Brian Skoyles....A Hard Working Holiday 


“Platform One …. anything happening”? 

“Hi Paul” …. Two takes so far, landed one, the other set off like an express train and shed the hook,image the current all over the place, one minute going left the next going right. 

“Any size”? 


OK … keep in touch” 

“Platform Two” …. 

“Hi Paul … “Nothing yet, but we’ve fish topping left and right of the platform.” 

“Have you tried boilie to your left, did some big fish last week” 

“Not yet we’ll give it a try” 

“Platform Three” … 

“Hi Paul … We’re seeing fish, a couple topped close in, just had our first fish.” 

“Keep at it,  the peg fished really well yesterday especially in the afternoon”.    

“Hi Bank … anything” 

“Four so far, and we’ve both got fish on at the moment …. talk to you later”……………………………………………………………………………………………………………...

I put the walkie talkie down, having listened in to everyone’s replies, and turned my attention back to the mighty St Lawrence. We were on platform three, one hour into day three of our weeks holiday, and we were gradually coming to terms with the excitement of the take and the sheer power of a hooked Canadian carp . We’d been dropped off by boat onto platform three, soon after first light, by Paul, one half of the Paul and Lisa Hunt team who own and run Canadian Carping Holidays. We had just had our first fish of the day, and had the full day in front of us.

Day one, on platform one, we’d had a brilliant day with 14 fish to 32lb plus. On day two, on platform two, we’d had ten, to mid twenties, and we were already off and running on imageday three. For many years I’d followed the stories about the carp fishing on the St Lawrence. For many years it had been one of my dreams to fish it myself, and here I was, with my son Martyn, living that dream. 

 My 32lb 8oz 

Although this was what you would call holiday carping, make no mistake it was “proper” carping, and I have to be honest and say that at first I wasn’t totally prepared for the challenge of fishing the St Lawrence. When I’m fishing a long way from home, I always go for the safety first option, and look for established companies that have a good reputation and offer a combination of holiday comfort and angling expertise. We were being very well looked after back at River Island Manor, provided with gear and ample bait, put on fish, then it was down to us. Should have been dead easy, so why were we so tired each evening? Possibly it had something to do with the sheer size and majesty of the St Lawrence, and the awesome power of the St Lawrence carp. 

 Our Daily Routine ….

The daily routine was not designed for a relaxing, restful holiday, but it was perfect to maximise our fishing time. Up before first light, aimage quick shower, into the kitchen to make a flask, have a bit of breakfast, and pack our cool box with the delicious sandwiches and snacks left ready for us. Outside a quick check of the gear and filling the bait bucket from the ready prepared bait bins. As the day-light spread across the sky, onto the boat, and off to our allotted pre-baited swim. A quick farewell and good luck to the other anglers, as the boat backed away, then it was time to get the rods sorted, the swim organised, and then settle into the days fishing routine. A full days fishing, then at a pre arranged time, pack up and wait for the boat pick up. Back to the house, a beer or two, a chat with the other anglers sharing results etc. then a shower, a fabulous meal (Lisa did reassure me that the fabulous deserts were low calorie!), a couple more beers, a few more fishy stories, then collapse into bed for a few hours sleep, before the alarm goes and you do it all again.

 The Fishing ….

As we were to find out the St Lawrence carp were no push over. You don’t live and grow in the powerful flow of the St Lawrence without developing muscles!!!!

imageWe were fishing at short range, but often into deep boulder strewn water, so we were using powerful rods and reels loaded with 80lb braid. End tackle was 5oz Korda inline leads, 35lb Kryston Jackal hook-lengths, size 4 Nash Fang X hooks, and long hairs. Bait was strings of maize tipped off with buoyant Enterprize plastic maize. We also used double pop-up boilies and boilie/maize combo’s. Our pop up choice was Nutrabaits Pineapple and Banana, which we pre-sprayed with bait soak spray.

We soon found that how we used the free bait was critical to how the day developed.  Our inexperience of  fishing rivers of the size of the St Lawrence was a problem, and most days it took us a while to work out how much and where to feed the swim. Our dilemma wasn’t helped by the large tankers, cargo ships etc. that would disturb the water, create major undertows, and at times even temporarily completely reverse the direction of the flow. When we did get it right, the usual pattern was, to cast out, feel the lead down, let out a bit of line to help the lead bed down in the flow, check the baitrunner and clutch, then finally put the rod in the holder. After each cast we would put in a couple of handfuls of maize. This routine was repeated regularly, even when the action was slow.

Takes were awesome. You would often get a tap on the rod top, this was usually the prelude to the rod wrenching over and theimage baitrunner screaming. It was so easy to panic at this point, but it was essential to stay calm, lift the rod out of the holder, check the anti-reverse, then turn the handle to engage the reel, mentally prepared for the power packed fighting machine that would be testing you and your gear to the max.

We consistently over estimated the fish we were fighting. “It feels like a really good fish”, was often followed later by,“I can’t believe the way that fish fought that it’s only 17lb”

But who cares, this was action fishing of the very highest quality. Fabulous fish, in fabulous surroundings, we regularly found ourselves saying,

“River carp fishing doesn’t get any better than this” 

As I said earlier, it had for many years been a personal dream to fish the St Lawrence. I’ve lived that dream, and it was every bit as good in reality. The only problem is the dream keeps coming back, only change is this time it’s a dream about my second trip to CCH. Hopefully I won’t have to wait too long, before once again I wake up and it’s time to head off up river to do battle with another stunning St Lawrence carp.   Best Wishes Brian Skoyles