Sunday, August 30, 2009

Fort Erie Bass, August 30, 2009

The wind blows! The weekend was all about wind. Lake Ontario and Lake Erie is out of the picture to fish Salmon or Walleye respectively. So “If you’re given lemons, Make Lemonade!” So John, Brad and I took the riggers off the boat and loaded up our bass rods and headed for Fort Erie . On the water by 7:00 and discover that yesterdays blow loaded up the Niagara river with water visibility of about 2 feet. We launched from Nickels ramp and made our way out towards Lake Erie and out along side of Rosey’s Reef. The water was dirty throughout the ride out. And the winds from yesterday put a roll on the big lake that made for a rock-n-roll ride.

Setting up in 17 ft and drifted from it to 30 ft and into the mouth of the river. It didn’t take long and we started to pick away at them. Mostly smaller Smallmouth Bass in the 1 to 3 lbs range all day. The rollers on the lake were coming in from the Southwest and the winds for the day were coming out of the Northwest. The drift was quick so we started with heavy weights. 5/8 oz, and ¾ oz tube jig heads and 1 oz drop shot weights to maintain contact and a steep angle presentation.

Baits for bites included a few on green tubes, and a few on Poor Boy Erie Darters in Green. John managed the biggest bas at 4 lbs even on the scale. But the majority of the bites came on dark colours (black). And get this- “twister tails!” On drop shot black Yum twister tails were getting bits. Also black tubes tipped with black Yum twister tails managed a good number of fish. A green twister tail jig also managed a few near the end of the trip.

Kim Poirier, Roy Young and Darrel Day were also out and managed three walleye fishing the same area while fishing for bass. Also the water did get clearer as the day went on and it was about three ft visibility by the end of our day at 1:00 pm.

The wind blew and we couldn’t get out for walleye on Erie like we had planned, but we did manage to get out on the water and make the best of it

Shane Thombs

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Grimsby and Blue Zone Salmon/Rainbow, August 23, 2009

It has been almost two weeks since our last time out on Lake Ontario , and reports were dismal to say the least. None-the-less we needed to discover it for ourselves. We had a late start leaving the dock at 10:30 am and setting up in 80 FOW directly in front of Grimsby at 11:00 am . We would mark a good number of fish on bottom and we ran a number of baits near bottom to try to turn a strike with no avail. It was 39- 41’F water on the bottom and the thermolcline was between 50 and 60 ft. We trolled out to about 140 FOW and the sonar screen went blank for most of the way. At noon we decided to run out to the Blue Zone and not long after going under power we marked a school of bait in 240 FOW. So we set up again and marked the odd fish, but again- no takers. So we made one last ditch effort at around 1:30 to find fish out in the Blue Zone and salvage the day

Out to 305 and inline with Oakville , we set up and immediately marked good bait and some fish. Get four rods in the waterat 2:00 pm and the first rigger rod goes off. 40 feet down and 50 ft lead with Lemon Drop Warrior Mag. Rainbow. My 4 year old son reels the fish in. Set it up and minutes later I see it bump, but no release or shakes, then a minute later it gets a strike and releases and another rainbow shoots out of the water behind the boat on the slider. Aidan reels the fish in closer to the boat only to find that a tiny salmon took the spoon on the main line and pulled in this rainbow on the slider. Two fish on one rod!

The Lemon Drop Warrior Mag was getting regular shots of rainbows and then one nice Coho guessing around 15 lbs comes airborne behind the boat then charges the boat and goes under the rigger cable and then out of the water again. The speed!!! We run the rigger rod around the cable and thought we would have broken this guy off, but we wrestle with the line around the rigger and the other line meanwhile the coho is in the air over and over again. Finally get the line cleared from the other rigger and the fish finally came off. But we didn’t break off! So we strip the line off the reel that got chewed and retied on the Lemon Drop Warrior to get back to business.

We pull the other rigger rod that was running meat down out of temperature for a king and changed it up to a Yeck 88 King Thing and down 45 ft. It managed a fish not long after.

