Page 1

Canada Post Mail Product Agreement No. 40015689

VOLUME 19 • ISSUE 1 Just $3.95

SPRING 2013

DISPLAY UNTIL JULY 15, 2013

B A S S F I S H I N G ’ S G R E AT E S T M Y T H S


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© Copyright MMXII Fishing Holdings, LLC d/b/a Ranger ® Boats R-2111


Contents Features 32 PRESSURED STEELHEAD Proven tactics to help you to catch fish no matter how crowded the conditions are. By Dan Robson

36 BASS FISHING MYTHS Separating bass facts from bass fiction. By Charles Weiss

48 THOSE DAM SMALLIES Go with the flow for post spawn smallmouth. By Shawn Good

54 THE BOUNTY OF THE TURQUOISE SEA The Turks and Caicos provide an ideal fishing or family getaway. By Jim Baird

43 DOWNTOWN TROPHIES Great fishing is often closer than you think. By Mark Forabosco


SPRING 2013 Volume 19, Issue 2

20

Editor Jerry Hughes Art Production Rossi Piedimonte Design Publisher Fred Delsey National Advertising Izumi Outdoors Tel: (905) 632-8679 President Wayne Izumi Contributors Jim Baird, Patrick Daradick, Mark Forabosco, Shawn Good, Bob Izumi, Wayne Izumi, Steve May, Jason Mohring, Dan Robson, Dave Taylor, Charles Weiss, Real Fishing is published by Izumi Outdoors Inc. 940 Sheldon Court Burlington, ON L7L 5K6 Tel: (905) 632-8679 Fax: (905) 632-2833 Privacy Policy: Occasionally, we make our subscriber list available to carefully screened companies whose products and services might be of interest to our subscribers. If you prefer to have your name removed from this list and not receive these mailings, please write to us at the above address.

We welcome manuscripts, but will not be held responsible for loss of manuscripts, photos or other materials. Published four times each year: January (Winter) April (Spring) July (Summer) October (Fall) One year subscription is $9.95. For USA add $10 all others add $30. Subscriptions: Real Fishing 940 Sheldon Court, Burlington ON L7L 5K6

Columns 6 OPENING LINES

22 THE VINTAGE TACKLE BOX

By Jerry Hughes

By Patrick Daradick

10 SPORTSMEN’S ALMANAC

24 REAL FISHING FISH FACTS

News, trivia, event listings and more from the world of fishing

Goldeye

26 BEST FISHING TIMES 14 WHAT’S NEW

Doug Hannon’s moon phase calendar

The latest in fishing tackle, gear and accessories

60

16 FISHING By Bob Izumi

18 FLY FISHING By Steve May

20 THE WATER’S EDGE By Dave Taylor

Subscription inquiries Please call: 1-877-474-4141 or visit www.realfishing.com Canada Post Publications Mail Sales Product Agreement No. 40015689 Customer Account No. 2723816 GST Registration No. R102546504

28 THE HOT BITE 60 TALES FROM THE ROAD

Postmaster: Please return front cover/label only of undeliverables to: Real Fishing 940 Sheldon Court, Burlington ON L7L 5K6

The trials and tribulations of life as a professional angler By Bob Izumi

Contents copyrighted. All rights reserved. Reproduction of any material without prior written permission from the publisher is strictly prohibited. Printed in Canada

On the cover: Super-Sized Smallmouth! Photo by Izumi Outdoors

65 WHAT’S COOKING 66 ART OF ANGLING

18


opening lines By Jerry Hughes

A Tale of Two Anglers As I write this column the rivers in southern Ontario have just cleared of ice and the steelhead season (in the areas with a year ‘round open season) is in full swing. Anglers who have been cooped up all winter are naturally excited to be back fishing in open water and, on some days, it seems like everyone who owns a rod and reel is out there trying their luck. With a limited number of areas open to fishing, and a seemingly unlimited number of people wanting to use those areas, the term, “crowded conditions” seems like a gigantic understatement. I spend most of my time on a local creek that, despite its small size, gets an incredible amount of fishing pressure. There are a limited number of pools and holes and it seems like these areas are always being fished. A while back I was lucky enough to have one of my favourite spots all to myself. There was another angler fishing the next downstream pool, about 50-feet away, and we were chatting back and forth while we were fishing. All of a sudden two other anglers came down the path. One went straight to the downstream hole and the other jumped in a few yards beside me. I was just about to say hello when this fellow tossed his float rig about 30-feet upstream of me and proceeded to fish the entire length of the pool. Once his float had cleared the water in front of me, I tossed my line out. My float had just cocked when he threw back upstream, right over my line. I pulled out and re-cast upstream. My float had only run a few yards before it got crossed again. I looked at my new fishing buddy, said good morning, and asked if he would like to trade places with me. His response was something to the effect of, “Are trying to be a wise guy or something?” 6 Real Fishing – Spring 2013

I told him, “No, I’m not. It seems like you want to fish the head of this pool so let’s trade places and I’ll fish the back end.” That set off a tirade of cursing and swearing that took me by completely by surprise. He asked if I owned the spot and who I thought I was. The more he yelled, the more upset he seemed to get. He cursed out the “locals”, said something about trouble at work, how he had a horrible life and how he didn’t need more grief when he was trying to enjoy himself fishing. After about five-minutes of this, he packed up his gear, called to his buddy, and the pair of them stormed off. Fast forward a week, I’m back at my favourite hole and there’s someone fishing the next downstream pool again. After about half an hour I had caught and released two decent steelhead while the other guy hadn’t had any luck. He was getting ready to leave but, before he did, he came over to ask about the fish I had caught earlier. We struck up a conversation and I asked if he would like to take a few drifts in the area I was fishing. He said no, he didn’t like to move in on other people, especially if they were catching fish. I laughed at that and told him there was plenty of room so he, somewhat reluctantly, put on a roe bag and started drifting. To make a long story short, over the next couple of hours we hooked over a dozen fish between us. Then the bite slowed and I

said that I was going to move and try to find some more fish. My new friend said he thought it was time to move as well, so the two of us headed off upstream. We fished a number of spots together, shared our knowledge of the creek, discussed the conditions, compared baits, talked techniques and generally had a great morning together. It was a real pleasure fishing with him and it added to the enjoyment of the day. What a contrast to the episode of a week earlier! The two scenarios got me thinking about how people can sometimes be their own worst enemies. Although the two folks I met were both pursuing the same thing, their approaches couldn’t have been more different. The first, aggressive and demanding, didn’t accomplish anything but cause grief to everyone involved. The second, friendly and respectful, resulted in fulfilled goals and a completely enjoyable experience. Perhaps it’s true when they say that you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. ?


Always in season.

Š Tim Hortons, 2012


BECKONING WATERS Cabin fever affects all Canadian anglers during the winter – some worse than others. However, for a few hardy souls, hibernation just isn’t an option, especially when open water is just a trailer-length away….

8 Real Fishing – Spring 2013


Spring 2013 – Real Fishing 9


REALFISHING.COM GETS A MAKEOVER After several years of hard use the Real Fishing website was starting to show its age so we decided it was time for a professional facelift. We’ve changed the look for a fresher, brighter one and improved the navigation, making it easier than ever to get to the content you’re looking for. The new website features updated video capabilities so you can watch episodes of the Real Fishing Show whenever and wherever you choose; a new magazine section, updated content, FaceBook, Twitter and YouTube compatibility and lots more. We’ve even developed a free newsletter that features contests, exclusive sponsor offers, new product previews and inside information from the world of fishing. You can check out the new and improved Real Fishing site this spring at www.realfishing.com.

W E H AV E A W I N N E R ! Last summer the makers of PhaseGuard4 Ethanol Fuel treatment, CRC Industries, ran a national contest giving away an all-expense paid, fishing trip for two to fish with Bob Izumi. Along with the grand prize, there were 50 weekly prizes of a $50 Canadian Tire gift certificate to be won. In early December Bob Izumi and Mark Sceeles, the National Sales

and Marketing Manager for CRC Industries in Canada, made the grand prize draw at Real Fishing’s head office in Burlington, Ontario. Congratulations to Thomas Lapointe, from Surrey, BC, whose name was drawn from the thousands of contest entries we received. Thomas’ grand prize includes an all-expenses paid trip for two to Ontario to fish with Bob

and Wayne Izumi and some of their fellow professional anglers this season. The trip will take Thomas and his guest on a once-in-a-lifetime adventure to the Haliburton Highlands to tackle the plentiful walleye and smallmouth bass that reside in the area. ST CRC PH

NTE TMENT CO FUEL TREA ® ETHANOL 4 D R IP E PAID TR ASEGUA

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PENS AN ALL-EX THE EXCLUSIVE L TO IN CENTRA FOR TWO RETREAT BARK LAKE LEGENDARY TH WI H FIS . TO ONTARIO ANGLER BOB IZUMI eive an CANADIAN will also rec

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st winner Each conte prize pack. outdoor

C WILL BE PLUS, CR AY A $50 GIVING AW TIRE GIFT N CANADIA Y WEEK CARD EVERE CONTEST. DURING TH

10 Real Fishing – Spring 2013


READ ALL ABOUT IT NEW ONTARIO GUIDE TO EATING Fly Patterns by Fishing Guides: 200 Flies That Really Work By Tony Lolli SPORT FISH Fly Patterns by Fishing Guides is a how-to manual for fly-tying enthusiasts with a real difference If you like to eat some of the fish you catch, but are concerned about contaminant levels, the new edition of the Guide to Eating Ontario Sport Fish has the answers you need. The guide lets you identify the fish species and angling destinations with lower contaminant levels and allows you to check the fish you have caught. The 2013-2014 edition includes advice on sport fish from more than 2,200 lakes, rivers and streams around the province, including the Canadian waters of the Great Lakes. Each location has detailed information on the quantities of fish that can be safely eaten based on Health Canada’s health protection values. Printed copies of the guide are available, free of charge at, select government offices and retail outlets. You can also order a copy by mail from the Ministry of the Environment. There’s also an interactive version of the guide on the Ministry of the Environment’s website at www.ene.gov.on.ca. The interactive map displays all of the lakes and rivers from the guide with the corresponding consumption advisories. You can search the map by lake, river or stream name; address, community, township, or city; Global Positioning System (GPS) coordinates and fish species.

