May 22nd – Saltwater Species
We woke up to an amazing sunrise over the white sand beach; it was beautiful. Alex went to explore the beach and see some seals while I packed up the car for the day.
The next activity of the day was a hike down to the Kejimkujik National Seashore. We saw deer, rabbits, and seals, but overall we were unimpressed with this Oceanside area. Carter’s Beach is only 10 minutes away and is much nicer.
We then made the 2-hour drive to Peggy’s Cove, one of the more popular tourist attractions in NS. We understood why: it was exactly what you’d expect a small Maritime fishing village to look like. Large boulders worn smooth by the pounding of waves, and a protected harbour with lobster boats waiting to be taken out to check traps. To top it all off, a majestic lighthouse sat on the highest point of the outcrop, allowing for some awesome photo opps. Alex took the opportunity to send a postcard back home; apparently the lighthouse doubles as a post office.
I also tried a little bit of fishing in the harbour, but only found juvenile Atlantic Cod, a species I had previously caught in Massachusetts and Saguenay.
Today was going to be the only day I would target fully saltwater species. My friend Kenneth Tse had given me a spot at a pier nearby where I should have a good shot at Cunner, Shorthorn Sculpin, and Longhorn Sculpin. Alex dropped me off at the spot and we parted ways because she wanted to go explore Halifax. I didn’t have any regular saltwater bait so I just fished with nightcrawlers on a pickerel rig. It didn’t take long to catch a Cunner; they usually found the bait within 10 seconds as long as you kept it close to the bottom and near the pillars of the pier.
After checking Cunner off the list, I tried casting further out to see if I could catch either Sculpin species or whatever else happened to be swimming by. It took a couple hours of dragging my rig slowly along the bottom before I had my first solid hit! A short fight later and I was looking at my lifer Longhorn Sculpin, what a crazy looking fish! Many of my friends described it as a dragon-fish; I have to agree given its crazy shape and large spines. I’m still not sure if these guys are venomous or not…
I kept casting in hopes of getting lucky and hooking a Shorthorn, but just couldn’t get away from the Longhorns. Finally, I felt a smaller tap and dragged in what I expected to be yet another Cunner. What came up over the side of the pier initially looked like a smaller Longhorn but upon closer investigation was my lifer Shorthorn Sculpin J
A couple hours of fishing later and Alex came back to pick me up. Our next destination was Fort Beausejour, which we planned to explore before heading to a nearby camping spot. BTW, I used “freecampsites.net” to find most of camping spots this trip, we only spent $70 in accommodations for all 6 weeks of travelling. We got gas and washed our hair at a gas station before driving into the fort. It was pretty cool to see overall; much of it was what you’d expect an old fort to look like, but it did have a good view over the Bay of Fundy.