Sunday, May 27, 2012

1 Fish, 2 Fish, Big Fish.. Huge Fish!

 When I was around 11 years old, I listened in awe as my step-brother recounted the story of how he caught a 4lb largemouth bass while fishing with his uncle on Jacks lake in Apsley Ontario. For years, that fish was the standard that I set for myself, a 4lb fish was a monster in my eyes, possibly a world record even, and that made Jacks lake the Holy grail of bass lakes and one day I knew I just had to fish there...  it's funny how times change, and fish that once seemed huge, are downsized to ordinary or average even.

It was not to long after my brother taunted me with his fish tale, that I made it my goal to surpass him, you might even say he was the driving force behind my current competitive nature. I took every opportunity I could get to go fishing, I forgot about panfish, forgot about trout, and focused on Bass. Whether it was with my grandfathers mepps, or with a bobber and worm, I was out to catch a mythical 4lb fish.

Like any die hard fisherman I can remember every "personal best" no matter how often I have beaten it since. So I can tell you that it was not three years after my brother fish began to haunt my dreams, that I topped it. I can still clearly see that orange and yellow bobber, dive below the water, and the rush I got as the fish spin me around in the little paddle boat I was fishing from. I was so excited that  when I finally landed the fish, I placed it in the seat next to me and paddled quickly to shore to make sure I could get proof of my catch.. parents called, picture taken, the fish was released and I could again sleep... but not for long, as we all know big fish are like Lays potato chips.. you cant just catch one!

Flashing forward to 2012.. that 11 year old boy is now 33, and no longer do I live in the shadow of my brothers fish, and Jacks lake although still a great fishery, has been reduce to "just another Bass lake", in my ever changing rotation of lakes. And although I may not be haunted by a fish from my past, I do still continue to dream of that next catch, the next "personal best" the next fish that will put me in the money. Big fish may come more often as you hone your craft, but huge fish, they are the stuff that dreams are made of, and what makes fishing great is that no matter how big your personal best is, there is always the chance to surpass it. It may take years of learning, or it may take a trip to a secrete lake tucked quietly away from the swarm of anglers that engulf the waterways each and every weekend. But whatever it takes, as anglers we are willing to do it, he live for that one big bite, and when we no longer do.. it's time to hang up the rods (or the rods have been hung up for us!)

I have started a poll at the left side of this page asking how often you catch "big fish", vote, and see where you stand.

PS: I started to think about writing this article a few weeks back while on a fishing trip with some buddies. After a long day on the water we were all sitting around the kitchen table discussing the days catch and reliving some past glory, when out of the blue one member of our group spat out.. "I have never caught a 5lb fish" he then quickly added that he had in fact netted a 5lb (or larger) fish for every angler currently sitting at the table, but had never actually caught one himself.. This really blew my mind, as this man is a top notch angler, with years and years of fishing experience under his belt (trying not to call him old). It really goes to show that no matter if your 11 or 75, you just never know if that 5lb fish in your net will be your last (or your first).

Fish life to the fullest!


Thursday, May 24, 2012

Aaron Lesieur tames Clear Lake, with a little help from his Dobyns 806

(pic used courtesy of

 Aaron Lesieur a fellow Dobyns Rods team member, recently tackled Clear Lake, CA,  during the FLW Everstart West series event held their earlier this month. And although he may have just missed the money by 2 oz (ouch) he sure did not miss this 7.10lb tank of a fish. Aaron will be the first to tell  you that you need to get your ass to Clear Lake.. Now!.. and dont forget your Dobyns 806 Swimabit rod

Now quit drooling over Aarons fish and check out his awesome new website...

He has put some serious work into the site, and not only will your find some great pics (like the one above) but there is also some fish porn, including a few rod review videos. Dont just look at the pics, be sure to read his recaps, Aaron pulls no punches and shared detailed info on the lakes and baits used.

Nice work man, thanx to this pic I just added Clear lake to my bucket(mouth) list

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Recipe: Mr. Robinson's Wild Turkey & Stuffing Casserole

I believe in giving credit where credit is due. The below recipe was made for me during a recent fishing trip, it is a quick and painless 1 pan meal that will feed a hungry group of anglers. Perfect for cool spring and fall temps, it is kind of like a deconstructed pot pie, It may not look pretty, but it sure hits the spot


4 x Boneless Wild Turkey breasts ( or chicken can also be used)

1 x Box of Stove Top Stuffing (1 box per 4 breasts)

1 x Sweet onion (optional)
1 x carrot (optional)
2 x portobello mushroom caps (optional) 
1 can cream of chicken Soup
1 can cream of mushroom soup 

start out by make the stuffing according to the box directions, set aside and allow to cool. 