The wire diver had a good crack, but no one was home when I got the rod up and out of the rod holder. It did catch another rainbow near the end of the trip at 4:00 pm when we managed a triple header. The Wire had a 107 Walker Deeper Diver Green Dolphin on 3 setting and out 110 ft using a Glow/Mountain Dew SpinDoctor and an Adrenalin Atommik Tournament fly.

7 colour leadcore and slide diver didn’t get a single strike.

A slow start in tight and then Good action out in the Blue Zone turned things around for us.

Shane Thombs

Sunday, August 16, 2009

SLA Lake Erie Walleye Tournament August 16, 2009

John and I ran the first ever SLA Lake Erie Walleye Tournament on Sunday August 16 th . The weather the previous Sunday was not in our favour but the 16 th was much improved with clear skies and light winds

John or I haven’t been fishing Erie Walleye since last summer, so we were fishing this tournament blind!

We registered 14 boats in total. Of the 14, 7 caught fish. And only three boats came in with a full box of four fish for the tournament. Dave Viles, a fellow Strait Line Angler, won the tournament with 28.55 lbs. He managed 10 for 12 walleyes and was clued into the Full core and large Divers close to bottom in 72-80 FOW.

For us, I will call the day of fishing on our boat good in the middle with a set of ugly bookends on either side. The morning registration, boats were arriving at the last minute. So where we posted that registration was to end at 5:45am we got caught up finalizing at 5:55 am instead. We got in the boat and motored down the river and John says, “I forgot my Sun glasses”. So we call on the VHF for someone else to blast off the tournament, but there was no answer.

We turn back to the marina and I run out to the truck to get Johns glasses. Two other boats were looking to get in the tournament- but they were turned away.

We start on our way back down the river and the fog got so thick we couldn’t see 50 ft in front of us. John try’s to navigate by his GPS and ends up running up in the mud and we make our way slowly out to the lake. We get out to the lake and there was no more fog. There also wasn’t a tournament boat in sight and the wakes from the tournament boats had already dispersed. We are really behind the 8 ball here!

We decide to head to our old waypoints from last summer and we were pleasantly surprised to find the Sonar screen looked good. We set up and worked the rods up and down , tried different baits and we were without a fish for an hour ½. Then the Metallic Purple 107 Walker Deeper Diver on 3 setting and out 200 ft with a Blue Berry Muffin Yeck and metallic Purple blades on a warm harness happens to start pulling drag (drags set loose). Slow steady retrieve and the fish comes to the net. It’s a 7 ½ lbs walleye. Nice.

We take a few Yellow Perch, a few sheepshead and a white perch throughout the day as well. All of which were treated as if they could have been a walleye playing possum.

Another hour goes by and we hit a Walleye on a Monkey Puke and Purple Puke bladed harness on a Full core straight out the back of the boat. This one was less then 3 lbs.

The second pass through the same area of the first fish was caught we discovered that it was adjacent to a marker buoy set at a ship wreck. We mark that in the GPS for future reference.

Knowing our pattern was fishing bottom now, we figure the wreck must have a few walleye close by. So we make another pass and as I was letting out another 107 Metallic Purple Walker Deeper Diver with Gold and a Purple/White/Black worm harness. The dial read 215 where I engaged the reel and noticed the rod started jerking. I pick up the rod and immediately locked up on a heavy fish. Regular headshakes were enough to stop your heart with hopes that it wouldn’t rip out the hooks. The fish comes to the net and it’s another quality walleye. We put it on the scales and it comes up just shy of 8 lbs. Now we got three.

Another 15 minutes goes by and the other full core straight out the back of the boat gets bit. John brings it in and it was the smallest fish of the day, but at least it was four for the scales. Four bites and four fish to the boat.

Now here’s the other ugly bookend to the day. We bring in all the rods and go to tilt the kicker motor and discover that the pins that slide inside the trim and tilt track, have broken off. So John and I decided to pull the motor right inside the boat. The 9.9 hp Hondo long shaft is a heavy bugger and we lay it down on the floor of the boat. The Time is getting close and the chop on the lake has made sure we couldn’t go full throttle. We managed to get in with 6 minutes to spar.

We came in with 22.95 lbs with our biggest coming in at 7.90 lbs.

