Yes the Annapolis Valley offers deep sea fishing charters for you. Well maybe not right in the valley, but close by, along the coast of the Bay of Fundy.
Digby, home to the famous Digby Scallop Fleet also boast quite a big fishing industry. There you will find fishing charters boats you can hire to go out for a day on the deep blue sea. They also offer the opportunity to go out on a lobster boat and watch and learn about the lobster industry here.
Take a drive down the Digby Gut and onto the Digby Islands and there you will find many deep sea fishing charter opportunities. Many of the whale watching boats will also offer deep sea fishing opportunities.
I will list the ones here that are more known for their deep sea fishing charters, and tell you about a couple of my trips out on the Bay of Fundy.
Lobster fishing is Canada's most valuable seafood market bringing in 1 billion dollars in export sales yearly. Nova Scotia is a big part of this selling lobster to 55 different countries around the world.
The coastal waters of the Atlantic coast have been divided into 41 areas, each with their own lobster season. The season for our area of the Bay of Fundy is from March 1 - July 31 and again from October 15 to December 31.
The seasons are regulated to protect the lobsters during their moulting. A lobster moults, where it sheds its shell for a new bigger one, usually in the summer. Right after the moult the shell is soft and the lobster is filled with seawater. As the shell hardens the texture and taste of the lobster meat improves.
A friend of ours used to be a long line and lobster fishermen in Freeport, on Long Island, Digby Neck. He invited us down one weekend to go out with him to check his lobster traps. Me, being someone who loves being on the water, just could not pass up this opportunity.
For lobster fishermen in our area the tide plays a big part on when they go out to check traps. Why you ask? Well for one reason, at most of our wharfs if the tide is low you cannot budge your boat off the ocean floor. Our trip, as with all fishing charters in this area was planned to leave when the incoming tide is high enough to steam out. Your return trip also has to be planned to be back before the outgoing tide has receded too far.
The morning we went there was a fog laying heavy in the bay. We dressed in warm sweaters, as the air was fairly cool. By the time we had loaded up and started heading out the fog was starting to lift. It was a little bit of a steam to reach the first traps and by that time the fog was almost all lifted. It was turning out to be a beautiful day and getting warm enough to take off our outer sweaters. What a great day for a fishing charters trip, and I was so happy Linden invited us along.
We arrive at a batch of brightly coloured buoys bobbing up and down on the water. There are several differently coloured and designed buoys and we are told that every fisherman has their own colour and styled buoy. This way each knew which were their traps.
It is the Captains job to guide the boat close enough to the buoy so the first mate can grab the rope with the gaffle. They make it look so easy, but it isn't as easy as it looks. It is a moving target, bobbing with the waves from the boat.
Once grabbed, the buoy is lifted aboard and the rope is guided into the slot of a pulley. The pulley is engaged and it turns really fast to bring up the rope and raise the trap to the surface. The trap is then lifted up into the boat and any seaweed etc. taken off.
This first trap had three lobsters in it. Each lobster is taken out and measured from the back of the eye socket to the end of the shell to determine if they are legal size. Out of the three one was too small and was tossed back into the water to grow more. Another one was berried; she was a female with eggs under her tail. Regulations state that this one also had to be returned to the sea to lay her eggs.
The last lobster was a keeper and it was banded. This is where they put strong elastic bands onto its claws for safety to protect both the fishermen and the lobster. The larger of the two claws, the crusher is strong enough to cut off another lobster’s claw when they are put together. Even their pincher claw can give you a nasty pinch if he grabs onto your arm.
After the lobster is taken out, the trap is re-baited and lowered back into the water. We were strictly warned to keep our distance during this time as the rope goes quick and it could be possible for it to tangle around your leg or arm and pull you over with it. Then it is off to the next trap and start over again.
Linden had about 5 - 8 traps in this area and then we went off to the next area. Although there were several empty traps brought up, most of them averaged about two to three lobsters per trap. It was a good day, Linden was happy with his catch and I was very grateful for the day out on the water. We noticed several other lobster boats and fishing charters also out on the water and everyone threw a wave back and forth.
After we were finished it was a bit of a stream back to port.There we tied up, unloaded the catch and washed off the boat and equipment before heading back to the house where Judy has a delicious seafood chowder made up for us.