Slice the onion, carrot and mushrooms (fairly thin). these veggies are optional and can be added to give it more of a "pot pie" feel.

Pound out the Turkey breasts to make them as even as possible. Salt and Pepper both sides, and set aside.

Once the stuffing cools down, make a base layer with it in the bottom of lightly greased casserole dish. Cover the stuffing with the onions, carrot and mushrooms slices and then add the Turkey breasts.
Cook for approximately 20 minutes in a preheated oven.. 350°

While waiting on the chicken to cook, add milk or cream (not water) to the soup mix; you want to use maybe 1/3 of the suggested amounts, so it is a little on the thick side. Pour the mixture over partially cooked chicken and cook covered at 350° until breasts are cooked through approximately 30 minutes more (check with a meat thermometer to be sure).

Serve with your choice of veggie (corn in my case) as well as mashed potatoes. 
This dish is warm and filling, and a great way to conclude a cool day on the water.

special thanx to Mr Robinson and Captain Ed Albert for this firehouse recipe, I know you will enjoy it as much as I did.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Site News: Facebook Page

It's a lazy Sunday morning, and I don't feel much like typing. We spent a great Saturday night  with a great group of friends celebrating the 60th birthday of a fellow angler... But since this is my duty, I will fire off this quick note to give you an update on the site.

If you have not noticed already, I have designed a Facebook page to help get the word out, and to easily share posts, information and most importantly fish pics.. click on the Facebook badge on the upper right hand side of this page, and click "like"

or if you prefer direct links.. click here

For those of you that also check in on the Frog Pond, I have made some changes there as well. Just some minor layout switches as well as a new category for Frog Line and Frog hook reviews. We are now 18 reviews in, and you will continue to see at least 1 review each week as we move through the summer.

thanx again for reading

Friday, May 18, 2012

Under the Bridge: In search of Crappie

When it comes to structure fishing, there are some pieces of structure that are hard to find (submerged rock piles) and there are other ones that are extremely obvious (standing timber).. but the most obvious piece of structure is also one that is often overlooked when crappie fishing.. Bridges

If you haven't noticed this already, Crappies have very similar instincts to Bass (probably why we love to fish them), and not only will they school and hold tight around various types of structure, but they will also look for shady spots to stay cool in the afternoon heat.. docks, timber and yes Bridges.

For years now after the initial spring crappie madness has ended I return to a couple local hot spots (minus the 20-30 other anglers usually there) and and fish for the last of the roaming crappies that will make this area there home for most of the summer. As the temps and the sun rise, I focus my attention on bridges tucked nicely along the shore line, and believe me, I flat out catch fish.

Weapons of choice:

When fishing from the shoreline or in a boat, getting under a low slung bridge can be difficult (they key here is low slung and narrow bridges). Longer rods often used for crappie fishing make it tuff to sling baits while fishing in tight quarters. So while fishing bridges (especially from the shoreline) I like to go with shorter noodle rods, 7ft or 8ft rods at the max. You still need these long soft rods to throw small baits in at an awkward angle as well as the soft tip to set the hook into these golden paper-mouth fish.

Note: If you are fishing from the shore line, I will warn you that the tip of your rod will probably take some abuse scrapping off the sides of the concrete structure. I have grown to expect it, but since I currently use BPS Crappie rods, I'm Ok will dinging them up and replacing them every couple years. I have one that even with the last inch snapped off, I continue to use as a back-up or in real tight quarters

I have two go-to baits that I like to throw under bridges while searching for crappies. The first is a crappie sized spinnerbait, we are talking about small 1/16oz bait with a single blade and no skirt, products like the Southern Pro Creek Runner are staples in my arsenal as they offer these tiny spinnerbaits in a variety of colors, with a quality hook. I like to buy them skirtless so I can change the body color when fishing different areas and at different times of the day. I do this by using a crappie tube bodies (like the BPS Squirmin Squirt") and slide them on and off.

