Years ago, Ang and Pete started to think about how they could help other anglers, people who don’t often get the chance to get on the water, and do what they sometimes take for granted.
The answer came on a Pike fishing trip with the Cooper Tire boys… “how about a fishing boot camp?”
The tone was set!
The tone was set!
Since Cooper would be a big part of this event, they were put in charge of selecting the campers and with no surprise, they all came from the tire industry, with ties to an Ontario-based distributor called Tire Discounter Group, based in Orangeville.
Fish’n Canada took on the task of assembling the faculty, writing the curriculum and selecting the venue. That was a no-brainer; our choice Chaudière Lodge on the legendary French River.
“For the faculty,” says Pete, “aside from Ang and I, we’re bringing in a rod expert, a local fishing expert who knows these waters like the back of his hand, auto racing superstar Johnny Unser of the legendary Unser Racing Family, and as a surprise bonus for the campers, we also invited our old fishing buddy and rock star of the fishing world, none other than Roland Martin.”
When the boot-campers arrived at the lodge, the looks on their faces said it all. There was a certain electricity in the air, something very special was brewing. It’s the magic that happens when you assemble a bunch of like-minded people in a wilderness environment for the purpose of fishing.
Inside, we’re taking fishing workshops to the next level, and beyond.
Not all campers are at the same level in terms of fishing expertise, so specific workshops are required in order for them to get the full benefit of this experience.
“We’re using our KLP method of teaching,” says Ang “Knowledge, Location and Presentation, the three most important elements in all of fishing.”
Pete: “If the participants can come out of all this camp learning just one new thing about fishing, then our job will be done here.”
Along with the inside classroom sessions, were clinics put on outside by our boys. Everything from knot tying, to rods & reels and so on were covered. Angelo and Pete definitely enjoyed the boot camp experience!
THE FRENCH RIVER
The French River is a river in Central Ontario, Canada. It flows 110 km from Lake Nipissing west to Georgian Bay. It’s prime fishing water for Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass, Walleye, Muskie, and Pike.
Length: 110 km
Area: 517.4 km²
Source: Lake Nipissing
Empties Into: Georgian Bay
ON THE WATER
“Although I get a real thrill out of teaching people how to fish,” says Ang, “watching them catching fish is still one of the most enjoyable things I do as an experienced angler. So after a quick knot tying clinic, I took Scott Jamieson and Johnny Unser out on the water to see what they have learned.
“It’s interesting to note how people process information and then execute what they’ve learned” Ang continues; “it was obvious, at least at that point, Scott was a better bass fishing student than Johnny (Scott proceeded to catch the heck out of the Largemouth), but that’s okay, at these camps everybody learns at a different pace. It’s what you take home with you that counts.”
Not wanting Scott to catch all the fish in that particular bay, Ang got the call… a legendary Chaudiere shore lunch was awaiting back at the lodge… “reel em’ in boys!”
After an amazing Walleye feast, it was back out to practice more trade.
“Roland was taking it easy on his first morning on the French River,” says Ang, “but he’d already hinted to something ‘special’ for him and I later that day “and” suggested that I bring along a few bucks. I sensed some kind of bet brewing!”
When sharing a boat with the one and only Roland Martin, magic is destined to be. It doesn’t matter if he’s fishing, sitting, talking, even sleeping! That said, the moment Roland grabs a rod, it’s like a champion gladiator wielding his mighty sword… a spectacle is about to happen!
Ang: “As we cruised one of the many Bassy looking back-bays, Roland finally jumped to action and hopped to the bow of the boat. This guy sees fish like no other.”
Immediately following, Roland found a nice French River weed bed and the game was on.
After missing the first two fish, Angelo and Roy decided to make a wager with each other as to how many fish Roland could land "out of 10." Ang chose six and Roy chose seven.
With tons of drama, coaching, hooting and hollering, long story short, Mr. Bass landed 6 for 10, and with that Angelo was $5, or five pesos, or something richer (minus Roland’s cut).
END OF DAY 1
The only thing that can cap off an on-the-water Roland Martin spectacle is to wrap up the day with great food, music and beverage. Hey, we didn’t say that boot camp wouldn’t be fun! With half the group out at the camp fire and the other half enjoying a Roy Armes/Steve Neidzwieki jam session, the next few hours were set...
The next episode of The Fish’n Canada Show dives deeper into the boot camp curriculum through workshops and on-boat instruction. We’ll see if our 40 "recruits" have what it takes to take their fishing skills to the next level.
To get Chaudiere Lodge, we first took Highway 400 north from Toronto. We then took Highway 69 north to Highway 64. We headed east on 64 to Dokis Reserve Rd, and then proceeded to Dokis Marina. From there it’s a short boat ride to the lodge.