You’ve got the Thames River, Football, the Queen, and the Paparazzi… nothing to do with your beloved Fish’n Canada Show in general, but a lot to do with this episode. It’s all about England, Canada, and Carp!
Angelo and Pete have now made two trips to the other side of the pond to attend “The Big One,” a fishing and tackle show that takes place near London, England. And as the name would suggest, it is massive.
They go to see first-hand what all the hype is about when it comes to Carp—arguably the most popular sport fish in all of Europe—and hopefully get some ideas or interest to build up Canada’s (and in particular Ontario’s) potentially great Carp fishing.
THE BIG ONE
This trade show has thousands of square feet dedicated exclusively to the Carp angler. Baits, boilies, rods, stands, monster trophies, and of course fish’n babes, litter the show floor. Like any other form of fishing, the mousetrap is constantly being reinvented. But there was one thing that really stood out above all else in both visits, and that is the passion that British anglers have about their Carp. In fact, they‘re crazy over them. So for this episode, Fish’n Canada decided to bring a few of these fishing fin-atics to Canada—and that’s where this episode took a 180-degree turn from our usual style.
Normally the guys are chucking out baits in search of a trophy somewhere in Canada. On this show, though, they are hosting a group of highly acclaimed British Carp journalists. That’s right, they actually bring Carp specialists from England to try Carp fishing Ontario-style. And hopefully, they’ll find out just how fantastic Carp fishing is in the colonies!
MEET THE EXPERTS
Our group of Brits making the trip to Canada consists of Robin Maylin (Big Carp Magazine), Jerry Bridger (Carpworld Magazine), Roy Russell (Carp Talk Magazine), and David Grove who is a tour operator from Go Fishing Worldwide. These four gentlemen are among the most elite Carp anglers in the U.K.
Our destinations for this episode are the Niagara River, the Toronto Islands, and Little Lake in the City of Peterborough, with a bonus stay at Rice Lake for a bit of “fun fishing”. Our local Carp experts are Paul Castellano (who you should know from previous Fish’n Canada episodes), Taro Murata of Fish City Tours, and Len Perdic (one of Canada’s premier Carp anglers). All three of these guys guaranteed us Carp in the net!
Lastly, but certainly not least, was Jim Grayston representing Go Fish Ontario—a great web portal directing inquisitive anglers in the direction of awesome Ontario fishing opportunities.
THE NIAGARA RIVER
The Niagara River is locally known as one of the hottest all-around fishing destinations in Canada. The species list is far too long to list here and the location is perfect for everyone from a lone angler to an entire family.
Our local expert for this leg of the Carp extravaganza is Paul Castellano. When it comes to fishing the Niagara, Paul wrote the book. He specializes in everything swimming in these waters. And since the Niagara is loaded with Carp, he’ll definitely come in handy.
After a brisk morning walk down the endless stairway leading to the Whirlpool on the Niagara River, Paul quickly and efficiently set our British friends up to fully cover a breakline along the shore which plummets quickly into the river. We know for a fact that the boys were in awe of the scenery and the fishing. But they were especially taken with the vast amount of access to public water since there is almost no such thing over in the U.K. That’s right, they have to pay for pretty much any quality fishing spot!
Roy Russell said it best: “Wow. I don’t really care if I catch a fish, this place is incredible!”
THE BEST IN THE BUSINESS
After sitting and watching these Carp experts work their magic, it’s no wonder that these guys are the best in the business. Their gear is mind-boggling to the novice onlooker and everything in their entire kit has a purpose. Landing mats, stands, rod pods, buzz bars, bite alarms, throwing sticks, catapult slingshots, these guys even come with their own custom-made chairs!
The Brits instantly started landing Carp. Not big ones, but very powerful fish because of the strong current in their home waters on the Niagara River. As an unexpected bonus for the Niagara leg of this trip, a Buffalo Head was caught by Dave Grove; up until today, our guys didn’t know they even existed in our waters. It makes one wonder how many of them have been misidentified as Carp. After all, if Ang and Pete didn’t have all of these Carp experts on hand, they wouldn’t have known the difference.
