Bass Opener 2015 – Collins Lake Derby V4.0

Another bass opener has arrived and along with it, the annual bass derby on Collins Lake.  This year attendance was a bit low due to some health issues among the group, however we still managed to put a group together and proceed with the tournament.

As is typical, our tourney started with a meet and greet on the Friday evening with some sociables and poker.  For some of us it is the one time in the year we get to see the group and there are always lots of stories to be told.  Its always difficult to call an end to the night before festivities since its always such a great time and the quality of sleep a fisherman can expect the night before the opener is almost not worth the while.  But hey, its bass opener and some would argue being sleep deprived only makes that first bass of the year that much sweeter.

The tourney itself has an interesting structure; competitors may weigh in two fish after the first morning and may cull them in the following afternoon.  Two more fish may be weighed in after the next morning, at which point weights are tallied.  As easy as four fish sounds, separating the weigh ins by days  makes it infinitely harder.  Mostly because on a small lake like Collins, Every weed bed gets hit hard on the first day, leaving shy and skittish fish for the second.

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The weather ended up being a bit cold in the morning with some nifty fog which made for cool looking blast off. Eventually the sun burned off the fog and the fishing began.  Fishing started off fairly well and several decent fish were caught off shallow weedbeds and shoals using senkos and swim baits.  As most bass fisherman do, we slowly moved around the lake fishing weed beds.  Eventually we arrived near a bed located immediately adjacent to deeper water.  Once there we started connecting with much larger fish, with some in the 3lb + range.  Immediately I thought of the old saying “Big water = Big fish”.  We worked the deeper edge of the weedbed with a variety of tactics we managed to cull a few of our fish before deciding to move on to try a few other hot spots.  The morning wrapped up and we finished with a two fish bag weighing 6lb 8oz for me and 4lb 12oz bag for Dave.  The afternoon was mediocre at best with nothing bigger than a 2lber caught.  We were in the running but there were lots of folks coming in close to us with one gent in the lead by 1lb.

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The next day was a bit tougher since the shallows had been hit pretty hard the day before.  The shallows were ice cold and we were forced to change up our methods to deeper water tactics.  We did manage to fill each of our remaining two spots and our final bags ended up at 11lb 13oz for me and 9lb 9oz for dave.   Great bags to be sure but not enough to take the win.  We ended up coming 7 oz short behind the gent who culled up on the first day.   Interestingly enough he culled up with one of the elusive smallmouth bass that inhabit the lake that weighed 4lbs 4 oz.  Catching these fish is like winning the lottery; it rarely happens, and the pay off is usually big.   All said and done the gent weighed in a four fish bag totaling 12lb 4oz.

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(Above: The tourney winner with his 4lb 4oz bronzeback, being assisted by “Captain” Joe, the tourneys resident joker)

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(Below: Dave and I even managed a double header with two decent largies)

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(Above: The author with a couple of chunky hogs from the first day)

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(Above: Jay holding a decent 3lb 14oz on the left)

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(Above: the second half of my bag – not as impressive but solid fish weighing 2lb 14oz and 2lb 7oz)

In addition to some great bass fishing, we also tied into some very respectable pike and a ton of other species ranging from pan fish to an incidental bullhead.

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(After a year of custody, I was obliged to give up the trophy to the next winner)

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(The top three finishers)

Another year, another great tournament with some exceptional bass fishing.   Not to mention some stellar competition with some big pushes by several anglers right at the end of the tourney.  This tourney truly was a nail-biter right up to the end.  Collins Lake certainly produced once again for everyone with quite a number of decent sized fish.  Out of all those fish caught, I’m proud to say all except one was released to swim another day.  What about the lone mortality? I understand, he promptly became dinner.

Cheers from the lake

Albert

Loughborough Lake –

Family fishing week recently passed on July 5 to 13, 2014.  The week also coincided with relatives from Germany visiting and the World Cup of Soccer Finals.  Quite the eventful weekend!

In between soccer games, we did our best to show the relatives the best Ontario has to offer.  To fulfill this goal, a fishing trip was a must.

And so, on Saturday morning at 6:30, I picked up the relatives as well as my father in law, Rodger, and headed to Loughborough Lake to target some bass and hopefully take in some famous Ontario scenery.

Following a very Canadian stop at Tim Hortons, we made it to the launch in Battersea Ontario around 7:15.  Although a bit older, the launch is in fairly good condition considering it sees heavy use throughout the year.