- most of the 200 patterns featured have never appeared anywhere in print until now! More importantly, all these flies have proven effective because they were created by professional fishing guides. Inside this comprehensive guide, Tony Lolli provides general fly-tying tips as well as detailed instructions for tying each of these very special flies, including step by step photos and tying instructions for each fly pattern; an overview of required materials and special equipment; close-up photography of the finished fly, plus a graphic that shows actual size and information on how, when, and where each fly is fished most effectively. Hardcover w/hidden spiral binding: $31.00 6 1/2" x 8 3/8" - 228 pages ISBN 978-0-7641-6563-4 Barron's Educational Series, 250 Wireless Blvd., Hauppauge, NY 11788 www.barronseduc.com

EVENTS Calendar KIDS, COPS AND CANADIAN TIRE FISHING DAYS Year ‘round youth oriented fishing events. Various dates and locations. 905-632-8679 www.kidsandcops.ca ORILLIA PERCH FESTIVAL April 20 - May 11 Lakes Simcoe & Couchiching Orillia, ON www.orillia.com BLUEWATER ANGLERS SALMON DERBY April 26 - May 5 Lake Huron Point Edward, ON www.bluewateranglers.com

TRENTON KIWANIS WALLEYE WORLD May 4 - 5 Bay of Quinte Trenton, ON www.kiwaniswalleyeworld.com SOUTHERN ALBERTA WALLEYE TRAIL May – June Various dates and locations in Alberta www.sawt.ca SASKATCHEWAN WALLEYE TRAIL May – September Various dates and locations in Saskatchewan www.saskwalleyetrail.ca ANGLER & YOUNG ANGLER TOURNAMENTS June - July Various dates and locations in Canada and the United States. www.angleryoungangler.ca

CANADA/US WALLEYE TOURNAMENT May 24 - 26 Sturgeon Lake Bobcaygeon, ON www.bobcaygeon.org/CanUsWalleyeTourname nt.html CASEY CUP BASS TOURNAMENT June 23 Lakes Simcoe & Couchiching Orillia, ON www.csfl.ca NATIONAL FISHING WEEK July 6 - 14 License-free fishing days across Canada www.catchfishing.com

Spring 2013 – Real Fishing 11


READER’S PHOTOS

Send us a photo of your best catch and you could see your picture in a future issue of Real Fishing Magazine! Send photos to: Real Fishing, 940 Sheldon Court, Burlington, ON L7L 5K6

Roberta Pamplin (L) and her guide Laval, QC Northern Pike

Aiden Good (L) and his dad, Shawn Rutland, VT Smallmouth Bass

Dianne Robataille (L) and Charles Weiss Toronto, ON Muskellunge Wayne Izumi, Sam Melli and Mark Gaggi, second place winners at the Tri-Con Corporate Challenge tournament held on Lake Couchiching last summer, with a few nice largemouth bass.

Jamie Antoine Cornwall, ON Carp

Rick Ireland Woodslee, ON Chinook Salmon

12 Real Fishing – Spring 2013

Robert Dupel Ottawa, ON Walleye


Catch BOB on the Tube! BOB IZUMI’S REAL FISHING SHOW SCHEDULE Okeechobee Shiner Fishing The Brothers' Amazon Adventure Big City Pike Florence Alabama Bassin' Lord of the Kings Beauchene Fishing with Tim Brent Early Season Cranking on Champlain Quinte Fishing Variety Big Water Walleye Trolling Fall Fishing for Bass St. Clair Musky One Stop Fishing Spot Ice Fishing SnoBear Style

April 6 April 13 April 20 April 27 May 4 May 11 May 18 May 25 June 1 June 8 June 15 June 22 June 29

STATION LISTING & AIRING TIMES* MARKET

PROV./STATE

STATION

DATE & AIR TIMES

Atlantic Canada

Atlantic Canada

Global (CIHF)

Saturday 10:00 am

Calgary

AB

Global (CICT)

Saturday 10:30 am

Edmonton

AB

Global (CITV)

Saturday 10:30 pm

Manitoba

MB

Global (CKND)

Saturday 9:30 am

Ontario

ON

Global (CIII)

Saturday 9:30 am

Quebec

QC

Global (CKMI)

Saturday 10:00 am

Regina

SK

Global (CFRE)

Saturday 9:30 am

Saskatoon

SK

Global (CFSK)

Saturday 9:30 am

Vancouver

BC

Global (CHAN)

Saturday 10:30 am

Canada/USA

Canada/USA

WFN

Check www.wfn.tv for dates and times

*Station listings, airtimes and show descriptions are subject to change. Please refer to your local television listings for the latest show schedules.


What’s

NEW

2013

A SPINNING REVO-LUTION The new line of Abu Garcia Revo® SX spinning reels offer the cutting edge design and advanced performance features today’s anglers demand. The Revo SX is equipped with a machined-aluminum, braid-ready spool and Everlast™ bail system that delivers extended life and improved durability. Slow oscillation of the spool provides even line lay regardless of type of line being used. A one-piece gear box provides precise alignment for smooth operation, the Carbon Matrix™ hybrid drag system creates a super smooth, reliable drag and eight stainless steel HPCR® (High Performance Corrosion Resistant) bearings plus one roller bearing keep things running smoothly and corrosionfree. The Revo SX can be configured for right or left hand retrieve and is available in four models; from the SX10 with a line capacity of 110-yards of four-pound test monofilament or 125-yards of six-pound braid, to the SX40 that holds up to 125-yards of eight-pound monofilament or 125-yards of 14-pound test braided line.

www.abugarcia.com

CHILL OUT MENS' COOLEST COOL LONG SLEEVE TOP The ultimate performance layer for high-octane activities in the heat, this sun-shading, long sleeve shirt employs strategically placed Omni-Freeze® ZERO cooling fabric and Omni-Wick® inserts to keep you cool, dry and protected in the outdoors. Columbia’s Omni-Freeze ZERO fabric lowers the material’s temperature while the Omni-Wicking pinhole mesh at the upper back, under the arms and at side, transmits sweat away from your body to keep you dry and comfortable. Omni-Shade UPF 50 also provides premium protection from the sun making it the ideal shirt for any hot weather outdoor activity.

MEN'S POWERDRAIN COOL This ultra-versatile hybrid shoe features Omni-Freeze ZERO in the lining, which creates a refreshing, cooling sensation when activated by water to keep feet cool and comfortable in hot conditions. The Techlite cushioned midsole features drainage ports in the heel and forefoot, and the high-traction, rubber OMNI-GRIP outsole provides secure traction on damp or slippery surfaces. Designed to move seamlessly from trail to water, the Powerdrain Cool shoe is comfortable and lightweight enough to wear all day, for any activity.

www.columbiasportswear.ca

SAFETY FIRST You’ll have the safety you need and complete freedom to move when you're wearing the lightweight, universally-sized Stearns® Inflatable Personal Flotation Device. It’s perfect for boaters, paddlers, anglers and hunters who get held back by traditional PFDs. When you need flotation protection, just pull the lanyard and let the CO2 technology inflate the vest instantly. The vest is Transport Canada approved and, once inflated, it provides 22.5lbs (10.2kg) of buoyancy.

www.colemancanada.ca

14 Real Fishing – Spring 2013


We welcome submissions from manufacturers and distibutors for our New Products section. Products that appear in this section have not necessarily been tested or endorsed by the staff at Real Fishing. Submissions can be sent to: Editor, Real Fishing Magazine, 940 Sheldon Court, Burlington, ON L7L 5K6

IMPROVED FORMULAS FOR TRILENE® XL® AND XT® Trilene XT and Trilene XL , the gold standards in fishing lines, have been re-invented with improved durability, strength and smoothness. The new Trilene XL offers a 10% improvement in strength, 20% more flexibility and over 20% greater knot strength than the previous version. New Trilene XT is 47% more flexible and has improved abrasion resistance, knot strength and shock resistance than previous generations of XT. Both lines come in new, clear carded packaging with slotted spools, making storage of partial spools clean and easy. Berkley Trilene XL is available in 2 to 30-pound test with diameters from 0.005” to 0.016” while Trilene XT comes in 4 to 30-pound test with diameters from 0.008” to 0.022”. Both lines are packaged on 110, 330, 1000 and extra-large 9000 yard service spools.

www.berkley-fishing.com

SPOON FEEDING The Williams® HQ™ is a new multi-species spoon series designed for Great Lakes and West Coast trout and salmon fisheries, big water walleye fisheries, inland trout waters and pike fishing anywhere. The HQ™ is offered in a range of 9 colors, 8 of which are UV reactive, over Williams’ trademark genuine silver, 24 carat gold and deep copper bases. The HQ™ is available in 2 sizes: the 3-1/4-inch, 1/3-ounce HQ35 and the 4 ¼-inch, 3/5-ounce HQ60.

www.williams.ca

IT’S A GAS The G CAN® is the convenient, clean and safer solution for all your portable refueling needs, whether at home, on the job, at the camp, cottage or marina. Its unique, foot operated pump puts an end to lifting heavy gas cans and delivers fuel at up to 9-litres per minute. The service station style nozzle has an auto-shut-off feature to prevent spills and a vapor recovery system prevents fumes from escaping. The G CAN® holds 20-litres of fuel, is CSA certified and comes with a one-year warranty.

wwww.gcan.com

Spring 2013 – Real Fishing 15


fishing

Bob Izumi is the host of The Real Fishing Show.

By Bob Izumi

Smooth Running I don’t know why everybody thinks that you should only use a fuel stabilizer when you’re storing your boat, snowblower, lawnmower or other seasonal equipment. The fact is, with just about all the fuel at gas stations containing ethanol; you really need to use it throughout the season. Many of your small engines may sit for several weeks or more between uses and that can give ethanol/gasoline blended fuel a chance to separate. There are an incredible number of things that can happen to our engines when ethanol fuel breaks down. Ethanol is naturally attracted to water and is prone to separating from the gasoline and blending with any water molecules in the fuel system. This is called “phase separation” of the fuel and it can lead to severe corrosion, decreased fuel

16 Real Fishing – Spring 2013

economy, poor engine performance, rough starts and hesitation. From my own personal experience, I’ve had a number of issues, especially with ATVs. They tend to sit in the garage for several months between uses and I’m constantly taking them in to the repair shop to get the carburetors cleaned out because they get gummed up and will not start. The truth is, ethanol wreaks havoc in the gas tanks and fuel systems of boats, cars, trucks, RVs, snowmobiles, ATVs, motorcycles, lawn mowers, snow throwers, tractors and more by corroding metal fuel tanks as well as damaging the seals of fiberglass tanks and attacking fiberglass tank composites. The cleaning properties of ethanol can also loosen varnish and corrosion deposits. These then clog fuel filters, injectors and intake valves, leading to major (and costly) damage to engines. I’ve had a chance to talk with a number of small engine and marine mechanics and they all tell me the same thing: ethanol fuel

has helped increase their service business. That’s great for them, but it’s not a good thing for the owners of equipment that won’t run due to fuel related issues. There are a lot of fuel treatments out there but I’ve found that PhaseGuard4 is one of the best. It actually stops phase separation before it starts, protects against corrosion, cleans the fuel system and helps your engines run better. In independent lab tests PhaseGuard4 provided better water removal capability and corrosion protection than other leading ethanol fuel treatments. PhaseGuard4 was developed to work with all gas powered two and four-stroke

engines and is effective in E10 to E85 fuels. One-ounce treats 10-gallons of fuel for regular in-season use and one ounce in five-gallons protects fuel for a minimum of 12-months for long-term storage. PhaseGuard4 can be used in all gasoline and gasoline/oil mixtures and your fuel cannot be over-treated. I’ve been using PhaseGuard4 for a few years in my boats and I’ve never had a fuel related issue. Even the ones that sit outside all winter start right up in the spring. It costs just pennies per litre to treat your fuel, instead of possibly hundreds of dollar in repair bills. That’s what I call cheap insurance! ?


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fly fishing

Steve May works for the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. When he’s not working to improve our fisheries, Steve can be found guiding or fly-casting on his local rivers.

