Lumina Borealis

For the most part, this blog is dedicated to the outdoors and related pursuits.  At times it feels like it is solely dedicated to fishing, and in the fall, hunting seems to take the driver seat.  Regardless of the season, this blog does one thing consistently; It promotes Ontario, with a specific geographic focus on the Kingston area.  Its this focus that prompts me to write about non-outdoor related activities from time to time, and this blog entry is a prime example.   Enter Lumina Borealis.

What is it? Lumina Borealis is an interactive, multimedia, multi sensory art display located at fort Henry in Kingston Ontario.  The event began late 2016 and continues on into the winter of 2017.  Tickets are available online or at the visitors centre inconfederation basin, where a shuttle is also available to take you to Fort Henry.

That’s a great description but, what exactly is this event like?  What can you expect when you visit this event?  Here is my account.

We headed west on Highway #2 towards Kingston downtown and made a left at the RMC intersection. After the turning, we began our ascent up the hill towards fort henry and were immediately greeted by gentle music drifting down from the fort.  Despite the cold, this is worth rolling your windows down for as it is wonderfully composed and adds to the build up of the event.   The volume will build and gently beckon you upward towards the parking lot and event entrance.

For those of you not familiar with the fort at night, it offers a spectacular vantage point to view a scenic vista of the city of Kingston.  The view is quite something on its own, but is enhanced by the gentle background music emanating from the venue.

dsc_0053

We presented out tickets which we purchased online  at http://www.luminaborealis.com/ and proceeded down the gangway where we were greeted by the impressive display below.  You can decide to enter the lower fort immediately or follow the slow trickle of people as they disappear into the dark of the moat.

dsc_0061-i

Encouraged by these cryptic signs we chose to enter the moat.

dsc_0064

Although the whole experience is something to behold, I personally enjoyed the light displays and irregular shapes that immediately greet you in the moat.  It is here where the music, light, dark meet to instill an unshakeable sense of wonder.

dsc_0068-ii

As we progressed, the wonderment grew, amplified by the addition of another sense.  The scent of wood smoke filled the air occupying the area as well as our noses.  This is a full sensory experience that is immersive and reminiscent of winters gone by.  This triggered, as I’m sure it does for many, memories of feeling the warmth of the wood stove at my grandparents house and the overwhelming scent of campfire from many a camping trip gone by.

dsc_0077-ii

For those of you who have come to expect pictures of animals from my posts, fear not, the next pictures are for you.

dsc_0082 dsc_0084

The displays are often interactive triggered by standing in a specifc place or by gathering around the fires that demands a group effort from you and surrounding strangers.

dsc_0097-ii

Some are triggered by voice.

dsc_0108-ii

Some require more physical efforts.

dsc_0118

Spend enough time and energy in the centre of the lower fort and you will eventually witness the grand finale.  Another one for you animal lovers. 

dsc_0127-ii

The installation is quite spectacular to behold.  Not many shows or other events play to  your senses like this one does.  Over all, well worth the money to see.  In addition this event is about as kid friendly as you can get.  In fact, its probably better with kids, as their child like wonder at the displays will, I’m sure, be contagious.

Cheers from the Fort,

Albert

Ontario Craft Beer, Cheese, Liquor, and Food

The Wilderness across Ontario is my favourite thing to write about.  But a close second would have to be the province itself.  The area is rich in diversity and is currently nurturing a healthy “farm to table / locavore” movement.  For those who don’t know what I’m talking about, I’m talking about artisanal meats, cheeses, food, beer and liquor made locally with local ingredients, fostering local economic benefits.  I could go on here touting the benefits of supporting this way of life but really, what’s more beneficial than eating and drinking something that a fellow Ontarian has poured their life into?  In my mind, its a no brainer.

So how do you set about finding all these hole in the wall places? I’m sure many of you may have a favourite craft beer you like or perhaps you’ve stumbled upon a some amazing cheese that’s made in the farmhouse down the road.  That’s great.  Now imagine having access to each and everyone of these places across southern Ontario.

Actually better yet, don’t imagine.  This ability already exists in website form.  Check out the following link and discover the taste of Ontario.

https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0645/5925/files/DiscoveryRoutes_2016_Full_insert.pdf?16132010561433434178

Cheers

Albert

craft-beer

Backyard Rabbits

Based on the number i’ve seen this year, Id guess we are in a boom year for rabbits.  The particular bunny below was quite hefty, likely due to an easy winter and an abundance of food.

DSC_9945 (ii)

Its great to see healthy populations of game animals.  Especially in an urban setting like my backyard.  I just hope he stays away from my vegetable garden.