Shane Thombs

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Grimsby Morning Salmon, August 9, 2009

The Strait Line Anglers Club was hosting a Walleye Tournament out of Lake Erie for this morning, but due to the high wind forecast we decided to cancel it.

Lake Ontario however was calm and the chance of Thunderstorms was forecasted, but we were going to stay close to port. So with the morning still available and a window of fishable waters on Lake Ontario , John and I head out of Foran’s to try out front. We were also joined up by two other boats from the club to head out. We communicated on the VHF and spread out looking for the fish. One of the boats ran right out to 80 FOW around the west side of the weather marker, the other boat set up shallower in 50 FOW south of the weather marker and we set up on the east side of the marker in 40 FOW and trolled straight out.

A minute after setting up Dave hits fish right away. We continued to troll straight out all the way to 160 FOW with only one rainbow trout to show for. Dave on the other hand was hitting fish regularly from the weather marker to the riffle range in 90 FOW. Then Brad in the other boat hooks up on the west side of the weather marker and it’s 18lbs on the scale.

So pull up our four rods and pick up and run back in and set up again. It was clear why they were catching as the screen revealed many fish and bait up high. Water temps were also very cold. 40 feet down it was 47’F and 41’F down 50 ft.

Our first fish came on SpinDoctor Blue Dolphin with Fish On Atommik Tournament Fly back 20 feet and down 40 feet on the rigger. Coho leaps out of the water and roles in the line. Taking drag- running into nearly every line out and then comes to the net. “Wow- nice coho” I said to John. 10 lbs 4 oz on the scale.

Wire diver 107 Walker Deeper Diver in Purple out 75 ft on 3 setting and a ProTroll Blue killer with Yeck Fly “Day Break” takes a small king.

The other rigger down 60 ft with a slider running around 30 ft using Purple thunder with glow ladder takes two fish in a row. Rainbow and a small salmon.

Meanwhile the rigger down 40 ft on a 25 ft lead using Blue dolphin Spindoctor and Fish on fly takes off. John fights the fish and it acts like a giant laker with head shakes and staying down the entire fight. We were in 70 FOW and the line continue to sound deeper. We finally get it closer to the boat and the Wire Diver rod goes off. Double header. I put the rod in the holder and net John’s fish and its 19lbs on the scale.

John brings in the smaller fish on wire as I get the hooks out of the fish in the net. He has yet another nice coho at 7 lbs 4 oz that we finally net. It came on a Cherry Red 107 Walker Deeper Diver set on 3 and out 80 ft with Caramel Dolphin SpinDoctor and Caramel Dolphin Atommik Tournament Fly. This same set up takes a nice 9 lbs rainbow shortly after.

Producer spoon in Black with a white back caught a Lake trout down 70 ft on the rigger over 80 FOW. It was time to switch that spoon. Hahaha. So John changes it to a Yeck 88 Blue Dolphin on a 40 ft lead and down 50 ft.

Over 70 FOW the Blue Dolphin Yeck takes a crushing blow on the rigger and the line peels off the reel. The fish comes to the boat after a lengthy fight and we net it. It weighs 23 lbs 7 oz. It has a lamprey still on it and the head looks like it would be better to be on a 30 lbs salmon instead of the short dumpy looking fish this was.

Then this giant ominous black cloud approaches at an alarming rate. We quickly pull lines and get under power along with the other boats. The cloud had a front like a 52 chevy as you can see the cloud rolls in front of it. Then as we cleared the rocks at Foran’s the winds hit and the sky turned dark. We organized out quick ramp work between the boats and managed to get the boats out on the parking lot and ready for the road before the rain came down in buckets. We stayed dry! Look at my watch and it was 12:15 pm and the wife calls. “Yes honey, I’m off the water”. Then thinking to myself. "Good thing we weren't on Lake Erie 10 miles out with that cloud between us and shore!"

Our final count was 10 for 12, after a slow start for the first two hours. The other boats also did well. Dave got 8 fish and Brad got 6.