By Stephen May

The Most Important Part of the Trip A few years back an ad campaign by one of the major fly fishing companies described the hardship, dedication and expense of getting to the best fly fishing places on earth. The caption read: “The last 50 feet is up to you.” That is so true! You can have the best fishing in the world right in front of you but if you cannot put the fly in front of the fish effectively you might as well stay home. It is not quite that extreme, but preparing for your trip by taking a lesson to learn how to fly cast properly, or to knock the rust off of your fly presentation skills and take them to

the next level, is always a good idea. Just a few minutes of practice can make a huge difference in the success and enjoyment you have on the water. Beginners often look at me skeptically when I tell them that fly casting is simple and that pretty much everyone can deliver an effective cast for basic stream trout fishing after about 10-minutes of instruction. I commonly hear people say, “Fly fishing is not for me. I tried it a couple of times and just did not get it.” 18 Real Fishing – Spring 2013

They pine about the dedication, magic touch and other crap required to master the “art” of fly casting. Hearing this, I know that they did not learn the foundations through solid information or instruction. The motor skills required to make an effective cast are not much different than the ones needed to drink your favorite beverage or answer the telephone. In over 20-years of teaching I have helped over 1,000 students and have only told one person that they should forget fly fishing and take up golf. Fly casting is not difficult, but the mechanics and physics involved are very different from casting with spinning or bait casting gear. The information firmly burned into many people’s grey matter about casting with spinning or baitcasting rods does not work when they have fly fishing gear in their hands. I did not say that beginners will be able to boom out a full fly line on a windy day with

a big fly after a couple of minutes of instruction - that does require practice, direction and a bit of skill. But, starting your fly fishing journey with a solid foundation is not too challenging. A competent instructor will get you started with the basic mechanics pretty quickly. In Canada, many people think that taking a lesson to go fishing is an odd concept, yet taking work courses, golf lessons or jockeying the kids to every sport and activity practice known to humanity is no big deal. Did you learn to drive a car by yourself with no guidance? Think about how long you have worked at developing your skills with a spinning or casting rod. Investing in fly casting lessons will make your time on the water more enjoyable and allow you to experience some of the amazing fly fishing opportunities out there. For those taking a dream trip after learning the basics, I hope that you do a little research to find out what type of casting you will be encountering at your destination and then do some work to tune up your casting skills. The last 50-feet really are the most rewarding of your trip. Tight lines! ?


l attractant that Gulp! Alive! has a powerfu water fish just leaves a scent trail in the alistic action re can’t resist. And with its Gulp! outfishes e ris rp su and shapes, it’s no , even live bait. an ything and ever ything alive. Gulp! Looks, feels and tastes ®

®

TM

berkley-fishing.com


Dave Taylor is a well known photographer and naturalist from Mississauga, Ontario

water’s edge By Dave Taylor

Blackburnian Warbler Anglers have a lot of avian company along the water’s edge and there is no better time to get out and see them than in the spring. Spring is such a good time to see the birds because the trees are just beginning to leaf-out and emerging insects and their larva are everywhere. All manner of birds come to feast on this ample food supply. Spring is also mating season and the birds never look better as both males and females are decked out in their best mating wardrobes. One of the most colourful birds to see flitting about the trees is the Blackburnian Warbler. Like most wood warblers it is a small bird and can be easily overlooked. A good pair of binoculars helps and the effort is worth it. The Blackburnian often migrates with other species so the watcher is in for an additional treat. Blackburnian Warblers build nests that are well hidden, usually in the top of spruce trees. Hard to observe, it is believed that the

20 Real Fishing – Spring 2013

female constructs the nest while the male defends the territory against other males. Four to six eggs are laid and they hatch in less than two weeks. Both parents help feed the chicks. The bird in the photographs has just flown from the Andes in South America and is headed for the coniferous forests of Eastern Canada and the Northeastern United States to nest. Its food is mainly insects and many of its preferred summer

prey, like spruce budworms and beetles, are highly destructive to our forests. During the spring migration the Blackburnian feeds in a wide variety of habitats but in its summer and winter ranges it feeds mostly at the topmost layers of the forest. Sadly, populations of this species, and many other song birds, have declined due to the clearing of South American forests and the use of DDT. The number of Blackburnian Warblers is down about 10% from its numbers back in 1980. By mid-summer the Blackburnian Warblers are on their way back south and are difficult to see in the thick foliage. Anglers can hardly be blamed for missing their passing at this time but can look forward to their return next spring. ?


the vintage tackle box

Patrick Daradick has been collecting vintage fishing tackle for over 23-years and is a specialist in Ontario made tackle. He enjoys sharing his passion and knowledge and can be contacted online at www.ontariolures.com or by phone at 613-398-7245.

By Patrick Daradick

Early Metal Prop Baits When discovering (or inheriting) a very early tackle box with various fishing lures inside, the curiosity as to when the unique metal lures with propellers were manufactured could overwhelm a person. The designs are dreams of the past, when tackle makers would experiment with propellers on metal lures, and their inventions would captivate the fisherman of the day and sometimes tackle collectors over a century later. An early Shakespeare Revolution Bait.

Shakespeare also manufactured a metalized underwater minnow in 1915. This lure had a wooden core with a metal jacket that came in gold, silver or copper, and it had props at the front and rear of lure. Adding to originality, the lure also had glass eyes. Other tackle manufactures also designed or added metal prop lures to their catalogues. In the 1910 era, Pflueger Enterprises added Metalized Minnows in three and five-hook models, which also sported glass eyes. The two-inch long Walton Speed Bait featured 16 propellers!

In the early 1900s, the William Shakespeare Company from Kalamazoo, Michigan, designed the aluminum-bodied, hollow lure. They named this invention the “Shakespeare Revolution Bait.” As seen in the picture, the lure had two hollow acorn sections separated by two freestyle props. The action on this design was an instant hit and, according to a July 1900 edition of The Sporting Goods Dealer, “the demand for this lure has been phenomenal in Kalamazoo in six weeks, while the supply was not equal to the demand.” This bait was the beginning of a revolution in fishing and it so enthused anglers that over 1200 baits were sold in the city alone. The lure was advertised in 1901, along with the hollow aluminum Bucktail Spinner. The Shakespeare Revolution was sold in three sizes: three, four and six-inches, the latter billed as “musky-size” and was patented on April 9, 1901. The lures were sold in introductory picture boxes and wooden slide-top boxes. 22 Real Fishing – Spring 2013

One of the more unique propeller lures has to be the Walton Speed Bait, manufactured by Walton Products from Rochester, New York, in 1928. The Walton Speed Bait shown in picture is only two-inches in length but it has 16 tiny propellers. I’m sure this lure had quite the action in the water! Although the lure was available in three sizes, it is the musky size that is most sought after by today’s collectors. In 1897, Livingston Hinckley patented an aluminum bait with a revolving head and prop. Shown is a Hinckley Yellow Bird Fish Phantom, an aluminum, revolving-head

The Hinckley Yellow Bird Fish Phantom.

metal lure. Once again, quite a unique invention for the era. Metal propeller baits are very unique and difficult to find, especially in their original boxes. They also demand a high value. Recent values at angling auctions saw a musky-sized Walton Speed Bait fetch $1,320. A Shakespeare Revolution bait, in an original box, would be valued at over $750 while the metal lure alone - depending on size and condition – would bring over $250. The large, musky-sized version would easily sell for $500. As Shakespeare stated, it was a “revolution” in the world of propeller-styled baits. ?


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real fishing fish facts

Goldeye Hiodon alosoides

The goldeye is a relatively small, herring-like fish with a deep, laterally compressed body, a small head and a short, bluntly rounded snout. Its colour ranges from dark green to blue-green on the back to silvery on the flanks and white on the belly. The most distinguishing features of the goldeye are its large, bright golden eyes that are said to reflect light in much the same way a cat’s do. The goldeye occurs only in North America, in a range that extends from Mississippi in the southeast to the Mackenzie River drainage in the northwest. In Canada, goldeye can be found from the extreme western edge of Ontario through southern and central Manitoba, across most of Saskatchewan and through most of central Alberta. An isolated pocket also exists along the border between northern Ontario and Quebec, in an area roughly located between Lakes Waswanipi, Temiskaming and Abitibi. The preferred habitat for goldeye is the slower, turbid sections of large rivers and the small lakes, ponds and marshes that are connected to them. They also thrive in shallow, murky areas of larger lakes.

Fresh goldeye were once considered so unsuitable for human consumption that they were sold commercially as dog food, for about a penny per pound.

FAST FACTS Colour: Dark green to blue-green on the back, silvery on the flanks and fading to white on the belly. The eyes are large and bright gold in colour. Size: The average goldeye is between 10 and 15-inches in length, with a weight of 1 to 2-pounds, but fish over 20-inches and weighing over 3-pounds have been recorded. Life Span: Up to 15-years. Habitat: Muddy, shallow areas of large lakes and slow, turbid sections of large rivers and small connecting lakes, ponds and marshes. Spawning: Takes place in the spring in shallow, murky, 50°F to 55°F water.

RECORD The IGFA lists the current All-Tackle World Record goldeye at 3-pounds, 13-ounces. The fish was caught in Pierre, South Dakota, on August 9, 1987.

Spawning takes place in the spring, in water temperatures ranging from 50°F to 55°F. Females lay between 5,000 and 25,000 eggs that hatch in about two-weeks. Goldeye have voracious appetites and will eat almost any type of food. Their main diet consists of surface and aquatic insects, but they will also take crustaceans, mollusks, other small fish and occasionally frogs, mice and shrews. Despite their appetites, goldeye are small fish that usually attain a length of 10 to 15inches and a weight of about 1 1/2-pounds. Larger fish are not uncommon and goldeye up to 20-inches in length and weighing over 3-pounds have been recorded. The IGFA 24 Real Fishing – Spring 2013

DID YOU KNOW?

lists a 3-pound, 13-ounce specimen as the official world record. Fresh goldeye have never been considered fine eating fish and they were once sold as dog food for about a penny a pound. In the late 1800’s, however, it was found that they became much more palatable when smoked and a commercial fishery was established for them. Smoked goldeye is still considered a delicacy today. Anglers pursue goldeye in much the same way as they do trout. These fish will readily respond to wet or dry flies and small spinners as well as to insects and small baitfish rigged under a float. They fight well for their size and provide great sport on light fly or spinning gear. ?


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26 Real Fishing – Spring 2013

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8 am pm am pm

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M AY

TUESDAY

1 Excellent Time

8:30 - 10:30 8:54 - 10:54 2:57 - 4:27 3:21 - 4:51

JUNE

Best Fishing Times 2013

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SUNDAY

28

am pm am pm

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5:18 - 7:18 am 5:42 - 7:42 pm am NA 12:09 - 1:39 pm

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29 4:30 - 6:30 4:54 - 6:54 10:57 - 12:27 11:21 - 12:51

am pm am pm


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Springtime in New Jersey sounds like the title of a bad movie but for local area anglers it means that the striper fishing season is in high gear. The action is so fast and furious that the Real Fishing team got a complete show shot in under two-hours. With lots of time left on the charter clock, they put the cameras away and spent the rest of the trip doing what any anglers would do after work - enjoy the great fishing!

