, we’re taking fishing workshops to the next level, and beyond.
Not all campers are at the same level in terms of fishing expertise, so specific workshops are required in order for them to get the full benefit of this experience.
“We’re using our KLP method of teaching” says Ang “Knowledge, Location and Presentation, the 3 most important elements in all of fishing”
Pete “If the participants can come out of all this camp learning just one new thing about fishing, then our job will be done here”.
Along with the inside classroom sessions, were clinics put on outside by our boys. Everything from knot tying, to rods & reels and so on were covered. Angelo and Pete definitely enjoyed the Bootcamp experience!
ON THE WATER
“Although I get a real thrill out of teaching people how to fish” says Ang “watching them catching fish is still one of the most enjoyable things I do as an experienced angler so after a quick knot tying clinic, I took Scott Jamieson and Johnny Unser out on the water to see what they have learned.
“It’s interesting to note how people process information and then execute what they’ve learned” Ang continues, “it was obvious, at least at that point, Scott was a better bass fishing student than Johnny (Scott proceeded to catch the heck out of the Largemouth), but that’s okay, at these camps everybody learns at a different pace it’s what you take home with you that counts”
Not wanting Scott to catch all the fish in that particular bay, Ang got the call… a legendary Chaudiere shore lunch was awaiting back at the lodge… “reel em’ in boys”!
After an amazing Walleye feast it was back out to practice more trade.
“Roland was taking it easy on his first morning on the French River” says Ang “but he’d already hinted to something ‘special’ for him and I later that day “and” suggested that I bring along a few bucks. I sensed some kind of bet brewing”!!!
When sharing a boat with the one and only Roland Martin, magic is destined to be. It doesn’t matter if he’s fishing, sitting, talking, even sleeping! That said, the moment Roland grabs a rod, it’s like a champion gladiator wielding his mighty sword… a spectacle is about to happen!
Ang “As we cruised one of the many Bassy looking back-bays, Roland finally jumped to action and hopped to the bow of the boat. This guy sees fish like no other”.
Immediately following, Roland found a nice French River weed bed and the game was on.
After missing the first 2 fish, Angelo and Roy decided to make a wager with each other as to how many fish Roland could land ‘out of 10’. Ang chose 6 and Roy chose 7.
With tons of drama, coaching, hooting and hollering, long story short, Mr Bass landed 6 for 10, and with that Angelo was 5 dollars or pesos or something richer (minus Roland’s cut).
END OF DAY 1
The only thing that can cap off an on-the-water Roland Martin spectacle is to wrap up the day with great food, music and beverage. Hey, we didn’t say that Boot camp wouldn’t be fun! With half the group out at the camp fire and the other half enjoying a Roy Armes / Steve Neidzwieki jam session, the next few hours were set…
The next episode of The Fish’n Canada Show, dives deeper into the Boot Camp curriculum through workshops and on-boat instruction. We’ll see if our 40 ‘recruits’ have what it takes to take their fishing skills to the next level.
GETTIN’ THERE with RAM TRUCKS
To get to our Fish’n Canada Cooper Tire boot camp at Chaudiere Lodge, we first took Highway 400 north from Toronto. We then took Highway 69 north to Highway 64. We headed east on 64 to Dokis Reserve Rd and then proceeded towards Dokis Marina for about a half hour. If you don’t have your own Boat Call the lodge from the payphone on the dock to be picked up by the Lodge staff. From there, it’s a short boat ride to this outstanding destination.