Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Fishing Pigeon Lake - 2014 Photo Journal

The Ontario 2014 Bass Season kicked off this past weekend, and thankfully I got an opportunity to hit the water with a buddy (Kenny) to do some fishing on a lake that I have not fished in well over 5 years.

Pigeon lake is a very shallow fishery that leaves the bass little to no room to hide, yet unfortunately they seemed up to the challenge and Kenny and I managed only 8-10 fish between us.. some were small and others were smaller.. oh well, it was great to get out and kick off the season.. here is a short photo journal of Trip2/Lake2 of the 2014 bass season

Pigeon lake is a shallow anglers dream, loaded with undercut banks and more pads then a frog fisherman can even dream of. Kenny was gracious enough to plan the trip around my love of frog fishing so we packed lightly and started the day on some banks prior to moving to the pads

The first fish of the day came while flipping some banks, I was breaking in my Gambler Why Not bait and was happy that this little dude co-operated. First fish in the books

After failing to get more bank fish to co-operate we moved into the slop/pads, in search of some frog fish. The pads seemed pretty empty on this 24degree day with bluebird skies and we worked our way through two large sections without a single blow-up.. so it was time to move again

Once we moved a bit further south I hooked into two frog fish on back to back casts.. the day was looking up, or so we thought.. two more large sections later and not one more fish was boated.

Not ones to give up, Kenny made the call to head north and look for some slightly deeper water. We made the trek up the lake only to find that an algae bloom had severely stained the water on the north end.. a drastic change from the gin clear water on the south end. Still we dug out our jig rods and put in some work. After an hour with not luck, I switch up to a reactions innovation Skinny Dipper and quickly hooked into another small fish.. yep, time to move again.

 Out last stop of the day was one more long section of bank. With the sun now high in the sky and the temps reaching the high 20's we were sure the fish would be running for cover.. wrong again, although we manages two more fish, the one pictured above is the only one with any size to it, and that size is still small.

Trip Counter:   Trip1/Lake1 - Pigeon Lake

Weapons of Choice:

Dobyns DX746 w/ Daiwa Lexa - Spro Bronzeye Shad Frog

Dobyns 734C w/ Daiwa Tatula - Gamble Why Not

Dobyns DX744 w/ Daiwa Zillion - Reactions Innovation Skinny Dipper

Dobyns 735C w/ Daiwa Tatula - BassTek Jig

Saturday, June 21, 2014


Yeah, its been a litte quiet around here this past winter, but with Bass Season now in full swing things will really start to pick up.  Like many of you I have some lofty goals for this season, and hope you will read along as I share my achievements and the odd failures. Here is what I hope to achieve in 2014


1) Fish 10 different lakes

This year a trip and lake counter will be added to my posts. My goal is to fish at least 10 different bodies of water, with 1-2 new lakes added in that I have never fished previously (or at lest not in the past 10 years)

2) Fish all 3 Days of the Kingston Open

As you know this year I'm fulfilling a bucket list event, by fishing in the Kingston Canadian open. This is a 3 day event, but there is a cut, and only anglers who make the cut will get the chance to fish on day 3.. my goal is to be on stage at the end of day 3 and not watching from the stands

3) Make it 7 straight years catching at least 1 or more 5-pound fish

If you have read this blog for any length of time you should have noticed the small thumbnail images on the right hand side that include dates.These are the 5lb+ fish I have caught over the past few season and if I'm able to land one in 2014 it will make it 7 straight seasons with a 5-lb fish under my belt

4) Learn to fish swim baits 

each season I make it a goal to learn a new bait or technique, this year will be the year of the swim bait, both hard and soft. Believe me there will be some trail and error here but bear with me as I try to advance my skills and knowledge.

alright, enough talk, its time to get fishing

Monday, June 16, 2014

Dress Shop Tips: Match the Hatch.. Or Atleast your bait

My one big complaints about massed produced dressed treble hooks is the complete lack of creativity (for the most part).. with that said I fully understand that with the  hundreds of colour options available to anglers today it is  nearly impossible for any one company to produce a dressed treble to match all their colour options, but they could at the very little mix it up a little bit.