The spinnerbait is always the first bait I throw when I approach a bridge, looking for aggressive fish you will learn very quickly what is living under the bridge and what structure you are going to run into.

Once I have fan casted the entire area, bouncing off each wall, and then through the middle, I will then move on to a standard 1" to 2" crappie tube  (yes the same Squirmin squirt minus the spinnerbait body). I usually present these on a slip bobber, preferably one made of foam, and weighted. Since you will no doubt be banging this bobber off cement walls, you want something that will take abuse without breaking. The Mr. Crappie slip bobbers (Betts) are on the top of my list and as you can see below I put them through the ringer. I like the cigar shape and find it much easier to walk then other styles.

When pitching a crappie tube under a bridge, you need to find the right depth setting. Start with 2ft, and  if your rig floats freely or with slight bottom drag, your in the right spot. If your tube is catching on the bottom, bring it in and adjust the length by a few inches. This is a game of cat and mouse and you may need to adjust a few times prior to finding fish.

Similar to the spinnerbait, I fan cast the span of the bridge, start by banging off the far wall, and working the bait back. then I cast a few feet off the wall and so on and so on, until I'm banging the bobber off the closest wall to me. While casting I  want to try to get as far under the bridge as possible (even out the far end If I can). Even if the bobber is out of your sight it's OK, just keep tension on the line and you will know if and when there is a fish on. As mentioned above I like to use weighted slip bobbers, I do this so I can use less weight on the jig itself, I find the lighter the jig, the more natural the fall.

If you dont like to use slip bobbers, your crazy, but you can do this same technique without one. be prepared to get your bait hung-up more often, as most bridges have rock bottoms, and are places in which debris seems to easily collect.. these two situations make bridges death traps for open hooks being dragged across the bottom. take heart though, as what makes bridges  a pain to fish, is also what makes them a great place to fish.

So now that I have given away my secret to finding crappies often missed by other anglers, do yourself a favor and start stalking the shorelines in your area in search of bridges and culverts that may, if your lucky hold a stockpile of these golden beauties..   just dont steal my bridge.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Drop Shot Fishing for Largemouth Bass?

I bet when someone mentions "drop shot fishing you immediately have a wet dream about chasing down monster smallmouth bass (don't worry, we all do), but many anglers over look the success that can be had by using this same rig for largemouth bass... this is a proven fish catching technique, and if you have yet to give it a try.. the results might just surprise you!

Just like the misnomer that drop shot fishing is a smallmouth only technique, the same can be said about the areas in which a drop shot rig can be fished. Many anglers believe that to be successful a drop shot rig needs to be fished over deeper water and in area with thinner cover. This is just not the case, a drop shot rig can be used in most if not all of the same areas you would  traditionally fish a senko (weighted or not). It is the ultimate finesse rig, yet still has the ability to punch down into thicker weeds, and be dragged our pulled along to make sure it gets noticed

The gear used to chase down monster largemouth bass on a drop shot rig is similar to the gear you would use when smallmouth fishing. The only real change in my mind is the bait.. if you are interesting in learning more on the gear you need when in search of largemouth bass.. read on!

The fish you see pictured here was caught in water under 9ft deep in a fairly thick weed bed.

Weighing your options:

when it comes to drop shot weights, there is no shortage of styles and sizes available in today's market. Some guys like round weights, some like the thinner walking weights, some like lead, some prefer tungsten.. me I like a little of everything

Walking weights are great for weed, they have a long slender profile and pass through weed with ease and rarely get hung-up. I tend to use lighter sizes when fishing walking weight, 1/4oz up to 3/8oz is about as high as I will go. I find that in the heavier sizes it is harder to keep the weight vertical in shallow water when lying flat it is easier to get caught up.

the round or ball weight version is what I turn to when I need 1/2oz or larger, I know what your thinking, why would i need a 1/2oz or larger when fishing shallow water.. well It comes down to the cover and the weather conditions. In windy conditions I like to go up to a 1/2oz. (remember you want this weight to have contact with the bottom 90% of the time or more)

I'll let you have your own little debate over lead vs. tungsten, i use both (as you can see below). I like the size profile that tungsten offers me, and the added noise, but I like the price and availability that lead offers, and like with any fishing presentation you are going to lose weights.. remember we are often dragging these rigs in areas with rock and wood, so be prepared to lose a few

(Lunker City & Lunker Hunter Weights)

Getting Hook'd:

This is an area in which I'm still experimenting, and I think many anglers will tell you the same thing. Although there are many hook options available designed exclusively for drop shotting.. many anglers are still using a traditional EWG hook, not me though

I'm in search of the perfect drop shot hook, and over the past few seasons, I have tried every new DS hook that has hit the shelves, including the "standout", the Gamakatsu "Wicked Wacky" and the VMC "spin shot".

