Wednesday, September 8, 2010

More BIG smallies!

Sept 6th, 2010

Caro, Eric and I got on the water on a mission this morning and we were looking for big fish only! Shallow, power fishing was the plan to start the day and we were to adjust if things didn't work out but it paid off right away. About 30 mins after we put the boat in the water, a big smallie hit my jerkbait hard! About 300ft down the bank,Caro also hooked into another big smallie also on the jerkbait. I immediatly started looking for some similiar areas trying to reproduce the scenario but the strong west winds made things difficult.

It took an a little over an hour before we could find another school but by the time we found them they had already seen us and were way too spooky. Perhaps next time, with a stealth approach we'll be able to catch one or 2 out of that school. They were all over 3lbs roaming around a shallow sand/rock area.

The wind was slowly becoming stronger and stronger and made boat positioning kind of challenging but not impossible. We headed for an off-shore rock pile and kept on throwing all kinds of different presentation but it was the jerkbait that seemed to be the ticket today. On my first cast back with the jerkbait, a big smallie just crushed it and gave me one HELL of a fight. I don't know what the fish had been eating but they were fighting a lot harder then what I'm use to. The rest of the day was difficult with a few fish missed and battling the wind to find new areas. On our way back to the dock we decided to do a little pit stop on the sand flat again and I hooked another decent sized smallie on a wacky worm that had just missed my jerkbait.

Not a lot of fish today but only quality smallies well over 4lbs were caught. It felt good to fish for fun and I look forward to this fall... A lot more of those football smallies will visit my livewells that's for sure!

Another unexpected win!

Sept 5th, 2010

Caro and I signed up for this fun ripple organized by Jason Gramada on the basin behind his new house in Les Cèdres. Ben and I had been there 2 weeks before to see what the place was like and hammered TONS of smallies but no size really. I was hoping for a similiar day with less fish due to the bad weather and strong winds but it turned out to be better then I expected. We have been getting some strong west winds over the last few weeks and today was no different.

It started off pretty good, catching a 4lbs on my first cast litterally. Someone had stole my net right out of my boat the night before and we found out only when I hooked the first fish... We had to lip and boat swing 'em all day... Some people are so pathetic. I never leave anything in my boat besides a few pliars, scissors and the net... I can't believe i'll have to bring that inside as well from now on.

For my second area, I was looking for a place to be protected from the wind because I knew I was going to run out of battery way too early. It was there that Caro hooked a GIANT. As usual, she doesn't say a word and I see this big smallies leap out of the water about 10 feet infront of me. I look at where the fish jumped and Caro back and forth trying to figure out if she has the fish on or not. The fish was gunning toward the boat and Caro had some slack in the line so I wasn't sure if it was still hooked or not but apparently it was because it didn't take long for that drag to start singing. Without a net, it was nerve-wrecking to bring it in the boat and let's just say that both of us were happy when it was finally in the livewell. Now we only needed to change a 2lbs fish and had plenty of time to do so seeing as it wasn't even 12:00. We probably caught over 10 bass in the afternoon but all of them were around the same size or smaller. We tried new areas hoping to find at least a 3lbs but couldn't do it in time.

Back at the launch I started hearing a few reports and was surprised to hear most that most teams had had a hard time and thought maybe we had a chance at a top 3 and maybe lunker. It was nice because we weighed in last and won it by about half a pound and took the lunker prize as well. I know I say this a lot but I have the best girlfriend in the world. I'm really fortunate to have a girlfriend that share this passion with me at the fullest. Congrats honey for that big smallie! You finally got your 2010 nickel smallmouth! :)

Our bag weighed in at 11lbs for 3 smallies, good for 1st place out of 12 teams (I think). We had a little get together in Jason's backyard and I thought it was a great idea... It's always nice to talk about our day after a tournament and even better if there's beer and good food in the mix!

Next up is the Econobass Classic, the Rumble in Rockland and the Berkley B1.

First tournament win!!

August 28th, 2010

It had to happen eventually but I didn't expect it so soon, especially not on Lake St-Francis with the quality of anglers I was up against. I knew the conditions were going to awful right from the start... West winds were howling at 25+ kmh with gusts over 40 at times. I knew the areas I was going to fish were protected from all the wind but getting there safely was the issue. I've been in some horrible conditions in my boat before, just never with my dad or for that long of a ride. It was nice to see I wasn't the only one stuggling in the giant waves and it felt good to pass a few 20ft rangers on the way to my first spot. GO Basscat!! ;)

We finally got on my first area and the wind was blowing perfectly on it. I knew some fish were going to be there but I was dissapointed to see the big ones werent at the rendez-vous. I had told my dad the night before that I was not going to wait for them today. If the fish were not there after a few cast I was out of there! We had to move quite a bit before we were able to find some smallies that wanted to play. To my surprise the first area to produce was in more then 3mph current both in 2 and 25ft of water. I was working the shallow bank and my dad was working the deeper part with a tube and we both got hit on the first pass. I decided to move around the area to reproduce the same kind of scenario and we were able to quickly get our limit which was right around 16lbs. We kept on moving and redoing some drifts and found fish as deeep as 40ft of water but not the size I was looking for. At the end of the day we probably had around 17.5lbs and although it was a decent sized bag I was disspapointed. I was missing at least one big fish and I knew it wasn't far!

About an hour before the weigh in we stopped on a shallow sand flat just to see if some fish had moved in and on my first cast I hooked a 4.86lbs bruiser that was definitely in feeding mode as it crushed my soft jerkbait without even thinking about it. With about 45 mins to get back to the launch and close to 20lbs in the livewell we had to leave to make sure to get back in time. It's too bad because I have a feeling we could've caught at least another big fish on this flat.

We made it back to the launch in time and even had a few minutes to check on our fish. The ride back didn't feel that bad but the fish seemed to think otherwise as I had a good sized fish dying... I knew we had a decent bag probably good for a top 10 but I had no idea we had a chance at winning it. I've been paying close attention to ALL the results over the years and it usually takes well over 20lbs to win it on this lake but apparently it was harder then I thought for everybody that day. Even with a dead fish we ended up with 19.03lbs and took first place with almost a 2lbs lead on the 2nd place. We were also able to get the 3rd lunker with my big fish. It felt good to win an event, especially on a lake where I have put A LOT work... Many days were spent looking for big fish and coming back without a single one but I guess it finally paid off.

Next stop is a friendly tourney on the Les Cèdres basin. Should be lots of fish caught but size is another story. I'm hoping for a 9-10lbs bag (3 fish) of smallies. Maybe Caro will catch that monster she's been looking for.