28 Real Fishing â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Spring 2013


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By Dan Robson

PRESSURED WATERS All fishermen experience it, a cabin fever of sorts that is a by-product of a long, cold winter. For steelheaders it is often worse than most. Weeks of sub-zero temperatures have us river goers longing for open water. When those cold days begin to give way to the warming sun of spring we get the urge. Nothing will stop us from getting that first open water fish of the year. Every steelheader, from the hardcore to the casual weekender, have the same overpowering urge in the early spring, which often leads to situations where anglers outnumber fish. It can be a discouraging scene but tossing the rod into the back of the truck and heading home is not an option. It’s time to battle the crowds and get into the fish that all the others are missing.

STEELHEADER Q&A So often I hear mumblings of passing fishermen, cursing the anglers already occupying their favorite holes and lining the banks. I’ll admit that I’ve been guilty of it on occa32 Real Fishing – Spring 2013

sion. There is a wealth of knowledge available if we can set our egos aside for a moment. Strike up a conversation; take a minute and observe your surroundings. Pay attention to who’s hooking up, where those fish are being caught and what they are being caught on. Ask anglers about their day. Not everyone on the bank will be helpful, but the ones who are will save you some valuable time. Spending a few minutes to find out as much as you can about the fish-

ing will not only provide you with a great starting point, but will also be a good foundation for your day on the water.

FISH BEHAVIOR ON BUSY WATER Solitude on a busy day is just as important to the fish as it is to you. You, however, are going to spend a mere few hours on the water, while the fish are there for weeks. One day their quiet little holding area is overrun with a barrage of baits, some of


WHAT NOW?

Steelhead will go wherever they need to go for some tranquility.

which may seem appealing and all of which eventually become an annoyance. Prime holding water becomes less so rather quickly on a busy day. Fish will vacate their typical holding locations for water that is less than ideal. Most fishermen will stick with the typical steelhead holding water simply because it’s what they know and the majority of the time it pays off. Steelhead require basic necessities like food, shelter and a place to rest. If one continues to fish areas that provide all of the above, then logically one would assume they would catch a fish or two. There does come a point though, when the fish will become more than willing to give up those necessities for a little peace and quiet. So where do they go? Steelhead will go wherever they need to go for some tranquility. They can hold tight to shore, even in shallow water. They will move to slight depressions in long shallow runs, depressions that are just deep enough to provide them with some protection. They will hold in shallow riffles that are only a couple of feet deep. After being forced from their comfortable abode, the riffles will offer them some, although minimal, cover. So you’ve found a spot away from other anglers. You’ve hooked a fish and the fight ensues, but that fish works itself free and now the spot has shut down with the commotion of the short fight. It’s a scenario we steelheaders have all experienced at some point so let’s take a moment to break it down. The fish has been stung. Many anglers assume it is now shying away from taking anything, not wanting to be stung again. In some cases this may be true, but what is

more important is that this fish has learned something. It has learned what not to take. If it was a roe bag tied in hot pink mesh the fish took, then that fish now knows not to take a roe bag tied in hot pink mesh again.

Ok, so the odds of you hooking a fish have now dramatically deceased. The fish have moved and, for a combination of reasons, have turned off the bite. Don’t worry, they haven’t moved far, nor have they suddenly developed a case of lockjaw. When we understand how the fish are reacting to the busy day we simply need to do some fine tuning to our normal steelheading routine. First things first; fish all of the areas that, during a normal day on the water, you would walk right past. Do not, however, venture far from the original holding water. Fish can be found in the unlikely locations previously discussed, just above or below the original holding water, often just a few yards away. Remember that these fish have been bothered to the point of vacating what they consider normal dwellings. Pair that with the fact that many of the new holding spots are in shallow water and you have a

Here’s proof that steelhead will hit even after they’ve been stung. Sometimes all it takes is a change in bait shape or size.

While that fish fought for a short period, its erratic movement sent distress signals throughout the pool, warning the rest of the fish of the danger and sending them deep into cover or chasing them completely out of the holding area. Add the two negative factors of this scenario to the endless barrage of bait, flies, spoons, spinners and whatever else has been thrown their way, and the odds are clearly stacked against you.

fish that is very easily spooked. Proceed with caution. When it comes to bait, take an odd man out (or should I say odd bait out) sort of approach. Start by doing everything opposite to what is already being done. If the majority are drifting roe bags, try some soft plastics. If they are swinging spoons, float a bead. The idea is to show the fish something they haven’t seen yet. More often than not I have walked past heavily pressured Spring 2013 – Real Fishing 33


This artificial double-egg, poured around a piece of orange yarn, was just different enough to fool this nice steelhead.

holding water where the fish have “shut down” and immediately hooked up by figuring out what everyone else is using - and not using it. Maybe the fish have seen it all. With the barrage of bait that has been thrown at them it is entirely possible. Steelhead will react, positively or negatively, to very subtle

34 Real Fishing – Spring 2013

and white, but amongst those colors I also carry bags tied in red, purple, blue and even black mesh. Oddball colors will spark their curiosity and lead to strikes which will ultimately result in more hook ups. Downsize everything. If you run roe, tie your bags half the size of what you would normally tie. If you normally swing a size four spinner, swing a size two. Every bait, plastic, lure or fly that I use on pressured water will be at least a size or two smaller than what I would normally run. When I say downsize everything I am not limiting it to bait. I do mean downsize everything. In this day and age of strong, durable, thin fluorocarbon it is rare that I will run any less than a six-pound test leader. A pressured river is one of these rare occasions where I will downsize to a fourpound leader. Add a few extra inches to the leader for a little security, the idea being that the fish will spot and then react to your offering well before any other terminal tackle has been spotted. Downsize hooks, split shot, floats, everything. You’re going after fish that have been pushed well out of their comfort zone and the smaller everything is, the less chance there is of spooking an already timid fish. With everything discussed, if you still absolutely despise fighting through crowds, then sleep in. Everyone is eager to get on the river, but on a slow day with very few hook ups the river is usually empty by early after-

changes in anything from the bait being used to the terminal gear used to present it. Let’s say you’re a roe fisherman in a world of roe fisherman. How do you stand out? A sac tied with purple mesh will catch the eye of a fish that has been staring at pink all day. Think of a piece of paper covered in pink dots with the exception of one that is purple. Naturally your eye will be drawn to the purple dot because it’s out of the norm. A steelhead will see it the same way. Whether it looks natural to them or not doesn’t matter at this point; it’s different, and therefore is attractive and intriguing. I always carry roe bags tied in the typical green, orange, pink


Spooked steelhead will often move into riffle areas just above or below larger pools.

noon. Fish the afternoon bite and you may have the river to yourself at the same time the fish come out of hiding. Every so often, on one of my local tributaries, I run into a gentleman who has been steelheader longer than I have been around. He once told me something that I think rings especially true when fishing a busy spring river. “If you expect nothing, you will not leave disappointed. If you prepare for everything you will not be caught off guard.” Wise words indeed! ?

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BASS FISHING

MYTHS Article and Illustrations by Charles Weiss

Bass fishing myths may seem old and odd smelling but there is some truth in most of them. Bass, both largemouth and smallmouth are, without a doubt, one of the best-known and most respected sport fish in North America. In some areas, fishing for them could be considered a national pastime, even a religion of sorts. There are literally hundreds of books, television shows, magazine articles and websites devoted to the pursuit of these fish but, despite their enormous popularity, you can never learn all about fishing for them. While there is a lot of legitimate bass fishing information out there, there are also a number of assumptions, half-truths and downright lies tossed around as fact. The still water of the bass pond is filled with stories, from the deepest bottom to the surface flotsam! I hope this collection of myths will help to separate bass-catching reality from bass-catching fantasy.

1. CATCHING SPAWNING BASS IS EASY Some fisherman consider sight fishing for spawning bass as not very sporting or ethical since it takes advantage of the fish when they are most vulnerable, while others (in regions where fishing regulations permit targeting spawning bass) see it as a fishing tradition. Either way, catching a spawning bass can be very easy at times and next to impossible at others. Take a look at the tournament results from spawning season events in the southern 36 Real Fishing – Spring 2013

USA and you’ll see some anglers bringing in massive weights while others are coming up with small limits or worse. During the spawn, bass can be very aggressive and protective of intrusions in their territory. This can make for easy pickings, especially if you are targeting male bass guarding nests. Sometimes they will quickly race out and inhale a lure but just as often

they will merely bump it away before returning to their nest. Repeated casts often lead to repeated “bumpings” until finally the fish becomes spooked and vacates the nest. This is most common in lakes with lots of fishing pressure during the spawn. On the other hand, bass in lightly fished lakes are far more likely to race out and eat just about anything cast to them. Water temperature plays a huge part in a bass’ spawning behavior and it doesn’t take much to move them on or off of their beds. A few degrees of temperature drop will cause fish to move away from their nests and waters that were teeming with fish are suddenly deserted. On the other hand, a warming trend will often have hundreds of fish moving into the shallows, seemingly all at once. It takes a lot of practice and experience to be able to read the weather to determine


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from their usual or obvious-looking spots, but the fish are still out there and they can still be caught.

which stage of the spawn the fish are in. Even when the shallows are full of fish there is an art to determining whether a sighted bass is even catchable. The best, and most skilled anglers can read the behavior of a bass before ever casting to it.

2. BIG LURES CATCH BIG BASS In general terms this makes a lot of sense. Fish need to gain more energy from their food than they expend trying to catch it so eating big meals would seem to be more efficient than chasing after smaller prey. In a lot of cases this is true. Scientists have calculated the maximum size of prey a bass could eat would be half its own length, so a 24inch long bass could easily attack a foot long lure! In fact, most muskie anglers can tell a story about being surprised when they catch a big bass on a huge jerkbait or spinnerbait.

5. RED HOOKS CATCH MORE BASS fish has been kept, it’s a good idea to keep the well running constantly. Timers that cycle the livewell on and off are okay if you’ve only got a couple of smaller fish, but a limit of big fish may use up most of the oxygen between cycles. Adding pure oxygen by using tablets or special oxygen supply pumps can really help. Fishermen should be especially cautious with fish pulled out of deeper, cooler water. Many anglers catch smallmouth or walleyes from deeper water in the summer, where the temperature might be only 65° or 70°, and plop it into a livewell full of 80° water. This can be extremely stressful to the fish and can result in the fish dying surprisingly quickly. Take extra care on hot days to add ice to the live wells to keep the water cool, but don’t overdo it. Cold shock can be just as dangerous as heat shock.

Adding red hooks to lures is a trend that has enjoyed a lot of popularity and a lot of tackle makers have added them to their lures. They imply that red hooks resemble a blood trail that bass can’t resist. Sinkers, spinner blades and lines have also been produced in red in an attempt to simulate blood, gills or to mimic the colour of a molting crayfish. The fact is, there aren’t a lot of bleeding baitfish swimming around and it is unlikely that bass would be used to seeing minnows trailing blood – much less focus their feeding on them. Studies have shown that bass can see clearly different colours but none of them show that bass have any kind of preference for red. The one exception may be in areas of the southern United States where some lakes

4.TOURNAMENTS AND DERBIES HURT BASS POPULATIONS

Still, there is no guarantee that tossing massive baits will result in massive bass. Things like fishing pressure, weather and water conditions, the mood of the fish and the area you are fishing will all play a part. When the fish are aggressive, larger baits can definitely attract larger fish but when the conditions are less than ideal you’re better off going smaller and slower. Of course, every once in a while a giant bass may just come out of nowhere and surprise you!

