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Canada Post Mail Product Agreement No. 40015689

VOLUME 17 • ISSUE 3 Just $3.95

Summer 2011

DISPLAY UNTIL OCTOBER 15, 2011

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Contents Features 30 SCIENCE AND MIDSUMMER TROUT Scientific studies on the feeding habits and preferred habitats of stocked trout turn up some interesting insights for anglers. By Fred Noddin

40 THE GREAT MUSKIE MYSTERY Lake Erie’s Rondeau Bay is well known for its bass, pike and panfish but it’s never been known to produce muskies. That is, until 2009, when large numbers of big muskies suddenly showed up and created a fast and furious fishery for a few weeks in September. By Scott McGuigan

48 THE TOURNAMENT BUG How a weekend warrior became addicted to the tournament fishing game. By Jerry Hughes

56 FLOAT & DARTER? 52 10 NORTHERN PIKE MYTHS - BUSTED The truth behind some of pike fishing’s most famous excuses for not catching fish. By Charles Weiss

Crankbaits and floats can work wonders on stubborn summer walleyes. By Jeff Samsel


20

SUMMER 2011 Volume 17, Issue 3 Editor Jerry Hughes Art Production Rossi Piedimonte Design Publisher Fred Delsey National Advertising Izumi Outdoors Tel: (905) 632-8679 President Wayne Izumi Contributors Patrick Daradick, Bob Izumi, Wayne Izumi, Robert Janzen, Steve May, Scott McGuigan, Jason Mohring, Fred Noddin, Jeff Samsel, 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

20 THE WATER’S EDGE

By Jerry Hughes

By Dave Taylor

10 SPORTSMEN’S ALMANAC

22 THE VINTAGE TACKLE BOX

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

24 REAL FISHING FISH FACTS 14 WHAT’S NEW

Lake Whitefish

The latest in fishing tackle, gear and accessories

28

16 FISHING Made in the Shade By Bob Izumi

18 FLY FISHING By Steve May

26 BEST FISHING TIMES Doug Hannon’s moon phase calendar

Subscription inquiries Please call: 1-877-474-4141 or visit www.realfishing.com

28 THE HOT BITE

Canada Post Publications Mail Sales Product Agreement No. 40015689 Customer Account No. 2723816 GST Registration No. R102546504

60 TALES FROM THE ROAD The trials and tribulations of life as a professional angler By Bob Izumi

Postmaster: Please return front cover/label only of undeliverables to: Real Fishing 940 Sheldon Court, Burlington ON L7L 5K6 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: Ahh, Summer!! Photo by Izumi Outdoors

By Patrick Daradick

65 WHAT’S COOKING 66 ART OF ANGLING

18


opening lines By Jerry Hughes

Glorious Summer You’ve got to love summer in Canada. Sure it’s too short, but that’s part of what makes it special. Kind of like the time we get to spend on the water, I suppose. Summer is when all of our fish species are open to angling. No special gear required, just grab a rod and go catch something. Anything. We’re blessed with a wide variety of fish species that are the envy of anglers worldwide. Char, grayling, salmon, trout, pike, muskie, bass, perch, crappies, catfish, carp, walleye, perch… take your pick, you’re sure to have a spot where you can fish for at least a couple of these in your area. Like the variety of fishing opportunities summer brings, this issue of Real Fishing covers a wide range of topics on a number of popular fish species. In our first feature, Fred Noddin shares his insights into the feeding habits and habitat choices of stocked trout in boreal lakes. Fred worked with PhD candidate, Justin Hanisch, throughout the 2009 and 2010 field seasons, studying the effects stocked trout were having on the food web in the boreal lakes of west-central Alberta as part of the FIESTA project. Fiesta, standing for Fish, Frogs, Invertebrates, and the Effects of Stocked Trout and Aeration, studies a suite of 14 boreal lakes in the Caroline and Rocky Mountain House region of west-central Alberta. If you fish these types of lakes anywhere in Canada, Fred’s article will give you some valuable knowledge on fish locations and feeding habits that will definitely help you to hook more trout this summer. Invasive species is a four-letter word in the fishing world, but occasionally an invasion can be a good thing. Scott McGuigan got in on an unusual species invasion in the summer of 2009 when hordes of big muskies invaded Lake Erie’s Rondeau Bay. Well known for bass, pike and panfish fishing, Rondeau has never been known to hold fishable numbers of muskies, until 2009 that is. For a few short 6 Real Fishing – Summer 2011

weeks anglers enjoyed incredible, multiple fish days but just as suddenly as it began, it all ended. Scott’s story just goes to show that you never know what you might catch when you head out on the water. If you like to catch walleyes, but find them tough in the summer, you’ll want to check out Jeff Samsel’s article on a unique approach that pays big dividends on shallow lakes. A float and live bait combination is a tried and true method, but have you ever tried a hardbait under a float? Don’t laugh, in the right situation this unusual system will put fish in the boat when nothing else will. Speaking of tough fishing, pike anglers are all too familiar with the summer doldrums. The big fish seem to get scarce and the little hammer-handles seem to be everywhere. Anglers have a number of theories as to why this happens; everything from pike losing their teeth in the summer to pike fasting during hot weather. In 10 Northern Pike Myths – Busted, Real Fishing contributor, Charles Weiss, debunks some of the more popular myths surrounding summertime pike fishing and drops a few hints as to how you can catch the big ones all summer long. Also in this issue, fly fishing expert Steve May looks at casting big streamer flies for big trout and Bob Izumi sheds some light on

fishing in the shade. I even got in on this magazine with the story of how I started tournament fishing and why I stay with it, despite my all too common, “close but no cigar” results. There’s a lot more to enjoy in this issue, but I don’t want to give everything away. Summer offers a host of angling opportunities that no other season can provide and we’ve tried to stay with that theme by packing this issue of Real Fishing with a variety of stories on a variety of Canada’s most popular fish. Enjoy the magazine and enjoy the great fishing Canada has to offer this summer. ?


The first catch of the day.

Š Tim Hortons, 2009


FISHING FOREVER On May 25, close to 100 fishing industry folks, suppliers, sponsors, pro anglers and golf aficionados got together at Turtle Creek Golf Club for a friendly little tournament and auction in support of Ontario’s recre-

This is what you get when you cross

a golf swing with a fishing cast!

A little putting practice

Team Bob Izumi

8 Real Fishing – Summer 2011


GOLF TOURNAMENT ational fisheries. Golfers vied for prizes on a number of special holes including the longest drive and closest to the pin, and they tested their angling skills on several of the course’s ponds. Afterwards, everyone

enjoyed a wonderful buffet dinner and then took part in a spirited auction of outdoor gear, art, tools, household items and fishing equipment. When it was all said and done the real winners were the sportfish of

Ontario who will benefit from the $10,000 raised at the event that will be used to support fisheries enhancement and conservation efforts in Ontario.

Jessica Lollo provided on-course refreshments from her snack cart

Team Wayne Izumi

I’m a golfer, not an angler!

Summer 2011 – Real Fishing 9


While fish can be an important part of a healthy diet, they can contain varying levels of contaminants. The advice in the Guide to Eating Ontario Sport Fish helps anglers, and others who eat sport fish, ensure they are not endangering their health. For 2011, Ontario’s Ministry of the Environment (MOE) has introduced a new, interactive electronic version of the guide that allows anglers to quickly and easily find fish consumption tables for most fish species in hundreds of lakes and rivers in Ontario. Anglers can find information by searching lake, river or stream names; communities; townships or cities; Global Positioning System (GPS) coordinates or by fish species. Each listed lake provides the same consumption tables as found in the printed guide along with links to information on the contaminants fish were tested for and general information on the species. The tables are printable, making it easy to take along all the information for the specific waterbody you will be fishing. The interactive Guide to Eating Ontario Sport Fish is available on the Ontario Ministry of the Environment website at www.ene.gov.on.ca/environment.

10 Real Fishing – Summer 2011

Ontario prepares for Asian Carp threat If you fish in the Great Lakes or their tributaries, your favourite catch may be walleye or bass, or perhaps muskie or lake trout. So how would you feel if you came home emptyhanded because nine out of ten fish out there were plankton-eating bighead or silver carp – AKA Asian carp? That’s the reality now in parts of the Mississippi and Illinois rivers. And that’s why Ontario and the U.S. want to keep the voracious, invasive Asian carp out of the Great Lakes. Canadian and U.S. experts agree that Asian carp would thrive in the Great Lakes, and that quick action is the only way to prevent them from spreading if they are found in the Great Lakes Basin. On March 11, the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, with support from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, hosted a table-top exercise that simulated an incident where Asian carp got into Ontario waters. The aim was to test if the agencies are ready to respond quickly to stop their spread. During the exercise, participants rehearsed how they would respond if an accident on a bridge over the Thames River in southwestern Employees of Missouri’s Big Muddy National Wildlife Refuge electrofish for Asian carp.

Ontario caused a truckload of live Asian carp to be dumped in and near the river. It was a timely choice. Only a week earlier a fish importer had been fined $50,000 for trying to truck 1,800 kilograms of live Asian carp across the Windsor/Detroit border to sell in the Greater Toronto Area, despite it being illegal to possess live Asian carp in Ontario. Local MNR staff described how they would place nets upstream and downstream to catch and identify fish in the river, test the fish to find out if they could reproduce, and confirm if the river habitat was suitable for Asian carp. The agencies involved also had to decide if any local species at risk might be harmed by the control measures, and keep governments, partners, the public and the media informed. “Ontario’s recreational fishery contributes $500 million to the province’s economy each year, our commercial fishery is worth up to $215 million a year, and the Great Lakes ecosystem is priceless,” says Natural Resources Minister, Linda Jeffrey. “With so much at stake, we have to be prepared.” If you believe you have seen or caught an Asian carp, or you have found one in your bait bucket, do not release the fish. Humanely kill it and report your sighting online at www.invadingspecies.com/ Report.cfm or call 1-800-5637711 toll-free. For more information on Asian Carp and other invasive species, visit the Ministry of Natural resources website at www.mnr.gov.on.ca – U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service photo

Interactive Guide to Eating Ontario Sport Fish

compiled with files from the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources


Accidental Froggin! Frogs make great baits for bass, but using bass baits to catch bullfrogs is a new one. Last summer Brian Curtis and his fishing buddy were fishing for bass on the Nonquon River, a tributary of Lake Scugog. Brian was dragging a topwater spoon across some floating slop when he saw movement in the weeds. He made a second cast to the same area and the same thing happened. On his third cast there was a small splash as his lure was attacked. Brian reeled in only to find a bullfrog firmly pinned to the hook. “Neither my friend nor I had ever heard of a bullfrog being caught on a lure,” said Brian.“After much laughter and shaking of heads, we took a photo as proof of our catch.” After taking the photo, the frog was unhooked and released. Brian went back to bass fishing and, on his very next cast, had another frog turn towards his spoon. This time, however, the frog did not attack. Brian didn’t say how the bass fishing was, but his unusual catch will definitely make his trip one to remember.

READ ALL ABOUT IT

WIN A LUND BOAT!

SALMON COUNTRY New Brunswick’s Great Angling Rivers Salmon Country is a beautifully illustrated volume on angling for Atlantic salmon in the wilds of New Brunswick. This is not a “how- to” guide to salmon fishing, but instead a book that captures the ambience of the sport of angling for salmon. Not only the angling aspect is covered, but also some of the sport’s history, the organizations that protect and conserve the rivers, pioneer fly-tyers, the Atlantic Salmon Museum, the Sharpe Canoe, and most importantly, what one experiences while fishing the various rivers. Marrying the words of Doug Underhill and the photographs of André Gallant, Salmon Country explores the people, the rivers, the traditions, history, and mythology of this sport of sports. For seasoned fly fishers, Salmon Country recalls fond memories and suggests new adventures, while providing a broader view of the salmon angling world than they get from the end of a rod. For readers new to the sport, Salmon Country tempts them to experience New Brunswick’s rivers for themselves; sharing with them the “insider” language and lore of salmon, anglers, and flies, and leading them to feel, by book’s end, that they have been well and truly welcomed into a very special club. Salmon Country: New Brunswick’s Great Angling Rivers is a must for anyone’s library, lodge, or coffee table. Hard cover: $45. 224 pgs; 9” x 12”. ISBN: 978-0-86492-629-6 Goose Lane Editions, 330 – 500 Beaverbrook Ct, Fredericton, NB, E3B 5X4 Tel: 506-450-4251 www.gooselane.com

The folks at SC Johnson have announced a new contest where you could win a Lund Fury boat, motor and trailer package, along with a day of fishing with Bob Izumi! The new Fury features Lund’s exclusive IPS hull, dual side stepped rod storage for up to 12 rods, an aerated 10-gallon livewell, a large bow casting deck, navigational lighting, ample storage and a host of other fishing friendly features you’d expect from a Lund. You and a friend will also enjoy a fishing trip for smallmouth bass and walleye with Bob and a group of his tournament buddies on one of Bob’s favourite honey holes in central Ontario. There are 14 additional weekly prizes up for grabs, each consisting of a $50 gift certificate from Canadian Tire. Full contest details and entry information are available at www.offcontest.ca. NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Contest ends August 6, 2011. Fifteen prizes available to be won: one grand prize of a one day fishing trip for two with Bob Izumi September 6-8, 2011 at Bark Lake, Ontario, one Lund 1600 Fury fishing boat with trailer and motor (Approximate Retail Value: $10,800); fourteen secondary prizes, each a $50 Canadian Tire gift card. Correct answer to a mathematical skill-testing question required. Odds of winning depend on the number of eligible entries received prior to each random drawing. For full rules and contest entry, visit offcontest.ca. ®/™ S. C. Johnson & Son, Inc. used under license and IMPORTED BY S. C. JOHNSON AND SON, LIMITED, BRANTFORD ON, CANADA N3T 5R1 ®/™ The trademarks of Canadian Tire Corporation, Limited are used under licence.

