The weekend started with preparations Thursday Morning. John and I rigged up 9 trolling rods, two jigging rods and put together a reduced version of a complete tackle box that included all the tools needed for both trolling and jigging.
Friday morning was 4:00 am we departure and was on route to pick up our third guy in the boat, Bruno. Bruno lives in Toronto and required a short jog off the 401. Bruno just got home from a business trip from Vancouver , and was short on sleep and a little jet legged. We stopped for breakfast at 6:30 am at the Stop 50 in Bowmanville where we welcomed the group of 18 Strait Line Anglers, squared up with tournament details and moneys and then the convoy of trucks and boats were on their way to Picton.
Our destination, Merlin Park , where we put our stuff in our respective cottages and then pushed off for the start of our morning jigging tournament. 7 boats participated, $10 each, Return time 1:00 pm and it included a total weight per boat of four walleye needing to measure under 24.8”.
8:30 am we were traveling Picton Bay on the water and boated over to Thompson’s Point and parked our selves in the middle of roughly 20 other boats. Boats all around reported slow, and after nearly 2 hours we were without a fish. Jigging spoons working slowly wasn’t working, Gulp Minnow on Jigheads were getting taps but not managing walleye bites. The sonar graph was showing a ton of fish. Everywhere from 10 feet down to the bottom in 40 FOW.
Then I reached into my jigging spoon box and pulled out what I thought might be better for tight lipped walleye on a slow drift. I have seen it work at Quinte through the ice, why not try it while the drift is slow. A light spoon silver/gold half and half. A small (2”) Williams Ice Jig. Looks like a Williams Whitefish rigged backwards and with additional hooks on the side of the spoon.
I would pitch it out leaving slack line to drop straight down. Patience- it’s a light spoon. First cast the spoon didn’t get to the bottom. But it was a white Perch. Second pitch and three snap jigs and it loaded up with the first walleye. 2 lbs or so. After that the spoon started getting consistent fish and before you knew it a look at the GPS time and it was 12:45pm we had 7 fish in the box – all small. The other 6 boats in the jigging tournament were without four fish or too small to weigh, so it was between us and Jimmy Rodney and his crew to weighin. Jimmy weighed in at 6.55 lbs with his four. We weighed in and it was 6.45 lbs. It was that close!
We had lunch and then transferred all the trolling gear to the boat for an afternoon of trolling. Setting up 3 miles East of the Lighthouse on Adulphous Reach we set four inline boards and two Slide diver set-ups. Outside boards pulled 200 ft of line with Manns Stretch 20’s and Reef Runner 800’s (deep diver). Inside boards pulling 3 colours and 200 on the reel with Reef Runner and Dr Death Mann's Stretch 30. Port Slide Diver started with a Reef Runner 900 (shallow runner, but large saltwater size) in Eriedecent 100 ft back and 40 ft out on the 4 setting. And the other a shallow stick bait a Renowsky in Purple/silver.
10 minutes after set-up the slide Diver on with the Reef Runner 900 takes a crushing blow that bent the rod over yanked some drag and when the rod came out of the rod holder the fish and bait pulled out of the snap. I must of forgot to close the snap, ooppps.
30 minutes later the outside board pulls back with Black/silver Mann’s Stretch 20 and Bruno was on it. He slowly cranked in the board and as soon as the board was being pulled off the line, the fish thrashes and the line goes limp. MAN! Line broke. 0-2! Good thing I got another one.
It’s 4:00 pm and the sun is low in the sky, when the three colour with Dr Death Mann’s Stretch 20 on the inside board, pulls back. Bruno was on this one again and we managed to boat this one. 9.3 lbs
Not long after, the outside board rod goes heavy and John gets on the rod. Black/Silver Mann’s Stretch 20 200 feet back takes another. This one was the largest of the weekend at 9.5 lbs, which is a modest fish for Bay of Quinte standards.
After 4:30 pm the rods went quiet until we pulled lines at 5:30 pm in the dark. Nice weather all day with blue skies and no wind.
Saturday Trolling Tournament Day Nov 14
9 boats were registered in the tournament where the target was for each boat to manage 2 walleye over the 24.8” and one under. It’s a game of strategy, where trolling usually manages bigger fish and jigging produces much smaller fish. Fishing was between 7:00 am to 5:00 pm and most boats left well after 7:00 am simply because the sun was covered by cloud and it appeared later. Again the winds were light, but a chop out of the northeast.
With our results from Friday eve, we had a starting place for the morning and we set-up up wind and trolled with the chop on our stern. The results from yesterday helped determine a few baits to run and we concentrated on high percentage set-ups to begin. Three high lines with two running 200 ft behind boards, on running 180 ft behind the boat. 10 minutes after setting up Black and Silver Fingerling on the outside boat back 200 pulls back with a fish. Bruno manages to bring in the board and then the rod started to show the signs of a quality fish with headshakes that jolted the rod violently. Then the line caught the line on the inside board, after thinking the fish passed it. 0-1 already.
20 minutes later the same board with the Black/Silver Fingerling pulls back again. This time I get on the rod and manage to bring the first fish on board. It was just under the 24 ½ “, OK we said, we got the one under taken care of and now if we can keep the ball rolling we should manage two over. Well that feeling slowly withered when the hours went by and the constant changes didn’t turn a strike (other than a Sheephead) for over 8 hours.
Then at 3:30 pm we set our troll down wind over our trolling path from Friday eve at the same time. It worked, Black and silver Mann’s Stretch 20 back 180 ft behind the board manages our second fish. It weighs 9.1 lbs on the scale.
Instead of trolling up wind we pull everything and try one last troll through the area with a spread of Black/Silver on 4 of the 6 rods. Also all lines were set to run high and out on the boards hoping for one last big bite. But it wasn’t to be. 5:00pm and the lines had to come in.
The results of the Tournament would show Joe Williamson with two quality Quinte walleyes. One at 13 ½ lbs and another at 11 lbs! They also had a third fish that went 9.9 lbs but couldn’t weigh it in as the third fish since it was over 24.8”.
Our boat managed second place and Darryl Day/Sandman/Steve managed third, but boated seven walleye all of which were under the 24.8” mark!
Sunday Nov 15 Morning fish before going home.
After packing up the cottage we headed out and was faced with a thick fog. Using GPS we motored to Thompson’s Point and began fishing. It was hard to get oriented in the fog, but when we found the right depth when talking to other boats in the fog, we starting finding fish. But all too often the fish were coming up snagged on our jigging spoons and needed to be turned back to the lake. It was silly after fowl hooking 4 of the first 5 walleye and it was about 9:30 when Gary and Kevin Hampson’s boat appeared beside us in the fog. Gary was hitting fish steady and they were catching them all in the mouth. So it was time to change up.
Gary said Swedish Pimple, I went in my jigging spoon box and pulled out my one and only Swedish Pimple in Silver/Green.
It took three jigs off the bottom and it took a walleye to open up. After that the fish came in regularly, but mostly too small to keep. At 11:00 am we called it quits.
The ride back home was a smooth drive. Big thanks to John for bringing the boat and to Bruno for the funny digs all weekend.