3.LIVEWELLS MAKE CATCH AND RELEASE FOOLPROOF There’s no doubt that a bass held in a modern livewell has a far better chance of being released alive than one that’s been hung on a stringer or held in a bucket. But, deficiencies in some live well designs and a lack of proper care of captured bass can make livewells just as dangerous. To start, never put a fish into a livewell before adding water. This really stresses the bass and can cause physical damage if the fish flops around in a dry livewell. Once a 38 Real Fishing – Spring 2013

Despite booming bass fisheries in recent years, this myth still exists. Anglers and natural resource managers opposed to derbies, for whatever reason, propagate the idea that excessive tournament fishing hurts bass populations. You only need to check the waters fished repeatedly by tournaments for decades to see that this myth is a real whopper. Catches on popular tournament lakes today are as good as they've ever been. There’s no question that heavy fishing pressure can make the bass a little harder to catch, and may cause them to move away

have massive numbers of reddish crayfish spawning in the late spring or early summer. In this case “matching the hatch” with a reddish bait may result in better catches but this has more to do with offering the bass something they are used to feeding on than the attraction of the colour red. Red hooks and colour slashes on baits may provide some


contrast that makes a bait stand out but it’s this contrast, rather than the actual colour, that catches a bass’s attention.

6. A BASS IS A BASS This myth is more of a half-truth than a pure myth. In general terms, bass do act in similar ways. Largemouth are ambush feeders and they like to be near some type of cover. They thrive in shallow, stained water that gives them a feeding advantage. Smallmouth are sight feeders and they prefer clearer, deeper water than largemouth. Because of that, some anglers believe that the same species of bass will have the same reaction to their fishing efforts on any lake, in any part of the continent. Most experienced fisherman, however, consider how the habitat, conditions and seasons affect bass behavior in a particular lake. Studies have concluded that diet, water colour and clarity, and the available habitat all play a large role in in the way a bass lives. A lake with limited to no weed cover will fish differently than one that is weed-choked. Lakes with

primarily rock structures will require different tactics than ones full of standing timber. Crystal clear waters demand a different approach than murky ones. Lure choices can be markedly different from one lake to another, as can the most successful techniques. In some bass lakes, topwater lures work extremely well in the summer, while in other lakes they don’t. Night fishing is very effective in catching largemouth bass on some waters and very ineffective on others. Long, slim baits may outperform short, stubby ones on some lakes and the opposite could be true on others. It’s a good idea to do a little research on the lake you plan to fish to see if there is a certain method or bait that works better than others. It’s also smart to be prepared for any type of fishing and be ready to change things up until you find the best approach on the lake you’re fishing. 40 Real Fishing – Spring 2013

7. BASS BOATS CATCH MORE BASS This is another myth that has a bit of truth to it. A fast boat does allow you to cover more water in a day and a big boat is definitely more comfortable to fish from than a small one. But the boat doesn’t make the fisherman, it's the angler's methods and techniques that lead to success. In some cases a fast boat can actually hurt by making you fish an area too quickly just because the next spot can be reached in a matter of minutes. It’s a classic case of “the grass is greener on the other side.” No bites in 10-minutes? Fire up the 250, make a 70mile-per-hour run to the other side of the lake and try again. Even if they’re not biting, a large, shiny, super-powered boat will make you look like a successful bass fishermen as you whizz past everyone else! Smaller, lower-powered boats force you to concentrate on thoroughly fishing the areas that you can get to easily. They can also get into areas that bigger boats can’t and their size makes them extremely maneuverable. One of the biggest advantages of fishing from a small boat is that you don’t draw any attention from other anglers. The “pros” won’t give you a second look as they speed by on their way to their next glory hole. Big boat or small boat, Ferrari or Toyota, the choice is up to you.

8. BASS DON’T FEED IN COLD WATER Bass are cold-blooded and their metabolism, including heart rate, does slow down in cold water. Because of this, less nutrition-

al intake is needed so they adjust by moving around a lot less. But they don’t stop feeding entirely. You've probably heard that a lot of big bass get caught late in the fall and that is true. Big fish are very active at this time, chasing what might be their last meal as winter approaches. Most folks think this has to do with bass increasing their eating for the upcoming winter when in fact this is only part of the reason. Altered movement and schooling of prey is one of the main reasons large groups of bass go on feeding binges in the fall. Later in the year, both largemouth and smallmouth bass can, and are, caught while ice fishing in lakes where the season is open. The bite may be slower and the fish are definitely not as aggressive as they are in warmer water, but they still need to eat.

The complex world of the bass is filled with a lot of unanswered questions, myths and rumors. The ability to separate the wheat from the chaff of fishing information is what sets the great anglers apart from the average ones. I hope this look at some of the more common bass fishing myths will help set a few things straight. ?


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DOWNTOWN

TROPHIES

By Mark Forabosco

When my wife and I made the decision to leave our ever expanding city of 300,000 people, and all the hustle and bustle associated with it, in exchange for small town living, we were confident that we had made the right choice. But, of course, in life nothing ever comes without a price. No longer would I be within spitting distance of the Grand, Nith or Conestoga Rivers or any of their feeder streams; waters that I had spent a lifetime fishing and getting to know. I hold fond memories of wet spring mornings along the banks of the Grand, enticing eager brown trout up to four-pounds with a simple float and minnow combination, admiring them for a brief moment after a tenacious battle and then releasing them to fight again another day. Then there are the walleyes up to eight-pounds aggressively attacking minnowbaits bounced off the corner of a large slab of concrete that lay submerged under a very old steel bridge. Looking back, I bet that I have landed at least half a dozen walleye over 20-inches from that one magical section of the Nith. And I’ll never forget autumn smallmouth bass exploding on a topwater lure as it

danced across the surface of the Conestoga River while a blanket of early morning mist was beginning to lift. Here I was, 40-years old and starting from scratch, searching out new honeyholes, and the only river that was within 60kilometers of my new home was more renowned for its pollution than for its sport fishery. But, just like that old saying about the benefits of keeping the faith, good fortune did eventually smile down upon me and it came at a most unexpected time. It was the middle of July and my wife had managed to hoodwink me into heading out for a stroll through the local park. We were hiking the trails and enjoying nature’s

scenery when I caught sight of a young man fishing a small lake located dead center in the heart of this city park. I guess my angler’s curiosity took over and I decided to poke around and ask how the fishing had been. The young man smiled and informed me that the bluegills were plentiful but the bass fishing was slower than usual. Well now, this had me interested! He went on to explain that this particular man-made reservoir had coughed up bass over six-pounds in the past. I was skeptical to say the least. How could such a small body of water, less than 150-meters across and less than 700meters long, hold such large bass? It wasn’t until I struck up a conversation with anothSpring 2013 – Real Fishing 43


That first season passed quickly and, of course, some days were better than others but I always had confidence that a seven-pound trophy was just one cast away. I had set that as my target once I began to understand the nuances of this special little lake. Though I have fallen short with regards to landing that one rare fish, I have landed largemouth from there as large as five-pounds.

BACK TO BASICS

er angler in that same location a year later, and heard virtually the same story, that I thought there might be more to this than just wishful thinking. Maybe it was time for me to give this place a try.

OPENING DAY Well, the magical day finally arrived. I had just purchased a lure appropriately named, “The Rat,” a weedless wonder molded into the shape of a rodent that was perfect for dragging across lily pads and weed patches. Surely I would be able to aggravate some lurking leviathan into taking a swipe at this lifelike offering!

44 Real Fishing – Spring 2013

It was truly a fisherman’s day with the summer sun standing high in a cloudless sky and a slight breeze out of the west. Everything was perfect, except me. By the end of the day I had landed five largemouth bass, the biggest just a hair over four-pounds, but I’d lost or missed at least nine more. Aside from the fact that my reflexes aren’t what they once were, it had been an absolutely fantastic outing. Instead of making a long trek to some far away lake with limited fishing pressure, I was a mere tenminutes from home and the fishing was exceptional. The cover was no different than that of any natural lake: overhanging trees, sunken logs, weedbeds - your standard largemouth habitat. What surprised me most was how limited the competition was. Even though it was opening day, I shared the lake with only one fellow angler on that memorable outing! Back home in my garage rested the expensive, brand name boat loaded with all of the modern conveniences that many anglers of today accept as necessity. It has every gadget and do-hickey imaginable and all of them are guaranteed to help put more fish into the livewell and make every angling adventure that much more pleasurable. It was nice to see that I didn’t need all of that to be successful or to have fun. Far too many years had passed since I had enjoyed a pure, old fashioned opening day on the water. It was nice to turn the clock back to a simpler time. It really was an eye opening experience and I believe that I’m the better for it.

When it comes to tackling small, manmade reservoirs or park lakes, the best piece of advice that I can give you is to keep it simple. There is no need for an overflowing tackle box or half a dozen rods. A good old fashioned trout vest to carry a dozen or so dependable baits and a medium to heavy action rod are all you need. As far as lures go, stick with those old reliable baits that Grandpa once used. I would recommend

keeping a couple of spinner baits on hand with green or white skirts - colours that have remained consistent over the long haul. You’ll want a few of every bass aficionado’s ‘go to’ bait, the soft plastic or rubber worm, and a couple of crankbaits - one set for shallow running and one for deep. Lastly, and arguably the most exciting way to catch any game fish, a couple of topwater baits. No


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fishing trip to the local park would be complete without a couple of those historic basscatching artificials. Jitterbugs and Hula Poppers, viewed by many as nothing more than vintage baits at best, still have some type of residual magic that can trick even the most wary of game fish. For thicker cover, a weedless rubber rat, mouse or frog will fit the bill. These lures are most effective when worked in a slow, methodical manner across the surface and over the weeds. One suggestion: you’ll find that you get better hooksets and lose fewer fish when using these weedless baits if you take a pair of pliers and bend the hooks upwards just a touch.

and is very maneuverable and durable. The fishing kayak is a great investment and it’s in the price range of any angler. The one major advantage to using a kayak or a canoe is that you are able to fish areas that are out of reach to shore bound anglers. On my favourite small town reservoir there is an area of shoreline where well over half of one side of the lake is covered in large, fallen and overhanging maple and fir trees. For the most part it’s impossible to fish that area from shore but if you’re fishing from a float tube or a small boat you can glide in there just as slick as you please, toss a bait under some of that heavy cover, and hang on tight.