HAMILTON HARBOUR STOPOVER
Having done quite well at Niagara, we decided to hit Hamilton Harbour which was right on the way to our next destination. This is a unique Carp destination in that it’s under-fished and has a great population of big Carp. The boys set up at various locations while also taking turns getting a tour of the harbour by Angelo in the Princecraft. This must have been a thrill for the Brits as their faces lit up as soon as the big Merc started to bark.
The fishing in Hamilton, although slow, produced some very respectable Common Carp with Jerry Bridger taking top honours for both the biggest and the most fish. Paul Castellano had him set up at an area known to local Carpers as Eastport. Essentially, one can just park their car, jump the barrier, and start fishing.
After a nice afternoon of fishing in the Steel Capital of Canada, the group packed up their gear and headed on to their next destination.
The next stop on the British Carp tour took the group to the not-so-fishy looking area of the Toronto Islands. This great destination is located smack dab in the middle of the City of Toronto, making it a complete surprise for the availability of fishing it has to offer. Of course, a real upside to having a fishing hole so close to downtown Toronto, one of the largest cities in North America, is all of the infrastructure, such as transportation like the ever-popular Toronto Island Ferry. Going to and from the Carp swim is just a matter of loading your stuff onto one of the scheduled ferries. One of the Toronto Islands’ strength is the amount of big Carp roaming this unique fishing location.
Our guide for this portion of the trip was Taro Murata, a local fishing guide who specializes in “all that swims.” He’s not only good at what he does, but he’s got a great sense of humour. Taro did his homework in finding an area of the vast Toronto Harbour that was loaded with Carp.
CARP ON THE FLY
One of the strangest items you’ll see in Carp fishing is their catapult or, as we call it, a slingshot. On the shores of “Bird S**t Island”, as our British friends deemed this fishing area, the boys were looking like they were going to war. Catapults vs. Cormorants and Seagulls. Fortunately for our guys, the boys merely wanted to shoot out corn and feeder boilies to the hundreds of Carp roaming the sand flats.
Rob Maylin anchored Team U.K.’s biggest Carp of the trip so far: a fatty that had to be 30+ pounds!
As an aside, although prepared bait and corn is the traditional way to catch these super intelligent fish, more and more reports are coming in from the fly fishing fraternity of Carp being caught on the fly. Dave Grove borrowed one of Paul Castellano’s fly rigs and walked and waded the shores of this big city Carp Mecca and, believe it or not, he did quite well. If you’re a fly angler, it could be worth looking into.
Our final stop for the television portion of our Carp extravaganza was Little Lake in Peterborough. This is known as an above average fishing destination for these hard fighters. In fact, all of the Kawarthas are a Carp goldmine.
The beauty of Carp angling is all you really need is public access to the waters and good ground bait; the fish gods will do the rest.
Pete met up with our travelling group at this spot as well as good friend Len Perdic, one of Canada’s premier Carp experts. Len fishes Little Lake every year and has always boasted about the amazing Carp angling this little gem has to offer.
Len was right. Little Lake produced as advertised—and also delivered the best Mirror Carp of the trip.
“When I arrived to this spot,” said Pete, “I knew the boys were in their happy place. Coleman chairs, Thermoses of tea, coolers full of sandwiches, rods on pods, a hundred pounds of corn… You see, this is a whole different type of fishing. It’s very relaxing until the strike indicator starts going ballistic. That changes the whole attitude.”
RICE LAKE BONUS
At the end of yet another great Carp fishing day, Pete and Len escorted the boys to their last destination of the trip: Elmhirst Lodge on Carp-filled Rice Lake. This was a bonus stop for the Brits as the cameras had more than enough from all the previous stops. Long story short, this ended up being one of the most productive stops of the tour as far as numbers of fish. By baiting the area directly in front of their cottages with feeder boilies, our U.K. experts caught fish after fish; the perfect way to punctuate an already amazing trip.
Up to now, we at Fish’n Canada are not sure if Ontario’s Carp fishing is ever going to become as famous as those legendary swims in the U.K. But this episode has gone a long way towards showing the rest of the Carp world that Ontario is definitely a new contender.