Monday, July 28, 2014

2014 Kingston Canadian Open - Final Results - My first win

This past weekend marked the 5th annual Kingston Canadian Open, held, you guessed it, right here in Kingston Ontario. Many of you are use to me providing daily updates during this event, as well as tons of pictures, but this year things were a bit different as I was no longer on the sidelines but an actual participant.

The Kingston Open is a Pro/Am event pairing Pro's with a different amateur angler each day of the 3-day event with each angler taking their combined weight onto the next day. After 2 days there was a cut and only 29 of the 58 teams moved on to the final day of fishing.. I was lucky enough to not only make the cut to be able to fish day 3, but I was sitting in 2nd place overall and in good position to win the event on the amateur side.. but before I get into that storey, I will congratulate the Open winner on the Pro Side Jeff Coble.

Coble fished this event in 2013 placing second, this year he was sitting in 2nd going into the final day where his 24.15lb bag gave him the edge over Day2 leader Doug Brownridge for the title.

Coble finished the event with a record 3-day total weight of 72.05lbs.. and of course a check for $20,000

Below you will find the top 15 Pro's all of which took home a check during the event. The Big fish for this years event was a 6.25lb smallie brought to the scales by Wayne Izumi.

Ok, on to my weekend. I will start of by saying that this event was a blast to fish, and whether your a smallie fisherman or not, it is worth your time and money to spend 3 days on the water with some of the best Canada has to offer.. and the odd american like Jeff Coble and  JVD (Jonathan VanDam). I had amazing draws and was partnered with Cory Johnston, John Whyte and Mike Deforges.

Not wanting to give away their spots, techniques or fishing styles, I will keep this part of my recap to a high level. Over the course of the 3-days I got the chance to fish Shallow (under 7feet) medium (8-15ft) and deep (17-35ft). Each day was a whole new crash course on smallie fishing as each angler had their own pace, style and choice of techniques.

On Day 1, Cory and I weighed in 24.65lbs for an average fish weight of 4.93lbs. We had the majority of this fairly early and spend most of the day continuing to catch 4+ lb fish and having to put each one back since it would not help our total weight, I have never landed so many big fish in one outing as I did on Day1, i can't even put it into words

My learning's from Cory were patience, at times spending 20-30 minutes trying to get a single fish to bite, power, meaning that power fishing techniques can and will work on smallies and finally planning, Cory had a plan in mind and he stuck to it all while watching the time and our bag size

on Day 2, I got to spend some quality time with John Whyte, I had never met John before but had had some on-line chats and conversations with him over the years. He was very relaxed on the water and his laid back demeanour made the day fun while we battled high winds and rough water.

John and I weighed in 21.09lbs for an average fish size of 4.2lbs. We did not catch as many fish as I did on day 1, but each fish mattered and help us get to our end result. On Day 2 I finished in 2nd place being knocked out of first by 0.10lbs by another local angler Shawn Stenson.

My learning's from John were:  Be Different, John was throwing a bait I had never seem used on smallies, not only was it working, but it was out producing any other traditional baits we were throwing (no I won't tell you what it was). Relax and Enjoy, John seemed to enjoy ever minute he had on the water, he was able to quickly shake of a lost fish, and was laughing about it. His demeanour relaxed me, and made for a great day on the water. Admit/Learn from Mistakes, we attempted to fish a few spots that were high risk due to the weather, both sports were nearly un-fishable when we reached them costing us precious time. John was not afraid to look at the spot admit it was a mistake and turn around where others may have attempted to fish the sport anyway causing more lost time and possible injury or damage to the boat (and or fish)

Day3 I was paired up with Mike Deforges, an angler I have been watching at this event the past three years and who quietly racks up big fish day in and day out. Knowing we were in for a long day on a windy lake Mike made changes to his game plan and put us on fish all day long.. even caught some monster walleye along the way

Mike and I weighed in 24.5lbs for the day (the biggest total bag for day 3), sealing first place for me, and bumping him up from 8th to 4th place. 