Lets start out talking about the "Standout" (middle hook in the picture) it is the oldest of the hook designs we will look at here, and probably the worst of the bunch as well. Standout took a great concept, and put it into a poor design. the spinnerbait style line tie twists and tangles in your line cast after cast, and I guarantee you will spend more time fixing your line then you will actually fishing. I get where they were headed and the hook does what is was designed to do.. "stand out" but there is just too much material here to make this product successful. (and the hook quality if inferior to the other two we are about to talk about)

Hook #2 is the Gamakatsu "Wicked Wacky"  (bottom hook in the pic) a hook that was designed with two presentations in mind.. obviously the name lets you know that this is a wacky rig hook, but what it does not tell you is that the hook was designed with a Small tube tied to the shank of the hook. If you decide to fish this hook on a drop shot rig all you have to do is tie directly to the hooks eye, leave a 12 to 18 inch tag end and thread the tag end through the tube. Like the Stand Out hook, this will force your hook to lie perpendicular to your line. The Wicked Wacky will also be popular with a lot of anglers since it has similar characteristics to a Traditional EWG hook. (not to mention that Gamakatsu quality)

Hook #3 is thus far on the top of my list when it comes to hooks designed for drop shot fishing (top hook in the above image) . The VMC "SpinShot" hook has a couple key features that make it easy for any angler to tie and retie your drop shot rig. A barrel swivel attached through the eye of the hook allows you to tie it to your main line with ease, and quickly add or replace you tag end. To me, this solves one of the biggest issues I had while fishing a drop shot rig. If you did not leave the proper tag end length you were constantly cutting line and retying. This hook means you will rarely have to retie the hook when you need to lengthen or shorter to tag. The Swiveling hook also reduces the amount of line twist that can occur when casting. I found it drastically reduced the tangles I experienced when using other drop shot hooks, and I can attest to the fact that they are super sharp, and very strong. (already landed two 5lb fish on these babies)

What No Braid?:

Although the above statement is not 100% true, drop shotting is one technique that does not translate as well when using braided line. It is a finesses technique and relies on a slow moving presentation that the fish will often get a good look at prior to biting. So you want it to look as natural as possible, and lite fluoro lines will allow the fish to get a good look at your bait, and not your line

I think I should also clarify that there is nothing wrong with spooling your reel with a 20lb braid, then tie on a 5-6ft leader (before your hook). This is actually my preferred method of fishing the drop shot. I get to keep the braid that I love and still use a stealthy flouro down at fish eye level.

Choose Your Weapons:

I bet you were wondering if I was ever going to get to the part in which I told you something new, or something about what makes largemouth drop shot fishing different then small mouth drop shot fishing.. well here it is, and it is not exactly a mind blower.. it's the baits.. most products on the market are designed towards small mouth fishing, and that's because that is what most Drop Shot Anglers are targeting, but, if you want to chase Largemouth bass, all you have to do is put down the tubes and goby imitators and try something you're use to throwing.. a worm!

There are tons and tons of finesse worms on th the shelves today, but none better fit the drop shot rig then the RoboWorm straight tail worm. This 6" flat bottom worm moves extremely well through the water and weed, and almost dances on your line.

I find the best way to fish a roboworm for largemouth bass is to leave about a 12inch tag between your weight and your hook. You want to nose hook the worm, just enough that it will hold on when pulled through weeds, but not enough that it will effect the worms motion in the water. If there is any wind blowing or any current I like to fish the worm against the current. I let the boat drift, and cast ahead of myself and slowly pull and dance the worm back to the boat. try to keep the weight in contact with the bottom only giving short hops here and there (or when hung up). If you are using the trolling motor to go into the current, treat this bait like a tube and drag it along.. the fish will come and find you.

as you can see from the below images, i like the roboworms with the chartreuse tails. but with close to 50 available colors, you may find something else that works better in your local waters.

