Lake Erie Bass are in fall feeding mode now. Toronto residents John and his son James were ready to do battle with some monster smallmouth bass. John and I were leery about the winds as they have been moderate since Saturday afternoon. Over night, the winds were coming out of the Southwest and it was difficult to suggest our morning trip on the big lake would be settled enough. So we had cancelled the trip and we were watching the wind forecast for the afternoon tip scheduled for John and James. A quick morning phone call at 9:00 am suggested that we had a window of opportunity to get out in the afternoon provided we start at around 11am and fish the early afternoon before the forecasted winds were to become moderate once more.
John and his son made the trip to Port Colborne and met us at the ramp at 12:30 pm. From 11:00 am to 12:30 the wind had increased from 10 km to about 20 km coming out of the Northwest. Northwest is an alright direction as it comes offshore, but the forecast for strong winds in the late afternoon told us we needed to get off the water before long.
When starting at Cassidy Reef on the east side of Port Colborne , the South west winds of last night was enough to lead a three ft roll waves on the lake.
The increasing Northwest winds were adding a different dynamic to the wave direction and how we can predict our drift direction. We initially set up on the windward side of the reef in 35 FOW and then drifted up on top and then off the east side of the reef the whole time we were inside the red can. We immediately connected with fish, but staying hooked up was the tough part. We offered a little bit of instruction on the technique of hook sets and how to fight a fish and soon after James started hooking up on the second drift. This time the drift was changing as it was more of a Northeasterly direction as the winds started to change and come out of the west. Now the wave were building and white caps were forming.
Drop Shot with Poor Boy Erie Darter Jr was the top producing set-up
James’ personal best was a 16 1/2 “ smallmouth that he caught on there cottage lake up in the Haliberton’s. It was our intention to bump that up a little.
His fourth fish was exactly at 16 ½” and him and his dad were impressed. Not minutes later we scoop up James’ next bass and it gets the wow’s and ah’s as it measures 17 ½ inches. His new personal best! But the story doesn’t end here. More fish come to the boat between John and James and they were having a blast.
Then on a Tube Jig, a solid bite sets up on a brute smallmouth. 22 FOW the fish comes out of the water almost instantly. Now the cheer’s start up as Jame’s is in the fight of his life. The dark coloured smallmouth bulldogs to the bottom taking drag and then comes up on the surface once more with heavy head shaking and white water. Again the yelling and excitement escalates. Then after clearing the driftsock and managing a netting space the fish comes to the surface and id scooped up in the net.
As the fish is revealed in the bottom of the net on the floor of the boat, John and James are ecstatic and are giving high-fives in celebration. John says “That fish is going to be mounted” So without hesitation we put a scale on it and the digital readout is bouncing between 5.1 – 5.4 lbs (we were in the waves and hard to steady the scale). Length was 19 ¾ inches and not only surpassed James’ personal best, but likely will stand as his best bass for years to come.
The wind and waves were building to 4 or 5 ft and it was time to call it a day. We turned to Port and motored in slowly. We sent John and James off on there trek back to Toronto with conversation with Advanced Taxidermy to have the fish prepared for the wall. Now the story of the trip on Lake Erie in the fall of 2010 will be remembered for years to come.