Cheers

Albert

Wild Boars Near Caldeon

Wild Boars sightings are continue to occur in Ontario.  This time two were sighted near Caledon.  Details are provided via the link below.

http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2015/08/12/two-more-wild-boars-spotted-near-caledon.html

Sadly these beasts are extremely destructive and have been known to cause extensive property damage.  I worry a great deal how this invasive species will effect our local ecosystems.

But I’m more of a glass half full kind of guy.  So on the plus side, its possible my dream of wild bacon is closer than I thought!

Cheers

From my desk,

Albert

Another Bass Derby with a Surprise

I was recently contacted by Marco, a friend whom I met at a local bass derby that he had organized last year.  He had decided to put a little derby together on a local small lake located north of Kingston.  Being very familiar with lake my interest was peaked, so I contacted my regular derby partner and arranged to meet the group at the launch early Sunday morning.

Blast off was at 6:00 so Dave and I rolled into the parking area near the launch around 5:30.  We paid our launch and derby fees and briefly chatted with the organizer Marco about the details.  The rules allowed for four fish per person to weighed in at 1:00pm.  The event was a singles tourney so all fish had to be caught by the person weighing them in with a 0.5 lb penalty for dead fish.

DSC_0087

Initially I was a bit intimidated by the high power bass boats we were going up against.  Every other boat had the speed to leave us in the dust and beat us to all our favourite spots.  This spelled trouble for the green machine with her modest 40hp engine.  As the blast off occurred, we were rocked by the initial wake from the giant engines and ended up waiting for the water to quell.  When the waves settled, my worst fears were realized when almost everyone of our spots seemed to occupied by another angler.  On to plan B.

We fished a short section of weed lines with good drop offs for the first half an hour with no luck. I’m not one to sit on the same barren stretch pounding away in futility so we made a break for another little stretch we had luck with in the past.  This is where experience on a lake is absolutely necessary if your derby fishing in an under powered boat.  In my view its vital to have a Plan B, C, D and so on and so forth.  The quicker boats may get the pick of the litter when it comes to spots, but there is always a component of luck involved and secondary spots can be just as productive. With that, Dave immediately started catching some healthy bass on the new stretch and the air of the day began to change rapidly.

What happened next, I am sure, will be burned into our memories for years to come.  Like he had done a hundred times before, Dave casted a senko out over a weed bed and slowly twitched it out over the edge, letting it sink down the drop.  His line suddenly went taught and a fish greedily ran away with his lure sparking him to call out that he though it was big as he reeled in.  Then it made a flash and started off on a drag screaming run. I’m thinking Pike?  Nope.  I was wrong and I realized by just how much when I got a glimpse of the bronze colour and sheer mass of the beast that kept pulling Dave’s line.  I dropped my rod mid crank with the bait still in the water and reached for my net.  I was damn sure of one thing, it wasn’t coming in without it.

DSC_0090

After several more runs, and what I am sure Dave’s arms thought was an eternity, we netted the beast amongst high fives and shouts of excitement.  We weighed the fish and confirmed Dave’s suspicions that this was his new personal best bass.  My scales flashed 5lb 10 oz briefly before the fish thrashed and dislodged form the scale.  Concerned with the well being f the fish, we placed it into the live well and we continued on our way with shaky hands and pounding arteries.

We caught a few more fish throughout the remainder of the day and despite my crap luck, I managed to eek out a bag of 6lb 6oz with one cull.  Possibly my worst bag ever for the lake.  Ah well, you can’t win them all and seeing dave’s giant come from such a small lake was more than worth it.  My consolation proze wasn’t bad either; I managed to catch a few decent pike, which seem to be getting bigger and bigger in the lake as the years progress.

DSC_0096

When 1pm rolled around I was eager to end my miserable performance on the water and even more eager to see the final weight of Dave’s behemoth.  All said and done, dave ended the day in second place with a total of 11lb 14 oz and took the big fish prize home with a weight of 5lb 13 oz.

Thanks to Marco for putting in the work to organize the derby.  You’ve definitely got a knack for putting a good group of guys together with some great competition.  We definitely look forward to participating in the Gorilla Cup in August.

Congratulations Dave on your new personal best!

Cheers from the Lake

Albert

Controlling Rust in your Tackle Box

Year after year, countless scores of anglers dust off their tackle boxes just before their favorite fishing season and crack the lids to find a mess of rusty neglected tackle.  Has this happened to you?  Don’t feel bad, you’re not alone.  Many anglers just don’t have the time to meticulously maintain their tackle.  Thankfully you don’t have to spend hours pouring over your gear to get rust free baits as there are many low-cost, easy to implement ways to control rust issues in your tackle box.