E V E N T S Calendar NEW BRUNSWICK SPORTFISHING ASSOCIATION Bass Tournaments May - September Various locations in New Brunswick www.nbsportfishing.net RENEGADE BASS TOUR July – August Various locations in Eastern Ontario 613-913-4527 www.renegadebass.com CSFL BASS TOURNAMENTS July - September Various locations in Ontario Tel: 905-640-2277 www.csfl.ca KIDS, COPS & CANADIAN TIRE FISHING DAYS July – September Various dates and locations Tel: 905-632-8679 www.kidsandcops.ca

PRO BASS CANADA Events through July Various locations in Quebec www.probasscanada.com QUINTE FISHING SERIES Bass Tournaments July – August Bay of Quinte, Belleville, ON www.quintefishing.com TOP BASS FISHING SERIES July – August Various locations in Ontario 905-727-8496 www.top-bass.ca

TEMISKAMING SHORES MEGA BUCKS Bass Tournament July - August Various locations in North-Central Ontario Tel: 705-563-8307 www.temiskamingsmallmouthbass.com FORT FRANCES CANADIAN BASS CHAMPIONSHIP July 21 - 23 Canadian waters of Rainy Lake Fort Frances, ON Tel: 807-274-2028 www.canadianbass.com

NATIONAL FISHING WEEK July 2 - 10 Events scheduled across Canada Tel: 705-745-8433 www.catchfishing.com

THE CANADIAN OPEN OF FISHING Bass Tournament July 21, 22, 23 Lake Ontario, Kingston, ON Tel: 905-640-2277 www.csfl.ca

GREAT ONTARIO SALMON DERBY July 9 - August 27 Lake Ontario Tel: 905-361-5248 www.greatontariosalmonderby.ca

CHANTRY CHINOOK CLASSIC July 23 - August 7 Lake Huron, Kincardine, ON Tel: 519-832-6723 http://64.177.125.54/Chantry/index.htm

KENORA BASS INTERNATIONAL August 4, 5, 6, Lake of the Woods Kenora, ON www.kbifishing.com 3RD ANNUAL RICK AMSBURY MEMORIAL PRO/AM Bass Tournament August 19 Sturgeon Lake Lindsay, ON Tel: 905-640-2277 www.csfl.ca OWEN SOUND SALMON SPECTACULAR August 26 – September 4 Georgian Bay Owen Sound, ON www.sydenhamsportsmen.com BERKLEY B1 CANADIAN BASS OPEN September 24 - 25 Lake St. Francis Salaberry-de-Valleyfield, QC 514-909-7185 www.berkleyb1.com

Summer 2011 – 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

John Brown Sr. Oklahoma Largemouth Bass

Jack Sanna Victoria, BC Chinook Salmon

Dawson Nornberg Great Falls, MN Walleye

Tyler Morgan Kitchener, ON Largemouth Bass

Joshua Lohnes Springfield, NS Brook Trout Jakob Lohnes Springfield, NS Smallmouth Bass

12 Real Fishing – Summer 2011


Catch BOB on the Tube! BOB IZUMI’S REAL FISHING SHOW SCHEDULE Father’s Day Fishing Smallmouth Fishing with Big Jim McLaughlin Jigging for Lake Trout Bob’s Little Friend, Carley BoaterExam.com Smallmouth Challenge Trophy Walleye with Navionics Fall Smallmouth/Ice Fishing with Mike Lazarus Vancouver Island Adventure St. Lawrence Walleye with Jack Levert Monster Walleye with G2 Angling Georgian Bay Walleye Casting for Smallmouth/Flipping for Largemouth Florida Shore Fishing for Largemouth

July 2 July 9 July 16 July 23 July 30 August 6 August 13 August 20 August 27 September 3 September 10 September 17 September 24

STATION LISTING & AIRING TIMES* MARKET Atlantic Canada Calgary

PROV./STATE Atlantic Canada AB

STATION Global (CIHF) Global (CICT)

Edmonton

AB

Global (CITV)

Manitoba Ontario Quebec Regina Saskatoon Vancouver Canada/USA

MB ON QC SK SK BC Canada/USA

Global (CKND) Global (CIII) Global (CKMI) Global (CFRE) Global (CFSK) Global (CHAN) WFN

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

DATE & AIR TIMES Saturday 10:00 am Saturday 10:30 am; Sunday 6:00 am Saturday 10:30 pm; Sunday 6:00 am Saturday 9:30 am Saturday 9:30 am Saturday 10:00 am Saturday 9:30 am Saturday 9:30 am Saturday 10:30 am Check www.wfn.tv for dates and times


What’s

NEW

2011

BERKLEY NANOFIL Not a mono, not a braid, Berkley’s new NanoFil is the ultimate spinning reel line. Made of gel-spun polyethylene, NanoFil consists of hundreds of molecularly linked Dyneema® nanofilaments, creating a line that feels and handles like a smooth monofilament yet offers the strength of a superline. Nanofil is the thinnest Berkley line yet, it has an incredibly high strength to diameter ratio and zero stretch means superb sensitivity. Nanofil comes in a clear mist colour and is available in 1 to 12-pound test strengths.

www.berkley-fishing.com

JOHN OLIVERIO SIGNATURE SERIES POWER POLE Having a Power-Pole shallow water anchor on your boat has become the mark of a true sport fisherman and now it’s been kicked up a notch in style, form and function. The John Oliverio Signature Series Power Pole features a new, lightweight design and faster deployment than ever thanks to a new SS Pump. It’s available in four colours for a custom fit look on any boat and is available in a four-foot length for extremely shallow water conditions as well as the standard six and eight-foot lengths.

www.power-pole.com

GET BENT! The Bent Minnow 86F is a topwater bait with unique, lipless, bent-body shape that gives it an action that’s completely different from anything you’ve ever seen before. Unlike standard topwater poppers or walkers, the Bent Minnow can be worked in a number of ways to match the mood of the fish. At rest, the Bent Minnow lies on its side, perfectly imitating a dead or dying baitfish. A short, soft twitch makes the bait walk in place while a more aggressive retrieve gives the lure a darting, splashing action that imitates a fleeing baitfish. On a straight retrieve the Bent Minnow rolls side to side, just like a minnow in distress. The Bent Minnow 86F is 3-2/5-inches long, weighs 1/5 of an ounce and is available in nine fish catching colours.

www.osp-lures.com

14 Real Fishing – Summer 2011


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

CHILL OUT The Coolware™ Personal Cooling System is designed to beat the heat during any outdoor activity. Simply fill the water chamber, turn the power switch on, and within five-minutes, Coolware creates a refreshing, cooling effect regardless of temperature or activity. Fitting comfortably around the neck and utilizing evaporative water, it delivers a refreshing sensation to the entire body that lasts up to four-hours without needing to be refilled. Coolware has two power settings and runs for up to 20-hours on a single AA battery.

www.coolwarecomfort.com

BERKLEY® GULP! ALIVE!® AND GULP!® 4-INCH CRAWLERS The new Berkley® Gulp! Alive!® and Gulp!® 4-inch Crawlers replace live bait and are ideal for drop shot rigs or for tipping jigheads and spinner rigs. With a realistic action and the addition of Gulp! scent and flavor, the 4-inch Crawlers are true, multi-use baits that will out-fish live bait. Unlike live bait, Gulp! Alive! and Gulp! Crawlers can be used multiple times. Simply place them back into their containers and the baits are instantly re-charged for the next trip on the water. The 4-inch Gulp! Alive! Crawler is available in three colors and comes in an oval bucket that makes for easy storage and convenient use. Gulp! 4-inch Crawlers come in re-sealable, 12-count packages and are available in nine colors.

www.berkley-fishing.com

NEW MUSKY KILLER PATTERNS Muskie and pike anglers will have two new colour options on the popular Mepps Musky Killer and tandem Musky Killer baits from Mepps this year. Introduced to the Black Fury lineup in 2010, Fire Tiger will be available in both the regular Musky Killer and Tandem Musky Killer combinations for 2011. Also new for the regular and Tandem Musky Killers is a white bucktail version that is available in all Aglia blade color combinations.

www.mepps.ca

Summer 2011 – Real Fishing 15


fishing

Bob Izumi is the host of The Real Fishing Show.

By Bob Izumi

Made in the Shade Many people have come to the conclusion that hot weather equals lousy fishing, but I’ve found the opposite to be true. By hot weather I don’t mean just a nice, warm afternoon, I’m talking about the kind of weather that drives most folks indoors under their air conditioners — brutal, blistering heat with bright sunshine and clear, calm skies. That’s when many types of fish move into really obvious, predictable locations that makes finding them a cinch. All you have to do is look for shade. It doesn’t matter if you’re talking stream trout, largemouth bass in shallow water, or walleye living on a deep drop-off — find the shade and you will find the fish. Fish seek out shade for a couple of reasons. During the “dog days” of summer fish will try to get some relief from the heat in the same way that people do - by tucking into any place that is protected from the sun. But that’s not the only reason. Shade makes great cover and fish will often use it in order to conceal themselves from their prey. Speaking of fishing in the shade, one of the strangest things that ever happened to me occurred while I was fishing for big, hardfighting fall coho salmon in northern British Columbia at Whale Channel. We were

16 Real Fishing – Summer 2011

trolling for suspended cohos out over deep water. Our baits were cut plugs, which are herring cut and rigged with two hooks that, when they are set up properly, spin in the water. As I looked down I saw a coho around 10 pounds following in the shade of the boat. My bait was way back behind the boat, so I reeled in and brought it right in front of the fish. The salmon was literally four feet away from me when it just gobbled up the cut plug! Wen you think of big water trolling, you sure don’t think of fish swimming beside you in the shade of the boat! If fish can’t get under things that give them shade, they’ll nudge right in beside them. Sheer ledges or weed walls will provide a fair amount of shade. Similarly, look for fish to tuck in very close to big boulders where they almost seem to be digging in underneath them. Any dark areas on a lake or river will attract large numbers of fish. All you have to do is slowly and quietly work your way along, and toss your bait or lure into all the shaded or dark spots that you see. Last summer my son, Darrren, and I were competing in the Renegade Bass tournament on Lake St. Francis in Cornwall. As we were going slowly over a shallow flat, Darren saw a big smallmouth sitting in the shade of a big boulder. I cast a small tube about four-feet past it and dragged it toward the fish. It bit and turned out to be a six-pound plus smallmouth. That fish took the big fish prize as well as helping us to win the event. Once again it was the shade that the fish was relating to, in this case about two square feet of dark water beside a rock. I’ve got to say that having good polarized glasses didn’t hurt either! It’s important throughout the course of the day to pay attention to where the sun is and where the shadows are. Timing is everything when you’re targeting fish that are relating to shade. Let’s say you’re fishing a weed edge

and the sun is shining directly on it. Chances are the fish will be tucked back into the weeds in order to get out of the sun. Later in the day, when the angle of the sun has changed, that same weed edge may cast a large area of shade, and the fish may move out three feet more off of the weeds, still in the protection of the shaded water. The same thing could be said about any visible cover like trees, branches, stumps, rocks or docks. When the sun is beating down on the water, the fish will tuck into any shady spot they can find. When you are fishing the shade, casting accuracy is critical, since these spots may be very, very small. For instance, when you are fishing docks, fallen trees or other cover that provides limited shade, you have to be able to drop your bait right into the darkened area. Jigs and soft plastics that you can fish vertically are the key in these spots. The Berkley Gulp! Sinking Minnow rigged either Texas or wacky style can really do some damage too. Larger shaded areas, like a shoreline with tall trees on it, can be fished more efficiently with a horizontal bait, like a Berkley Havoc Grass Pig. I like to keep the boat out and away from the shaded areas and make as silent a presentation as I can. Subtle is key so you don’t spook the fish. There’s another positive aspect of summer heat waves that anglers should be aware of. Fish are cold-blooded animals so when their environment warms up, their metabolism increases. That means they become more active and they need to feed more often during hot weather. For anglers, it just doesn’t get much better. First, summer heat waves put fish into obvious spots. Secondly, their metabolism is increased giving them incredible appetites. Talk about having your cake and eating it too! Although a lot of people still think of summer heat waves as “dog days,” I’ve found that anglers willing to head out on the water and try their luck fishing in the shade can enjoy incredible action. I guess that’s what they mean by the phrase, made in the shade. ?


Luckily the blood, sweat, and tears we put into it drained right out.

