Monday, 26 September 2011

Know when to throw or Go!

A question I get asked a lot during sportshows and seminars, "when should I leave a spot to go to another spot" do I know when to throw or go!
There are many versions to this answer, especially if your fishing for Walleye, which can turn on in a flick of the switch without warning.
Lets stick to Bass for now.

When I`m fishing for Bass in areas I know hold better than average sized fish, I know its going to take more effort than simply casting out and going for the net...big fish take big effort and that means sometimes camping out on a proven location (not a single small spot), but a location such as a shoal, rock pile, weed or submerged timber flat or a long point extending out into deeper water from an island or shoreline.

Big bass move and move often if food does not come to them.
Sometimes they travel in packs, schools or by themselves, such is the case with bigger than average largemouth bass who travel shorelines during all times of the day looking for their favorite hiding spot to ambush the next meal.

When you decide to run and gun, or do a milk run of proven locations or spots on the spots, then your rolling the dice. If a fish is in that particular location its "bingo" on!
But, if its not, then its a game of arrive, cast, cast, cast...move on.
This technique takes years of practice to learn proven big bass locations that others do not know about or have not found yet...the hotspots!
When I`m choose this gameplan, I`m on the throttle to every nook and cranny location I know on a particular lake or river system and don`t stop until I catch the fish I`m looking for...big bass!
I`ll return to the same spots I hit two hours previous, just in case that hawg moved in while I was driving to another location....its a lot of hit and miss, let me tell you, but when its on, its on big time!

When I`m fishing for smallmouth in either deep locations or on wide open flats with spinnerbaits, crankbaits, topwaters, drop shot, stick worms or tube jigs, I usually stick it out and dissect the locations like a vaccum and find the bigger brown bass after usually going thru a bunch of chunkers and peanut sized smallies.

For me, its all about my inner-gut feeling that tells me when to throw or go!
And to this day, I don`t fight that feeling....I do what my instincts tell me to do and as you have seen in the photos, website, tournaments and tv show, its worked out pretty good for me.

Friday, 16 September 2011

Brown Bass n Blades in Fall

Yes folks, it is that time of year once again when the leaves begin to turn to orange & red, the water temps begin to dip real fast (due to those nasty cool nights) and the smalmouth bass of cottage country decide to group up a little tighter and hunt in packs like wolves.

A big part of my fall fishing for smallmouth bass depends on the weather.
If its sunny, calm and light winds, but still cool, I`ll experiment with fast moving baits like spinnerbaits, tight wobbling crankbaits and jerkbaits to gauge the mood of the fish. If I`m missing strikes or feeling that "bump" and run from short striking fish, I`ll put down the spinnerbaits and cranks and pick up my "go to" baits which are Strike King Zero stick worms and coffee tubes and work those same areas, except a bit slower or use a "rip and die" approach, which is jerking the bait upward while it is falling in the water column, then let the bait free fall back down.
This presentation can trigger the laziest and biggest smallmouth of Autumn.

If its rainy, cold and wet with a strong north wind, I`ll stick with the spinnerbaits, jerkbaits and crank`s a bit longer and choose locations that groups of fish might use as ambush locations like rocky points, sharp drop offs, ledges and edges from shallow to deeper water, shoals and deeper eel grass.
Getting bit on a fast moving spinnerbait by a big fall smallmouth leaves you breathless.
There is no warning, one minute your cranking your bait back to the boat, the next second something is jerking the rod almost of out your hand. Are fall smallmouth violent, YES!
As for retrieve speeds, its all up the fish, some days they want it quick, some days they want it slow rolled thru the heavier cover like eel grass, deeper cabbage weed or thru shallow lily pads.
Change up if your not getting bit or missing strikes...those bass are telling you something.
I`ll use a St.Croix medium action Legend Xtreme 6'6" rod with an Ardent Fishouflage reel and either 14-17 pound test fluorocarbon line or 20 lbs Spider Thread micro braid if I`m fishing in the real heavy messy stuff and the fish are big.