Common rust is more specifically, iron oxide, which forms after the redox reaction between iron, oxygen and water or moisture.  Seeing as how fishing tackle inherently comes into contact with both air and water, rust can seem almost inevitable.

So how do you control the degradation of your favourite tackle?  The following are popular methods used to slow down or inhibit the development of rust.  These tips are ranked from worst to best (based on my own personal opinion of course).

7. Use a rust inhibiting agent.  Coating your lures in a light oil can prevent air from getting to your gear.  This is a popular method to prevent rust in general, however I wouldn’t recommend this approach as it can leave you with a greasy tackle box and most importantly can have negative environmental impacts on the water body your casting into.

6. Buy hardware for your baits that is made from an iron substitute.  This is the more expensive option and gear for this solution can be hard to find for freshwater purposes.  Furthermore hooks that rust are designed to break down very quickly if a fish breaks you off.  This in turn, likely reduces mortality.

5.Store baits in individual resealable bags.  This makes sense for terminal tackle, however can be impossible for larger crank baits with hard to manage treble hooks.

4.Owner has developed sacrificial anodes that can be cut and attached to your lures using a provided adhesive.  These anodes will preferentially corrode, leaving your hooks rust free.  This may be a good option however treating each hook can be costly and time-consuming.  Take a look at the product for yourself and decide if it works for you:  https://www.ownerhooks.com/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=159?osCsid=d187e18c1b199b2f83144054f7d4cbda

3.Use rust inhibitor pads.  These pads are popular with pro bass fisherman, and with folks who have water tight compartments in their boats.  The concept of these pads is to act as a giant desiccant for each storage compartment in your boat.  These may not be ideal for boats with non-sealed storage compartments or for those who don’t store their tackle in their boat.  Bull frog makes a great unit if this method is for you:  http://www.bull-frog.com/products/

2. Dry tackle before putting it away.  This can be as simple as leaving it out on the deck of your boat for a day or two or you could get proactive and use a blow dryer.  However you do it, do not put wet tackle back in your box.  This is recipe for disaster as the moisture from one lure can evaporate and cause rust on nearby lures.

1.My personal favourite, and the winner of this ranking, is to add desiccating packs (silica gel packs) to each tray of my tackle box.  These little guys are inexpensive and can be found almost anywhere.  I recently purchased a large bundle of these packs from amazon and have stocked each of my trays with several.  Heck I even put a few in my gun cabinet.  They may take up some space, but the longevity gained by your tackle makes up for the loss of real-estate.  Here are a couple examples:

http://www.amazon.ca/Dry-Packs-10gm-Cotton-Silica-Packet/dp/B00967JFMM/ref=sr_1_9?ie=UTF8&qid=1434547087&sr=8-9&keywords=silica+packs

http://www.flambeauoutdoors.com/en/fishing/page/zerust

SilicaGelPack

As good as any of these methods may be on their own, the ultimate solution is likely a combination of options 1 and 2 and in some cases 3.  Each of these three methods are quick, easy and inexpensive to implement.  Try them out and enjoy a few more years out of your favourite baits.

Cheers from the tackle box,

Albert

Wild Boars in Ontario

Ask any farmer or landowner from the southern United States and they will tell you feral pigs, otherwise know as the Eurasian Wild Pig are one of the biggest nuisances they face.  With populations at unprecedented levels and their presence being felt in 39 states (or more), these beasts terrorize farmers and landowners by destroying crops and rooting up land.  Simple put they are the definition of invasive.

So why discuss them on a blog centred around Southern Ontario?

It seems we too may soon have to deal with these invasive pests according to recent memorandum released by the Ministry of Natural Resources.  Apparently feral pigs have been spotted in the united counties of Prescott and Russell which are located east of Ottawa between Ottawa and Hawkesbury.  According to the memorandum, the MNR have authorized farmers and hunters to kill feral pigs under the authority of a small game licence (See a copy of the memorandum below).

All pertinent hunting rules and regulations regarding safety still remain in effect while hunting these animals and all kills or sighting should be reported to the ministry of natural resources at 1-800-667-1940. Those interested in more information on Wild boars in Ontario are also encouraged to contact the MNR.  In addition, “Wildboars in Canada” is a website dedicated to tracking sightings and encounters across the province.

http://wildboarcanada.ca/#sthash.ra8UktVY.dpbs

Invasive species can be a problem for any ecosystem and those found in Ontario are no exception.  Do your part and report any sightings of feral pigs, or any other invasive species for that matter, to the MNR.

 

http://www.invadingspecies.com/

Cheers

Al

P.S (If you see one, don’t be afraid to leave a comment below or send an email.  I make a mean smoked bacon and I have no problems travelling!)

WildBoars_Russell_Prescott_Page_1WildBoars_Russell_Prescott_Page_2