The Drainmaker

WE GOT TIRED OF CHANGING OUR WATERLOGGED SHOES, so we decided to change everything. And after trying, experimenting, and pushing, we created the Drainmaker™. Born on the trail but adapted for water, it combines a fully drainable midsole with a siped outsole for superior traction and a quick-drying upper.

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© 2011 Columbia Sportswear Company. All rights reserved.


Steve May is the Stewardship Coordinator for Waterloo Region with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. When not working to improve local fisheries Steve can be found guiding or fly casting on his local rivers.

fly fishing By Stephen May

Streamers Streamers are an often misunderstood type of fly presentation. Yes, they are usually larger and tougher to cast than a dry fly, but the effort can certainly be worth it. Many anglers, especially trout fly fishers, see streamers as “last resort” offerings. For me, they are a go-to pattern whenever you want to find the biggest fish in the river. Streamers imitate larger food items like leeches, crayfish, crabs, squid, frogs and above all, baitfish. Fish find these big bites worth the effort. You just have to go prepared to work these flies properly. Light trout gear can cast small streamers but if you are serious about working streamers effectively your 3-weight dry fly rod is not up to the task. I start with my 6weight and go up. My 8 and 9-weight outfits see the bulk of my heavy streamer work. These larger rods have the ability to cast larger and bulkier flies and to handle the monsters that will attack them.

18 Real Fishing – Summer 2011

Don’t worry too much about tippet size when fishing streamers. If it will hold, it is probably good. I like to use 0X, but often go heavier. This is not delicate fly fishing. To get flies down to the fish I often rely on sink-tip lines, adding on sinking leaders or using a heavily weighted fly. An extra split shot is another common addition to the rig. When going this heavy with fly tackle many people say, “What’s the point? Why not pull out the baitcaster?” I find that flies have an advantage over hard baits and plastics. They are usually lighter that casting lures. They also incorporate life-imitating natural and flowing synthetic materials, giving your bait a look and

action not possible with more traditional lures. Flowing hackles, rabbit fur and bucktail all can be combined to make some very innovative and interesting offerings. Take a walk through your local tackle store and look at the selection of hard baits. Lures that are three to seven-inches long dominate. You need tackle to efficiently throw flies in this size range. Fly fishing with streamers also gives you a unique challenge in presenting the bait. You are basically a “puppet master.” How you tug, pull and twitch the line can breathe life into the fly. It is a very “you against the fish” experience. Many flies imitate minnows. When wet, they can be very accurate imitations. But, the real strength of a fly comes in the subtle movements that flowing materials give the fly in the water. The slightest current breathes life into many fly patterns. Pike and musky are suckers for a slow moving, yet live looking presentation that only flies can offer. Big brown trout will jump all over a giant fly invading their territory and, if you have not fly-fished for river smallmouth bass, you are missing one of the true highlights in all of fishing. The largest growing area in fly fishing is the pursuit of saltwater species; from sea trout to tuna they can all be caught with fly gear. Basically, if your quarry eats minnows or other larger food items, streamers are a solid fishing presentation option. So if you are looking to join in the fun and fly fish for big, predatory fish, consider a suitable fly rod and some jumbo flies. ?


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DROPPIN’ IN FOR BASS The trend has been finesse the last few years with zebra mussels making our lakes kess ke very clear. The hottest technique for catching clear water smallmouth is the drop shot technique. Light line, a sensitive rod and d a good, smooth drag will help get the job b done. Look for rocky shoals or breaks an and nd work the bait nice and slow. From 10 to o 40 feet you will feel even the lightest bites es with the Crucial rod. The Crucial dropshot rod paired with the e Stradic CI4 is without a doubt the ultimate atte combination for these monster brown fish! sh!

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

water’s edge By Dave Taylor

Black-Capped Chickadee The black-capped chickadee is one of the most commonly seen birds in Canada and is absent only from the tundra region of the country. It is one of only a few birds whose name and song are the same. Its “Chick-a-dee” call is familiar to most Canadians. Chickadees pair up in the fall but remain with their flocks until late winter when the mated couples build a nest and defend a territory. They are “hole” nesters and typically use old woodpecker holes to lay their eggs. The nesting cavity will be lined with moss, animal hair and other soft material from the surrounding area. Six to eight eggs are laid and are incubated by the female. Less than two-weeks later the eggs hatch and the young birds are out of the nest less than a month after the eggs were laid. In summer, chickadees feed on animal life

20 Real Fishing – Summer 2011

such as caterpillars, spiders, insect eggs, lice and even carrion. In winter, their diet changes to an herbivorous one of conifer seeds, berries, acorns and other wild seeds. It is in winter when they perhaps become most familiar with us. They feed readily at bird feeders and are amongst the first to return to a feeder after something disturbs the birds using it. Chickadees, because of their small body size, use up more energy than do larger birds like jays and cardinals. When roosting they shiver so much that they may use up all

of their body fat to produce enough heat to keep them warm. To survive, Chickadees need to eat constantly. On really cold nights they can go into a torpor state that allows them to lower their body temperature by up to 12°C. They will follow hikers and anglers in the hopes of getting a handout of peanuts or sunflower seeds; however, taking food from human hands is not their main strategy for survival. In October and November they harvest more food than they can eat and cache it throughout their territory. Studies suggest that they are able to remember where most of their food is hidden. No small feat for a bird-brain! Flocks of chickadees are very loyal to their neck of the woods and will defend their territories against other chickadee flocks. However, by March the flocks break up and on average only one couple per flock survive to breed. The park where I work in Mississauga has several such winter flocks. I often wonder if the anglers passing along the trails beside the Credit River realize that the chickadees they see following them occupy distinct territories along the river. ?


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the vintage tackle box By Patrick Daradick

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 through his website at www.ontariolures.com or by phone at 613-398-7245.

Al Foss Pork Rind Minnows William Alva Foss was born in Covington, Ohio in 1868 and was known to his friends in the business world as Al Foss. He was a very successful plumber and businessman; a natural inventor and a perfectionist.

22 Real Fishing – Summer 2011

These lures, and other metal baits produced by Al Foss, were placed in small, distinctive metal boxes for protection. The side of the boxes advertised that the company also sold the Al Foss pork rind strips that were especially designed for these baits. The tin boxes can be found in green, red, blue and orange. Each tin also included a small pocket catalogue showing what other baits were available from the company. Al Foss manufactured several metal lures with the same prop that was designed to not twist fishing line. They were named Shimmy Wiggler, Jazz Wiggler, Frog Wiggler, Dixie Wiggler, New Egypt, Mouse Wiggler and The Shiek. When associated with fishing lures, the name Al Foss became symbolic with honesty, reliability and integrity. According to fisherman who used them, Al Foss lures were considered to be the greatest bass baits available. Despite his success, in 1929 Al sold his lure manufacturing company to The American Fork & Hoe Company who capitalized on the Al Foss name until they ceased production 1958. Al Foss had a tremendous passion for fishing and for casting tournaments and he was a legend in the Pro Casting Tournament circle for 25-years. Al shared his casting passion and prowess by writing articles on the subject for Outdoor America. Photo by Shawn Lowe, Catcher Photography

He had the knack for taking other inventions such as slot machines, cash registers and telephone toll collecting devices and perfecting them. Al’s slot machine operation alone netted him a handsome monetary sum. Al Foss, being an inventor and a fisherman, finally decided to create a lure that would let him achieve ultimate success in catching his favourite fish – the largemouth and smallmouth bass. So in 1915, at the age of 45, the Al Foss Fishing Tackle Company was born in Cleveland, Ohio and began producing a line of Pork Rind Minnows. Cleveland was a natural location to manufacture his metal lures as it was the hub of the tool and die industry in the United States in the early 1900s. The first two lures to be introduced were the Skidder and the Little Egypt. Both were designed to have a pork rind attached to them, allowing the baits to become weedless and deadly for bass fishing. The next lure introduced, in 1916, was Foss’ famous Oriental Wiggler. These baits were made with a celluloid body, glass eyes and, once again, were designed with a post to attach the pork rind. As in many of his metal lures, The Oriental Wiggler had a prop in the front for added attraction. Al was so sure of his lures that, in 1916, he ran an ad in the Cleveland Leader with a headline reading, “Foss Has Patented New Bait-The Oriental Wiggler. Willing to Wager His Invention Is the Best Ever Made.” The ad went on to say that “Al Foss has placed a certified check in our hands for $500. He has challenged all other manufacturers of bass lures in the country to compete for a like amount against his Pork Rind Minnows.” No one ever took him up on his offer.

His first casting tournament was in Portland, Oregon in 1921 and he attended every national tournament for the next 25 years, winning many events and unofficial titles. In 1925 Al Foss invented a fishing reel, which he named the 3-25 Easy Control Casting Reel. In 1928 he set a record when he cast a ½-ounce weight a distance of 351-feet. Quite a feat for tackle from 1928! In 1933 he won his only national championship for casting distance by making a 288.8-foot cast with a 5/8-ounce weight. Foss was also instrumental in introducing a new casting technique for distance casting called a “Lariat” cast. Fellow competitors referred to Al Foss as the “Cleveland Cyclone;” a fitting analogy because, to the best of my knowledge, he still holds all of the casting distance records for the State of Ohio. Al Foss was a legend in the fishing world and his lures are highly collectible, especially when found with the small, quaint tins they were packed in. An inventor of lures who was well ahead of his time, Al Foss dedicated his life to his passion of the art of angling. I truly believe his lures would be just as effective today as they were in 1916. ? This photo shows three different Oriental Wigglers and their tin boxes. The all metal bait in the centre is a Frog Wiggler. A pocket lure catalogue, showing Al Foss holding a stringer of bass, was placed inside the lure boxes along with a copy of the newspaper clipping that challenged other lure makers to compete against his lures.


real fishing fish facts

Lake Whitefish Coregonus clupeaformis

The lake whitefish has a moderately long, slender body which is somewhat pointed at the snout, gradually deepening through the dorsal region then tapering again towards the tail. The head is relatively small, comprising only 20% to 23% of the fish’s overall length, and features an unmistakable snout that overhangs the mouth. Whitefish have a single, soft dorsal fin, a small, fleshy adipose fin and a deeply forked tail along with the usual pectoral, pelvic and anal fins. Their bodies are covered in large scales which in turn are heavily overlaid with mucus or slime, making them extremely slippery and hard to handle. The overall color of the whitefish is silvery. Their backs range from a pale, greenish brown through darker brown to black depending on the waterbody they live in. The flanks are silver, fading to a silvery white or white on the belly. The fins are usually clear or lightly colored on fish from southern waters but they are often darker and tipped with black on fish from more northern regions. Whitefish are widely distributed across Canada, from New Brunswick and Labrador in the east, throughout most of

Quebec and Ontario and across the Prairie Provinces as far west as central or western British Columbia. They can be found as far south as the Great Lakes Basin and into the extreme northern United States. In the north they are common throughout Nunavut, the Northwest and Yukon Territories, and Alaska. Lake whitefish are a cool water species that spend most of the warm water season in the hypolimnion region, below the thermocline. In northern waters, where lakes do not stratify, whitefish may remain in shallower water all year. They are primarily bottom feeders who consume a wide variety of invertebrates, mollusks, insect larvae and small fish. In some areas, where water temperatures allow, they will also feed on various planktons and terrestrial insects. Whitefish are an important commercial species, second only to walleye in Canada. In 2003, over 6,800 tons were taken, all coming from Manitoba, Saskatchewan,

Alberta and the Territories. Interestingly, Ontario contributed over 2,000 tons of whitefish roe to the commercial fishery, yet it accounted for no fish, while the Western Provinces’ commercial catch did not include any roe. Along with their commercial importance, whitefish are an extremely popular sport fish, especially in the winter, when they are the mainstay of many ice fisheries. In some parts of the country, especially the northern areas, whitefish can also be caught on spinning, casting or fly gear throughout much of the year. In southern regions there are fewer opportunities to catch whitefish in open water, although some limited spring and fall fisheries do exist and there are a few anglers who do well by deep water jigging or trolling during the warmer months. When hooked, they put up a spirited battle and anglers must use a light touch to avoid tearing the hooks out of the fish’s delicate mouths. ?

DID YOU KNOW? Whitefish can lose up to 10% of their total body weight after spawning.

FAST FACTS Colour: Silver to silver-white with a darker back Size: Two to three-pounds on average, occasionally reaching over ten-pounds Life Span: Commonly ten to fifteen-years but can surpass twenty-years Habitat: Primarily deep lakes and large rivers Spawning: Late fall, in water temperatures of 46°F or less

RECORD The current IFGA All-Tackle World Record lake whitefish stands at 14 lbs, 6 oz. The fish was caught in Georgian Bay, Ontario, on May 21, 1984. 24 Real Fishing – Summer 2011


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1 Excellent Time

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WEDNESDAY

Good Time

SEPTEMBER

Best Fishing Times 2011

DOUG HANNON’S

To order your copy of Doug Hannon’s 2011 Moon Clock Calculator please visit www.moontimes.com or send $9.95 (USD) plus $3.75 (USD) for shipping & handling to: Moon Clock, Department RE, PO Box 724255, Atlanta, GA 31139

SUNDAY

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The hottest bite doesn’t always mean the biggest fish. Sometimes it’s the experience and the memories that make fishing trips memorable. Just ask Terry Cross, or his grandsons, Connor and Keir. Not only did this rainbow put a smile on the boys’ faces, it netted Terry a brand new Lund boat, trailer and 30-horsepower, 4-stroke Mercury motor package in Canadian Tire’s Catch, Click, Win photo contest. Terry’s winning photo captures everything that’s wonderful about fishing. The smiles on his grandson’s faces, Connor (left) and Keir (right), tell the story of a perfect day that they will undoubtedly cherish for many years to come.

