Thursday, April 29, 2010

I start my open water season the same way every year, as soon as the ice is off the rivers I start fishing for Steelhead in many of the rivers that flow through the Thunder Bay area. After the steelhead run is over I start thinking about northern pike and the last two weeks of April are perfect for pike fishing because they are extra aggressive at this time and they will hit almost anything you throw at them. I you want to capitalize on some great fishing action in northwestern ontario your best bet is to pick up a copy of the Backroad Mapbook for Northwestern Ontario and do some research on lakes that have a good population of pike, also pick up some Crimstoppers Maps as they show fish species in many lakes and can help alot. I decided to go to my favorite pike destination Sabrina Lake, this lake is exclusive to pike and is only 1hr from Thunder Bay and I had my son Liam with me so it was a perfect choice. We arrived at the lake about 9:30 and after getting my son all setup to fish it was my turn, I wanted to use a hard bait so I chose a 5" Live Target in a perch pattern and my selection paid off as I hammered a nice pike on my first cast.

After a few more pike I decided to try some hair flies, the best hair flies I have ever used are from Mighty Mitch and Jungle Joe in Terrace Bay Ontario, I chose a yellow/orange/ brown pattern and the pike ate them like candy, the trick was to keep the flies off the bottom of the lake long enough for the pike to hit as Sabrina has alot of structure along the shoreline. When it was time to go home I ended up landing 7 nice pike and losing a dozen more, my son learned how to cast with his new rod and the first outing of 2010 was over.

Here is a sample of a jig fly done by Mighty Mitch and Jungle Joe, simply amazing color and quality. These flies are great for walleye, bass, brook trout, pike, lake trout and Steelhead.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Stankx Revolution

Well its been a long winter and with the warm temperatures this month the snow is gone and the ice on the rivers are melting. With the passing of each BASS meeting my mind keeps wandering ahead to the open water season and new tackle. During the winter months I was lucky enough to pick up 2 new sponsors one of which was Stankx Baits, I used these soft baits last season for awhile and was amazed by the colors and the durability of these plastics. If you fish Senkos then you should try the Stankx Stix, you will be pleased with the preformance and how well they hold up under a day of heavy fishing. When I was fishing the BASS tournaments last season my go to bait was a 7 inch Wacky Worm wacky rigged and cast into weeds or fallen trees. Recently they have added Tubez, Thug Grubz and Brush Hawgz to their impressive lineup of plastics, I cant wait to try the new lineup of plastics this year on many of the bass lakes in northwestern ontario. If you are looking to try something new this year and want to catch a ton of bass give Stankx Baits a try, you will be glad you did.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Top Fishing Destinations for 2009

Well the year is almost over and what a great year I had fishing, I went to some new water, some old water and caught a ton of fish. I have listed below the top lakes I went to this year and the reasons they made my list.

  1. Quetico Provincial Park - This was an amazing trip to an area where I always wanted to go, the fishing is supurb regardless of what species of fish you like. We concentrated on bass and wern't disappointed as we caught 50 -60 fish per day. The campsites and facilities were clean and the park staff were courtious.
  2. Shebandowan Lake - I had the oppourtunity to fish Shebandowan this summer with local tournament angler George Clark and we had a blast catching smallmouth bass in the countless bays and along miles of shoreline. George taught me how to fish with tubes and now I reach for a tube before I tie anything else on. The fishing oppourtunity in Shebandowan for smallmouth and walleyes is so great that you could spend a lifetime on this lake and still find new structure to fish.
  3. Lac Des Mille Lac - Well this is my go to lake, my gaurentee fish for dinner spot, but this year is was kinda slow. I caught alot of fish but not near as many as I have in recent years, the weather was unpredictable and the fish were in deeper water and spots where I always catch fish where abandoned. Lac is still a fantastic fishery and I had to adjust my stratagies to accomodate the changes this year.
  4. Batwing Lake - Batwing is a great lake for walleyes that is less than a hour from Thunder Bay, the only problem is the fish we caught there this year wern't very big 13"-15" was the average. Lots of fish were caught but the sizes were disappointing.
  5. Hawkeye Lake - The only reason that Hawkeye made my list this year is that I saw proof of the huge bass population this summer. We held a B.A.S.S tournament this year on Hawkeye Lake and there were many 15lb bags weighed in.

Monday, October 5, 2009

New Age of Tournament Sponsors

In this day and age getting sponsored by a company to fish tournaments is really difficult and the Pro Staff program for most companies fill up fast if there are any openings. I started fishing tournaments about 6 years ago and I probaly contacted 100 companies locally and within the fishing industry regarding sponsorships. I got alot of responses like "At this time all positions are filled" or "Please contact us next year in regards to a sponsorship" that first year I ended up signing with 3 sponsors all of them were local buisnesses. I have learned alot about sponsorships since I started, here are a few tips:

  1. Don't expect to get paid - Most companies will offer a good discount on their product, free product or apparel in exchange for advertising. Getting paid would be nice but don't expect it from most companies .

  2. Have a Resume - Most sponsors want to see who you are and what you can do for them. When making up your angling resume include organizations you belong to, tournaments you have fished, where you placed in those tournaments, current sponsors if any, upcoming tournaments, how you will promote there product, how many years have you been fishing etc.

  3. Contact Everyone - Go through your tackle box and make a list of companies that you have purchased from like Berkley, Shimano, Mepps etc. and contact them regarding sponsorships. Also look at companies that make reels, rods, and equipement.