Bait choice number 2 for me, is an Optimum Wacky Shad, as a wacky worm fisherman I came across these for an entirely different reason, but they have earned a place in my drop shot arsenal. With a square back and thin knife like tail the wacky shad cuts through the weeds like a champ. It does not have the crazy erratic motion like the roboworm straight tail and I often use this when the fish are in the mood for something with a little  more profile, but less erratic behaviour. Similar to thee above, I like to drag this bait through and over cover, but no real rod pops.  hops or twitches are required, just a nice straight streamline motion. (they are a killer wacky rig bait as well)

Rod & Reels

This is a super easy one for me, I have tested a handful of Drop shot rods and there is one stand out that hands down blows away the competition. The Dobyns DX742 is thee drop shot rod, a super light tip that allows you to feel every touch, bump and pull, and enough back bone to pull 5lb to 7lb fish out of the thickest cover you can find. I pair this rod up with a Shimano Stradic CI4 reel, In my opinion the stradic line of reels is the best spinning reel on the market in it's or any price range. This combo is super light and can be fished all day lone with no fatigue on the body.

So the next time your out on the water, and your usual largemouth techniques are just not cutting it, grab your drop shot rod, and give them something they don't see everyday. I guarantee you will be happy with the outcome

Friday, May 11, 2012

Retailer SpotLight: SAIL

For retailer spotlight #2 we are going to focus on a chain that has made the move into Ontario from what was once a Quebec only based business. Sail stores are rapidly spreading into the province with locations in Ottawa, Oshawa and Vaughn.. sound familiar, it should, the Vaughn location puts this relative newcomer in direct competition with the heavy weight Bass Pro Shop. A 4th location in Burlington is on the way in spring 2012.

I have made a few visits to the Oshawa location since its opening in December of 2011, and think I can be fairly objective here.


Starting off with the Pros, the Oshawa store is a thing of beauty, it is well lit, looks cool,  and it is fairly easy to shop. I cant speak for all locations, but the fishing/hunting department is on the second floor of the Oshawa store.. pefect for us snobby anglers who dont really want to rub elbows with campers, and hikers. We want our own section, and we got it.. also glad to see that that the fly fishing section is seperate, would not want a fly fisherman to have to look at Bass gear.. (joke)

The store carries a large assortment of all major brands, and is priced right. Most products can be purchased at the same or better prices then available at other retailers. There are no head scratchers here. no product made me wonder "what are they thinking"

For a new store I found the staff to be friendly and fairly knowledgeable. Im all for a cute counter girl, but if she cant help, why is she there. This is not the case in the fishing department, the staff helped me find the items I was looking for and actually knew what they were.. and I appreciate that.


Not to much to complain about here, after three visits Im pretty confident there will be a 4th & 5th visit. That being said this is a new store, and I think they need time to work out the kinks when it comes to product assortment and layout. Although I was able to navigate and find what I wanted, I did not like having to look for ice gear in three separate sections.

As for the product assortment, I think two things could improve the shopping experience. First off the HQ team needs to remember that Ontario is a different beast then Quebec, just because they dont move a lot of ice gear in some of the Quebec stores does not mean the same will be true in Oshawa or Vaughn.. Simcoe, Scugug and the BOQ are all huge bodies of water within an hours drive, you will get ice fisherman in your stores, and you best have what they are looking for or we will keep traveling down the road.

My second concern when it comes to product selection is that they focused heavily on the major brands and are well stocked in them, but the smaller growing brands are not really on display. For me what sets stores apart is product selection, I will drive 2 hours to one store if they have one product I cant get anywhere else ( i.e Paddletales), but if I can get what you have anywhere.. what then sets you apart? 

So thats that, I would recommend you take a trip to a SAIL store near you, they are well worth the trip. If you are looking to gear up for the upcoming bass season they will have the brands you know, and in case you feel like camping, hiking or canoeing, they have all that gear too. Between Sail & Gagnons the Durham region is really set up well for anglers, there is no longer a need to make that extra 45 minute drive to the Bass Pro Shop (and if you do, their is a SAIL store close by) 

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Bass Fishing in May.. what a feeling!