When designing a dressed treble for a particular bait, you have 3 chances to make it unique.. (1) with your choice of feathers, (2) with your flash and (3) with your thread. Often changing just one of these items will give your treble a whole new look.

The Feathers:

The majority of the baits I tie consist of 2-3 feather colour combinations. One being the predominant colour that will in all likely hood be used on 2 if not all three sides of the treble. The 2nd (and 3rd) colours are accents or bulls eye colours, meant to draw attention or give you hooks some flair. I often match my accent colour with the belly or the back of a bait. In the above image I used the green to march the sides/back of the bait and the white to match the belly.

Tip: Oranges, Yellows and Reds are great highlight colours, all three can be considered too flashy to be used as a primary feather colour but they are great as the accent. Another way to make them pop is to pair it with a shorter black feather in front to frame the accent feather

The Flash:

Although I don't use flashing on all my trebles, I would be lying if I said it was not a key piece of any attention getting treble hook. Flashing is available in various varieties from a various companies. The two styles of flash I use the most are "flat" and the standard "round" flash. When it comes to flash colour options you don't need to get real crazy, the main objective is to pick up on the colours in your bait and add some sparkle and shine.

On the above bait I've used "black" coloured flash in order to pick up on the darker colours on the back of the bait and in the  green feathers.

Tip: Don't get to cutesy when trimming your flash. I like to leave it a bit longer then my feathers and I like it to flay out a bit adding more areas of sparkle and shine.

The Thread

The tying thread is probably the area that most tyers put the least amount of thought into… red is by far the most common colour I see used with dressed trebles, and if not red the black. I personally really like to mix it up and probably have more thread colour choices on hand then flashing

Often I will match my thread to the accent colour I'm using. So for the below bait you can see that Ive used Olive thread to match the olive green accent feather. The black flashing picks up on the greens and gives the bait the same sparkle that can been seen on the baits back and the olive thread ties it all in together (no pun intended)

Tip: When using a predominantly dark coloured feathers (like Black) I love to use a red, yellow or orange thread to tie with. This will give the bait some added pop.

So there you have it, some basic tips on dressing your baits treble hooks to ensure the carpet matched the drapes. When your first starting out don't hesitates to choose one or two colours to practise on, but as your skill improves get creative and start churning out trebles that will make you fishing buddies envious

Monday, June 9, 2014

Saying Goodbye - A Photo Journal dedicated to my Grandfather.

On June 5th, 2014 at a little after 3pm my family and I said goodbye to my Grandfather, Francis "Mervyn" Owen. He was 85 years young and one of the most influential people in my life.

There is not much I can say about my grandfather that these pictures don't already tell you. He was an outdoors man who loved life, a stiff drink and his family. He along with my father  put a fishing rod firmly in my hand and taught my all the things a man was suppose to do. From the time I was 6 years old he has lived in a small apartment in my parents home, always there for me when needed.

I hope you take a moment to look through the below images and help me remember "Marvellous Merv" the way I think he would want to be remembered 

As my aunts, uncles and cousins crowded into my grandfathers small apartment, they were all looking for one thing, that thing that reminded them most of him, who he was and what he meant to them. I knew what I wanted, and it wasn't in his apartment. So I slipped away from the crowd and headed to the garage, and there in the corner where it has always been was his fishing rod, still rigged up and ready to hit the water

For more images you can check out this link, an awesome slide show created by my cousin. HERE

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

ReSpooling - 6 Tools that will make your life easier

With only 17 sleeps until the start of Bass Season in Ontario most anglers are furiously buying up new gear as well as getting their old gear tuned-up. This of course includes the re-spooling of your reels.. yes you really do need to do this, and to help you along the way here is a list of 6 important tool that will aid in getting your reels and line ready for the 2014 season

Line Spooling Station:

Other then the line itself, there is not a more important re-spooling tool then a spooling station. These come in a variety of sizes and options including the one pictured above, my personal preference the Berkley Spooling station. This handy tool is portable and will work on almost any flat surface making re-spooling your reels a breeze.

