Meet Martin Léonard: our hunting specialist shares his best tips and destinations


October 24, 2023


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Martin Léonard Fishing

Martin Léonard has been with SAIL for 14 years. After starting his career as a fly-fishing sales clerk in a small local store, he has now become a buyer for our company. Together with his team, Martin selects the hunting equipment you will find in our stores and on our website. 

With more than 300 hours a year devoted to fishing and some 60 days dedicated to hunting, to say that Martin is a true enthusiast would be an understatement. This passion drives him every day to find the best firearms and accessories to help you gear up effectively for your hunting expeditions. 

Meet our “multi-hatted” specialist, who also doubles as a hunting guide and used to write for Aventure Chasse Pêche in his spare time. Discover his story, top tips and favourite destinations to help you live your passion to its full potential!

In this article, you will discover the best tips and favourite destinations of Martin Léonard, fishing and hunting specialist at SAIL:

  1. Who is Martin Léonard, hunting buyer at SAIL?
  2. How does Martin select the products available at SAIL?
  3. Martin Léonard's hunting and fishing tips
  4. Martin's favourite hunting and fishing destinations

Who is Martin Léonard, hunting buyer at SAIL?

Martin smile

Martin has been passionate about hunting and fishing for over thirty years, so much so that he turned it into a career, even though he initially aspired to become a teacher when he was younger.
Like many, Martin picked up his first fishing rod at a very young age. He was just a few years old when he went out with his father to catch his first fish. What started as a simple family activity grew into a real passion, then eventually turned into a career when he began working as a fishing sales clerk at a local store.
Martin’s interest in hunting grew in parallel with the one he already had for fishing. Before long, he was accompanying some of his customers on hunting trips. He first took up waterfowl hunting, as it required minimal equipment and he could hunt close to home. Soon after that, he tried his hand at deer hunting, all the while continuing to fish on the side.
After several years of experience in various hunting and fishing stores, Martin joined our team as department manager at SAIL Beloeil. Fourteen years later, this dedicated team player is still with us and holds a key position. Now a buyer at SAIL, Martin values his technical knowledge and deep understanding of customers’ needs, having been in contact with them for many years.
As a means of sharing his passion for the outdoors, the man with thirty years of scouting behind him also acts as a hunting guide (mostly for wild turkey and waterfowl) and gives private fly fishing lessons. This is an opportunity for him to reconnect with his desire to teach and pass on knowledge.

How does Martin select the products available at SAIL?

Through his years of experience, Martin has become an expert at selecting the best products for hunting. He and his team make sure you find the very best in hunting equipment at SAIL: firearms, crossbows, clothing, hunting boots, accessories

The four hunting and fishing buyers at SAIL are, above all, enthusiasts. Here are only a few of the things our specialists do to be able to choose the products you find online and in store:

  • They do a lot of testing themselves,
  • They constantly monitor market trends and innovations,
  • They are in constant communication with our store consultants, in order to stay as close as possible to what SAIL customers need and want,
  • They make sure to include a wide range of products to fit every budget,
  • They select top brands like Browning, Leupold, Bushnell or Winchester, and other lesser-known brands that offer exceptional products.

Martin is mainly responsible for selecting firearms, equipment, accessories and salt attractants. His goal can be summed up in just a few words: to find the best possible products in each category, as well as accessories that make life easier for hunters (rangefinders, knives, decoys, etc.).

Martin Léonard’s hunting and fishing tips

Hunting tips

Martin Hunting Tips

In over thirty years, Martin has tried his hand at various types of hunting. Today, he is just as fond of waterfowl hunting for its “dynamic” quality as he is of deer hunting, where you have to “disappear” and blend into the background. His first piece of advice: choose the game you hunt based on your own preferences, not necessarily those of the friend or relative who introduced you to the sport.

Martin recommends asking yourself a few questions:

  • What type of hunter are you?
  • Do you want to shoot at a stationary or moving target?
  • Do you like to be on your own or do you prefer hunting in a group?