ANGLING ALTERNATIVES Even though this type of urban angling may be viewed as simple, there are a number of ways to go about it. Maybe you’re content to sit on the bank, enjoying a coffee as you read the morning paper, still-fishing with a dew worm or a minnow and hoping to connect with whatever happens to swim by - be it perch, crappie, or bass. Or perhaps you’d rather walk the shoreline, casting your lure into any likely fish holding areas you come across. I’ve landed some very respectable largemouth using both of these techniques, but it doesn’t end there. Though none of these small town reservoirs allow gas powered motors, craft like canoes, jon boats, kayaks and float tubes are permitted should you decide to go that route. This past spring I purchased a small fishing kayak that was on sale from a local outdoor store for a very reasonable price. I can slide it into the back of my truck with ease as it weighs less than 50-pounds. It’s easy to get in and out of the water, which is ideal if there happen to be no boat launches. It is surprisingly comfortable to fish out of 46 Real Fishing – Spring 2013

LOCATING LAKES I’m sure up to this point you’re probably saying to yourself, “This is all well and good, but how can I find these mini lakes?” Remember, there are no secret files containing encoded documents on how to locate these special spots. This is where a little hard work and diligence can really pay off. High resolution aerial maps, such as the ones on Mapquest, can be extremely useful when you are trying to dissect a particular area. Or simply purchase a township map at the nearest local hardware store. These are generally very accurate and will show the nearby smaller reservoirs, conservation lakes and ponds in detail. Another option, and probably the method that reaps the greatest rewards, is to step back into the time machine. Grab a large coffee and a donut, take along your significant other, and go for a Sunday drive. I wouldn’t blame you if you’re rolling your eyes right now after reading that and thinking, “Now I’ve heard everything,” but it really works! Remember how I found my

first lake? Just open up a map, literally take the roads less traveled, and go through some of the small towns within an hour or so of your home. You’d be amazed at the number of these sleepy hollows that have something to offer an angler yet are passed over by the majority of travelers. By the time September came to an end that first season, I had five small town lakes on my new “paper route” which qualified as quality largemouth fisheries and were capable of supporting bass up to four-pounds and larger. One other furnished carp well into the 20-pound plus category. The furthest reservoir on my route is just over 30minutes’ drive time from home, much more economical than towing an 18-foot bass boat for 150-kilometers! Sometimes we’re so focused on searching far off into the distance for that next great trophy lake that we overlook what is right under our very noses. A vigilant eye can often uncover a seldom used gravel road or an obscure trail that may lead a watchful angler to some very fertile fishing grounds. Believe me when I say that these bodies of water are out there, and in good numbers. They’re just smaller than you may think and much closer than you could imagine. ?


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Those Dam

Smallies By Shawn Good Shawn Good is a transplanted Ontarian living and working in Vermont. Heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s an avid bass angler, and a fisheries biologist with the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department. Among other responsibilities, Shawn manages bass populations in southwestern Vermont lakes and ponds, including Lake Champlain.

48 Real Fishing â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Spring 2013


While the long winter months can be broken up with brief forays into the cold to ice fish for a wide variety of fun and tasty species, for the hardcore bass enthusiast ice fishing is just a way to pass time until the real season arrives. Unfortunately, the anticipation of bass fishing in southern Ontario has always brought about a mixture of bittersweet emotions for most diehard bass anglers. More often than not, when that magical fourth Saturday in June would arrive, the eager excitement of finally hitting the water for smallies would often fall way to the crushing disappointment of the dreaded post-spawn. Why is it that the bass opener always seems to come right when the bass are at their stingiest? I think it’s just Mother Nature’s way of playing with our heads. Fortunately for Ontario bass anglers in Fisheries Management Zones 17, 18, and 20, the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources has opened bass season a week earlier starting in 2013. With a warming climate and earlier springs, bass are spawning earlier, and the longer growing seasons could mean increased growth and survival. While this is good news to Ontario anglers looking to get a jump on the bass fishing season, an earlier spawn and earlier season may just plant you squarely in the middle of the postspawn doldrums on your favourite water. Conventional wisdom says that postspawn bass fishing is generally a painful period of puzzle and intrigue as you try to decipher what these scattered, lethargic bass are doing, and what might tempt them into opening their jaws for a light snack. Post-spawn bass can be tough to catch, especially the bigger females that have left the nest first, leaving the males to stand guard over the eggs and fry for another couple weeks. These big girls have a tendency to slide off into deeper water where they spend several weeks recuperating from the stresses of the spawn. They eat very little, and there’s little opportunity or point in trying to pat-

tern them. Most anglers simply try to spend as much time on the water as possible, moving quickly and covering water, throwing a wide variety of slow-moving, suspending, or vertical baits, in an attempt to hit upon something that will elicit a reaction bite from a random smallie. But there is another option, providing your favourite bass water has a couple key features that combine to offer an alternative that will allow you to skip the Easter egg hunt in the main lake altogether – river tributaries and a dam. On the evolutionary side of things, the smallmouth bass as a species can be considered a riverine fish to a large extent. They are well adapted for life in flowing water conditions. Their torpedo shaped bodies allow them to easily maintain position in strong current and they can hunt and feed effectively using the seams, eddies, and current breaks to ambush schools of baitfish. So, while some post-spawn smallmouth prefer to sulk alone in deep water for a couple weeks recovering, there’s a whole separate group of fish that will choose to spend their recuperation period on a feeding binge in a nearby river, taking advantage of the plentiful schools of baitfish that also happen to be running the tributaries in mid to late June. What makes this pattern extra special is when there’s a dam present on the river. This brings about a perfect storm for a postspawn bronzeback feeding bonanza. Hungry post-spawn females will use the

dam face to their advantage, pinning schools of emerald shiners, silvery minnows, juvenile perch, and alewife against it. Although I’m from Ontario, I currently live in Vermont and, on my adopted home water of Lake Champlain, there are more than a dozen mid to large size river tributaries flowing into the lake and just about every one of them has a dam somewhere on the lower river. I’ve spent a considerable amount of time over the last 10-years fishing a number of these locations, both from shore and from a boat, and when I’ve managed to time it right I’ve experienced some of the best smallmouth action of the year. Post-spawn smallmouth that expend the energy to migrate, sometimes many miles upriver, in pursuit of schooling baitfish are certainly not fussy. They are there to eat, so bait selection is easy. Any minnow imitating lures will work. My personal preferences are wide-wobbling, shallow running crankbaits that dive three to five-feet, and suspending jerkbaits in shad, shiner or perch color patterns. There’s no need to throw lures that run deep or to drag bottom with jigs. Any smallmouth that is feeding in these zones is looking up, waiting to ambush any disoriented or wounded baitfish they have corralled and stunned against the dam and that are floating back in the current. When throwing jerkbaits, I like to position myself a cast-length away from the Spring 2013 – Real Fishing 49


dam face and cast directly into the whitewater at the foot of the dam. Depending on flow conditions, the jerkbait will be swept quickly back towards you so you want to pick up the slack right away and begin working the bait. A few twitches are usually all it takes to draw attention from nearby smallies on the hunt. Make sure you give a couple long pauses, letting the bait float “injured” downstream, before twitching again. Almost all of my strikes come on the pause. Working a jerkbait is a bit tricky in these situations, as slack put in the line from the downstream drift can cause you to miss bites or not detect them at all. It’s a bit like fly fishing in the sense that you must mend your line without moving the fly, or jerkbait in this case, so that you maintain a connection to your lure at all times. For this reason I often will move away from the standard 5.4:1 baitcaster I usually crank with and switch to something a little faster, like a 6.1:1 or 6.3:1. With such a reel I can easily pick up the slack without moving the bait and inadvertently imparting an unnatural action during the pause.

I like to pair my reel with a 6’8” to 7’2” crankbait rod that has a fast action and soft tip. Anything too stiff and these hungry smallmouth will own you in the fast current. You need a soft rod that will absorb the smallies’ crushing runs once hooked – they not only use the current to feed effectively, but also to fight effectively! 50 Real Fishing – Spring 2013

If I find the smallmouth are not positioned in the whitewater or directly below, I will switch over to square-billed, diving crankbaits and fish the seams and current breaks just below the whitewater. Smallies like to sit just on the outside edge of the line between the foamy turbulent water and the relatively slick and flat water that parallels it, using it as an ambush point. In this case, I will make a quartering cast, 45-degrees upriver, and retrieve my bait fairly quickly back to the boat. I might throw the occasional pause in, or hesitate on the reel handle for a split second, but mostly I keep the lure moving. The crankbait will come diagonally across the turbulent water while being pushed downstream by the flow and, as it leaves the turbulent water and enters the clearer slower water, it will mimic a baitfish fleeing a predator. Hang on to your rod when the lure breaks across the seam and into the slick zone because that’s when the smallmouth will smash it. Soft plastic jerkbaits can often out-perform hardbaits when fishing below a dam,

especially when flows aren’t as strong. When jerked, twitched and then left to drift, soft jerkbaits can have a more natural appearance in the current. They also have a slower sink rate and an enticing wobble when paused as they are swept downstream. I find that a nose-hooked soft jerkbait cast to the base of the dam can be really productive, especially if retrieved with a few hard twitches and a pause or two mixed in. As with all successful bass patterns, timing is everything. In this case it’s strictly water temperature dependent. Male smallmouth bass will begin constructing nests when the water temperatures approach 59°F - 60°F and egg deposition and fertilization happens at 61°F - 65°F. After this, the males are left with several weeks of parental care responsibilities while the females leave the spawning area to recuperate. If you have a river in mind, especially one with a dam, begin checking the pool and runs below the dam every few days for signs of bass. Bring a thermometer and take a


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I’ve found that the well-oxygenated water below a dam will produce great smallmouth action even on the hottest days of the year, and in water as shallow as three to eightfeet. To me that is more enjoyable than having to fish 20 to 40-feet deep in midsummer on a lake. Fishing for smallmouth below a dam will ruin you for regular lake fishing. The jumping, leaping and fighting abilities that smallmouth bass are so fabled for are doubled when you’ve hooked up with a 4-pound post-spawn female bass in heavy current.

Very few anglers I know take advantage of this river action in the post-spawn weeks. Before spring hits this year, grab some topographic maps of your favourite smallmouth waters, or spend some time online zooming around Google Earth, and check to see if there are any good sized rivers flowing into your favourite bass lakes. Get yourself a good thermometer and start checking the water temperatures as spring progresses. If you time it right, you just might find you’ll have all those “dam smallies” to yourself! ?

Dam Safety

temperature reading. The post-spawn smallmouth will show up seemingly overnight and will often leave just as quickly. You must be ready and anticipate their arrival based on water temperature. Sometimes this bite only lasts a week or so and it pays to make frequent trips, with a rod in hand.

Small River Bass Don’t be afraid to give smaller, non-boatable rivers a try as well. One of the best spring smallmouth runs I know of on Lake Champlain is on a river I can almost jump across. It looks more like a trout river than somewhere you’d find bass. A shore-bound angler can have just as good a day, in terms of numbers and size of heavily feeding bronzebacks, as any lake angler in a boat. In fact, if you time it right you’ll have a concentration of hungry bass all to yourself. In smaller, shallower rivers like this, a quality pair of polarized glasses is an indispensable tool because you can often spot your quarry holding in the current.

Summertime River Smallies Even after the heavy post-spawn feed is over, and the bulk of the smallmouth have moved back out to the lake, don’t neglect river fishing as a productive summertime option for big fish. Again, conventional wisdom says that summertime smallmouth roam deep flats, feeding on crayfish and deep schools of baitfish. However, a good number of bass will call a river “home” all summer long. 52 Real Fishing – Spring 2013

Water levels and flow rates can change quickly below dams and anglers should be cautious when fishing around them. Notice how little water is coming over the dam in the top photo, and how the outflow channel is relatively slack. A few minutes later, in the botom photo, the flow over the dam has increased substantially and the water moving through the outflow channel has become much higher and faster.