Shane Thombs

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Jordon/Vineland Evening Salmon, August 5, 2009

The lake was flat on the way home from work so I call John and say – hey I got Aidan and I ready to see what we can do on the big lake. Aidan says “I’m going the catch the biggest fish ever”. Wow- that’s the attitude we like to have on the boat! John didn’t need much persuasion, and by 4:30 we were out of Foran’s and motoring over to Jordon where we finished up the charter on Monday.

At first it was a slow go for two hours as we tried deeper in the 120-160 FOW range and marked very few fish. A few calls to local boats, we realized we motored over the fish and set up where they weren’t. So we adjusted and got into about 100 FOW to set-up and work our way in. Sure enough he screen on the graph proved what was to be plenty of fish and baitfish.

Minutes after setting up the first rod in the downrigger set at 50 ft and on a short lead of 8 ft with Miami Dolphin Warrior Spoon, the line takes a hit and I was on it like a fat kid on a smartie. The drag starts going good and a few head shakes and the hook pulls free. Set it back up again it goes off again and this time John brings in a rainbow. Then after that, the same rigger set had another release and no one was home, then it went quiet.

We worked the area and now the wind started to pick-up out of the south. Many lookers come into the spread, but they hesitate to bite. It was time to switch things up a bit. John puts his rigger down to 71 over 80 FOW and a coho at 6 ½ lbs takes the Miami Dolphin Warrior Mag. Aidan my four year old son reels in his first coho. This would make four species he has reeled in on Lake Ontario at four years old! How many kids can say that before they start school! He’s got the lucky hand!

We put Warrior Mag Yellow Tuna 3 hr glow on a full core and it started going off and Aidan reels in two rainbows on it.

We took another small Chinook around 8 lbs on Coyote on a slider on the rigger down 50. So it was around 25 feet.

We watched as about a 10 lbs king leaped out of the water four times with a very large lamprey on its belly. Aidan got a kick out of it. We initially thought we had a fish on one of our lines so a quick scan over the spread showed we didn’t.

At the end of the night John was pulling in the leadcore and he gets a hit. The line starts peeling off the reel but then the hooks pulled out.

We watched the sun go down and the Full moon come up. Aidan fell asleep on the ride back in and I’m sure he was dreaming of catching a big king. “Next time bud- next time”.

Shane Thombs

Monday, August 3, 2009

Beamsville to Jordon Salmon, August 3, 2009

It was a blustery evening to be out on the lake, but with a couple of sea worthy clients that are used to the Pacific Ocean on the west side of Vancouver Island, the rocking ride was handled nicely. Winds were directly out of the south but somewhere around 30 gusting 40 km/h! Boats were coming in to the marina looking shocked, weather beaten, and generously giving descriptions of the poor conditions. That doesn’t provide the level of comfort that I prefer, but we made the decision and it was time to go. 4:00 pm departure.

Game plan to start was to run the shoreline down to Beamsville where the night before we finished up with a few shots including the 22 lbs king. With the wind on our stern, we worked or way out from 40 FOW. It was going to be a five rod spread rather then run all 8 rods (four of us on board). Keeping the spread light in the rough stuff is not a bad idea. Two Slide Divers, Two riggers and a leadcore down the chute.

We worked our way out and the conditions were getting rough, but still fishable. But for some reason it was a tough go for the first two hours. I worked vigorously changing things up. The picture on the Sonar was favourable with plenty of fish and good schools of bait to suggest our luck should be much better then it was.

The fish on the graph were very active coming into the cannonballs and at first I was running our standard 70 and 100 ft leads. I kept on decreasing the lead length over and over again. 50, 30, 20 then I said, OK now lets do it OLD SCHOOL-> 8 ft behind the ball. 50 feet down, Halo Miami Dolphin Warrior Mag and I got the rod in the holder, cranked down so the rod tip is almost in the water (I sometimes get frustrated with the fish and add a little more bend to the rod). I turn to adjust a diver rod and the rod tip jerks dramatically down into the water, what I thought was already a maxed out rigger stick had reached a new level of bending capability. The rigger rod only slightly relaxes it’s extreme bend and the drag starts singing before I even get the rod out of the holder. It reminds me of those crushing short lead blows on a rigger in the 90’s.