Learning's from Mike: Adapting, Mike had a game plan that had been working for him all weekend long, but the weather did not co-operate at all, so plan B kicked in, and Mike had us back in the game (there was also a Plan C). Eliminating Water, Mike would quickly decipher if the area we were fishing was actually holding fish and how active the fish were, this aided in his decisions on how long we stayed on one spot verses moving on. Repeat, repeat whats working for you, and stop doing what isn't, this goes for baits, techniques and spots

This pic I took while on stage sitting in the hot seat, waiting to get knocked out of first. Thankfully that time never came and I finished my first Pro/Am in top spot. I'm very proud of what I accomplished on the water, but know it would not have been possible without the incredibly skilled Pro's that I fished with every day. I want to thank them all for their time, teachings and support.

Special thanks also goes out to Eikon Device, for helping make this possible.

Weapons of Choice:

As mentioned since this is a pro/am no baits will be disclosed but here are the rods, reels and line that helped me out this weekend

Dobyns DX744 w/ Daiwa Zillion - Toray Finesse Braid
Dobyns DX742SF w/ Daiwa Lexa - Toray Finesse Braid - Soloram Superhard Leader
Dobyns DX703sf w/ Dawia Lexa - Toray Finesse Braid - Soloram Superhard Leader

here are some more pics from the event….

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Canoe Fishing Tips from the Cataraqui River 2014

Don't get me wrong, I love to fish in a bad ass bass boat, or my sun dolphin pond hopper, but from time to time there is nothing more relaxing then fishing from a canoe… and if your a cheater like I'm and power your canoe with a trolling motor, its even more relaxing.

For Tips and Tricks on making the most out of each Canoe Fishing Trip you take, check out this Bass Junkies article entitled  Canoe Fishing 101. Not much has changed since I wrote that article back in 2012, but below you will find a few tips for enjoying every minute of your canoe trip.. and oh yeah catching a few fish.

Canoe fishing is great in that it forces you to pair down your gear (tackle and rods) and focus on a few techniques at a time. During this trip I placed my faith in 3 rods.. a frog rod (surprise, surprise) a medium-heavy pitching stick and a wacky worm rig set up on spinning gear (full arsenal can be found at the bottom of the page)

The frog rod is pretty self explanatory, first off its what I do, and secondly this part of the river is loaded with slop and pads.. a win win in my books. Finding fish was another storey, we only saw a total of 3 fish blow-up on our frogs of which I was able to land just one fish

My second rod choice was a medium/heavy flipping or pitching stick. I use this as a follow up bait for frog fishing as well to flip timber or rocks we come across. I find being in a canoe gives you a nice clear view of the lake (good sunglasses don't hurt either) and it allows you to get close to structure and see what it is all about, find where the holes, hideouts and shady portions are. On this trip I was not able to pull any fish on timber, but did manage one fish on a follow-up bait.. more on that in a bit.

my third and final rodt on this trip was a spinning rod rigged with a wacky worm set-up. The Rideau or Cataraqui River has many low handing trees, and while sitting low in a canoe a spinning rod/reel gives you the best chances for a good skip up under this form of cover. I find the low angle can be awkward for skipping bait casters, but a sinch for spinning gear. The wacky rig also provided me with a bait that has a slower fall then my Gambler ugly otter meaning i could cover more of the water column in hopes of finding fish.. no fish were harmed in the use of the wacky rig on this day.

Bob keep it even simpler then I did, bringing only one rod and rigging it with a Snag Proof Bobby's perfect buzz frog.. fitting I know. He put in some serious work but only managed one blow up for his first skunk of the season.

Just like when fishing from a standard bass boat, you and your canoe partner should be working as a team each throwing different baits until you find whats working. It is all to easy to both grab a worm or a frog and start firing, but in situations like this you may be missing more fish then you know. Try using baits that reach different parts of the water column. Today Bob started with a buzz frog (top water) and i pitched a wacky worm (bottom)

Follow-up baits are also key to success. When my partner or I are frog fishing from a canoe (or boat) I always have a second rod rigged up with a follow-up bait such as a gambler Ugly Otter. This came in handy on this trip when the above fish blew up on Bob's buzz frog and while he finished his retrieve I quickly grabbed my otter and flipped into the hole left by the fish.. BAM.. fish on,  before Bob could even get his frog back to the boat.. now that's team work (thanks for the assist Bob)

What I love about canoe fishing is how close it allows you to get to the water, and the fish. It truly gives you a new perspective on bodies of water you have fished for years, and those you are fishing for the first time..

