Athletes of Kingston: Mike Allard

By Ian MacAlpine

Mike Allard grew up like most boys in Eastern Ontario during the 1960’s.

He liked playing sports but his favourite activity then, as it is now, is fishing.

Allard, lives in Cardinal, just east of Brockville, but feels at home when he’s fishing around the Kingston area, from Lake Ontario to the St. Lawrence River to the hundreds of smaller lakes north of Kingston.

The 60-year-old sales manager for a grain handling equipment company has been a member of many fishing clubs including the Kingston bass fishing club, Avid Anglers and Limestone Bass clubs.

In the recent 1,000 Islands Open held on Lake Ontario with the official weigh-ins taking place at the Portsmouth Olympic Harbour, Allard brought in the largest fish on the first day of competition.

“That was one of my best moments because 7.44 pounds smallmouth (bass) was one of the biggest smallmouth I have ever caught,” said Allard in an interview.

It was the largest smallmouth bass that the Renegade Bass Tournament had in 25 years, Allard said.

The married father of five adult children started angling over 50 years ago using bamboo poles to fish near his Cardinal home. Allard said he would jump on his bicycle and head to the side of the river to fish.

“I’d take off in the morning and me with my rod and little tackle box and mom would tell me to be home for supper.”

And on good days he would bring home supper.

To this day Allard still likes to eat fish, like other tournament anglers he also believes in catch and release to sustain the stock of fish in area lakes and rivers.

As well sometimes he’ll clean the fish and give them to his wife Marilyn, a personal support worker, to give to her clients.

“They really enjoy it when I do that,” he said.

Allard fished with his five children but as they grew up they wanted to do other things and when his youngest daughter was 14 she didn’t want to get up at 4 a.m. to fish with him anymore so it was then he got into tournament fishing.

“When it got to the point the kids didn’t want to fish anymore that’s when I started fishing for me.”

Allard likes the competition form of the sport because growing up he played all kinds of competitive sports that boys and young men do but turned to fishing when his knees wouldn’t let him compete in land sports as much as he liked.

“The (fishing) tournaments maintained a little bit of that competitiveness and I always had that little bit in me.”

He likes the club level of competition where all the anglers get out on the water and try to win but on shore after its over are all great friends and colleagues who are happy to compare notes about their day and perhaps the one that got away.

He competes in about 20 tournaments a year, including three large tournaments where there are over 100 boats, but usually he competes in the smaller club tournaments.

Allard usually competes around the Eastern Ontario area and upstate New York but he’s been as far as Florida to attend fishing tournaments.

“Basically I just love to fish,” he said. “The competition is nice but if it wasn’t there I’d still be out fishing. It’s just really nice getting out on the water.”

Even though his own kids don’t have an interest in competitive fishing Allard said it’s important to bring new anglers out on the water and keep the sport alive into the future.

“Whenever we try to take out a new kid fishing,” he said. “To maintain our sport you have to get the kids out.”