Todd from BC has had plenty of kings (they call them Springs) and was a pro at fighting this fish to the boat even if he didn’t have his single action mooching reel on the underside of the rod. I cleared the rest of the rods and we chased the fish on the big motor into the waves after about 20 minutes of the reel continuing to loose more and more line as the waves pushed us further and further from this muscular fish. When we caught up to the fish the counter read 100 ft and it was almost straight down off the back of the boat in 80 FOW. Neat stuff. We boated the fish and it weighed 23 lbs on the scale.

I took the picture and then got back to work setting the same rod in the rigger the same way. Turn to put the second rod in the other rigger and sure enough the same rigger stick fires. This time the drag is screaming and I asked Terry how much line on the counter? 250! Then seconds later 400, So with one rod in the water we turn on a dime and chase this one down into the waves again. We boat it and it goes 17lbs on the scale.

OK, time to get back to setting rods. And this time I was able to get all five in the water before the rod in the rigger down 40 feet, makes Todd come to his feet and it is yet another reel burner. Love it! We figured it out. Same spoon, Same short lead and this rigger was out of temp as it was riding at 60’F water temp down 40 ft (BTW it is 56’F down 50 ft). We manage to boat this one without clearing too many rods and it weighed 17 lbs as well.

By 8:00 pm the wind just about stopped all together and the lake went from three footers down to a 6 inch. Now we were free to troll any direction and we turned back to where we hooked up on those fish and managed a rainbow on a slider and dropped two others, one on fullcore (10 colours) using a Warrior Mag, Yellow Fin Tuna (3 hr glow as we set for a dusk bite), and the other miss was a short strike on the rigger down 40 ft.

We ran back in when it was dark and the wind started to pick up just as we got to dock. What started off an uneasy feeling, ended the trip with two BC coast salmon fisherman now hooked on the Great Lakes Salmon fishing. We may not have the brutes they see, but they fight vigorously none-the-less. Todd and Terry were a good bunch to have on board in less then favourable conditions to start and they handled the rods well when the bigger bites counted.

Shane Thombs

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Fifty Point to Beamsville, August 2, 2009

John and I had the pleasure of taking Paul that is on vacation in Grimsby from Ireland . Winds were moderate out of the West and the forecast said South winds. So we decided to run as far west and roll with them. So we set up in front of Fifty Point on the west side of the riffle range in 40 FOW and trolled around the rifle range markers and out to 80 FOW. In no time we managed three rainbows. One on fullcore using Yeck 88 PK Special. The other two came on Slide Diver with halo Miami Dolphin Warrior Mag. It was set 100 ft back from the diver and 80 feet out.

Then trolled to 120 FOW still witht he waves on our stern and they were growing to about four feet. The Rigger down 100 Feet and using SpinDoctor Blue Dolphin with Hammer fly and it takes a Lake Trout. We brought that up to 60 feet and it took a small chinook. The other rigger down 50 feet then took another 8 lbs salmon on a SpinDoctor Black/Glow/Green dots with a Green/Glow Horsefly. then we hit a nice rainbow around 8 lbs that went on a five colour using Yeck 88 Michael Jackson.

Paul now has seen a Rainbow, Lake Trout, and Lake Ontario Chinook Salmon. But it was time to look for bigger salmon. Once we got to the Grimsby weather marker the plan was to trough the waves in shallower water and look for the bait. When we broke 75 FOW we caught another lake trout on the Blue dolphin SpinDoctor and hammer fly down 70 ft. No more chasing lake trout, The five colour hit another salmon. Paul was handed the rod and then the hammer fly with Blue Dolphin SpinDoctor was put down 50 feet instead and it fired with a good drag burning salmon. Paul Had the rod swap to fight the better fish to the boat and it weighed 16 lbs. Short and fat fish.

Then we trolled towards Beamsville and manages a few more small salmon for the cooler on Fullcore and downriggers down 50 feet.

The sun was starting to go down and it was nearing the end of the evening when the Slide Diver out 40 feet to the Yeck 88 King Thing and the diver on 3 setting out 100 ft. We cleared all the rods and played the fish to the boat. The fish weighed 22 lbs and Paul landed a personal best.

Shane Thombs