Well, my 4 day whirlwind trip to lake Erie and lake Chataugua has concluded, the weather was pretty much amazing and second only to the actual fishing. Our little group of 4 did some serious damage on Chataugua, and I popped my cherry on Lake Erie ( I have now wet a line in 4 of the 5 great lakes)

Our Trip started out on a foggy note, we arrived at Lake Erie slightly after 7am on Thursday morning and the fog was thick as pea soup. To avoid getting run over we decided to stick to the harbour and some small bays in the Buffalo area.

The fishing was slow, but we did manage to boat a few fish, including a nice smallie that came in around the 3.5lb mark.  We dragged tubes, tossed drop shop rigs and threw spinnerbaits at them, but did not manage more then a 3 or 4 bites.

(Kenny with a 3.8lb smallmouth)

Once the fog lifted we headed out into the big lake to work some shoals and try to  jig or crank up a Lake Erie Legend. I broke into my Sebile D&S Crank (yes I broke down and bought one) and built some muscle cranking it down in 20+ feet of water. We marked bait fish but were unable to find any more smallies out on the big lake. By early afternoon, we packed it in, and headed to second Erie hot spot .. the harbor in Dunkirk.

Once at Dunkirk, I was treated to a show I had never experienced before, 2 boats, 4 anglers and more double headers then I could count. In our short stay (the damn harbour launch is closed from 5-9pm on Thursdays) each angler netted more fish then I'm willing to share here, all of them were little tanks from 1 to 2lbs' and we were whacking them on everything from  tubes, to jerbait and spinnerbaits, you name it. The action was so fast that is was hard to stop for a picture, but I could not help but grab one for the memory bank.

(Me with some twins that Kenny and I caught)
With Day 1 in the books, we packed up and headed off to the cottage we rented on Chataugua lake. It was a nice little spot right on the water with a great view (see below). Although I think being the first renters of the season had it's down falls.. No TV! and with NHL playoffs in full swing, there is nothing more frustrating to a Canadian then missing playoff hockey.

Day 2, we started off on the Southern basin of Chataugua,  we cruised the lake in search of smallies and if we had too, Largmouth Bass. it did not take long to find fish, and although they were not in spawning mode, we did spot some fish in shallow and cruising the flats. It was very exciting to toss at a cruising fish and watch him blow up on my flipping tube

(Kenny with a shallow water largemouth)
once we had worked the shallows we moved to the many rock and gravel beds situated all over Chatagua, my fishing partner on Day 2 is a tube expert, so i let him drag away, while I broke out the drop shot rod. Not to long into our run,  I realize this was the way to go.. in a secluded gravel bed surrounded by Crappie anglers, I hooked into two nice smallies back to back, the first one being a brute weighing in at 4.8lbs (so close!)

(Me with my 4.8lb Smallmouth)

the second one was still a nice fish, but noticeably smaller then the first. We worked the bed until it was time to get off the water for the day, and managed a few more fish, as well as some nice sized sunfish. it was a great end to the day, and one I wont forget to soon.

(another drop shpt smallmouth)
Day 3, came too quick, and it was time to head up to the Northern basin. We decided to switched up partners and I got to fish with a the one guy on the trip I had yet to share a boat with. We decided to cheat a bit and started the day briefly in the south end of the lake hitting the spot I had success with the previous day.. 4 small fish later  it was time to head north.

When we got to the North end of the lake we were surprised to find that the water temp was noticeably cooler then that of the south end. With this in mind we then decided to focus on some off shore weed-beds and see if we could drum up some largies.. it took awhile, but we finally found a pattern and started to slam fish.

(Me with a 4lber on the drop shot)
Again it seemed the drop shot was what the fish were looking for.. small or large mouth alike. I made some subtle changes switching from a tube to a robo worm, and hooked into some great fish. My partner on the other hand was working an different angle and landed the biggest fish of the weekend a Largemouth pushing 6lb's, but in the commotion I was unable to get a pic prior to the release.

Once we had thoroughly worked the area, the sun was up and the water was starting to warm.. and we were again off in search of smallies. We found a great rock point and starting throwing jerkbaits, within 4 minutes my partner hooked into a monster smallie that tipped the scales at 5lbs.. look at the color of this fish!.. this one we made sure was captured on film

(Rick with a 5lb Smallmouth)

As the sun rose so did the winds, we continued to work points and gravel beds the best we could, but eventually we decided to head back to our initial spot and try to get out of the wind a bit. It seems our luck had changed and the bite started to slow.