By answering a few simple questions like these, you’ll find out exactly what kind of hunting you’re cut out for.
Our buyer also stresses the importance of proper training – which applies when you’re starting out, of course, but also throughout your hunting life. Your success depends on it. Once you’re fully equipped, there’s nothing to stop you from starting to hunt on your own, but there will be a lot of trial and error. A good hunter understands game behaviour, makes sense of the territory, etc. The Internet, articles and magazines are excellent sources of information, and so are our in-store consultants!
Martin also recommends learning how to manage your time during long hunting trips. For example, if you’re going deer hunting for several days, there’s no need to rush into harvesting on the first day. Because of regulations, if you harvest as soon as you get the chance, it won’t be long before you reach your bag limit.
When you get an opportunity to take a shot, Martin’s advice is to stay as calm as possible. This way, you can use the few seconds you have to decide whether or not you’ll try and harvest.

Fishing tips

Martin Fishing Tips

As Martin reminds us, fishing is for everyone. Especially since you don’t have to spend a fortune on basic equipment. For less than $200, you can get your hands on a fishing rod and a few lures (for your target species), and you’ll be on your way to catching your first fish! Check out Cyril Chauquet’s top picks to find out what to put in your tackle box.
Martin also recommends studying the body of water you plan to fish and learning about the species you’ll find there. Gear up accordingly and go for it! And as our buyer points out, don’t hesitate to come by one of our stores. Our specialists can give you all the guidance you need for choosing your rod & reel kit and lures.
You can also ask them for advice if you’re on the fence between fly fishing and bait casting. According to Martin, it’s all a matter of preferences; with a fly fishing rod, you get longer and more intense fights with the fish than with a spinning rod.
When it comes to lures, Martin suggests having a SAIL specialist recommend 4 or 5 lures for your needs (depending on whether you’re fishing from shore, trolling, etc.). This will give you the best chance of making your first catches.

Martin’s favourite hunting and fishing destinations

Hunting: Anticosti

Martin is truly passionate about deer hunting, and if there’s a dream destination for deer hunters from Quebec and beyond, it’s Anticosti. The Quebec island, recently added to the UNESCO World Heritage List, is a well-known white-tailed deer paradise. Our buyer shot two beautiful deer there on his last visit, including a “huge” one his guide said was one of the heaviest he’d seen harvested on the island!
Martin has fond memories of his time in Anticosti, the silence on the trails, the sound of his footsteps in the bogs… The island, populated by hares, foxes and birds, is very quiet, making it an ideal place to spend time alone with your thoughts. You won’t even hear the shots of other hunters. The experience takes on a more social dimension at the end of the day as hunters gather to spend the evening together.
A word of advice: Anticosti is a very popular destination, so places are limited. Book your hunting trip well in advance. There’s also a very good chance that the island will attract even more visitors in the years to come, thanks to its inclusion on the World Heritage List.

Fishing: Gaspésie

Two of Martin’s favourite species to fish are striped bass and salmon. It’s no coincidence that he visits Gaspésie every year! According to him (and many others), this destination is one of the best places to fish for these species. Many anglers go there every year to catch striped bass, among other fish. Due to its accessibility, it’s also a good place for beginners.
In Gaspésie, you can try different types of fishing on the same trip. You can fish from the shore, of course, or sight fish from a boat with a guide. There’s always a good atmosphere, says Martin.
When he’s there, our buyer can catch and release up to 150 fish in two weeks. He enjoys striped bass fishing primarily for sport and prefers to feast on the local food products he finds in the region’s restaurants and fish shops.
If you’re planning a fishing trip to Gaspésie, be sure to check the regulations before you go. Certain lures, for example, are prohibited in specific area.

Thanks to Martin for sharing his story and his love of hunting and fishing with us. We hope his advice will help you make progress and get even more out of your practice, and that his favourite destinations will give you ideas for your next nature getaway!



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