  4. Stand by Your Word - If you tell a potential sponsor your are going to do something for them and they sign you to their prostaff team, remember to follow through with what you promised.
  5. Promote Your Sponsor - Remember they are depending on you to promote their products so when you are talking to people at tournaments, if you are out fishing on the weekends, if you are talking to friends about fishing remember who sponsors you.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Lay It On The Line

The quality of your fishing line can be the differance between a good day and a great day on the water, over the past 25 years I have used different fishing line from manufactures that claim to have the best line on the market. Lets be honest alot of manufactures produce line that is sub par and market their product by having fancy packaging, then to get even more anglers buying their product they get a TV host to promote their weak line and when you look at the big picture they are getting paid to promote their line wheather it is garbage or not. A few years ago I went to the Spring Fishing Show in Toronto fed up with using sub par line and was looking for a product that stood up to tournament fishing and weekend trips with minimal problems. That day I ended up talking to a representitive from GAMMA Technologies and after explaining to him my problems with my current line he asked if I would like to try a knot strength test comparing GAMMA line with several other lines. I was surprised to find out the gamma line out preformed trilene, stren, shakespeare and spiderline and purchased a few spools of 8lb Gamma Copoymer line and headed back to Thunder Bay for some field testing. I spent all summer that year fishing GAMMA line in tournaments and convincing anyone that would listen to try this new line, after landing a big northern pike on 8lb line without a leader my fishing partner was convinced to give GAMMA a try.

Gamma has developed fluorocarbon and copolymer lines that have incredible strenth and abrasion resistance with low memory which results in less time fixing your line and more time fishing. Gamma line also gives you more confidence when fishing because you don't have to worry about breaking your line when fishing structure, so you can fish that rock pile you always wanted to try. If you are tired of the same old line give GAMMA a try you might be surprised what you are missing out on.

For more information on GAMMA lines visit thier website

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Quetico Provincial Park - August 6 -10

I love bass fishing.....alot, so when we decided to go to Quetico Provincial Park for 4 days this August I was excited to experience some of the best bass fishing Ontario has to offer. Quetico is a gigantic provincial park on the border of Ontario and Minnesota that spreads 475,782 ha. and has some of the best bass, walleye, pike and lake trout fishing in Northwestern Ontario. There are alot of specal rules for the park:

1. No motors - no outboards or trolling motors.
2. No live bait - no worms, minnows, leeches or grubs.
3. Barbless hooks only.

We stayed at the Dawson Trail campground which gave us good access to French Lake, Pickerel River and Pickerel Lake. The first day we setup camp and got everything organized and got the canoe in the water and set out onto French Lake. We paddled to the island and casted plastics towards the shore trying to get a bass to hit, Renee caught our first walleye of the weekend about an hour later of a nice rocky point. We decided to head back to camp and have dinner since the fishing was getting slow. The second day we decided to go to Pickerel Lake and spend the day discovering a new body of water. The paddle from the campground to Pickerel Lake was about 45mins and by the time we got there we were ready to wet a line. The weather was overcast with no wind, so I was perfect for a topwater bait. I took out a Poppr and casted into shore, my first fish was a small northern pike, then the bass turned on and we caught dozens of bass ranging from 12" to 19" throught the day. Renee had good succes with a jig and plastic shiner we also tried hair jigs and the the smallmouth bass had no problem hitting those too. We probably caught 50 fish that day and by the time we got back to camp it was 7:00pm and we were hungry and ready for a nice fire.

When you are fishing out of a canoe it is alot different that fishing from a boat, here are some tips:

1. Pick your spots, remember you have to paddle and its not that easy to just pick up and move
to a different spot.

2. Don't take your whole big tackle bag in the canoe. Just take a small plastic case with a good
assortment of tackle is all you need.

The gear and tackle I used on our trip to Quetico were:

  • 7' medium/light spinning rod.
  • Gamma Copolymer 8lb test line.
  • For tackle I brought a good assortment of crankbaits, poppers, jigs, plastics, splitshot and snapswivels.
  • I also brought jig flies made by Jungle Joe and Mighty Mitch, I find the quality of these jigflies are the best when trying to land big smallmouth bass and always have a handfull in my tackle box.
  • For plastics I used green pumpkinseed worms and senko's, also Emerald Shiner immitation minnows.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Batwing Lake

If you are looking for a lake that is within an hour of Thunder Bay and has a good population of fish consider Batwing Lake. This lake is a favorite lake of mine because I can go out after work and be fishing by 7:00 and still get 3hrs of fishing in. The public launch as alot of room for weekend camping and the Boreal Road is in great condition this year. The only part of the drive that has rocky road is the short drive off the Boreal Road to the launch, when traveling to the lake for the first time have a map and watch for the turn off to the launch because it is only marked with some orange flagging tape.

I always have great success fishing Batwing Lake a 30 fish evening is possible if you can find the right structure to fish. I usally concentrate on the many rocky points and drop-offs fishing in 8 -25ft of water. I find the wind doesn't pick up on this lake too much and if it does there are alot of spots that offer shelter. The structure and the river from Flower Lake and Whalen Lake is what makes this lake so good for fishing and we always mark a ton of bait fish.

The structure in Batwing is usually rocks I find that if I use a poor fishing line I will break off more jigs when I am snagged. I use GAMMA Copolymer 8lb-10lb line and because of the extra strength and the molecular structure in their line I retrieve 90% of my snags.