And last but certainly not least, when mother nature is real nice to me and the water temps have dropped, the fish are packed up and eating heavily in the shallows and its sunny with calm conditions, then I`ll tie on a Strike King Z-too and have a blast casting this little soft shad bait to some of the skinniest water I can float my boat in and make longer casts to any object, edge or submerged piece of cover I can find and HOLD ON!
The strikes are usually the traditional "toilet flush" with no splashing or rod jerking motions, it is usually a visible boil under the bait or all of a sudden their is weight on the end of your line that you know is not a weed or stick, but rather four plus pounds of big brown bass who will go crazy the instant you set hook.
Have fun this fall with those big brown bass up in cottage country but be safe, wear warm clothes and fish with a friend, take care and remember, release the lunkers to live and spawn another day!

Friday, 9 September 2011

Pre-Autumn Prep

I know its only early september, but these cold nights and cooler days have dipped the water temps in cottage country somewhat severe and we all know what that does to both toothy critters and Bass...they begin to feed a lot more and move off those deeper haunts which makes it a whole lot easier on us anglers who like to fish the shallow junk for our hawgs.
Personally, I love the cooler days of autumn, no bugs, no sunburns, no dehydration and a lot less angling pressure from tournaments, pleasure boaters and fishermen, I usually get a lot of my bigger bass during the cooler water months of Sept-November.

Weather it be smallmouth on flats, shoals, shallow points & sand bars with spinnerbaits, crankbaits, Z-too shad baits, Zeros & curly tailed grubs or bigmouth bass with jigs, soft plastics, `blades `n cranks on flats with submerged timber, grass and cabbage weed, I just love this time of year for hawgs.

I hate to dispell a myth surrounding the colder water period, but Bass in fact DO NOT slow down due to the colder water temps, they in fact, are more aggressive and will chase their prey a further distance to get a meal. I`m not talking about great lakes bass, but rather shallower cottage country lakes with dark bottomed back bays and flats that attract baitfish, perch and bluegills which in turn attract the bigger bass to feed.
I`ll rig up with a wider assortment of baits and presentations and let the bass tell me what they want on any given day, which can and does change from hour to hour on different days.
You`ll find a lot more pack feeding bass in Fall, strength in numbers I`m guessing, but locate one big fish and most times others are present or not to far away.

If your looking for that big fish of the year, the timeframe for that to happen is almost upon us...rig up, get out and catch that hawg, but please have the respect and common sense to release the hawgs to live and fight another day.

Monday, 5 September 2011

Bay of Quinte Cane Bass

Fished-filmed a show last week on the Bay Of Quinte for largemouth bass in "extremely heavy canebeds" with some good results.
Hooked up with my St.Croix Tournament legend Big Jig rod, Ardent F700 Denny Brauer Fip n Pitch reel loaded with 65 pound Spiderthread micro braid and at the business end of it all tied on a one-half ounce Strike King Hack Attack jig in summer craw green with matching Rage chunk in pumpkin with green flake.
Started out in real skinny water and hot my first fish in 12 inches of water near some blown up slop on the outer edges of the cane.
Moved down the bank slightly and pitched to a tiny cane patch away from the bank and hit a better (2+ pound bass that hit like a train) made for good footage.

Puttered down the bank making pitches to every single spot I thought a bass might be hiding under and came to some small rice beds on the outside of the cane...moved out slowly and hit a solid 3+ pounder at the very tip of the rice bed.
Worked the rest of the rice bed with not a sniff, and head back to the shoreline cane and blown up slop.
After approx. 25 mintues of scattered pitches to slop, cane and lily pads I came to an area that had slightly deeper water and clumps of cane off the bank mixed in with the shoreline stuff...starting banging fish after fish right away.
What these fish lacked in overall size, sure made up for in strikes and overall aggressiveness which kept the blood flowing and overall kept the heart beating at a high rate of beats per stuff!
Didn`t see alot of the hits, but felt the "leaf-like" sensation of a fish who must have picked up the jig as it laid on the bottom...thank goodness for the ultra strong, but oh so sensitive St.Croix rods!

Stayed with the pattern for another 45+ mintues and caught a variety of fish in the 1-3 pound range until I came to a sharp turn in the cane leading to shallower water which produced some of the better fish of the day. But I had to pitch my jig n rage chunk a lot further back into the cane to get bit.
That made for some real exciting moments and killer footage...strike, splash and bull dog these fatter bass out of the slop and cane approx 10 feet back in the heavy stuff....tons of fun!
Overall had a great day of the Bay and filmed another action, information packed show for season 10 of Extreme Angler TV coming this Fall on WFN & WFNHD...don`t miss it!