Although I have fished this portion of the Rideau from the shoreline for years, this was the first time I was able to get out and fish it properly. During this trip Bob and I covered just over 1km of water up the west bank(sunny side) and then back down the east bank (shady side). Our goal is to stretch that to 2km on tip number 2.. oh yeah and land a few more fish in the process

Trip Counter:   Trip3/Lake3 - Cataraqui River

Weapons of Choice:

Dobyns DX746 - Daiwa Lexa - Nories NF60 Frog
Dobyns 734C - Daiwa Tatula - Gambler Ugly Otter

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Father & Son Fishing Weekend - Dog Lake 2014

The second trip of the  2014 season was my 3rd annual Father/Son Weekend with my Dad and my younger brother.. the one in the leopard print (ouch). Each summer we get to spend two days fishing together, one day in the boat and the second day from shore.

On Saturday we fought the heat and blue bird skies on Dog Lake. The fishing was tough, but as always we spent more time trying to out do each other and of course make fun of each other

I gave my father his first bait caster this past Christmas, and this was his first time getting to use it on the water. Once I walked him through the adjustment capabilities he picked it up pretty quickly and managed to not create any major birds nests.. I on the other hand completely screwed one of my combos.

 As always I landed the first fish of the day on my trusty BassTek jig, this takes the pressure off, as we play the ultimate fishing game.. first fish, most fish and biggest fish.. of those three there is only one category you can't loose once you have it and thats first fish.

 My little brother is still working on the patience side of fishing, and spends way to much time changing baits..after a few casts with no bites he wants to switch things up..  he also often makes bad choices, as you can see he is about tie on a banjo minnow. NO Don't do it!

It was a weird day on the lake and I couldn't nail down a pattern. I caught my first couple fish on a jig, but when the bite died off so I moved to a Reaction Innovations Skinny Dipper, first cast equalled first fish.. and I thought YES, but after a good 45 minutes without a mother sniff, it was time to move on

Even with the slower bite it was a beautiful day on the water. If you have never fished Dog lake you are missing out on a nice fishery with a great view.

My brothers first fish of the day came on a Reaction Innovations Skinny Dipper un-weighted and thrown into the slop like it was a frog bait.. this little dude ate it up fast.. and my brother was hooked on Skinny dippers for the rest of the day.. again please try to  ignore his leopard print shirt and if you can, you are a better person than I am. 


The biggest fish of the day came on a frog in the pads,  while we awaited the boats from a local tournament that had caused a bit of a back-up at the ramp.. I've learned to take advantage of these times and kept fishing while my dad and brother took a break, the result was this fish at just under 3-lbs, securing me the day 1 trifecta of First Fish, Most Fish and Biggest Fish

Day 2 I took my brother and Father to a few local shore line haunts. Again the fishing was tough but with some hard work we did manage a few fish.

Being familiar with the area I knew exactly where I wanted my first cast to land, and immediately hooked into this little guy.. the splashing water had my Father shaking his head.. first fish was mine again

This has been a weird spring/summer for shoreline fishing, the carp are still in the shallows are are not moving out as the day wears on. This is making a mess of the weeds and making it hard to find already spooked fish. You really have to work pockets and look for the areas that the carp are not calling home

I caught my day 2 fish all while flipping Berkley Havoc Rocket Craws, I really like the slow fall of this bait not to mention it is pretty tuff and holds up well

 That's it for another Father & Son fishing weekend. Since this is the first time that neither of them bought any live worms, I like to think I'm helping them learn and grow as anglers.. all the while still kicking their asses

Trip Counter:   Trip2/Lake2 - Dog Lake

Weapons of Choice:

Dobyns DX744 - Daiwa Zillion - Reaction Innovations Skinny Dipper - VMC Swimbait Hooks
Dobyns DX746 - Daiwa Lexa - Nories NF60 Frog
Dobyns 734C - Daiwa Tatula - BassTek Jig - Berkley Havoc Pit Chunk Trailer
Dobyns 734C - Daiwa Tatula - Berkley Havoc Rocket Craw