While fishing below dams, and in the pools and tailouts downstream of them, is a highly effective technique, anglers must be diligent at all times and take extra precautions in such environments. Dams, especially active hydro-electric operations, can pose serious hazards and other challenges not generally encountered in other fishing situations. Whether from the shore or a boat, while fishing below a dam, make sure that you: • Obey all warning signs, fences, buoys, booms and barriers. The areas marked by these structures can be dangerous and anglers should always stay clear of them. • Never moor, tie or anchor your boat below a dam as water levels and flows can change very quickly and you may not be able to react in time to avoid the danger. • Stay off hydro-electric dams or station structures unless there are clearly marked walkways or observation points. • Don’t wade into moving water below dams. • Be alert to changes in water levels and frequently check upstream for any sign of increasing current or rising water. If the water levels are rising or the flow is increasing, move well away from the dam. • Please consult all local fishing regulations prior to fishing near a dam. For instance, in Ontario, anglers may not fish within 75-feet downstream from the lower entrance to any fishway or canal, obstacle, or any device designed to assist fish around an obstacle.


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THE BOUNTY OF THE

TURQUOISE SEA Photos by Jim Bard and Larry Smilsky

Boredom consumed me before the pilot’s voice finally blared over the intercom, “We are now preparing our decent to Turks and Caicos.” I was traveling to the remote Caribbean island chain to see my childhood friend get married. We landed on Providenciales, which is on the west side of the Turks and Caicos Island grouping. As I got off the plane the warm, gentle breeze was instantly relaxing, especially after leaving the frigid February weather of Toronto, Ontario. I had not experienced a warm climate in years because I prefer adventuring in the wilds of the far north.

Despite the fact that I had already spent 12-weeks on assignment in the north that year, where I fished almost daily, the main activity on my mind was not sunbathing while consuming a steady flow of hand delivered pina coladas. No, I was set on getting out on the water and landing some huge saltwater fish, something I had never done before. I hoped I could spark interest in some of the other wedding guests to join me. While waiting outside the airport for a ride to the resort, I was handed a brochure by a 54 Real Fishing – Spring 2013

Charter Captain promoting his business. I began to read and saw that the Captain was a native Turks and Caicos Islander and, in his younger years before the tourism boom that

started in 1964, he dove for conch, a particularly large and delicious shellfish. He would load the conch into his small boat and sail 307-km south to Haiti to trade for other food staples. Amazingly, he and his Canadian wife, who was a nurse, then moved to the small Inuit community of Rankin Inlet in the barren lands of what is now the Canadian Territory of Nunavut. This caught me by


surprise, to say the least, and it showed me that there were some hearty Captains on the island who knew the sea and could put me on some fish. Astounded, I told the captain’s story to our driver on the way to the resort. He responded with a nonchalant explanation: “Love will make you do some crazy tings, mon.” We were staying at The Veranda in Grace Bay. On our arrival we received a warm welcome from the hotel staff, as well as from the bride and groom - Jeff Jefferson and Julia Still. The mood was tranquil as we moseyed towards the bar and the beach to unite with our other friends who were there for the wedding.

The second I saw the beach I realized why Turks and Caicos was ranked as the world’s best beach destination in 2011 by Trip Advisor. Gentle waves of light blue lapped the soft, white sand beaches and, as my eyes drifted further out to sea, I saw the water color drop to a deep turquoise while waves broke on the large coral reef that surrounds the island. Simply put, it is the most beautiful beach setting I have ever seen in my life.

Rallying the Troops The next day I did some kayak surfing out at the reef. I was having a great time but had still not cemented plans to get out fishing. Having lost the pamphlet for the Captain I met at the airport, I found another charter company through the hotel called Provo Real Deal Tours. With a call to the owner, Captain Mario, I set up the charter. Now I needed some recruits, so I went for the sure sale first - my buddies who love fishing. Terry Edgar, from Oakville, was in first and he helped to rally the troops. Soon after, Kyle Loney, a diamond driller from Sudbury,

joined in. He was an easy sell; I think he said yes before I finished my sentence! We still needed at least three more people to make the adventure economical so I ran the idea by Terry’s soon-to-be wife, Katie, and Kyle’s wife, Ainslie. The girls are very outdoorsy but not into fishing like we are and I was being honest with them in my explanation of the fishing adventure. “The waves can get pretty big out there,” I said. “You could get seasick pretty easily and we’ll be out there for hours on end. We should catch fish, but you never know with fishing.” Terry looked at me with anxiety in his eyes and pulled me aside. “What the hell are you doing?” he demanded. I responded with, “I’m telling the truth.” Terry clearly disapproved of my tactics. “We don’t need truth here, we need people,” he maintained. Then he promptly turned back to the girls and laid on a much better sounding sales pitch than I did. I’m pretty sure the girls heard what Terry was saying to me but luckily they decided to come along for the ride anyway. That day, after the gorgeous wedding ceremony on the beach, we found our sixth - Lucky Larry, a burly and very personable 60-something-year-old retired sod farmer, was game to come along. The next morning Captain Mario picked us up at the hotel and we cruised to the marina where his 35-foot, twin 250-horsepower fishing boat awaited us. Mario offers fishing, sightseeing, conch and lobster diving and snorkeling adventures but our plan was to focus entirely on deep sea fishing. After we left the marina and made it through a break in the coral, the waves got

Ballyhoo are the most commonly used bait in the area.

bigger. Mario started rigging rods and baiting dead ballyhoo onto skirted hooks. Ballyhoo look like tiny swordfish and are the most commonly used bait in the area. He baited five heavy rods, each one armed with a large saltwater fishing reel. The reels were spooled with 100-pound test line but even strong line won’t do you any good if it comes in contact with a wahoo’s teeth. Their teeth are small but they are some of the sharpest of any fish species - a lesson we would soon learn the hard way. We trolled in 1000-foot deep water, even deeper in some places. I was surprised that we were trolling at 20-knots with our baits only down about five-feet. This seemed too fast and shallow to me so I asked Mario about our tactics. He told me that wahoo, a cousin of the mackerel, are one of the fastest fish in the ocean and can reach speeds of nearly 90-kilometers per hour. He also told me that they spend their time near the surface or in the middle of the water column, never venturing into the deep water. I was glad we had strong tackle because wahoo can grow to over six-feet long and can weigh in at over 200-pounds. Yellowfin tuna, also on our radar, can reach weights of 300-pounds! Needless to say, we were pumped.


There Will Be Blood The anticipation of hooking the first fish was killing me. Then, suddenly we had one on the line and it was pandemonium on the boat! Kyle grabbed the rod and started reeling like a madman as Mario left his seat to grab the gaff. I got a little mixed up when I tried to slow the boat down and, while looking towards the stern, I accidentally jammed the throttle into forward instead of reverse and almost sent us all to the deck. Kyle kept reeling and the fish finally tired. I don’t know if a seasoned veteran like Mario thought the wahoo was worthy of the calamity, but it was to me. Wahoo sport a beautiful, shimmering, iridescent blue tiger-stripe pattern of light and dark blues and grays that seem to mimic the colors of the Caribbean Sea. When we put it on the scale Kyle’s fish weighed in at a decent 17 1/2-pounds.

Kyle’s souvenir of his first wahoo encounter.

manhandled his violently writhing fish with one hand and tossed it into the cooler like he had been doing it for years. We were fishing a few miles or more off shore, where the shallower waters take a sudden plunge and then keeps getting deeper. Another mile or so further out the ocean floor is a distant 7000-feet down. After a break in the action, Mario followed his GPS to a promising spot and we hooked up again. Kyle was at the rod and it looked like he had the biggest one of the day. All of a sudden there was a huge tug, a splash, and then the line went slack. A little dumbfounded, he reeled in just the head of a wahoo! The deep teeth marks on the fish head made it obvious that a shark stole our fish. Mario told us it was a tiger shark and having your fish stolen like this was not uncommon. Although we lost most of the fish, it was an exciting piece of action after a Terry Edgar with a nice wahoo.

Kyle Loney’s wahoo weighed in at a decent 17 1/2-pounds.

After a couple of high-fives we noticed blood on the deck - not fish blood, human blood. We followed the trail back to Kyle’s forearm where we found a deep gash that Kyle hadn’t noticed in the excitement. Some may have wanted to turn back but Kyle’s years in competitive hockey seemed to have made him impervious to the pain of such lacerations. Mario broke out the first aid kit, we patched up the wound, and less than a minute later I was at the reel cranking in another fish. Wahoo often travel in schools and, when you hook into one, another often ends up on the line moments later. Soon Terry and Larry brought in a couple of more beauties. Larry 56 Real Fishing – Spring 2013

short midday lull. After a little discussion on whether reeling in a head counted as Kyle’s turn with the rod (he graciously decided that it did) Terry and I took our turns and boated a couple more fish.

Speed Demons of the Deep Blue The day was coming to a close but the excitement amped up again as one of our baits took the hardest hit of the day. We first heard a loud “wham” as the rod jerked vio-


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lently in the holder and then the reel began to unspool at an alarming rate. Larry grabbed the rod as a huge sailfish we estimated at 80pounds or more, broke the surface with several massive leaps, propelling its sleek body over eight-feet into the air. Larry reeled and then the tension slacked. The sailfish broke us off. We watched it in awe as it took several more epic leaps trying to spit the hook. If there is anything faster than a wahoo, it’s a sailfish. They have been documented pulling 91-meters of line off a spool in three-seconds. This makes them faster than a cheetah. Sailfish have been documented swimming at up to 96-kph. The sailfish is probably the fastest swimming animal on Earth and, although we didn’t catch it, it was an awesome sight. Back at the docks, Mario expertly cleaned the fish and put it into Ziploc bags with ice. There was more than we needed so we gave him half of our catch. We arrived back at the resort with armfuls of fillets and unloaded them on the kitchen staff, who expertly cooked them four different ways; blackened, grilled, fried, and seared. The fish tasted amazing, as all the food at the Veranda did, but the added freshness of our catch, seasoned with the pride of reeling it in ourselves, made it easily one of the best fish dinners of my life. The groom told me it was his all-time Author, Jim Baird, with a wahoo destined for the table.

favorite and compliments came raining from the rest of the wedding party. That fish fed all 29 guests their main course. As the plane lifted off, after my four-day stay on the island, the view of the beaches and coral reefs from the airplane window was beautiful. I looked into the seemingly bottomless blue of the 7000-foot deep Caribbean Sea and thought about all the monster fish out there waiting to be caught. Although it was not the type of trip I normally take, I realized adventure of all kinds is always waiting if you look for it. Deep sea fishing turned out to be a great way to add a little adventure to a relaxing resort vacation. Good friends, good fishing, great fun, but that 200-pound Wahoo will have to wait for my next trip south! ? 58 Real Fishing – Spring 2013


Tales from the Road By Bob Izumi

I’m constantly getting asked when I’m going to slow down and my standard answer is, “I guess when I’m dead.” I love to travel and I love to be busy. I will say that at times it can be overwhelming, especially when I’ve got back-to-back-toback commitments, but the fact is it’s either in your blood or not. In my case it definitely is in my blood; I do not mind living out of a suitcase. This Tales from the Road starts with us heading off to Costa Rica for a preChristmas trip. Our friend, Brian Hughes, who is with Monterra Developers, is building a number of homes in Playa Tambor, in the “blue zone” of Costa Rica. It’s an absolutely beautiful part of the world and it’s one of those places that you can fall in love with very quickly.

