Bass fishing on Miscou Island
by Leo Doucet
One does not hear much about Miscou Island and the unique things
that it has to offer. I am not going to dwell on the peaceful idyllique
setting of a quiet summer evening there. Nor the bird watchers paradise
that the peat bog plains have to offer, the gentle friendly bilingual
inhabitants who live there, the stories about buried treasures on the
neck of land called 'Treasure Island' at Wilsonís Point, the remains
of an ancient fort at the same place, or the bounty of fish in the
surrounding waters. Each of these topics would provide enough material
for a story on its own.
Instead I am going to relate to you a bass fishing story in which about twenty of us participated in one night between ten PM and 1 AM. It happened this way. At the time I was the President of the N.B. Amateur Radio Association and had arranged for a DXpedition to Miscou. A DXpedition entails setting up radio equipment and antennas and communicating with as many Ham Radio operators around the world as possible. For those who may be interested we communicated with one hundred sixty four countries. and made more than three thousand individual contacts. Miscou is better I believe than the Tantramar Marshes near Sackville, N.B. as a radio transmitting site.
One afternoon during our one week stay, Willey Power a local inhabitant whom I had known for a few years came over and asked me if I would be interested in fishing for bass. Indeed I would, and as it turned out the group wanted in. There was one problem, almost everyone had come to operate the radios and only two had brought fishing rods. "Don't worry" said Willey, "Iíll provide everything". He said that fishing in daytime was not very good but after dark, well just wait and see.
It was 10 PM before Willey showed up on this beautiful late June evening to show us where and how to fish for striped sea bass. We piled into our cars and followed Willey along the only road out of Wilson's Point. We had gone about two kilometers when Willey stopped and announced we would fish here beside the road in a bend in the little creek that meanders through the peat bog and exits into the bay. It did not look promising. I had observed this creek several times before and knew that at low tide there was only an inch of water two feet wide running in the creek. Hardly enough for a minnow.
Now however the tide was rising and in the near full moon we could see that the creek had grown to four or five feet wide and was getting deeper. "Take your time" Willey said, there is not enough water in there yet. He then took out a tub into which he had cut and coiled enough 15 feet long cod lines for all of us and two buckets of cut up herring. The creek had a very gently sloping bank covered with grass which extended to the road. The mosquitoes were out in force in the still air and we suffered while we waited for more of the tide to come in. A while later Willey proclaimed the time had come and picking up one of the lines took a chunk of herring and baited the hook. He stepped up to the edge of the water and threw the baited hook into the creek. He then wrapped the other end of the line around his wrist and said "Everybody do this, its now just a matter of waiting".
The wait was not long. It appears that schools of bass come up the creek with the incoming tide and in a few minutes almost every one had a bass on the line. The object then was to turn and walk up the slope in the direction of the road trailing the bass behind you. Imagine if you can about twenty people, each only about two or three feet from the other and most having a two to ten lb. bass on the end of their line heading toward the road with only the moon for light. Of course the bass were jumping and flapping all over the place and the lines tangled accordingly. When you could find which fish was yours you unhooked and either took it to the car or returned it to the water.
In the middle of all this I was dousing my young son with a bottle of 612 repellent when a bass took his hook and he turned and started toward the road. He had only taken about four steps when his line went slack . "I lost it" he said. A few seconds later a very large bass jumped out of the water and came skipping up the slope toward him. He moved sideways but the bass came his way and was only a few feet from him. "I think heís coming after me" he said and ran toward the road. We all laughed. What had happened was that the bass on his line had tangled with another fellowís line. His line had gone slack because the other fellow though that he also had a bass and was walking up the slope taking the two lines with him.
We fished until we were tired, throwing back most of the fish we caught. Most times we did not know which fish belonged to whom, the lines were so tangled. It was necessary to cut the lines at the hook to unravel them then tie the hooks back on, add a chunk herring and cast out. All the next day we ate bass, fried, baked and stuffed, boiled and in the evening fishcakes.
The fish come twice a day from the Baie des Chaleur about a mile away and so far as this small creek is concerned provides an inexhaustible supply of bass. Thinking about what Willey had said made it appears to me that the bass do not take the bait in daylight because they can easily see the fisherman just a few feet away. It would be interesting if one stood back in daylight, say on the road, and cast into the bend in the creek where we were fishing.
There are a number of places which abound with similar resourses that are of interest to rod and reel fishermen. To the best of my knowledge one does not neet a licence and the land next to the road is crown land. Bring your own fishing rod, 612, binoculars for bird watching, metal detector (remember Treasure Island ), tools for an archaeological dig, etc. Hey, I told you this was a unique place and its right here in New Brunswick.