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Local anglers test their luck and skill catching mackerel off Pictou pier

Wayne and Kathy LaPierre of Mount Thom cast their lines into Pictou Harbour in hopes of bringing up some mackerel.
Wayne and Kathy LaPierre of Mount Thom cast their lines into Pictou Harbour in hopes of bringing up some mackerel.

Some people start their day with a cup of coffee. Others hit the snooze button in hopes of getting another five minutes under the covers. But those passionate about fishing, usually starts with a line in the water off Pier C in Pictou.

Kathy and Wayne LaPierre of Mount Thom are just that couple.  

“We come out just about every morning,” said Kathy. “It is a nice way to get some sun and chat.”

Most people at Pier C agree that the sport of fishing mackerel is just as good as the conversation that takes place on the wharf. Usually the same people show up each morning, some earlier and some later, and they chat on a wide range of topics all the while casting their lines and watching others in hopes of reeling in dinner.

On this particular morning, the mackerel are a little slow starting, but Wayne isn’t concerned about it.

“They will be back in a couple of weeks,” he said. “We have been doing this here for the last couple of years, but we are originally from the Eastern Shore and have fished down there for 40 years.”

Standing beside the LaPierres is Jack MacKenzie, who was lucky, or maybe skilled, enough to have two bites on his line.

Currently living in London, Ont., MacKenzie is back in Pictou County for a visit and decided to return to his familiar fishing spot. He said he isn’t a big eater of mackerel but does like to use them for bait for bass fishing.

“(Bass) is really good eating,” he said. “You can get nice, big fillets from them.”

The LaPierres agree that bass is also favourite of theirs, but considering they like to smoke, salt or pickle the mackerel they fish, they have a hard time deciding which is their favourite fish.

“It is six of one and half-dozen of the other. We like both,” said Wayne.

For Scott Hubley of Westville, mackerel is a favourite for him and his dog.

“I share it between myself and my dog and my family,” he said. “I cook them up and we share them. There is a guy on the Magdalen Islands that has a freezer about 10 feet long or more full of mackerel that he feeds to his dogs all summer long like Popsicles. They dogs are healthy and have beautiful shiny fur on them.”

Hubley said coming to Pier C is part of his daily morning and, on a good day, he has fish ready to be cooked for supper.

“I usually leave with a half dozen, but today I will be leaving with none,” he said.

He has a mixture of oatmeal and fish blood that he throws into the water that attracts both mackerel and gaspereau, but the fish still aren’t biting his line.

When the comment is made that the fish are too smart to bite the line, Hubley responds by saying, “that is why they are in school.”

He said chances are that the fish catches on Pier C will pick up after when the tide turns but, unfortunately, it will be too late in the day for him to stick around.

But all is not lost, he said. He still enjoys the sport, even if he doesn’t catch anything, and the camaraderie on the wharf is second to none.

“We talk about a lot of crazy things,” he said. “All fishermen lie except me and you, and I am not sure about you.”

Schooled in mackerel:

• Can be fished by a handline or angling without a licence.

• Season is open year-round in tidal waters

• No daily bag or possession limits on mackerel.

• Minimum mackerel size that can be retained is 26.3 cm.









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