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Following a quick launch we sped out into the Lake and headed east toward Largemouth territory.  The rumour is, the west side of the lake holds bigger fish, but for beginners, catching numbers would be more important, and so the East side was our destination.  Thankfully some of that famous Ontario scenery decided to join us which made Thomas ( who is an avid photographer) very happy!

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We reached the shallow bays of the east side of the lake and immediately started catching some Loughborough largemouths.

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Fishing was steady through most of the morning with approx. 25 bass caught.  Most were 1 to 2 lbers however the largest topped in around 3lb.  Fish were caught on plastics in water depths ranging from 2 to 10 FOW.  The fish seemed to enjoy rock points just as much as slop and lily pads.  Even weed flats held fish.

After the fishing we arranged boat rides for the remaining German relatives and for my daughter.  We even got a chance to feed the bluegills from the dock.

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Fishing is one of my favourite hobbies and is a quintessential Canadian past time.  I am glad I was able to share it with family from across the globe.

Cheers from the Wild

Albert

Fall Feedbag Bass – Southern Ontario Giants

Fall is kicking off in southern Ontario as signalled by the increasingly cool evenings and fall colors starting to dot the trees.  Soon the dull glimpses of orange and red dotting the treescape will burst into an full explosion of fall colour.  This is the time to be outdoors.  Weather your a waterfowler, upland game hunter, hiker, photographer or a fishing enthusiast, everything comes to a head in the fall.

I woke up this morning with hopes of capitalizing on the fall action both for geese and fishing.  Although the geese were a bit sparse for any real success, the fishing sure was hot.

My friend Dave picked me up at 5:30 on Sunday Morning with his canoe atop his car and gear all set. After loading both hunting and fishing kits into his ride we were off speeding north towards a beauty of a day.

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We arrived at a small lake north of Verona about an hour or so later and packed our gear in the canoe.  After five minutes on the water I realize I left my DSLR back in the car.  This is what happens when I get excited about hunting and fishing.

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First up, we spent about 30 minutes in one of my goose spots waiting for some birds.  Unfortunately all we saw were solos and doubles and they were way to far out for the 870.  Ah well, its only the tail end of the early week in our zone and goose season doesn’t really start to heat up until the end of September anyways.  On to bigger and better things!

We abandoned the goose hopes and decided instead to focus on the fishing. After all, it was the begginnings of fall and that’s when the giant bass come out to play.

Fishing started off in a big way with what I believe to be a monster walleye that hit my jig coming off a rocky shore line.  The big guy did the typical “im to tired to fight” walleye dance and got off right by the canoe.  Although this was a big disappointment, soon after my friend caught this jumbo perch which was a welcome addition to the boat.  No quite the consolation prize I was hoping for but it will work for taking the skunk off.

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Following the meager catch, we proceeded to catch a few bass along some weededges near deep water (this is a key tactic for fall bass).

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For a change of pace we decided to hit up some deeper areas near some rock faces along a lake channel that connected two of the lakes larger areas.  This turned out to be a great idea as Dave hooked and lost a pretty massive largemouth.  Almost immediately after, he hooked into another rod bender.  This one was hooked pretty well and wasn’t going anywhere.  Energized and excited by the prospect of a giant bornzeback Dave fought the fish for quite a long while.  I was pretty amazed by the patience Dave showed as he gingerly fought the fish and took his time bringing in the beast.  These are all skills required to bring in larger fish when fishing from a canoe and these traits are especially important when the large fish is a 6+ lb smallmouth and your new personal best!

Congrats Dave, that is one hefty looking smally.

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The adrenaline kept us pushing forward, optimistic for another big fish.

As luck would have it, it was my turn to tangle with a southern Ontario giant of the largemouth variety.  The fish hit on a soft wacky rigged worm just near the edge of a weedbed facing the open lake.  At first the hit seemed light and I reeled in to clear the small fish from my line.  The minute the fish spotted the boat the game changed and my drag was singing the sweet tune only a fat lunker makes.  This fish lived up to the hype the reel was forcasting and was estimated at 5.5 lbs (Scales are a luxury when your paddling in a canoe with goose gear and wo sets of fishing gear).  This fish was definitely my biggest largemouth of the season.

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(What a nice surprise!)

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Fish were caught using a variety of methods including wacky worms, spinner baits, jigs and texas rigged swim baits.  All fish seemed to be caught on deep weededges or rock faces near channels or big water.

In my experience, Bass start to put on the feedbag in the fall in a big way.  Although they move out of their summer shallow water haunts for deeper waters, they still stay proximal to weededges and the like.  Look for drop offs with submerged weeds or weed edges near the larger portion of the lake.   Bass will often hangout near these edges popping up into the shallows when food is around.