This was one of those rare family trips. Now that the kids are grown up I’m realizing how important these trips are. The only thing I regret is that I wasn’t around a lot when they were growing up because I was always so busy back in the infant stage of our business. I was gone a lot and missed all kinds of important events like graduations, birthdays etc. On this particular trip the whole family, including extended family, was with me. It was awesome to be able to get away with no work commitments and just have some fun. Brian had chartered a 70-foot boat for a fun day of fishing and he brought his brother Greg, along with some friends and

staff, to join our group. It was a big-time party on that boat! We ended up having a wonderful day catching sailfish and mahimahi. It was certainly the opposite of roughing it. I could get used to that kind of lifestyle but, unfortunately, it’s about two lottery wins away! After a week in the sun it was back to Ontario for the Christmas season. My wife, Sandy, and I went to Ron Joyce’s Christmas party. Ron is the founder of Tim Hortons and he got involved with Tim back in the ’60s, when the doughnut chain was just starting out. Ron has been a good friend for many years and I have to say that when he puts on a party he doesn’t spare any expense. Our friend, Jeff Timmins, who is the Global Marketing Manager for Columbia Sportswear, stopped in just prior to

Bob Izumi enjoys a little sailfishing action with Greg Hughes (centre) and his brother, Brian (right) in Costa Rica.

60 Real Fishing – Spring 2013


Getting ready for a trip to Florida.

Christmas with his family. He’s got a cute little son and daughter and it’s become an annual tradition to see the Timmins family at the house during the holidays. After our visit I got to spend some time with my family, just hanging around home. After Christmas it was time to crank it up. I was starting to get ready for a January 2nd departure for Florida when a few things came up – like work – that I had to do, so we had to postpone the trip to the Sunshine State. The Toronto Boat Show was on so I went down to visit with Paul Michele from Navionics. I also stopped in at the Lowrance, Ranger, Mercury and Lund booths. On the Sunday of the Boat Show I was invited to attend the Canadian Safe Boating Association‘s (CASBA) annual banquet in Toronto. I was presented with a Special Recognition Award for promoting boating safety and lifejacket wear on the Real Fishing Show. It was an honour and privilege to have this award bestowed on me. Congratulations to all the folks who won awards for their work in helping to make our waterways safer for everyone.

The funniest moment for me, personally, was when Stefan McClelland, who is a police officer from Ottawa, received what was to me the most important award, saving a person’s life. While muskie fishing, Stefan ended up saving another angler’s life. When he got up to accept his award, the first thing he said is that he was most excited in the fact that I was at the awards banquet. Everybody got a chuckle out of that! After the awards dinner my brother Wayne, my son Darren, and I hopped into the Suburban and drove over to Fargo, North Dakota, to the SnoBear facility to pick up a brand new SnoBear. We had a

great tour of the new plant where they assemble the SnoBear and the Grizzly. I will say that these things are incredible. They’re made right here in North America and they’re the most unique type of snow machines you’ll ever find. The best time to go ice fishing is when you’ve got safe ice, but I’d say the worst

CASBA award winners Bob Izumi and Stefan McClelland with the folks from BoaterExam.com.

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Spring 2013 – Real Fishing 61


One of several pickups claimed by drifting snow on Lake Winnipeg.

you can find thousands of anglers enjoying this incredible fish factory. What can I say about Jason, he’s a real character. This guy and his partner own the Howard Johnson Express Inn on the west side of Winnipeg. They also have a casino and a restaurant/bar called Hat Tricks in their facility. They actually have a freight train horn built into the ceiling and when the Winnipeg Jets are playing they crank the horn every time there’s a goal. There are red lights going off and you feel like you’re in the arena. From what I can see, Jason’s dream is to be the announcer for the Winnipeg Jets. He’s got one of those booming voices and he loves to ramble on. At one point I was fishing and the next thing you know he’s doing an auction to the fish – telling them what to eat and asking how much they’d give for certain lures and so on. He could go on and on. If I only had half of his wit I’d never run out of things to say! I really had a lot of fun with him and I think we laughed for the whole time we were in Winnipeg. With the wind chill it got down to -50° out on the lake and there was nobody out fishing except for a few people in huts. There was a lot of drifting snow and a lot of pickup trucks had got stuck the weekend before. Over the two days that we fished we only saw two trucks out there. We fished in the SnoBears and a few of the guys fished from portable ice huts. For the most part the conditions were pretty extreme. time to go ice fishing, other than during unsafe ice conditions, would be during the coldest few-day period of the year, and that’s precisely what we ended up doing. We went from the SnoBear factory into -32° weather in Winnipeg to go fish part of Lake Winnipeg north of the city. We were there for two days of fishing for the famous greenback walleyes with Jason Gauthier and Roger Stearns. Roger was a pioneer of ice fishing on Lake Winnipeg. A number of years ago he and three others were the only people out there catching the walleyes through the ice. Now, on some of the warmer weekends, 62 Real Fishing – Spring 2013

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We were fishing in shallow water with about three-feet of ice over three or fourfeet of water. In many cases walleyes in shallow water will get into a bit of a funk when a cold front comes through so we really had to work for the fish. On the first day the group of us probably caught 40 walleyes in total. I was fortunate to get one of two nine-pounders that were caught that day. The next day was even tougher and we struggled. Between a smaller group, about a third as many people, we got maybe a dozen fish. Overall it was enough to get our show done so we packed up and started making our way home. We have a new, enclosed trailer for the SnoBear that is amazing. The big advantage of an enclosed trailer is that it keeps the machine nice and clean so that when you get to a lake you don’t have to find a power wash – which is not always easy to do. If

you see us pulling the SnoBear trailer on the road, give us a little honk. You’ll definitely recognize it with the graphics on the side just look for the giant bear on the wall of the trailer!

They moved the Toronto Sportsmen’s Show to February this year and, after our ice fishing trip, I went down there to work at the gigantic Pure Fishing booth. They had all of their brands there including Abu Garcia and Berkley. I hung out there on the Saturday and had a chance to meet a lot of folks and had a great time. Chris Hockley, the northern Marketing Manager had cardboard cut-outs of me all over the booth including a mocked-up Real Fishing Magazine cover. This thing was about eight-feet tall and there was a hole where people could put their face through and get a picture of themselves with me. I’m sure there will be a lot of tall tales going around about those pictures! Speaking of Chris Hockley, he has just taken on a new position with Pure Fishing. As I write this, Chris is getting ready to move to Columbia, South Carolina to be the Brand Marketing Manager for Berkley. This is a global position and a great accomplishment for a Canadian guy from the Kawartha Lakes area. I’m most excited about seeing some of the new products way in advance of them hitting the market so I can get my hands on them. Chris, I hope you’re reading this! If not I’ll be sure to highlight this and send you the magazine! Seriously though, I’m happy for Chris and I wish him all the best. After the Sportsmen’s Show I had to visit my dentist for a root canal. I’ve never had a root canal before so when the dentist told

Spring 2013 – Real Fishing 63


Okeechobee, some golfing and some saltwater fishing. No tournaments, just visiting some family and friends and having a good old time. I’ve been looking forward to this trip since January 2, when I was originally scheduled to go so that’s all for now. By the time you read this I hope the ice is gone and you are able to get back on the water. ?

me I’d be in the chair for just over twohours I asked what my options were. He said that I could come back and do it over a couple of appointments or I could do this or I could do that. Then he said, “Or you can get sedated.” I said, “Let me take that option.” They took a pill, mixed it up in a cup of water and I drank it about 20-minutes before l went in to sit in the chair. I remember sitting there, talking to the dentist and his assistant, and it was like magic. The next thing I heard was, “Ya, I’m just about done.” I honestly did not even know he had done anything. Whatever was in that pill, it certainly does work. I felt great when I got out of there. It was like I just went in for a siesta. When I go in for the cap it will be interesting to see what happens. I decided to stay awake for that and it’s about a onehour procedure so we’ll see how that works. The following weekend was the Spring Fishing and Boat Show put on by my friends, Andy and Vita Pallotta. I did a seminar there on Saturday and there was a huge crowd in attendance. It’s great to see so many folks who love fishing at these shows. I went to an interesting media dinner in Toronto. Nunavut Tourism had invited me as part of the Outdoor Writers of Canada 64 Real Fishing – Spring 2013

to attend this dinner. We ate some fish that were local to that area and it was a wonderful meal. There’s a good chance that I might be heading up into that part of the world this summer to tape a show. We’ll see how that goes. If it does happen it’s definitely a trip I’m looking forward to. I spent last night outside in the cold, working on the Ranger. I’m about a third of the way packed for a fun trip we’re taking down to Florida. I don’t have any taping planned; it’s just going to be some bass fishing at

In this column I talked about fishing in Costa Rica with my good friend, Brian Hughes, and his brother, Greg. After the trip I received the very sad news that Greg had passed away in his sleep just a short time after we had spent time with him. Greg was one of those guys who you immediately liked. He had a soft-spoken, friendly demeanor that made you immediately think of him as a friend. He really was such a nice guy. We first met Greg on our previous trip to Costa Rica. He wasn’t really into fishing, he was more of a cars-and-guns kind of guy but he was fortunate enough to reel in a sailfish on the first fishing trip we did together a year earlier. We will certainly miss Greg and we’ll remember him as a genuinely wonderful person.


What’s COOKING

White Turkey Chili Here’s a tasty spin on chilli that uses lean, ground turkey meat instead of beef. INGREDIENTS 2 pounds

ground turkey

½

large diced onion

3

diced ribs of celery

2 tbsp

chopped garlic

1/4 tsp

cumin

METHOD Melt butter in a medium sauce over medium-low heat. Stir in flour until smooth. Continue stirring until flour has become a light golden colour, about 5 minutes. Increase heat to medium and slowly whisk in milk until thickened. Bring to gentle simmer, then reduce heat to medium-low and continue to simmer until flour has softened, 8 to 15 minutes. Remove from heat when finished.

1 pinch

nutmeg

1 1/2 cups

white beans (soaked overnight in water)

Place beans in a small pot and fill with water. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer. Remove and drain beans once they are softened throughout.

1/8 cup

chopped jalapeno peppers

2 1/2 tbsp

butter

In a medium sized pot, cook ground turkey, onions, celery and garlic. When cooked, remove from heat and drain off excess fat.

1/8 cup

flour

1/2 litre

milk

Add beans and thickened milk to turkey mixture. Add chopped jalapeno, nutmeg, cumin and salt and pepper to taste. Return to heat, bring to a simmer and cook for about an hour. Garnish with a sprig of cilantro to add a refreshing twist, serve and enjoy.

Spring 2013 – Real Fishing 65


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Spring 2013  
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