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Buckets n` Bronzebacks Galore!

Amazing is the only way to describe my most recent road trip fishing/filming shows for season 10 of Extreme Angler TV.
Visited some popular cottage lakes in Bracebridge ON and with the extreme heat wave, came some extremely aggressive Bass, both green and brown ones.
Filmed a show on thursday Sept. 1st for largemouth on a bright sunny day and had to dissect the smallest of spots to entice the bigger bass to come out to play.

Fished with Strike King rodents in Blue Craw & Amistad tones in ultra shallow water with St.Croix Legend Tournament Bass 7' 3" Big Jig- heavy action casting rods and Ardent F700 Flip n Pitch reels loaded with 25 pound fluorocarbon line. The rodents we`re rigged on X-Point extra wide gap 4/0 hooks and strike king tour grade tungsten worm weights in the 1/8 to 3/16 oz sizes.
Had to use a stealth-like approach in the clear water conditions and make longer pitches to the small dark holes along shallow docks, lily pads, moored boats and downed trees.
Put in some long stretches between bites, but when the bigger bass we`re located, they ate the bait real good and hard and fought like wild bulls, splashing, jumping and putting up a real good "tug of war" but my ultra strong fluorocarbon held up to the challenge.
Had to re-tie constantly due to zebra mussels and submerged rocks mixed in with the shallow weed and man made structure I was fishing.

Concept of this show was "locating and catching bigger than average bass on bright sunny days"...and truth be told, it turned out real good!! Don`t miss this one on WFN this fall during season 10 of Extreme Angler TV.

Then on friday sept 2nd I fished/filmed another cottage lake except for smallies on top with Strike King spit n kings and walking style baits on sharp dropping rocky points leading to mainlake deep water. the only way to describe this day!!

Hit two smaller points first thing in the a.m. with only a few smaller bass to show for my efforts, then went to deeper water points and hit the "motherload of brown bass"!
First cast produced a 4+ pound hard scrapping smallie that just would not come to net.
Boated that one and felt pretty good...checked my equipment, made cast number #2 and hooked an even bigger smallie...this gal fought like she was 10 pounds!....bulldogged and pulled line until she got netted and placed in the livewell for a later release and some photos of course.

Now I was really stroked, 2 big smallies on the first 2 casts!
Cast #3 on the exact same spot...pop, twitch, pause, pop, twitch, pause...bamm, another 4+ pound smallmouth eats my bait...incredible action and all caught on camera...awesome...only problem was, this brown beast spits the bait after the first jump! Oh well, can`t heart rate was already peaking.

Fished with St.Croix  Legend Xtreme 6'6" medium action casting rods with Ardent Fishouflage casting reels and 12 pound monofilament lines tied to a tiny cross lock snap and Strike King Spit `n Kings poppers.

Fished this point for another 20 mintues and switched up to both Zero stick worm and drop shot with zero results...moved to my next location...a weed flat dropping off to another main lake edge.
First cast, a 3+ pounder jumps over my bait...had to put down the popper and pick up the zero stick to catch this one.
Fished the sloping weed edge for another 1/2 hour and caught several 1-2-1/2 pounders but wanted more big ones so I moved to location #3.

Nothing on the first dozen casts, but hit another gang of smallies 15 mintues in, a bit further out on the point. Hooked a 3 pounder and had 3 other ones try to take the spit n king out of its mouth while I was fighting it beside the boat...incredible stuff!
Caught one more from that gang then headed back to my deep point to see what might be lurking that I didn`t raise before.
Fished the topwaters for 20 mintues then decided to pick up the drop shot rig and fish the end of the point in 28+ feet of water and felt a sponge bite, set hook and felft my heart pound!
This fish did`nt bulldogged down in the mind was racing...was it a potential Canadian record smallmouth bass or what?
After five or so minutes of bull dogging back and forth and slowly bringing this beast to the surface, I caught a glimpse of the huge head and wide thick shoulders of a 20+ pound Northern pike witch settled my nerves a bit, because I sure didn`t want to lose this fish without seeing it first. Was about to grab her, when she thrashed her head and cut the line and sank back to the depths...easy catch and release but thankfully it was all caught on camera once again.

Was off the water by one- o`clock in the aft with another action packed, informative show for season 10 viewers.
Got rained out this a.m....but will be back at it this week.
thanks for checking out my report, later.