One more piece of advice, don’t be intimidated by slower action either and try to have a little patience.   You may not have a 30 fish day, but your bound to tangle with the larger fish in the lake.

Cheers from the Wild

Albert

Bay of Quinte Report

This weekend found me fishing my old stomping grounds: the Bay of Quinte.  Together with my dad and another gent, we launched at the Deseronto boat launch  around 7:00 am.  Winds from the previous day were lingering which left a good “walleye chop” on the water.  In addition the sky was overcast and periods of drizzle were common.  This seemed like a perfect day for catching walters!

From the launch we travelled past foresters island and headed for Catalaque Shoal where we dropped the trolling motor and proceeded to troll.  Bottom bouncers and spinners were our go to lures that day however the action was slow to start with only perch and white bass caught.  We criss-crossed the lake fishing in everything from 18 to 40 FOW.  Again only perch and white bass seemed to be interested.

Being a firm believer in “If it aint working, try something else” we decided to try a troll line of the eastern shore line where there was a definitive drop.  Trolling in everything from 17 to 24 FOW we started getting lots of hits and proceeded to land several nice sized drum.  One we estimated to be around 13 Lbs.  We tucked in even closer to the shore line to find a submerged weedbed where we caught a couple decent sized largemouths.  As an added bonus we even caught a walleye while on the out side of the weedline.

All in all a decent day on the water.

 

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My apologies for such crummy photography work.  I left my DSLR at home as the weather was predicted to be pretty lousy.

Ah well, low quality fish pics are better than none at all right?

 

Cheers from the Wild

Albert

Out of One Office and into Another – Canada Day on Cranberry Lake

” lets get to work”

Figuratively, that is.  My two co-workers, Dave and Jordan, and I had put in a solid 9 day stretch at work right through the first two days of the Canada Day weekend.  You would think after 12 hours days the last thing we wanted to head to the office, But this was no ordinary office.  This was the kind of office where your coworkers are your buddies, your clients are cagey bucket mouths with a temper, and the wages directly proportional to how hard you want to work and how good your skills are.

Thankfully we are good at our jobs, so the pay was good!

We left Kingston around 6:30, grabbed our morning coffee and hit Highway 15, my gateway to all things fishing.

Getting up this early on or first day off in a while was tough, bit we all knew what was waiting for us so we did it gladly.   We had yet to decide on a lake and all had a serious craving for some bucket mouth action.  and Since we had all heard of the monster bass stories from cranberry and dog lake we decided to give it a go.  We had never fished the lake before and had nothing but our hard earned bass fishing experience to guide us.  With that, we fired up the 40hp on the green machine and ripped down the lake.  Didn’t take long to find a nice weedy cove and we were in business.  moments later we were hammering in to green gold at every weed bed edge and every floating muck pad.  This was the only way to relax after a hard week.

Fish were caught on every rig imaginable including wacky worms, texas rigged swim baits, crank baits and jig and pigs.  Definitely a big shout out to Lunkerhunt http://www.lunkerhunt.com/ for making such quality plastics.  Same goes for cotton cordell!  http://www.cottoncordelllures.com/

Bass started small, and gradually got bigger.  Things got interesting when Jordan hooked what he thought was the biggest bass he ever caught.  Turned out it was a decent sized dogfish (AKA. bowfin).  These characters showed up fairly often during the trip and were always huge.

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Me with a decent little bucket mouth.

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Lots of wildlife to bee seen on cranberry and plenty of ospreys.

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Dave with a pig he dragged out of the shallows.

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halfway down the lake we picked up a stalker who thought our boat would be a nice place to sun himself.   I always love seeing big snappers swimming around.  A true sign of a healthy lake.

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This office, definitely has a better view and is much more spacious!

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The clients were happy today and very cooperative!

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The wages were good!

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Fishing was good and the office was busy.

Best we have seen all year and its only the beginning of summer.  That being said, we will definitely be going back to cranberry.

Cheers from the Wild

Al

Bass Tournamanet on Collins – A Yearly Tradition

Last year Dave and I were fortunate enough to be invited to a local bass tournament in the Kingston area on Collins Lake.  The tournament isn’t a huge one with between 10 and 25 people every year, but regardless of the size, the people are nice and the hosts always put on an amazing spread of authentic Portuguese delights.  You can count on plenty of laughs and good times too boot!