Day 3 ended as another great day on the water, but my day 2 partner had an even better day then I did, landing largie after largie until his arms were too tired to cast (including a 5lb hawg). No complaints on my end though, as my partner and I would have finished with a 5 fish bag at around the 19lb mark.

( pic)

Day 4, our final day on the water, prior to heading home, we switched back to our original partners and this time decided to focus on the middle portion of the lake. We worked large weed beds, flats as well as some docks.. we saw many cruising fish, and a little musky getting some sun. We threw everything at them while trying to duplicate our success from day 3, but some very cool overnight temps seemed to have scattered the fish, we were patient and started to just look for the bait fish, and when we did come across a school, I decided to start to throw my spinnerbait at them.. it was not to long before I started hooking up.. and my first fish of the morning a a nice 4.2lb largmouth that just gobbled up my spinnerbait.

 Pattern solved, this was a spinnerbait morning for sure, and from then on we could not keep the fish off them, it was almost sad when noon rolled around and It was time to head home, but we were leaving on a high note, with tired arms, what more could you ask for.

(Me with a 4.2lb Largemouth)
As I said before, this was my first time fishing on US soil and my first time Bass fishing prior to the June opener in Ontario. I had an amazing time, and hope to get the invite back again next year. Those who live in the area should consider them selves very lucky to have such a great fishery.. me Im happy to have some great friends willing to share in the action.

Weapons of Choice:

I think it would be mean of me to sit here and rhyme off the above  success story without sharing with you all some of the gear I used to catch my fish (sorry, I cant and wont share what my partners were using) but im an open book (when I want to be)

Spinnerbait Set-Up: This one was my fav rod to throw this weekend, it was a ton of fun. I used a Dobyns DX744 rod with a Diawa Zillion Reel. I threw one spinnerbait all weekend long and it was a War Eagle 1/2oz in white. To be honest that is the only color spinnerbait I throw, and I love the low profile look to the war eagle, this is quickly becoming a personal favorite.

Jerkbait Set-Up: for Jerkbaits I was using a Dobyns Savvy 744 with mircroguides. I tested out the Sunline 10lb sniper line, and it felt great. As for the lures, I was using the IMA Flit in both the 100 and 120 depending the the depth I was fishing. My color choices were ghost minnow and bone shad.

Drop Shot Set-Up: When other guys where throwing senkos or dragging tubes, I would break out the drop shot rod. My rod of choice is a Dobyns DX742 paired with a Shimano Stradic CI4, light weigh and strong, this combo will server you well.

On this trip I got to break out the VMC/Owner spinning drop shot hook, and it did not fail me once, I got solid hook-ups each and every time. When I was fishing for smallies, I would use a Strike King bitsy tube, and when in largemouth territory I switched over to a roboworm. due to some wind and decent depths, I  used a 1/2oz drop shot weight

Crank-bait Set-Up: I had two crank bait rods with me and used one for shallow and one for deeper presentations. The shallow rod was a Dobyns 705glass rod and I switched between various squarebills including the IMA as well as a Rick Clunn series. Muddy dark water pushed me towards darker colors.

for the deeper presentation, I used a Dobyns 805RM crank-bait rod, this worked wonders with my Sebile D&S crank as well as a Spro Little John. That rod is super tuff and the perfect match for deep cranking.

these were the 4 main techniques I used on the water this past weekend, most of my success came from the spinnerbait and drop shot set-ups.. I will state that my partners in crime found success using many other set-ups and rarely did we every double up on one presentation

(Just a cool Pic of the area around the Buffalo harbour once the fog lifted)

P.S: Last but not least I want to give a special thanks to the Happy Hooker bait shop, they were supper friendly and gave great advice about the lake and the hot techniques. If you are fishing the Chataugua lake, you should stop in and say hi.. remember it is important to support your local tackle shops when you can.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Off to Erie.. in search of monsters

It may get a little quiet around here for the next few days while I head off to lake Erie in search of some monstrous small mouth bass that  have haunted my dreams for years

This is a special trip for me, not only is it my first time on Erie, my first time chasing bass on the beds, but I also get to fish with a group of anglers that I admire. These guys (although very old) have been very supportive of me and my fishing.