Thanks to Roger Knox and the Vancouver Morning Star for providing this photo.

Terry Cross, along with his wife, Melody and their grandsons, Connor and Keir, picking up their new boat from Scott Ferguson (far left), General Manager of the Canadian Tire store in Vernon, BC, and Harry Colivas (in red jacket), Berkley’s District Sales Manager in British Columbia.

28 Real Fishing – Summer 2011


SCIENCE AND MID SUMMER TROUT By Fred Noddin

30 Real Fishing – Summer 2011


Working with PhD Candidate Justin Hanisch throughout the 2009 and 2010 field seasons, I was fortunate to be part of his research effort studying the effects of stocked trout on the food web in the boreal lakes of west central Alberta. That meant spending summers in a wood cabin on the banks of the Clearwater River fishing, sampling bugs, catching minnows, collecting water samples and doing all kinds of other fun work. As far as work goes, it was first-rate and the type of job I’m sure many outdoorsmen and women would live for. And when the work was done, fishing or other outdoor adventure was literally at our doorstep.

Summer 2011 – Real Fishing 31


Justin’s research, in conjunction with work from Leslie Nasmith and Candra Schank, concluded that stocked trout were having no strong negative effects on minnows, invertebrates or amphibians. While there has been little difference in the size or abundance of common trout food, including macro invertebrates and small bodied fish, there have been habitat shifts by some species. One notable shift was the distribution of small bodied fish species. Both dace and stickleback populations shifted their habitat use to inshore and lake-bottom areas, likely to seek refuge from predation in the abundant weed growth of the littoral zone. Of interest to anglers fishing these lakes was that trout ate considerably more sticklebacks than dace, even though dace were more abundant. Aware of this trend, we found that a stickleback imitating plug fished near shore in low light, such as in the early morning or on a cloudy day, was an effective way to tempt many of the larger trout to strike. We caught a bunch of trout this way and many of the fish we hooked were sitting just inches from the bank.

Minnow population distribution was estimated by means of open water tows and shallow water trapping. The collected fish were then counted and marked before being returned to the lake.

32 Real Fishing – Summer 2011

THE FIESTA PROJECT Justin Hanisch’s research is contributing to the FIESTA project, a cooperative effort studying the effects of introduced trout and Justin Hanisch heads up the FIESTA Project

These groupings allow for meaningful comparisons between lake types and enable researchers to detect changes in a stocked lake’s community composition by comparing it against their un-stocked counterparts. Of particular interest were what trout ate and how their presence affected the behaviour and habitat choices of everything within the aquatic ecosystem around them. To determine what prey items trout were eating, stomach contents were collected from trout caught by angling, which typically started in May and concluded either in late August or September. Checking the stomach contents of a big, healthy brown trout.

aeration. FIESTA, standing for Fish, Frogs, Invertebrates, and the Effects of Stocked Trout and Aeration, studies a suite of 14 boreal lakes in the Caroline and Rocky Mountain House region of west central Alberta. While the stocking of trout has been a long-standing management practice to introduce and maintain fisheries, there were concerns over the impacts these trout were having. A multitude of alpine lake studies revealed negative effects when introduced trout effectively reshaped food webs and, in some examples, completely extirpated conspicuous invertebrates and amphibians. These findings were of concern to fisheries managers. In 2005, the University of Alberta, along with the Alberta Conservation Association and Alberta Sustainable Resource Development, developed a joint plan to study the impacts of stocked trout in lower elevation boreal lakes. To make effective comparisons, a multitude of lakes were selected and grouped into three categories. The first were completely fishless lakes; the second were un-stocked lakes with naturally occurring small-bodied fish populations like minnows and sticklebacks. The third group represented stocked lakes where one or more of the following trout species - rainbow trout, brook trout, and brown trout - were introduced. All of the stocked lakes had native, small-bodied fish populations prior to stocking.

Fiesta Lake, one of 14 boreal lakes being studied to assess the impact of stocked trout on native food webs.

The fish were captured by hook and line, anaesthetized in a dilute clove oil mixture, and their stomach contents obtained by means of a gastric lavage. They were then placed back into the lake via a recovery basket and released upon recovery. The contents collected were identified and the presence of prey was recorded. After study, caught trout are temporarily held in a recovery basket before being released.

Stomach contents offer a snapshot of what trout are eating at the time of capture. For longer term diet analysis, however, a small sample of the caudal fin was clipped for stable isotope analysis. Stable isotope analysis looks at the proportion of the heavy and light carbon and nitrogen isotopes (13C/12C and 15N/14N) found within fish tissue. Stable isotopes can reveal not only what trout are eating, but also what position they occupy in the food web and how they affect the trophic positions and habitat use of other organisms in the lakes. Because stable isotopes accumulate in trout tissue over a period of several months, and are derived from what trout eat, isotope analysis provides a longer-term picture of a trout’s diet.


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Chucking plugs is a great technique, but it certainly doesn’t cover all fishing situations. Of all the findings that came out of Justin’s study, one of the most compelling nuggets of information for anglers was the overall percentage of trout we caught that had consumed chironomids. A whopping 55.6 % of all the trout caught in 2007; 52.6% in 2008 and 64% of trout in 2009 had consumed chironomids. This reliance on chironomids spanned all water bodies therefore their importance as a prey item cannot be overstated. If ever there were one technique anyone should know when it comes to pothole trout, this is it. Learn how to fish chironomid flies. They are that important. Now, it can become quite crazy to imitate all kinds of different chironomids so here’s how to simplify it. If you’re a spin fisherman like me, employ the slip bobber set up, only slightly modified. Put away the slip bobber and, in its place, stick on a corky float. On the end, tie a bead head pheasant tail nymph in size 10 and twist the knot towards the hook point so the fly hangs horizontally. Now the rig is set. In shallow water situations, say less than 10-feet, I like fishing the fly close to bottom as I get most of my strikes there. In deeper water situations I’ll progressively fish my bead head pheasant tail fly a little deeper until I get hits. Typically I’ll start at four-feet for a couple casts, then six, then eight, then 10, 12 and so on. The trout often like to suspend at a particular depth and, believe me,

34 Real Fishing – Summer 2011

Trout in northern boreal lakes use weeds for cover – much like largemouth bass do in southern lakes.

when you hit it right, the bites will be fast in coming. It’s like flipping a switch; you’ll catch nothing at eight-feet; nothing at 10 and then every cast at 12-feet gets you a hit. This type of fishing will usually keep things hopping throughout the first half of the summer, but when fishing gets tough – I call it the mid-July doldrums – it’s time for a change in tactics. By midsummer, two things will likely have happened. One, there’s a heavily weeded and well defined littoral zone and two, the lakes will have complete-

ly stratified. This gives rise to two different breeds of animals when it comes to trout. The first type of trout likes it cooler and will live in the depths at or near the thermocline, feeding on daphnia, and other zooplankton, much like a whale eats krill. When they’re not cruising for “zoops,” these trout have their noses buried in the mud and they are literally rooting out bloodworms. How they do this amazes me, but they do it with remarkable efficiency. The other breed of trout take on the life of ambush predators, much like pike, and they make a living hiding out in the weeds where they will hit anything and everything. They’re opportunistic and extremely aggressive. In spite of this, I’d say these fish are the least targeted. Why? Because of the jungle they live in. Fishing the edges of weeds will catch you some of these trout, but getting right in the middle of the thick stuff, and slugging it out toe to toe with them, will account for a bunch more. Let’s look at how to catch the deep water fish first. There’s nothing we can use to imitate a single daphnia, heck on a good day these critters are 1-mm long, but they live in bunches so that’s what we’ve got going for us. Imitate a bunch of daphnia by super slow trolling a sparsely dressed streamer fly; like a double shrimp or a full back nymph, and you may fool a trout into thinking it’s


got itself a “school” of daphnia all to itself. I use a fly rod with a fast-sink line, or lead core, to get the depth desired. Then I chug along at a snail’s pace with the electric motor. This technique is unbelievably effective and catches a lot of deep water, midsummer trout. When we land one of these trout and do the gastric lavage (stomach pumping), the contents are almost always dominated by daphnia. Catching trout that are foraging on bloodworms is a technique all onto itself and one that requires attention to detail. Bloodworms are benthic organisms, meaning that they live in the bottom muck, so we knowing these trout will be deep. I catch them 20 to 25-feet down by using the same slip-bobber set up I use for chironomids. The only change is that I put a large size 8 or 6 bloodworm imitation on in place of a bead head pheasant tail nymph. I anchor the

Slow trolling a sparsely dressed streamer fly with a fly rod and a fastsink or lead core line is unbelievably effective on midsummer trout.

Summer 2011 – Real Fishing 35


boat over the deep stuff, slide a split-shot weight next to the fly and let line out over the side of the boat until the weight hits the bottom. I’ll bring it up six-inches and set my bobber stop there. Now I’m tight to the bottom and my fly will be in a spot where the trout expect to find a bloodworm. The final bit of housekeeping is to reel the fly up and move the split-shot a couple of feet up the line to avoid spooking the trout. Now I’m set. My casts are really short, maybe 10 to 15-feet from the boat. This keeps the bloodworm imitation really close to the bottom and lets me set the hook almost straight up on any bite. Bites are never fast and furious with bloodworms but they are steady and, on a hot day in July, this could be the ticket to fish on the line. Now let’s look at our last summer strategy, chasing jungle trout. These fish are aggressive and opportunistic so many things work to get bites. I’ll save you some here time and just say that the appealing and relatively weed-free little black jig is the hands-down winner. As with bass, trout will hunt and hide in the thickest weeds. Sometimes all that’s available to fish in a sea of salad is an open pocket of water the size of a bathtub. I’ll dunk a jig in there and get ready. Hits happen fast and there is a precious one or two seconds where the trout is stunned. That’s when I lean hard into the rod to get the fish

36 Real Fishing – Summer 2011

A modified chironomid rig can be the ticket to deep, mid-summer trout.

up top and then I do everything possible to keep ‘em there. The fight is intense but, if I can keep the trout on top, my chances of landing it go up exponentially. This is full contact fishing so put away the light line and finesse methods

and size up. Heavier line means more fish landed. Because weed trout are the least fished, they are often the most aggressive and quite often will give up some of the best fishing of the summer. And that’s a wrap. When the weather starts to cool in August, and the backswimmers drop in, we’re getting into fall patterns and that can be a whole article on its own, so we’ll just stop it here. The strategies in this article are the ones that helped Justin and I catch the fish we needed to obtain our study samples. Having the ability to be on the water nearly every day of the summer, for several summers running, gave us a rare opportunity to see the subtle changes in trout behaviour and feeding habits as the seasons progressed. It truly was a privilege. More importantly, the data we collected indicates that stocking trout in boreal lakes has little negative impact on the aquatic ecosystem, especially when compared to stocking in other areas. This is encouraging news suggesting that, in many of the productive pothole lakes, native biodiversity can be maintained while providing anglers with an exciting and productive recreational fishery. ?


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THE ESSENTIAL EXTRAS When we go fishing we’re always sure to pack the right baits for the species we’re after and for the conditions we’re likely to face. We make sure our line is fresh and we give our rods and reels the quick once-over to make sure everything is in order. We spend a lot of time making sure our tackle is shipshape because we know the difference between a great day and a so-so one often comes down to how prepared we are. However, many of us overlook some of the other essentials that can make or break a fishing trip. These aren’t specifically fishing related items, and they won’t directly help you to catch more fish, but they can definitely make it easier for you to concentrate on fishing. And when you’re able to concentrate on the task at hand the results will always be better than if your mind is elsewhere. With that in mind, let’s take a look at a few of the “other” items that should accompany you on each and every fishing trip.

Basic Tool Kit There’s nothing more frustrating than losing a screw from a reel, having an electrical or mechanical issue in your boat or having something similar go wrong when you’re on the water enjoying a hot bite. These types of things don’t have to spoil your day if you’re

First Aid Kit Cuts, scrapes, punctures, slivers and wasp or bee stings are a part of life when you’re an angler. Because our hands are in contact with fish, bait, lake water and weeds these small injuries can easily become infected and it’s important to treat them quickly before they become inflamed. A basic first aid kit can help you deal with most common angling injuries without having to give up on fishing for the day. There are dozens of commercial kits available, or you can assemble your own from items you probably already have in your medicine cabinet. Antiseptic wipes, waterproof bandages, gauze, medical tape, tweezers, scissors, a couple of finger splints, and some headache pills are all most anglers will need to deal with the wounds that seem to come with fishing.