Based on all the fun we had last year (not to mention Dave winning the tourney), we jumped at the chance when we received the invite again this year.  Regardless of there being bigger tournaments out there, this one really focusses on the community aspect of the sport which plays a crucial role in why we returned this year.

The tournament started with drinks and poker at the hosts house followed by an early morning start at 6am out of the launch.  Im not going to lie, this was “difficult” to do for many of the fisherman as the night was late one.

However, foggy as we were, Dave and I manned my the Green Machine and arrived at the launch followed closely by Jay, the participant who invited us.

Out of the gate the day started with a bang as I landed 4 solid bass weighing in between 1 lb 13 oz and 2lb 11oz each.  This was a solid bag considering lasts years tough conditions and Dave’s win with only 7lb 15oz.  But as the rules dictate, only two fish could be weighed in during the morning so two went back into the drink.

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Dave started late into the fish but managed two decent 2 lb ers at about mid morning.  We pulled the plug at noon and headed into the shore to weigh in and see how we fared.  Things were looking good for me with my 4lb 13 two fish bag until Mark, another participant from Mississauga, came in to show us his whopping 3lb 4oz beast.  It was a race, and Mark was winning with me trailing closely behind and Jay and Dave closely behind me.

We headed back out after a delicious sandwich prepared by Fantima with a renewed sense of competition and a satisfied belly.

It was anyone’s game and we all knew it.

The afternoon confirmed my worst fears, the fish had shut down and pickings were slim.  I wasn’t able to fill my last two slots and wound up stagnant.  However, Dave saddled up a swim bait rig he had been working on and managed two average size fish from some large weedy bays.  Dave had his four fish and was now the front-runner with 7 lbs 12oz.

The following day had me tied up with family duties but most of the other participants made it back out.  I am told Mark landed more fish to bring him to 6oz shy of Dave’s bag and Jay hooked, and unfortunately lost a 6lb beast.

At the end of the day Dave held onto his title and the trophy with a weight consistent with last years total.  Koodos to Dave for thinking outside the box and to Jay and Mark for bringing such stiff competition.  You guys are excellent fishermen whom id rather be fishing with than against any day of the week.

Pics posted below (please ignore my wild disheveled look.  That’s the look of a man running on 4 hours of sleep and a few too many beers the night before).

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(Above: The green machine at the weigh station)

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All in all,  a solid bass Derby with great folks.  I am sure I speak for Dave when I say we are grateful for the chance to fish with such great people.  Not to mention such healthy competition.

Cheers from the Wild

Al

Round Lake – Early Season Stress Releif

Work has been tough lately.

I have been putting in long days at the office  for as long as I can remember with no foreseeable end in sight.  Not only is this tiring but its draining in every way conceivable.  Its times like these that a little stress relief is in order, so when my co-worker jokingly suggested a quick fish after work tonight I decided to take it seriously and jumped at the chance.  Enough of the late nights at the office,  I decided a break was in order (not to mention well deserved).

With that snap decision made, off I went to change and grab my gear and a half hour later we were at the launch pushing off in a canoe.

The trip was nothing fancy.

There were no huge expectations for trophy fish.

Just two dudes, a canoe and the lake.

Part of me wonders at how many world problems would be solved If every person got to experience this feeling on a regular basis.

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Ok. enough rambling, here is the report:

The afternoon was an exceptional one, with warm sunshine and a very slight breeze.  Temperatures were fairly warm and the evening was gearing up to be a good one.

The first fish (a small Pike) came a few minutes later on the fifth cast of my senko.  Nothing big, but definitely fun.  Fishing was nothing exceptional, but certainly decent enough to make the evening enjoyable.  We totalled around 8 bass for the evening, plus a horde of Rockies and that first Pike.  All fish were caught on a variety of plastics, crank baits and jigs in varying depths.  The fish were modest, with the biggest being between around 2.5 lbs.

It was interesting fishing as the lake is basically a deep bowl with 20 to 50ft drops right at the edges.  Really no weedy flats to fish at all so typical tactics don’t usually apply here.

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(Apparently I approve of this fish!)

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Heres a nice shot of me landing a LMB (Photo credit: Dave Hodgson)

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(Above Photo credit: Dave Hodgson)

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We were sure to take advantage of the beautiful scenery to be had on this quaint little lake.  Something Southern Ontario has in abundance.

Definitely one of the best ways I can think of to recharge the batteries after a tough week at work.

Reminds me of a saying:  “All work and no fish make jack a dull boy”  … or is it play? … no its definitely fish.

Cheers from the Wild

Al