Fish full of dollars: Canadian pike anglers compete for biggest prize at annual tournament
MONTREAL -- Montreal was home to some people who really like pike on Saturday. That's when the city got a fishy feeling, hosting hundreds of anglers who were hoping to land the biggest catch.
It was the seventh annual Pike Tournament, though like all activities, even fishing has to make some adjustments for the COVID era, especially after last year's edition was cancelled.
“This year, we took the bull by the horns and we did it,” said Muskie's Canada Montreal chapter chairman Pierre Masson. “We did it right because it's a big success.”
While the fishing was real, the tournament was remote, with participants taking pictures of their catch with an official measurement board for submission. The photo is then submitted to an app. The team with the longest combined length of two fish takes home the prize.
Later in the day, that proved to be Daniel Leclair and Dominic Papineau, who hauled in part of their winning combo with just 10 minutes left in the tournament, sealing their $1,000 victory.
With muskies being in their spawning season, the fishermen were all on the hunt for northern pike.
“Norther pike tend to be aggressive fish, so if you have something shiny they tend to go after it,” said Muskie's Canada Hall of Famer Peter Levik.
Each fisherman brought they own techniques to the tournament.
“We get a feel on that day for what's going to work,” said tournament director Nicolas Perrier. “Sometimes the insects will tell you something, sometimes the bait fish will tell you something.”
All fish would go on to fight another day, as the COVID rules resulted in the tournament has a throw'em back policy – one that will become permanent for future tournaments.
“It gives the fish an opportunity to give a little fight with us and then go back to their environment,” said Perrier. “Our survival rate for this tournament should be 100 per cent.”