Personal Protection

prepared with a basic tool kit. While the exact items you carry will depend on the equipment you use and whether you are in a boat or on shore, the main thing is to have the tools you might need with you. A good, all purpose boater kit should include pliers, a few wrenches, a couple of screwdrivers, boat fuses, electrical tape, a spare boat plug, spare spark plugs and a plug wrench as well as a propeller wrench. Pack everything in a watertight container and keep it stored in a dry locker on board. 38 Real Fishing – Summer 2011

Sunburn, insect bites and dehydration go hand in hand with spending time on the water. Mild cases can simply be annoying, but severe cases can be serious, even life threatening. Regular sunburns over time can lead to the development of skin cancers, some insect bites can lead to West Nile Virus or cause allergic reactions and dehydration can quickly turn to heat stroke. Once you’ve been afflicted with any of these the cure often involves intensive medical

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treatment – provided a cure is available and you reach help in time. The best defense is protecting yourself before you become affected. Apply an SPF 30 or higher sunscreen to all exposed skin before you go out in the sun and re-apply it every few hours to lessen the impact of the sun. Use a DEETbased insect repellent like OFF!® Deep Woods® to keep the bugs at bay and re-apply it as directed on the packaging. And don’t forget to take lots of water to keep you hydrated on your fishing trips. While none of these items will make the fish bite, they can definitely make your day on the water safer and more pleasant. And isn’t that part of what fishing is all about?


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THE GREAT MUSKIE MYSTERY By Scott McGuigan

I am an avid angler and therefore, some would say, something of a liar. Unintentionally, in my zeal to exhibit how great our sport is to those who don’t partake, or understandably to one-up my fellow angling buddies, I’ve been known to spin the yarn a tad. My fishing buddies do the same and I like it – it keeps me on my toes. But I know flat-out fiction when I hear it! If I didn’t see it, if I wasn’t part of it, if this tale wasn’t mine, then I would never have believed it. But sometimes things happen that are so far-fetched that you can only take each word as the God’s honest truth. This is one of those real fishing stories. The setting for this tale is Rondeau Bay, nestled in off of the Lake Erie shoreline, some 40-miles east of Point Pelee. Its borders lay within the cozy confines of Chatham-Kent and the small hamlet of Erieau serves as the main access point for both the lake and bay. Out of the marina at Erieau, a quick right hand turn puts you into the Erie waters, well known for the quantity and quality of its

40 Real Fishing – Summer 2011

walleye, steelhead, salmon, and perch. Out of the same marina, a left hand turn will put you into the waters of Rondeau Bay. Rondeau Bay’s reputation as a fishing hotbed would not extend far beyond the boundaries of Chatham-Kent and, indeed, is often overlooked with Lake St. Clair being just a short drive to the north. Perhaps its biggest claim to fame in regards

to angling is not the fish it has produced, but rather the fishermen. It’s the place Joe Izumi taught his boys, Wayne and Bob, how to fish. Don’t be mistaken, Rondeau Bay offers some pretty good angling opportunities. It’s great for me because it’s close to home and not usually too crowded. It’s where my father taught me to fish and where I caught


my first largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, crappie, perch and pike. Rondeau Bay is indeed a great place to fish, but if you’re looking for Ontario’s supreme game fish, the muskie, it’s not the place to be. I repeat, muskie do not live here! In all my life I can’t once recall anyone telling me they ever caught a muskie there. But let me briefly digress, and start from the beginning. In the summer of 2009, one of my good friends and fishing

partners, Ryan Gold, bought a Ranger boat and, after chasing bass around for most of the summer, had the inclination to gear up for muskie. We both live fairly close to an area of Lake St. Clair that is well known for its muskie fishing and I suppose that was where we thought we would catch our first muskie. But while Ryan and I were out chasing bass in the summer months, whispers about a pair of bass fishermen catching monster fish on Rondeau Bay started to emerge. In the first week of September we made our maiden voyage in search of muskie, heading to Lake St. Clair, considered by many to be, acre for acre, the top spot in North America for the king of fresh water. Reluctantly, I admit that we did not really know what we were doing. After a number of

fruitless hours we were about to surrender when one of the rods snapped upright and sprang to life. I jumped up to take control of the rod and, when I felt the sheer power behind the monster on the other end, I knew then and there that I had to start muskie fishing. But the excitement was short-lived. Call it a rookie mistake but we had set the drag too tight and, despite using wire-like line, the fish broke free, leaving me in agony. That said, you wouldn’t have to twist my arm to get me back out there. I was hooked! Ryan’s next offer to go muskie fishing went a little differently. He asked me and another good friend, Alan, to go to Rondeau Bay. “I hear they’re catching muskie on Rondeau,” Ryan said. The offer to chase muskie was appealing but heading to Rondeau to do it simply stunned us. Alan and I both chuckled, but respectfully declined. There seemed to be better ways to waste a day than fish for an already elusive fish in an area they aren’t known to inhabit. But long before I even considered checking in on their progress, I got a text message.

Summer 2011 – Real Fishing 41


“Just pulled in our second muskie of the day,” it read. I was stunned. They would add another, over 40-inches in length, and so the next time I was asked to go, I went! Only a couple of days later we headed to Rondeau in search of the fierce predators that were apparently being caught in large numbers. “It could be a little crowded,” Ryan warned. That seemed like an unlikely scenario to me but sure enough, the area we headed to was packed with fishermen pursuing muskie. There were a dozen or so large boats trolling, a few bass boats casting, and two teenagers rowing a dingy. Here’s what I knew about muskies: they are considered by many to be the optimum prize of Canadian sport fishing; they can be really big and they fight like champs. But they are so elusive that they’ve been dubbed the fish of 10,000 casts. Well, in less than half an hour we’d proven the first two of those statements true. But the last statement—the one about them being elusive and hard to catch – well, that flew out the window in a hurry. I hooked into the first one and it was a good sized fish. I got it within about 10-feet of the boat but just as we were getting the measuring equipment ready I spotted another muskie right beside it. I urged Ryan to cast for it and he did. Although the idea was born of good intention, the muskie I was fighting quickly crossed paths with Ryan’s line and the slack it created was just enough to let the muskie off the hook. I was heartbroken, knowing that the odds of me getting another weren’t good. The only good sign was that people all around us were catching muskies. There was now no doubt that the stories I’d heard were true. Rondeau Bay was full of muskies. It didn’t take us long to hook the next one. This one, a little smaller than the first, was put in the boat and we were on the board. Due to the fact that I lost the first one, Ryan said it was still my turn and so I eagerly awaited another strike. At this point in my life I’d never landed a muskie although I’d tangled with three. It had all been enough to get my blood boiling but what happened next was beyond my wildest expectations. We had zeroed in on a spot of water based on what we had seen so far. A few passes after boating our first fish, one 42 Real Fishing – Summer 2011

Ryan Gold proves that muskies did exist in Rondeau Bay in 2009-2010.


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of the rods snapped upright and I jumped up to set the hook. I should tell you that we were not using light equipment. From the rod down to the line, it was heavy stuff, yet nothing in my power could slow the fish that had just attacked my Believer lure. The drag screamed and all I could do was let the fish fight the rod. Eventually I started to worry. As I looked down at the line counter it was nearing 150-feet. We could never see the fish and really had no idea where he was. As the line counter surpassed 180-feet he finally emerged, breaking the water with the most powerful jump I have ever seen. He seemed about twice as far away as I imagined he was and so I urged Ryan to start the boat and give chase. The problem seemed compounded by the fact there were so many boats in the area, so we moved as quickly as we could. As we approached the fish the fight was beginning to last dangerously long, and so, in respect for his life, I began to horse him towards the boat as best I could. It wasn’t easy, nor was it pretty, but soon enough we

Author, Scott McGuigan’s first muskie, a 55-incher that tipped the scales at 37 ½-pounds.

W H AT T H E E X P E R T S S A I D I talked to a number of biologists regarding the muskie boom in Rondeau but none of them seemed to have any sort of scientific explanation for the outbreak. In addition, they could only guess as to the origin of the Rondeau Bay muskies. The most logical origin of the population would seem to be the Detroit River, simply based on proximity. That would have meant they traveled a good way through Lake Erie. Brian Locke (MNR, Acting Manager, Lake Erie Management Unit) said, “We monitor perch and walleye numbers closely and in the process catch a lot of bass and sheephead, but we don’t catch a lot of muskie in our gill netting programs.” Acknowledging that only big fish were being caught, Locke subscribed to the theory that the muskie had moved in from another location, but could only guess as to where that would have been. He added, “There was no earlier small muskie boom that I am aware of,” meaning that the muskie were not spawning there. Kurt Oldenburg, (Fisheries Ecology Supervisor for the MNR out of Port Dover) attributed it to the summer’s cool climate, 44 Real Fishing – Summer 2011

but could only theorize because he said the “baseline data is scant.” MNR biologist Andy Cooke agreed, saying that, “You can be sure the cooler water temperatures had something to do with it.” It was the hot topic in local coffee shops and I even heard rumours of old-timers lying claim to catching muskie in sizeable numbers years ago but Wayne Izumi, who Local angler, Pat Brown, confirms MNR statements that only big muskies were being caught in Rondeau Bay.

grew up fishing Rondeau Bay, isn’t so sure. “I’ve never caught a muskie there in my life. I’ve never heard of anything like this,” Wayne stated. As far as my research has led me to believe, muskie have been caught on rare occasion in Rondeau Bay, but nothing like this muskie bonanza has ever happened before.


LUCKY LOC AL By all accounts, Jack Hitchcock was the local resident who was most successful muskie angler in both size and total numbers of fish caught. Jack grew up in the area, even taking the same bus to school as Bob Izumi. He now lives within metres of the bay. When I asked him how he caught onto the fact muskies were around, he said a neighbour had landed one while bass fishing right in front of their houses. Living right on the water has its advantages so Jack went out and, within 5 or 10 minutes, had landed one himself. The presence of muskie caught him off guard, like everyone else, but the next day he went out a little more prepared. “I’ve fished for muskie in Lake St. Clair and Mitchell’s Bay, so I had the equipment,” he said, “but I’ve never caught a muskie on Rondeau in all my life.” The next night out, armed with a handful of Believers, (one of the most common muskie baits) they put six in the boat. Included in that was a monster muskie that weighed over 40-pounds and pushed 60-inches in length. All told, Jack pulled the monster into the boat. We got the hook out without too much trouble and, although my gloveless hand was paying the price, we were able to measure, weigh and photograph the monster - and he was a monster. He tipped the scale at 37 ½-pounds, was 55 to 56-inches in length, and it was the battle of my life. We took special care after we put the fish back in the water, spending nearly 10-minutes with him to ensure he survived the ordeal. I maintained a death-lock grip on the tail, until one final thrash spattered water all over my face and the fish freed itself, quickly submerging into the weeds below. I was in awe. I was overcome with emotion, and I was raving and fist pumping like I’d just won gold at the Olympics. It wasn’t the biggest fish I’d ever caught. I’ve caught salmon while stream fishing that topped 40-pounds, but this muskie was indeed the greatest fight I’d ever imagined. I spent the next few hours raving about it, while we continued to hook muskies. Ryan put the next fish in the boat, a 50-incher that weighed 32-pounds. When we finally left the bay we had caught four and lost another three. Moreover, we’d watched other anglers net at least another dozen. I couldn’t believe what had happened. In all my life growing up a stone’s throw away from Rondeau Bay, I had never heard of anyone catching a

boated 25 fish and a half dozen of them tipped the scales at over 30-pounds. “It was unbelievable. I’d go out and have 10 hits,” he said. “It must have been the best muskie fishing in the world!” Interestingly, he pointed out that he had never seen gar pike as thick as they were that summer. “There were a pile,” he noted, theorizing that perhaps the muskie had followed them in to feed on them. Hitchcock said that he caught all the fish in the same area we had caught ours, noting that it is only seven to seven and a half feet deep there, “So they were going to see any lure that went over them.” He confirmed one report I had heard about a muskie caught on Rondeau last summer, but he tried himself a few times without any success. “It all happened within about a week and a half,” he said. But in that time so many new muskie hunters emerged that the tackle shops in Erieau stocked up and sold out of all their muskie lures!

Rondeau Bay muskie master, Jack Hitchcock.

Summer 2011 – Real Fishing 45


Ryan Gold with a 50-inch muskie from Rondeau Bay.

muskie there. I had to do it to believe it, but it was real, and it was amazing! Even more outlandish, all of the fish caught came out of about 40-acres of water. The bay itself is large enough, but incredibly choked with weeds. In the area we found the muskie, however, there was this hole that was much more open than the rest of the area. It was perfect cover for the muskies to lay in wait, ready to ambush unsuspecting prey, but it didn’t mean that there weren’t muskie lurking in others corners of the bay. It was only this small section of water that allowed anglers the opportunity to fish without catching a muskie-sized weedbed with every cast, so I

guess we’ll never know how widespread they were that summer. I returned twice more in search of the toothy monsters. The next time I was with my Dad, and we were casting. He’d actually gone out on his own, while I’d gone to Rondeau Park to put our names in the lottery for the opening day of duck season. He called me just as the draw was happening and told me he’d caught two muskies in the first hour. I told him to come to the dock and pick me up, and soon enough I’d hooked into another monster fish. This one would have been 30-pounds plus, but eventually he out-muscled me and came free. Not long after, however, I hooked into a

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46 Real Fishing – Summer 2011

more manageable sized fish, and we got it in the boat. On my final trip out we only had about an hour and a half to fish so we trolled in the same area where we had been so successful a week before. This time we caught two, both in the mid-20-pound range. In all, I was present for seven landed fish. I must have seen other anglers net more than 25 fish. It was absolutely crazy because all of this happened in an area where muskies aren’t known to live! This being the case, many of the other successful fishermen out there were first-time muskie anglers just like us. All you had to do to catch muskie during these glorious few weeks was get out there. Like I mentioned, all the fish we caught were good sized fish, indicating they had moved in from somewhere else, but where? Moreover, would they stay? A year later the muskie seemed to have disappeared! I confirmed that two were caught the next summer, and there were rumours of a couple more. I don’t know what happened. I don’t know what changed or where they went, but for a couple of glorious weeks in September of 2009 Rondeau Bay, not known to have muskie in its waters at all, was the muskie capital of North America. I’ve never seen anything like it before, but I’d be open to the possibility of seeing it again! ?


