Originally published May 15th, 2020
The Bay of Fundy is a massive bay on the Atlantic Ocean between the Canadian provinces of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. A small portion touches the bank in the state of Maine. It has the highest tidal range anywhere in the world. It is assumed that the name is possibly a corruption of the French word Fendu, meaning “split”.
The Minas Basin is the innermost portion of the Bay of Fundy, or simply put, the end of the bay. The Minus Basin is where this Fish’n Canada episode took place. This Basin is also home to a huge number of voracious ocean-run Striped Bass, which was the intended quarry of this trip.
We have to say here that this is the first Fish’n Canada shoot that Angelo attended after his heart attack. He went through a long and well-needed recovery stage and told everyone “I’m ready to shoot”.
With that said, Ang and grandson, Nik, packed the Ram, hooked on the Princecraft (yes, the intention was to take our rig to the ocean), and made the eastern haul from Ontario to the town of Economy, Nova Scotia.
Economy is exactly as one would assume a small east coast town would look like. Quaint, friendly, and sights with that eastern flair (we’ve yet to find a town out east without those same qualities). Economy also sits on the shores of one of the best Striper fisheries in the world.
One thing a travelling angler will quickly discover when fishing big water like Fundy is that there will be days that are un-fishable. Between strong winds and strong currents, danger is always just a storm away.
On day one of this trip, that’s exactly what happened. The winds blew hard and the bay was nasty-bad! So… it was tour time. Ang, Nik and the crew did the usual touristy stuff, taking in all the sights, and in turn, learning about the area. In doing so, they learned a lot about the make-up of the bay, and most importantly, the exact area where there would be fishing once conditions changed.
During one of their tours, they visited a watchtower. One that was used as an observation point for bombing practice. During low tide, aircraft would take up target practice on a visible raised rock area, a seemingly easy target. At high tide, it’s completely gone.
Angelo is one angler who loves “rock-piles”. It’s one of his favourite structures to fish.
EARLY RISERS GET THE FISH
The start of the fishing on this trip was actually before the sun rose, at high tide of the next morning after the day of big wind.
Since this was Ang’s first trip fishing in quite a while, he was pumped to go in the wee hours of the morning. Nik… not so much. Teenagers you know!
To add to Nik’s lack of enthusiasm being there, “it was damn cold too” said Ang.
The grandpa/son team trekked through the elements and actually landed a couple of small stripers in the black of the morning during the receding tide.
“I have to admit,” says Nik, “it was a pretty unique start to the fishing portion of this trip”.
LAUNCHING THE RIG
The next day was fishing from the boat day.
“This was the most bizarre part of the trip,” says Ang, “when we got to the launch, the river was almost empty. Just a small stream flowing out to the bay. Within minutes though, it filled up with tidewater, and the FNC1 was on her way”.
Although Ang and Nik were ready, willing, and able to get out there for as long as it took to get a show done, captain Greg Belliveau knew that the opposite tide was already working. In a matter of hours, the boat launch would be void of water.
Can you say SLEEPING IN THE PRINCECRAFT???
AT THE ROCKPILE
When Ang and Nik finally arrived at their intended fishing area, their next chore was to anchor up, in order to hold on the structure and fish. Right here, you need to remember that these are the highest tides in the world. The only way a tide creates rising water, is for that water to flow into and ultimately fill up the bay. The Fundy tide’s current is unbelievably strong.
After a few attempts, the anchor took hold (100+ feet of rope) and the boys were dropping down.
This was the most unique part of the whole deal. Greg has pre-rigged a bunch of rods, making them ready to go.
He used heavy duty spinning gear loaded with 80 pound test braid as his main line, and a leader that tested in at 100 lb (monofilament). Angelo described this as the heaviest dropshot rig he’s ever seen.
With a large chunk of cut bait (saltwater fish) on a 10/0 hook, the boys “lobbed” out over a pound of weight (yes, their sinkers weighed that much), let it hit the bottom in the crazy current, and waited.
That wait didn’t take long to be interrupted.
Within minutes, both Ang and Nik were peeling in Striper after Striper (actually, let’s say they were more like wrestling them in, due to the rushing tide).
“I have never felt Stripers as strong as this,” says Ang, “between their natural muscular strength, plus the swift incoming and outgoing tides, even small fish felt huge. The big ones… well you can only imagine!”
This unique Fish’n Canada episode pretty much had it all.
It was Angelo’s first shoot since his life-threatening heart attack.
It was the first time Fish’n Canada had shot Stripers on the Bay of Fundy/Minas Basin.
It was the first time Nik had caught a Striper.
It was the first time the Princecraft hit the ocean.
It was the first time we’ve ever had to wait for our boat launching facility to fill up with water.
And finally, it was the first time we’ve ever had to rush back to the truck before the whole damn bay emptied of water!
Lots of firsts.