One is a local legend that not only was the host of a long running fishing TV program, but he also is very active in the community, running a large Canada/US Walleye tournament (in it's 32nd Year). The second member of the team was my fishing partner in my first ever money finish in a tournament. He was saddled with me last minute without ever laying eyes on me, we hit it off and cashed a paycheck along the way. The last guy on the tip has been teaching my this fishing game for 10 years now, he took the live bait out of my hand and taught me how to be a bass angler, and then he taught me how to be a tournament angler.

I'm very proud to have received the invite this year, and cant wait to get out on the water. We will be spending 2 days on Lake Erie and 2 days on Chatauga Lake, another fabled bass lake. so I'll Talk to ya when I get back, I'm hoping to have some fish tales to tell (and pics to back them up).

I'm also told that being the rookie the expectation is that I will also land a nice walleye.. all previous rookies have succeeded in this area, fingers crossed

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Jerkbait School.. Meet the IMA Flit

There are some pretty talented anglers on the water today, that swear by the jerkbait, and just slay fish with them on a pretty regular basis, personally for me it is a technique that is a work in progress, a part of my continuos learning or back to school program... and you know what the best part about learning a new technique is? it's buying the school supplies, and in this case that means new Baits.. IMA Flits to be exact.

With all the jerkbaits on the market today, how did I come to this discussion you may ask?, well the answer is easy, I read reviews, watched videos and talked to fellow anglers, and the last straw was an awesome smallie video by fellow Dobyns Pro Staffer Paul Meuller, within minutes of watching the video I had placed an order for 4 Flits (2 in the 100 series and 2 in the 120 series) I then shot Paul a short message letting him know that his video just cost me some money. (and maybe some time on the sofa when my wife see the bill)

If you have yet to check out Paul's video it s on the bottom of this post, and is well worth a watch, just hide your wallet

(Ghost Tennessee Shad & Bone)

Ok, now back to the baits. it is no secret that Im a pretty big fan of IMA lures, I use their square-bills, the Skimmer, the Big Stick and the Roumba, and now you can add the Flit to that list. This sweet little jerk-bait comes equipped with all the perks you would expect from a high end jerkbait, and a few surprises.

Lets Start off with the Flit 100..

Coming in at just a hair under 4 inches in the length the Flit 100 sports a pair of sticky sharp #6 Owner hooks, and weighs in at 3/8oz... before you ask, yes the Flit is a suspending jerkbait that faces nose down when paused... thats jerkabit 101..  But unlike other baits in the same category, the Flit 100 was designed with two secret talents that really add to it' appeal

First off the wide back, square sides and narrow belly not only give the Flit it's erratic movement in the water, but it also helps to angle the baits flash downward.. this is the direction in which most predator fish will be attacking the bait, so why not exploit it?

The second secret that the Flit 100 hides is it's great raised scale pattern, and light holographic touch. You can see both of these traits in the above image. These may seem like small additions, but they really give the bait a realistic finish and when you combine that with the Flits motion in the water, no fish is safe.

(Ghost Minnow & Matte BlueGill)

The Flit 120 is really just the big brother to the 100 series. It has an additional 3/4 inches of length and of course one extra  #6 Owner treble.  The Flit 120 fishes deeper then it's little brother and can and will reach depths of about 6ft (rated between 3-6ft). It has the same great shape as the 100, but you do loose the raised scale pattern on the baits sides.. don't ask me why.

Even thought these two brothers have their differences they do share some family traits, we already talked about the external body shape, so lets now look at the inside. The Flit family is designed with internal triangle compartments that help to better control and bolster the sound given off by the collection of tiny ball bearings hidden inside. Not only does the triangle design keep things moving in there, but it also makes it harder for the ball bearings to jam, thus effecting the sound of the bait in the water.

(Top: Flit 120 Matte Blue Gill    Bottom: Flit 100 Bone)

If your looking to add a couple jerkbaits to your arsenal, I dont think you can go wrong with the IMA Flit. This bait is designed well for a beginner (like me) and  a pro alike, it is nearly impossible to fish wrong, and the slender body and tight erratic action, mean you can fish this bait all day long without wearing down your arms and back. it is available in an awesome array of 15 color and with the two sizes you should be able to fish this jerkbait in any condition. .. Dont take it from me, Im just a beginner.. take it from Paul..