THE

TOURNAMENT

BUG When it comes to tournament fishing I’m definitely no Bob Izumi. However, despite my less than stellar career statistics in competitive fishing, I keep trying because I flatout love it. For me, tournaments aren’t about money or prestige; they are about challenging myself to become a better, more versatile angler. Over the years I’ve come to believe that competition forces you to become better at anything you do and fishing is no exception. When I was in my late ‘teens I never thought I’d ever catch the tournament fishing bug. It made no sense to me at all. Why would anyone pay to go fishing? I can vividly remember my first experience with a bass tournament on Lake Scugog, somewhere around 1978 or ‘79. A buddy and I had decided to rent a boat for a day of walleye fishing. When we arrived at the rental place there were about 30 or 40 extremely slick-looking boats tied up at the docks. As we loaded our gear into our ride for the day I couldn’t help but notice the number of rods and other gear in the flashy boats. “Look at this” I said to my buddy, as I pointed to the front deck of the boat tied up beside our rental unit. “This guy’s got almost 20 rods in this boat! Who the heck needs 20 rods to go fishing? Whoever owns this rig must own a tackle store or something. I bet I can catch just as many fish on my one rod as this show-off can with 20. Hell, you can only fish with one rod at a time anyway….” “There’s a good reason I’ve got all of those rods in my boat,” came a voice from down the dock.

48 Real Fishing – Summer 2011

By Jerry Hughes

I looked up to see none other than Bob Izumi himself walking towards the rod-filled boat. “Wow, Bob Izumi! Are you heading out walleye fishing? Are you shooting a show?” “Nah, I’m fishing in a bass tournament today – that’s why I’ve got so much gear in the boat,” said Bob. “Every technique calls for a different set-up – cranking, flipping, topwater fishing, fishing in the slop, fishing in open water.” We chatted for a couple of minutes and wished Bob good luck. As we finished loading our gear, Bob and all the other anglers got into their boats and headed a few hundred yards out from the docks. Then they all stopped. My friend and I didn’t understand what these guys were waiting for. Why were they Catching walleyes during a bass tournament.

all lined up beside each other with their motors idling? We didn’t know and didn’t really care. If they wanted to sit and burn gas, who were we to argue. We fired up the 9.9 and headed out across the lake, right through the line of idling bass boats. We had just cleared the pack when we heard a loud “boom” from behind us, followed by an even louder roar. Shotgun start! We looked back to see some three-dozen boats all bearing down on us at top speed! With nowhere to run, we hung on to the sides if the 14-foot rental and waited for the inevitable. It was quite the ride as the wakes from all those bass boats started tossing us around in out little boat. The adrenaline was pumping, but not from the rocking and rolling. No, it was the sight of those boats on plane, everyone running flat out across the lake. Fishing? Hell, it reminded me more of drag racing and it was cool! I still thought the idea of paying to go fishing was silly - not to mention the waiting for a starter gun to go off before you could start fishing - but the excitement I felt as those boats flew by was incredible. I thought that I might have to try a tournament some day, if I ever managed to get myself a big, flashy boat. A few years passed and, in the mid-80s I finally purchased my first boat – a 16-foot


The author as a budding Bassmaster.

Lund with a 50-horsepower Mercury on the back. Compared to the rental boats I was used to, this boat was a dream. Padded pedestal seats, a livewell, a trolling motor, a graph and a top speed of around 30-miles an hour. It was perfect for my “all-around” fishing style. For a young guy it just didn’t get much better. My fishing buddies and I took that boat all over Ontario; from salmon fishing on Lake Ontario to steelhead trolling on Georgian Bay to walleye jigging on Lake Nipissing to bass fishing throughout Haliburton. Lake Simcoe, the Kawarthas, the Parry Sound region – you name it, we probably went there. We became pretty decent anglers and it was a rare trip that we came home skunked. Then it happened. A glossy brochure from a booth at the Toronto Sportsmen’s Show caught me eye. It was from a group called GM Pro Bass and it advertised a number of professional bass tournaments in

The old Lund was a dream in her day.

southern Ontario. The entry fee was only a couple of hundred dollars per event and the top prize was around $5,000. We were pretty good at bass fishing so we decided to enter one of the events on Lake Scugog. It sounded like easy money. The only point of concern was one of the rules that stated, no live bait allowed. Hmmm. We were masters of live bait fishing for bass. We always caught a few by trolling crankbaits or casting topwaters, but, for the most part, we liked tossing leeches, crayfish or minnows for smallmouth; frogs, craws and leeches for largemouth. Despite our concerns, we sent in our entry fee and started counting the days until we would win our first tournament. In the week leading up to the tournament we pre-fished like crazy and found a couple of areas that had some good fish on them. We figured out how to use plastic worms

and weedless spoons; we discovered spinnerbaits and we were developing confidence that we could catch fish without live bait. We were ready. Launching the boat at 5 am was surreal. A hundred and fifty boats were lined up halfway through Port Perry, waiting their turn at the launch ramp. I recognized some faces from the television fishing shows and some who were outdoor writers. There was anticipation in the air that you could feel. This wasn’t some little trailer park derby; this was the big time and we were right in the middle of it. We launched and proceeded to the checkin area. Somebody wearing a sponsor shirt came down and checked our livewell, looked into all of the storage compartments and made us open our tackle bags so he could be sure we weren’t smuggling any live bait. After getting the okay from the checkin guy we headed into the pack of boats to wait for the 7 am blastoff. I’ll never forget looking around at the competition that morning. Bob and Wayne Izumi were a few boats to our left; Rocky Crawford was on our right. We were surrounded by gel-coat, 150-horsepower motors and guys who made their livings by fishing. For the first time, I felt a little twinge of doubt.

“We could be in trouble here,” I said to my buddy. “Don’t worry,” he said, “we know where the fish are. We never saw any of those guys so they probably don’t know what we do. Forget about them, let’s just go to our spot and win this thing.” Then we were off, the last boat in the first flight. As we motored down the lake we saw the rest of the first heat slowly disappear in the distance. Soon, we were all alone. We pushed north until we rounded the tip of Scugog Island and made a course for our secret little bay halfway up the north arm of the lake. As we entered the north arm we heard a boat coming up from behind us. Then another. And another. The second heat was catching us and we still had 15-minutes of running left before we would be at our spot!

45-minutes after blasting off, we pulled into our secret bay only to see a dozen boats all fishing the lily pads and stumps that we had found earlier in the week. We figured that we must be on the best spot in the lake because everyone was fishing in there. To make a long story short, we fished until noon without catching a single fish.

A full field gets ready for blast-off.

Summer 2011 – Real Fishing 49


We knew the run back would take nearly an hour so we would only have about twohours left to fish. We decided to run halfway back to Port Perry and fish one of the big bays on the west side of the lake but, once again, there was a flotilla of bass boats in there. They were all fishing the standing reeds and lily pad beds, one boat behind another, separated by about 50-yards. It was almost funny to see these guys all lined up, following each other around the reeds and weeds like ponies on a carousel ride at the fair. With all the pressure we thought it would be smarter to fish a hundred yards off the emergent weeds and concentrate on the slightly deeper water. It was a good choice as we caught a limit of small keepers in about ½ an hour. We kept at it and managed to cull a couple of fish before we had to head back to the weigh-in.

almost all of the other weights were in double digits and our 8-pounds seemed almost embarrassing. I lowered my head a little and skulked back to the boat. “We suck,” I said to my partner. “Let’s load the boat and go watch the rest of the weigh-in.”

On stage collecting a weigh-in receipt instead of a cheque.

After packing up, we parked the truck and made our way back to the weigh-in show. Bag after bag of big bass were weighed, TV hosts and pro anglers took the microphone and talked about how they had caught their fish. The crowd cheered each and every one of them. The excitement in the air was electric as the last few teams weighed in. I can’t remember who won the tournament, I just remember feeling an odd mix of energy and disappointment as the big cheque was handed out. After checking in, we lined up with all the other boats to wait our turn weighing our catch and before long a guy tossed a bag to us and told us to load up our fish and take them to the scales. Standing in line with a bag full of bass was incredible. Surrounded by some of Canada’s top anglers, I felt as if I belonged in their ranks. Then it was our turn at the scales. “Eight pounds, seven ounces,” announced the weighmaster, “Have a nice day.” He shoved a piece of paper towards me and pointed for us to leave the stage. I looked at the note, which was simply a weight receipt. I walked off the stage and looked at the scoreboard. To my horror,

50 Real Fishing – Summer 2011

Part of me wanted to go right back out fishing to try and prove that I could do better. Another part of me wondered what I was thinking when I signed up for this event. How I could have been so far out of it? Although I thought I was a pretty good angler, it was obvious that the tournament game was a whole different animal than weekend derbies with the boys. I definitely had a lot more to learn. Despite my initial misgivings about the whole concept of tournament fishing, after competing in one I suddenly understood the appeal. You can’t talk a big game in tournaments unless you’ve got the fish to prove it. Excuses count for nothing; it’s put up or shut up. When your favourite little honey hole is overrun with anglers, you’ve got to be able to pick up and find other fish. When the weather doesn’t cooperate, you have to adjust. Somebody always catches fish and, if you’re not one of them, you’re doing something wrong. There’s a challenge to tournament fishing that is different from anything you’ll ever face while you’re just fishing for fun. So, after facing a gigantic reality check in my first-ever tournament, my fate was sealed and I was hooked. The next season, my buddy and I fished a whole series of tournaments and I’ve never looked back. Although I’m still no Bob Izumi, I do make it into the money occasionally and I believe that I am a much better angler because of tournament fishing. As long as I continue to get a little twinge in my stomach just before blast-off, and feel the thrill of anticipation when my partner and I bring in a big bag of fish, I’m going to keep at it. ?


charlesweissart.com

52 Real Fishing â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Summer 2011


10

NORTHERN PIKE

MYTHS - BUSTED Article and illustrations by Charles Weiss Charles Weiss is an accomplished wildlife artist, outdoors writer and seasoned pike and muskie angler.

Myths die hard. Bigfoot roams the north woods. Britney Spears is sweet and innocent. Giant northern pike lose their teeth in summer. Well, I’m no expert on the first two, but I’ll shed some light on the pike losing their teeth thing and then take a hammer to a few more northern pike misconceptions. It’s time to update your strategies, fishing folks. My research has revealed some rock-solid truths about pike fishing that will dispel the trail of rubble that many fishers once believed to be true about the northern pike. MYTH 1: Pike Lose Their Teeth In The Summer This is basically a ridiculous premise. The truth is, pike lose and replace their teeth all year ‘round. It’s true that pike feed very little in shallow areas once the surface temperature rises above 65°F, but this has nothing to do with their teeth. In late spring or early summer big pike make a seasonal migration from shallow spawning areas to the deepest edges of rock/weed structure. This is why you don’t find them in the shallow areas that were full of fish earlier in the year. Try jigging these deeper areas with large, ½ to one-ounce jigs. Fan-cast these deep spots and vary your retrieve while trying to keep

in touch with bottom. At twilight, try casting spoons, spinners or crankbaits near these same spots. When you land your first big northern, take a look into its mouth and you’ll see row upon row of sharp, healthy pearly whites.

MYTH 2: Big Pike Won’t Bite In Summer You don’t have to wait for the cooler waters of autumn to catch big pike. Summer pike fishing is different than spring fishing and you need to move away from the spots you were fishing in the spring. The big pike that are caught in the summer are usually caught near deeper water with cooler temperatures. Try downriggers for scattered, openwater roaming pike. Fish along outside weed edges or around open water structure like humps, ridges or shoals. You’ll be covering water at a precise depth and keeping your lure in the deep strike zone at all times.

charlesweissart.com

Put on a good sized spoon, spinner or minnow-style crankbait. Keep your trolling speed at 1 ½ to 2-miles per hour and keep your eyes on your rod!

MYTH 3: Pike Are Dumber Than Dumb I’m not saying that pike are smart but they

Summer 2011 – Real Fishing 53


are not the most dim-witted of sport fish either. While it’s no secret that pike in unpressured, fly-in or drive-to back country lakes will strike fiercely and rapidly, it’s not because they’re dumb. This is the same style of aggressive bite you would have from other sportfish in a similar environment. Have you ever fished bass in a pond where they haven’t been fished in a few years? They bite with equal abandon and nobody calls them dumb. Small, back country lakes can only support so many big fish and once they have been removed by anglers the population shifts. The lake becomes filled with small, stunted pike that bite aggressively and rapidly due to competition with each other for limited food resources. If the big pike were left in these lakes they would control the population of small ones and you’d see more big pike that would be harder to catch.

