The Travel Manitoba “Fish Tales” event was my fifth opportunity in my lifetime to go fishing and all five times, they’ve been in Manitoba waterways. The last time I went fishing was just under 10 years ago when I caught a 43” Northern Pike at Falcon Lake and I was awarded my first Master Angler.
The media “Fish Tales” challenge began at the crack of dawn in Selkirk, Manitoba as the launching off point as we headed down the Red River to cast our lines near the base of the Lockport Dam. In our boat was Ellen “Rodzilla” Pruden, with the Canola Council of Manitoba and Jillian “Jigmaster” Taylor from CTV and our boat captain and fish guide, Jeff Geothals from Hooked Magazine.
Not less than five minutes into the morning fishing expedition, Ellen Pruden fought hard to reel in a 36” channel catfish while Jeff helped bring the big fish into the boat. That was good enough to earn her first Master Angler. I followed up by reeling in a smaller 32” channel catfish, just 2” shy of my coveted 2nd Master Angler award. I was on a mission that morning and even shouted, “Here fishy, fishy, fishy!” in my best Ernie voice to tempt fish to jump into the boat. No such luck.
Moving to “secret fishing spots” along the Red River also proved to be unlucky. Even after our mid-morning snack bags provided by the Manitoba Wildlife Federation, I contemplated using the Goldfish Crackers as replacement bait. I ended up eating the crackers as we headed back to murky and turbulent waters by the Lockport Dam.
I was casually reeling in my line thinking my bait was eaten by sneaky catfish, all of a sudden, BOOM! A fish! I had something! I think Jeff was more surprised than I was since it was so close to the boat. I reeled in a 26” freshwater drum. As Jeff said it, “Oh it’s a Master Angler and you killed it!” The minimum length of a freshwater drum Master Angler is 24”. Yay for me! My 2nd Master Angler!
According to Jeff, my CTV colleague, Jillian Taylor caught the heaviest catfish but unfortunately, was not long enough to qualify as a Master Angler. Not even a 2nd round of “Here fishy, fishy, fishy!” helped our cause in securing a third Master Angler for our boat. Yes, media challenges are all about bragging rights. During our shore lunch, Ellen “Rodzilla” Pruden walked away with the Best Fish Tale honours as she sang a cute and quirky fish song.
I had a fantastic time on the river and I would like to thank Travel Manitoba, the Manitoba Wildlife Federation, Manitoba Canola Growers and Cabela’s for hosting the 2012 Fish Tales Media Day.
For more information about fishing in Manitoba and the Master Angler program, visit the Travel Manitoba website: TravelManitoba.com/fishing