This Berkley station is pretty universal and allows you to re-spool reels both on the rod, or clamped down directly to the spooling station. You can also adjust the tension allowing you to properly spool both casting and spinning gear.. no more fooling around with the pencil trick or spools flipping and dancing on the floor. I also like that it comes with a line stripper which is  #2 on my list of tools of the trade

Line Stripper

Depending on why or how often you re-spool your reels there is a good chance you will need to remove old/damaged line first. This can be a long an tedious chore when done by hand, and that's where a line stripper comes in. As mentioned above my line stripper came with my spooling station, but if you use a different brand or have a makeshift station at home, you can buy line strippers like this Rapala model from most major retailers.

Line strippers can be tricky to use, and can bird nest up pretty badly if your not careful. So take the time to read the instructions and set it up properly, you will be happy you did

Line Storage Box

A line storage box has a few separate uses when it comes to re-spooling your reels. First and foremost it is a storage box, and is great for holding partial spools, keeping them organized tangle free and ready for use. They also work very well for adding leaders on to your already spooled reels

As you can see in the above photo, I have my line box set-up behind my spooling station. Once I have filled my reels to my preferred level, I cut the line and often add a 3-9ft leader depending on what technique the reel will be used for. Once the main line has been cut, I give the line a pull from the storage box, and tie a crazy Alberto knot to attach the leader to the main line. Finally I then proceed to add my leader to the reel.. but how do I know when to stop? well that's why tool #4 makes this list

Line Counter

I bet many of you saw this and wondered what the hell a line counter is doing on my list of key tools for preparing a reel for bass fishing, well let me tell you..

first off as mentioned above it is great for use when measuring out your leaders. Sure you can eye ball it, but a small counters like this Rapala unit  work great and fit right on your spooling station or rod.

The second and more important use is for checking how much line you are spooling onto your reel. Again this comes in to play in two situations, first off, knowing exactly how much line is on your reel means you know how much is left on the spool, this allows you to make the call on keeping or discarding the excess line.. how many times have you grabbed an old spool and started re-spooling only to come up well short.. i know I have.

Lastly this helps with a new technique I have been using when spooling a reel with fluorocarbon. It was sent to me by pro angler Michael Murphy and I have been using it ever since. The idea is that instead of filling you entire spool with expensive fluorocarbon,  you instead fill it up half way with old or cheap (similar diameter) line and then attach your fluorocarbon and fill the top half of the spool with your good line. This insures you are not damaging line that never hits the water and makes your spools last twice as long.

Tips I can give you would be that I like to use a red line (like Cajun) as the cheap backing, so it is easier to spot when your getting low. Depending on reel size I use the line counter to help spool-up  50-60yards of backing and then attached my Toray SuperHard Upgrade fluorocarbon and fill the remainder of the spool. A cool thing about Toray SH Upgrade is that they mark the halfway point with red so I know exactly when to stop. Try this, I think you will be impressed with how much longer your spools last

Line Cutters

A good line-cutter or more importantly a good braid cutter is often overlooked, but are again huge time savers both on and off the water. I have tried a bunch and in my opinion the Xtools cutter was the best around, I say "was" because the company has gone-under and the products are no longer available (unfortunately their other products were crap). There are other options available so try some out and find that one that works for you, you will thank me later

Line Conditioner

This is the last tool on this list mostly because it is still new to me. Anglers have been singing it's praises for years now, so this past off season I grabbed some KVD Line and Lure condition and gave each reel a spritz once spooled. The idea behind this conditioner is that it adds a coating to the line helping it repel water and thus not bringing as much water back up onto your reel. This will reduce wet line drag and the coating also improves the line durability by making it more abrasion resistant

Alright, get out there and start re-spooling