MYTH 4: Large Pike Will Eat All The Fish In The Lake Some people think pike or muskies have extreme appetites and are always feeding on anything they can catch. The truth is, pike and muskies are solitary, top-of-the-foodchain predators and will only eat a certain amount of other game fish. They tend to eat larger fish too, not large numbers of small fish. A three-pound walleye, sucker, catfish or other prey species will sustain a big pike for several days so relatively few of them end up eaten. Compare that to a big school of perch or crappies diving into a group of walleye or bass fry and you tell me which

scenario is most responsible for reducing the population of other fish species.

MYTH 5: Pike That Are Suspended Just Beneath The Surface Are Sick A northern pike found “sunning” itself is just fine. A reasonable explanation is that the fish is using the warm surface water temperature to speed up it’s digestion. A bright, sun-filled day with calm water or a very slight chop is the perfect time to see this phenomenon. These pike can sometimes be caught if you quietly float up to them and cast out a minnow imitating crankbait. Twitch it slowly by their nose and watch for a fast, vicious strike.

MYTH 6: Big Pike Are Loners Their large size and voracious eating habits get a lot of imaginations thinking that only one big pike could be in a fishing spot. The fact is, they are usually gathered in loose groups in small pockets along deep weed edges or rocky shoals. Because large pike aren’t easy to catch, fishermen seldom catch more than one from a spot. The exception to this is in the spring, when large numbers of spawning pike invade the shallows en masse.

MYTH 7: Pike Are Always Caught In The Weeds Shallow weed lines are attractive ambush areas for small pike throughout the season. Large ones will be found in the same neighbourhood but generally just for a small amount of time in the spring. Warming summer water temperatures cause these bigger fish to swim out to much deeper water for most of each day. In lakes with smelts, whitefish or ciscoes, the largest pike will often move away from the weeds in favour of rocky, offshore structure where they feed on these nutritious, pelagic baitfish.

MYTH 8: Pike Aren’t Good To Eat A pike’s flesh is firm, white and mild tasting. They have a floating section of “Y” bones that

54 Real Fishing – Summer 2011

are easily cut out in single strip on each side above the ribs. In fact, some shore lunch aficionados prefer properly prepared pike to walleyes.

MYTH 9: Pike Will Attack Small Dogs And Children While you do hear stories of pike attacking people and pets it is a very, very rare occurrence. Stories like this are “urban legends” and have only a small part in reality. These stories do, however, cause people to think of pike as an evil and undesirable fish. I’ve only heard of one verified and witnessed account of this kind of attack. It happened in August a few years ago, on Eagle Lake in northwestern Ontario at Vermilion Bay Lodge. A group of kids were playing and splashing in the knee-deep water when suddenly a pike darted out and bit one on of them on the leg. Just as suddenly the pike disappeared. The young fellow ended up with a small, Ushaped mark on his shin and a great story to tell his grandchildren one day!

MYTH 10: Large Lures Only Catch Large Fish Small pike are well known for their tendency to impulsively try and eat lures as long as themselves and most pike anglers can recount stories of hammer-handles attacking oversized baits that they couldn’t possibly eat. On the other hand, big pike will often shun large, fast moving baits in favour of smaller ones, as many bass and walleye anglers will attest to. In general, a lure’s length can be important if it resembles the usual size of the prey a pike is eating. For example, if pike are keying on a school of five-inch long perch, consider using a lure in that size. The exception is during the late fall when larger baits become more attractive to big pike that are feeding heavily before winter sets in. So there you have it folks, 10 famous northern pike myths, busted. Now that you know the truth behind these little gems you can start refining your approach to tough pike fishing situations and start catching the fish you’ve been missing. I sure hope you do because you just lost 10 great excuses for coming home empty-handed! ?


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Minnesota’s Jonny Petrowske doesn’t concern himself much with what baits were designed to do. He only cares about the best ways to use any given lure to catch fish in specific situations.

56 Real Fishing – Summer 2011


FLOAT & DARTER? By Jeff Samsel

The idea of using a Lindy Darter for open-water fishing has become decreasingly foreign to fishermen as anglers in all parts of the country have begun casting these “ice fishing lures” to catch everything from walleyes to largemouth bass. Jonny Petrowske takes it a step further. Jonny P, as this fourth-generation Northern Minnesota fishing guide is best known, adds a Thill float to the line for two totally different applications. He’s using a float/Darter combination to catch walleyes, crappie and northern pike – often in extremely shallow water. “I realized during the winter that the Lindy Darter is a phenomenal fish catcher, and I knew I needed to try out open-water applications,” Petrowske said. “These things catch fish!” Watching the Darter on an underwater camera during the winter showed Petrowske just how good the shape and colors looked under the water. He was able to observe

how the bait darted, wiggled and wobbled when he jerked it certain ways and how it acted when it fell through the water column. He knew those same motions would catch open-water walleyes. He just needed to figure out how to create the same action in a casting situation and how to put a Darter where he wanted one. Petrowske’s home lake, Upper Red Lake, is shallow and during the spring the walleyes and other sport fish are apt to be found cruising in extremely skinny water. Petrowske began playing with floats, looking for a means to present Darters to fish in ultra-shallow water and to create the right kinds of action. His research led him to develop two unique and highly productive techniques. Summer 2011 – Real Fishing 57


Slip-Dancing The first approach involves a slip float – either an XXL Thill Pro Series Slip Float or an XL Thill Splash Brite – and it works really well to prompt strikes from fish that are neutral in their behavior or even somewhat negative and are holding in water that ranges from just a few feet deep to five or six-feet. Petrowske slides a slip float onto 8pound-test braid, adds about 2-feet of 6 or 8-pound fluorocarbon leader to the end of the braid, ties on a 2- or 2 ¾-inch Darter (the two largest sizes) and sets his bobber stop about 5-feet up the line from the Darter. To fish this rig, Petrowske will position the boat over about six-feet of water, but he’ll typically be casting to spots that are only two or three-feet deep. When he casts, therefore, the Darter will wobble down and settle right on the bottom. Petrowske will then jerk the rod hard, making the float splash and pulling line quickly through the float so that the Darter rips up off the bottom. “That darter jumps up off the bottom in a big circle, flashing and rattling, and really looking like a wound baitfish,” said Petrowske, who will jerk the rod again as soon as the bait returns to the bottom. He will continue jerking in order to dance his float rig ever closer to the boat. He uses pronounced rod motions to create a big splash and really erratic lure movements. The Darter sinks slowly as the line slides back through the slip float. If he ever realizes the line isn’t pulling back though the slip float, thus preventing the Darter from descending properly, he’ll add a split shot to the line. Eventually the rig gets over water that’s more than five-feet deep, where the bobber stop catches and the Darter suspends instead 58 Real Fishing – Summer 2011

of settling on the bottom. Often that’s when the fish hits - the bobber stands up and then keeps going, disappearing without having ever settled. Petrowske likes the Thill Splash Brite float in part because this technique can be very effective at night, and after the sun goes down it’s only possible with a float he can see. He’ll sometimes opt for the same float by day, though, simply because it adds a lot of casting weight. “The fish can spook really easily, so having the ability to stay back from them and make casts can be really valuable, and the Darter by itself is pretty light for casting,” Petrowske explained.

Set Shallow Petrowske’s other float/Darter combination uses a big, foam, fixed Thill float, set only 12 to 18-inches deep. This rig comes into play throughout the spring, when big walleyes tend to feed around reeds in only a couple feet of water. He’ll cast the rig tight to the reeds and then begin working the float like a topwater lure with quick rod twitches. The float walks back and forth and creates attention-getting commotion; meanwhile, the lure does its namesake dart – wiggling, dancing and rattling all the while. “You get intense action from the lure and all that splashing, without pulling the rig out of the strike zone,” Petrowske said. Petrowske uses a long rod (7-feet, 2-inches or 7-feet, 6-inches) for this approach for a

MORE INFO To get updated fishing reports from Jonny Petrowske, check out the Lindy National Audio Fishing Reports at www.lindyfishingtackle.com/familiarwaters/fishingreports. To fish with him or to learn more about fishing at Upper Red Lake, visit Outdoors with Jonny P at www.outdoorswithjonnyp or give him a call at (218) 647-9030. couple of reasons. First, he can impart action without having to use big rod movements that can spook fish in such shallow water. As importantly, a long rod gives him very good control of the rig and allows him to work it along reed edges, close to points and into little pockets. That’s critical, because feeding fish are often tight to the cover, holding in ambush position. “This technique allows you to target walleyes in 2 or 3-feet of water. With most lures, that’s very difficult to do, but that shallow water produces some really big fish,” Petrowske said. An added appeal of fishing a Darter extra shallow under a float is that the technique offers great multi-species appeal. Petrowske primarily targets walleyes with this approach, but it also works well for pike in Upper Red Lake. He has used the same technique to catch crappie and even bluegill. The sport fish all feed around the shallow reeds during the spring and the only adjustment Petrowske makes to target panfish is to use one of the smallest Darter sizes. ?


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Tales from the Road By Bob Izumi

The song, Life in the Fast Lane, is appropriate for this Tales from the Road as it’s been a fast and furious few months of traveling. After returning from the FLW Open on Lake Okeechobee I was off to the Spring Fishing and Boat Show. On Saturday I did a seminar at the show and we had a wonderful turnout with lots of keen anglers showing up. I was honoured to attend the industry breakfast to award Big Jim McLaughlin an Angler Hall of Fame Award. Big Jim has been a great ambassador for the sport of fishing here in Canada. He’s won a couple of Canadian bass classics as well as numerous other tournaments but what really impresses me is the time and effort that he devotes to kids’ fishing. He is constantly working at kids’ fishing events. What he does at the Ottawa Sportsmen’s Show with the Minto Jackpot Casting Pond - where he gives away prizes to every kid that attends is truly unique in this sport. He’s one guy who definitely does a lot for the future of fishing. A few days later I was off to Costa Rica for a combination of a working trip and a family outing. My friend, Brian Hughes from Barrie, Ontario, is a developer there and his company, Monterra, has built hun-

60 Real Fishing – Summer 2011

dreds of homes in various areas, including Costa Rica. I wanted to go down and check out the area of Playa Tambor where Brian is located to see his operation. It was very impressive and I found out that a number of Canadians have purchased homes there. My brother, Wayne, liked it so much he ended up buying a property from Brian’s company! We did all kinds of things while we were down there. We golfed, some of the gang went zip-lining and we explored the rain forest. Of course we had to sample some fishing so Brian arranged to have a 60-foot charter boat come and get us for a day on the water. Captain Rich Binkus is a former Chicago police officer who has a beautiful boat called 60 Megabites. It was really roughing it on this boat! If it was too hot outside you went into the air conditioned lounge and watched TV, ate, drank or did whatever you wanted. We caught lots of sailfish and mahi-mahi and we had an absolutely wonderful trip aboard this luxurious fishing yacht. Upon returning Captain Rich Binkus at the helm. home it was time to do some advance media for the Toronto Sportsmen’s Show. I did spots on Canada AM and Breakfast Television, along with a number of radio stations, to promote the show. I did some seminars at the show on the weekend and it was a pleasure getting down there. I met a lot of old friends as well as some new ones and I can’t wait to go back next year and do it again.

Bob Izumi and Brian Hughes with a nice sailfish.