Dockside Lobster Fishing Tours The Dockside Lobster Fishing Charters Tours, located in Digby offers trips for tourist out on their 43 foot long fibreglass lobster fishing charters boat "The Passage Provided". Their qualified staff will tell you about the lobster industry, the history and the present day fishing procedure. They give you hands on experience on the boat, while you enjoy the beautiful scenery and sea life along the vast Bay of Fundy coastline.
They are located at the Digby Marina at 34 Water Street, Digby. You may phone toll free 1 866 445 4950 or local at 902 245 4950 .
The Front Boat Is A Fish Dragger
The Boat In Back Is A Scallop Dragger
Both Are Tied Up At Digby Wharf
Basin Charters Basin Charters located at the Digby Marina offers both whale watching charters and fishing charters. Their fishing charters are offered twice daily - 8 am to noon and 5 pm to 9 pm. All gear is provided for catching cod, haddock, pollock, shark and halibut. Reservations are required. Phone 902 245 8446 for more information or to reserve a spot.
Cetacean Boat Tours Board the Cetacean Venture and take off for a fishing charter or a whale watching trip on the great waters of the Bay of Fundy. The boat is coast guard inspected and is equipped with a washroom onboard. They are open from May to October. Phone 1 800 397 7206 for more information or to register a trip.
My brother and family were home for a visit from Toronto and we were trying to think of something different to do. It had been mentioned a few times about renting a fishing charters so I decided to call my friend Linden in Freeport and see if there was a possibility we could join him for a trip out hand lining. He told us to come down early the next day.
We were up early and had a good breakfast before we took off on the hour long drive to the Islands. It was going to be a nice day, a good one to be out on the water, not much wind. Our timing was perfect for loading onto the Joe Casey Ferry and it was a smooth crossing across to Tiverton.
I have seen times when the crossing was not that smooth. The current in the straight can be quite strong flowing through up to eight knots at times with the coming and going of the tide. I remember the first time I came down to the island before the new ferries were here. At that time it was just a barge pulled by a tugboat.
As it left the wharf in East Ferry it would follow the shoreline up for about a mile before turning into the current and crossing over. As it crossed over the strong current carried the barge back down stream even farther than where it started. On the other side the tug would have to bring it back upstream to line up with the wharf on the Long Island side. Today the more modern ferry can pretty much cross back and forth straight through the currents.
Back to the fishing trip now. Linden was ready when we arrived so we took right off down to the wharf where we climbed down the ladder to the boat. Have you ever climbed down one of those ladders on the side of the wharf? Going down is the hardest; I don't mind the climb up half as much. You have to take your time and be careful as the rungs are usually wet and sometimes will have seaweed on them. Then if your boat is out past other boats, you have to climb over each boat until you get to the one you want. But today Lindens was the only one in the line.
While we were steaming out Linden invited Dave and the kids up to the wheelhouse and showed them the different instruments and radios. The fish finder intrigued Jason and Curtis as we passed over schools of fish.
We travelled around the island until Linden anchored off over what looked like a good school of fish. They got the hand lines ready for us and showed us how to use them. We took turns using a couple of the hand lines.
We all caught either a cod or a haddock. Here Curtis caught a smaller cod, which he was very excited about. Jason caught a lovely big haddock, which Linden called a twenty-five center. Things were going good, everyone was having fun and we were catching quite a few fish.
Then it was Curtis's turn to fish again. He was pulling the line up and down like he was shown when suddenly he yelled as he was being pulled over the side.
Dave and Linden grabbed him and held him back as Curtis tried to pull in the fish. "I can't do it,” he yelled so Linden grabbed hold and helped him pull. Dave had to grab hold and help to and when the fish was brought up it was a codfish taller than Curtis was. What a great fish, Curtis was so excited.
After things had settled down again Jason was going to take his turn. He grabbed the line and went to toss it over the side when he gave a yell. There swimming right beside our boat was a whale. I could have reached down and touched it. It swam under our boat and back up the other side and then all the way around it. We were able to get a couple of pictures of it before it dove back down.
Seeing the whale was great but our fishing was over; the whale had scared away the fish. Linden said the whale must have followed Curtis's cod in beside the boat. We decided to head back in, it had been a great day. Linden had quite a few fish in his hold, Curtis caught the biggest cod, Jason the biggest haddock and we had seen a whale. Then to top it off Linden's wife would not let us leave the island without the traditional bowl of seafood chowder. She makes the best seafood chowder I have ever tasted.
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