The following week I made a quick visit to the Cottage Life Show. I’d never been to this show and I wanted to check it out. It was one of the first times I had a chance to actually walk a show that I wasn’t working in for probably 25-years or more! What was really interesting was the size of the crowd that was there. Obviously the recession hasn’t affected cottage owners too much as the show was packed and the booths were busy. Gord Pyzer, co-host of the Real Fishing Radio Show, flew into town for our annual meeting to tape the Real Fishing Radio series. It’s always great to get together with Gord. Every waking hour we spend together is consumed with talking about fish and more fish. Whether there’s a microphone in front of us or we’re in-between taping, all we do is talk about fish, tournaments and techniques. I really enjoy spending time and talking fishing with a guy as knowledgeable as Gord. Then it was back to the Metro Toronto Convention Centre for the Canadian Tire Product Parade Show. This is an annual event where dealers from across Canada come to see all the latest and greatest products from the suppliers. I was there on behalf of OFF! Deep Woods to promote their new, pocket-sized spritzer, as well as to promote the new products coming out from Pure Fishing and Shimano. It’s amazing how many dealers that I’ve met over the years that I got to say hello to once again. It was like an old family reunion. After a few meetings it was back in the vehicle to head for Oklahoma. A friend of mine, Dave Smith, who fishes the


Bassmaster Elite series, has a beautiful home on the shores of a small lake on the Texas/Oklahoma border. I got down there for four-days of absolutely phenomenal bass fishing; in fact, it was the best bass fishing I’ve had during a four-day stretch in the United States. Bob Mahoney, Marketing Manager for Shimano and G Loomis, joined us for the last two-days and we ended up shooting a

crankbait, but it is a soft bait that fish will hang on to for a long time. In fact, the key with this lure is to not set the hook too quickly. Let the fish swim off with it and then tighten up and set the hook. My favourite setup with the Grass Pig is a seven-foot, one-inch medium-heavy Shimano Cumulus rod with a Core 100 or Caenan 100 baitcast reel. I spool up with 40-pound test Spiderwire or Fireline Braid and a 15 to 17-pound test Trilene fluorocarbon leader. I’ve used this bait for bass on Lake Okeechobee in Florida and on Dave Smith’s lake. I’ve also used it pike fishing and I can honestly say that it is absolutely the best new bait I have found so far in

news for the Galeas. I spent a couple of days at home and then I was off to New Jersey with my buddies from Montreal, Rick McCrory and Mike Lazarus. They’ve been telling me about the striper fishing that they’ve been doing for a number of years just down in New Jersey so I decided to head down there to shoot a

Cast netting for bait in front of a New Jersey mansion.

striper show. When we got there the weather was not looking too promising but we decided to got out and try anyway. The guys we fished with, Captain Chuck Many and first mate, Bryan Pieros, are expert striper anglers. They do not charter, they’re just fanatical fishermen and both of them are accomplished tournament anglers. Chuck won the American Striper Association Angler of the Year title in

Shimano’s Bob Mahoney admires an Oklahoma largemouth

commercial and a show with Bob. It was the best fishing that he’s ever had in the U.S. as well. We caught so many bass between five and nearly eight-pounds that it was amazing. I believe that our heaviest five fish on the last day of fishing weighed just under 35-pounds! The lure of choice was the new Berkley Havoc Grass Pig. The Grass Pig is a subtle swimbait that, when rigged on a belly weighted, 5/0 hook, is a fish catching machine. You can cover water with this lure, like you would with a spinnerbait or a

2011. When I got back home I attended the second annual Chase Galea fundraiser. Chase suffers from ‘Quad Cerebral Palsy’ as well as moderate to severe hearing loss Auditory neuropathy – and regular epileptic-type seizures. Needless to say, it’s been a real challenge both financially and personally for the Galea family. This year a number of past and present NHL stars, TV fishing and hunting show hosts, friends, family and other folks came out to support this event. If I’m not mistaken, there were over 500 people in attendance! According to the doctor from Erie Pennsylvania, the progress that Chase has made since last year is a miracle. He’s actually progressed more quickly than any of the experts could ever have thought and that is wonderful

Atlantic menhaden make great striper bait.

2007 and Bryan was second in 2009. First thing in the morning we headed out to catch some Atlantic menhaden (also called bunker) that we would be using for bait. It was incredible looking at the mansions and beautiful homes along the Jersey Shores while our guides maneuvered the boat and threw the cast net. I saw Bruce Springsteen’s house and Geraldo Rivera’s house - but just from Summer 2011 – Real Fishing 61


the outside. They didn’t invite us in for tea! When we got our bait it was time to tackle some stripers and the conditions were just right. There was a nice chop out there and the stripers were going crazy. We ended up getting numerous double-headers, tripleheaders and even a quadruple-header of four fish on at once! It was an absolute adrenaline rush! We caught so many fish that we quit filming after about an hour and a half and just fun-fished for a while before we called it a day. By the next morning the weather had turned nasty. There was a heavy wind and the rain was coming down. The guys offered to take us out if we wanted to go but we decided not to push it. We had a lot of fun the day before and we got an excellent show shot so we headed home that day. Time was tight but we managed a quick trip to Georgian Bay to see Captain Mike Richardson, his lovely wife Edna, and guide Jeremy Kennedy. Mike has fished and guided on Georgian Bay for almost as long as I’ve been on the earth (not quite, but it sounds good!) He knows where the fish live and how to catch them! We went out for about an hour the first night and caught some small ones. The conditions were not ideal on our visit as it was cold, windy and overcast. Pretty well the opposite of what we hoped for. We caught a number of pike the next day but as the day wore on it wasn’t looking good. We had to get on the road by mid-afternoon and after about twenty of the, “one more cast” scenarios, I hooked a 62 Real Fishing – Summer 2011

40-inch northern on a jerkbait. Needless to say we were tinkled pink as we released it and hit the road. I knew Mike would come through. Maybe next time I’ll give him a bit more time to produce! After I got home I hooked up with Jonathan LePera for a catfish outing down Lake Erie way. Jonathan is a regular contributor to Real Fishing Magazine and he also writes for a number of other publications. Earlier in the winter I did an interview with him for Motivated magazine and he did a great job putting the article together. You can check it out on the Motivated website

Bob and Jonathan had a great day of catfishing.

at www.motivatedonline.com. We decided to shoot a Real Fishing episode for channel cats and we had a wonderful day. We caught a number of catfish and closed the show with a double header of cats in the ‘teens. It was an easy shoot as catfish fishing is not what I’d call high-intensity fishing. Basically you throw your bait out, you wait for one of these big monsters to come by and gobble it up and then you set the hook and the fight is on. I learned a lot on this outing and it was a lot of fun fishing with Jonathan. He is definitely a diehard cat angler. After shooting the catfish show I snuck up to Lake Scugog for some crappie fishing

with Grant McAlister from G2 Angling and a number of his buddies. Tim Brent from the Toronto Maple Leafs joined us along with a friend of his, Jay. My brother, Wayne, also came up with a bunch of friends and we ended up catching a ton of good eating-sized fish. I was so happy that I

finally got a feed of crappies! Then it was back home to get all of my smallmouth gear ready as Derek Strub and I were heading to Wisconsin for the Sturgeon Bay Open on Lake Michigan. This tournament always has a very large field with some of the best smallmouth anglers from northwestern Ontario, Manitoba and the mid-west United States fishing it. Day one was windy and there was a small craft advisory in effect but they sent the field out anyway. We got to our best spot and I could not believe how many other guys had found the same area. There were about 30 other boats there! We elbowed our way in but could not get to the sweet spot and ended up getting 26.75pounds for our best six fish. That put us in 22nd I believe, out of 165 boats. Day two was cancelled due to even greater winds - up to 42–miles per hour – which would have made the big water treacherous. The good thing is I got home a day early. The bad thing is we really felt we could have done better on day two. We felt that we could have caught at least another decent limit and moved up in the standings but that’s the way the cookie crumbles. I literally got home for one day and then headed out to Long Beach Lodge Resort in


Tofino, British Columbia for the first annual Feast BC, a celebration of all of the wonderful, local food that they have in BC. They had arranged to have Iron Chef Champion, Rob Feenie, join us as a guest on the show so we went out fishing for a few hours and caught both salmon and halibut. Then we went back to the kitchen to cook up some of the fish that we had caught. It was one of those shoots that was way too easy. Afterwards, Rob cooked for a party of about 20 of us at Shelter Restaurant and it was one of the top 10 meals I’ve had in my life. It was really, really good. Just talking about this trip makes me hungry! My brother, Wayne, and some of the crew had organized a Fishing Forever fundraising golf tournament at Turtle Creek Golf Course, just north of Milton. Wayne quickly sold out the tournament and we had about 100 golfers participating. Some fish were caught, some great shots were made and the tournament was a success but

Chef Rob Feenie with Bob Izumi and a tasty looking halibut.

Bob and Chef Rob Feenie in the kitchen.

I’m not going to say who won it. The last name was right but it wasn’t yours truly. As far as I’m concerned, he had a stacked team with two very accomplished young guns on his team and that’s all I’ll say. It’s not sour

grapes, really! After the golf day I had to take all the smallmouth gear out of my boat, repack it with largemouth gear and head down to the Potomac River for the FLW Open. I was tired from the extensive traveling I’d done in the last few months, I was running late and I had a 9 ½-hour drive to get down to the Potomac. As I was frantically packing I said to my wife, Sandy, “Hey, do you want to help me drive and I’ll fly you back home a day or two later?” She knew how tired I was and realized that I was pushing it so she said, “Sure.” I have to say that she is quite the woman. Sandy was a real trooper to drive down with me. We got out of the house around 3:00 in the afternoon and we got to the Potomac around 1:00 in the morning. After a few hours of sleep I met Rick McCrory at 6:30 am before heading out on the water. I have never fished the Potomac River for bass. I know that it is a well-known bass fishery but I was just so busy I had no time

to even go on the internet to research any of the past tournaments, patterns or techniques. We just launched the boat and winged it. For three days we pounded it in temperatures that peaked at 96-degrees with a “real feel” of well over 100. It was incredible. If you sat on anything in the boat you burned your legs – it was that hot! On the last day of practice Rick and I were flipping the new Berkley Havoc Pit Boss creature baits into pockets in the weeds and we found the mother lode of fish on a 500-yard stretch of weeds along the shores of the Potomac River. We caught a four-pounder, a three, another one just under three and we shook off a few more. I figured that there was an easy 16 to 18pound limit in there that I could catch really quickly. We were getting a lot of hits so we quickly got out of there so nobody would see us. I was feeling good. My game plan was to camp on that spot for four days. I was pumped when I went through the registra-

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Summer 2011 – Real Fishing 63


Rick McCrory with a nice keeper from the Potomac River.

tion line. I was sitting in the meeting, looking at the paperwork that I’d picked up, when a tournament official announced that the area I was fishing, which is near the Quantico Marine Corps base, was off-limits. It was like somebody had stabbed me. I was sitting in a room of over 300 anglers when I found out that I couldn’t fish where I’d planned to. I was devastated. I really didn’t have a lot of confidence in the other weedbeds we had practiced in. It really was time to wing it in the tournament. I decided I’d go to the area we’d found on day one. I stayed there all day and ended up catching three keepers for seven-pounds and change - which was not good at all. On day two I decided to go to another community spot. I stayed out of everybody’s way and caught four keepers for just over 10-pounds. Overall, was it a good tournament? Not really. Was it a tournament to learn something from? Absolutely. Tidal rivers like the Potomac can fluctuate two-feet a day and reading the tides and understanding the weeds that you are fishing is critical. This tournament was dominated by guys fishing weeds – although Mike Iaconelli did fish hard cover as well, things like docks and wood. Mike fished hard cover on high tide and on low tide he would go out into the weed mats and weedbeds. He got second

64 Real Fishing – Summer 2011

place by moving around but all the other top-10 finishers camped on a weedbed and fished it hard. Luke Clausen, who’s won a Bassmaster Classic and an FLW Championship, won the tournament by sitting on a weedbed that was a few hundred yards long and pounding it for all four days.

The lesson I learned is to find a confidence area that’s in limits and stay there for the whole tournament. I don’t like to end my Tales from the Road columns on a negative note but as I sit here depressed about finish at the Potomac I can really honestly say hey, what else would I rather be doing? ?


What’s COOKING

Peppercorn Crusted Rib Eye With Garlic and Scallion Mashed Potatoes Steak and potatoes is always a

INGREDIENTS

METHOD

summer barbeque favourite.

4 2 lbs 6 10 cloves 1 ½ tbsp 1/4 cup

Cut potatoes in half, place in pot, cover with water. Peel garlic and chop. Add to pot. Put on stove and turn on to high. Bring to a boil and turn down to a simmer. Cook for approximately 35 to 45 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

This recipe takes it up a level with a spicy peppercorn crust on the steak and a garlicky spin on the potatoes that your friends will absolutely eat up!

8-ounce rib eye steaks mini red potatoes green onions garlic butter heavy cream

Salt and pepper Fresh cracked peppercorns

Turn barbeque on to high. Heat until temperature is around 500degrees. Sprinkle steaks with peppercorns and season with sea salt. Grill steaks about 3 minutes, turn 45 degrees, grill another 2 minutes then flip. Grill for another 2 minutes, turn 45 degrees and grill for a final 2 minutes. Remove and let rest for 5 to 10 minutes. Drain potatoes and add butter, heavy cream, salt, pepper and chopped scallions. Mash just until broken up and all ingredients are combined. Garnish with your favourite seasonal vegetables, plate and enjoy! Special thanks to Jason Mohring of Tecvana Corporation for providing this recipe.

Summer 2011 – Real Fishing 65


Gyotaku (Gyo = Fish; Taku = Rubbing), is a traditional form of Japanese fishing printing, dating from the mid-19th century. There are two methods to produce a Gyotaku fish print; direct and indirect. In the direct method, the fish is cleaned, dried and then painted. While still wet, a piece of paper or cloth is molded to the fish and rubbed. The paper or cloth is then removed, revealing the print. The indirect method involves molding the paper or cloth to the fish first and then blotting or rubbing it with ink or paint. This image was created using the indirect method.

66 Real Fishing – Summer 2011

BROOK TROUT - SNAG LAKE, BC For this piece I used the indirect method. I prepared my fish - shape, look, fin position etc. - then placed rice paper over it and rubbed from the tail to the head. I removed the rice paper with the print of the fish on it and let it dry. After the print dried, I proceeded with color, to give life to the piece. – Robert Janzen Dimensions: 18”x24” Medium:

Watercolor, Traditional Japanese Ink on Mulberry Paper

Contact:

Robert Montana Janzen Fish Fins N Ink Surrey, BC, Tel: 604 589 6454 Email: montanajanzen@shaw.ca www.fishfinsnink.com


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