Thursday, December 1, 2011

Advent Steelhead, December 1, 2011 Part 2

Wait, it’s only 12:00 pm! We still have all afternoon and when I have a full day to fish, I intend to use it. (see Advent Bass, December 1, 2011 Part 1) John Poirier agreed and we walked across the road from Nicholls ramp and into the local tackle shop, grabbed some #8 hooks, 20 roe bags and made our way back on the QEW.

Next stop… Queenston Boat Ramp in the Lower Niagara River. We tied up our bass rods with some three ways some 10 lbs fluorocarbon leader line and the #8 hooks. We launched, ran John’s kicker for 5 minutes to run the fuel stabilizer fuel into it’s carb and then pulled the fuel line off and let it run itself out of fuel. We propped up the kicker and ran down river to the Jackson Drift. We pulled up and started the drift. Our first drift was uneventful, but the second drift I hooked the first fish. A brown at the start of the drift just past the wall.

Two more drifts and I hook another at the start of the drift and right at the net the hook pulls out and fish swims away- another brown around 6 lbs.

We decided to run back up the river and John say’s lets go right up to Devils Hole and see how the water is for clarity. So far we only seen about 18” of visibility.

We made our way up to Devil’s Hole and noticed the current much faster then in past years. Yes the water was a little clearer at about 2 feet of visibility. At the top of the drift John drops his line to start the drift and I don’t think the weight hit the bottom and he lifted the rod sharply on the first Rainbow trout of the afternoon. A real beauty Steelie with pink cheeks and full of energy. It jumped 7 times, got around the trolling motor, ran 40 feet of line and then bull dogged through the rest of the drift. It took the entire drift to get the bow to the net. Didn’t put the fish on the scale but definitely a 9 lbs plus fish.

From Photo_Gallery6

We made two more drifts and I lost a fish and then we were losing time as the sun was going down and we needed to head back to the ramp.

Great way to start the month. A full day of fishing!

Shane Thombs

Advent Bass, December 1, 2011 Part 1

At 7:00 am John Poirier and I pulled into Nicholls boat ramp in Fort Erie. We waited for 20 minutes for Roy Young and his crewmember Kevin Hampson and had time to tie up our rods and bundle up in float suits, warm boots and gloves. We were looking at boating over in a pair of boats, a common safety practice when fishing Lake Erie this late in the season. We launched in the top of the Niagara River with frost on the boat windshield and fogged up gauges on the dash board. There were little winds at day break, but the remnants of yesterday’s west winds left 4 ft rolling waves.

From Photo_Gallery6

We passed the set of floats ready to put the iceboom in place. Here’s how they look;
From Photo_Gallery6

Then we were on our way motoring in the general direction of Myers Reef in New York waters. We passed Waverly Shoal, then the red can marker at Seneca Shoal. The tack on the waves was to run the troughs of the big rollers as much as possible. As we were travelling the winds started, first out of the south and created a foot chop on top of the 4 ft waves and it soon made our trip a slow and uneasy ride. Soon the waves were in the 5 and six foot waves when we reached our destination at Myers Reef.

December 1st marks a number of important date stamps, many kids are waking up to open the first day in there advent calendar for a treat to start the count down in days to Christmas day. For those die hard anglers that chase Lake Erie Bass beyond the warm summer conditions it marks the unwanted closing of the Ontario Bass season. Luckily in New York the season continues as a catch and release fishery. If equipped with a New York fishing license, a seaworthy boat with a good navigational GPS on board, and warm clothing, you are ready to open your own Advent calendar and be treated to a big Lake Erie bass.

Roy set up his first drift in shallower while we worked the tip of the reef. It was minutes into the first drift that started in 45 FOW when I set the hook on our first fish. It was a quick of two pound fish. Our drift was quick and with two drift socks we managed to slow enough to keep heavy tub jigs and drop shot rigs on the bottom. Next fish was John’s on a tub jig and it was a nice fish that was very long and skinny but still pulled the scale to 4.7 lbs on the digital scale. Our expectations for bigger fish kept us from snapping a picture before releasing and soon I was busy setting the hook on fish after fish on drop shot.

The next two drifts marked 14 bass on drop shot at the back of the boat and not any of them exceeded 4 lbs in estimation. We pulled up to Roy to see how his shallower drifts were working out. His response was enough to have us try the same drift and we followed him up wind and waves and kept a slight distance enough to see each other, but too far to talk in the wind. We instead turned on our VHF radios to communicate and it wasn’t long when Roy called over his 5.6 lbs bass he had landed. I was still hitting fish on the drop shot at the back of the boat, but the bites were less frequent as our drift continued to speed up. My technique required a cast down wind of the drift and keeping it there long enough to get a strike. Then when it passed the boat, it needed an open bail to allow it to stay in place for a second or two.

Now the waves were building and the winds only increased and started to turn from the south to the southwest and then to the west. The waves were growing and white caps were all over the place. The sound of breaking waves were everywhere and it was no longer tolerable to fish in. Tying knots when on your knees was all you can do to keep your balance. There was one wave that scared me from the back platform of the boat to plant myself in midship as I looked up at its crest starting to break and ready to curl into the back of the boat. That wave was without a doubt 10 feet high. It didn’t take long for Lake Erie to get angry.

We met up with Roy, only to find Kevin losing his breakfast over the side of the boat and a clear message shared by all, “lets call the trip short and begin heading back”. The ride was mostly going with the waves and it wasn’t easy to stay on a direct course. Run the trough and then crawl over the crest of the wave. Here’s a video.

Shane Thombs

Saturday, November 12, 2011

SLA Wind, Waves, Walleye from Bay of Quinte, November 11-12, 2011

The Strait Line Anglers Club arrived in Picton Friday morning and was ready to do battle with some Bay of Quinte Walleye. But that wasn’t all we had to do battle against! The winds were less then favourable. The forecast was 30- 35 km hour winds. Yes Strong! But they were sustained at that with gusts over 50 km! Standing at the back of the boat on Saturday I had to lean into the wind to prevent from tipping over when it gusted. YIKES!

Not only did the winds blow, they blew in a direction that was no help to fish the Adolphus Reach from Keith’s shoal out to the Gap.

On Friday we started by the tower on the north shore and trolled with the North west blow across to Pryner’s Cove. The North Shore had bait and fish, then nothing in the middle and then some on the South shore just before the point (west of) Pryner’s Cove. Then a clear screen until we were closer to the North shore again in front of the Power Generating station in Bath. That was where my dad picked up our first walleye of the trip around 7 lbs. 240 ft lead with Rapala TD11 in Purpledecent on the board using mono. Now we have our fish fry.

With the winds we decided to look for lee side water and ran back to Picton Bay and fished in front of the Cement Plant and trolled south. The Bay was packed with bait inside 35 FOW. Few hooks, but didn’t move a rod.

On Saturday I woke up with a major Migraine. Nope- not hung over- didn’t drink but a few brown pops the night before. Had a late start setting lines at 10:00 am. This was our SLA tournament and it was to weigh 4 fish two over and two under the 25” mark per team/boat.

My dad and I fished the south shore and set up west of Pryner’s Cove and well east of the Bat Cave where Dave Viles managed two walleye on Friday and where we marked plenty of fish. Our first fish of the day came one hour into the first troll. 200 ft lead Rapala TD11 in Purpledecent on the board using mono. 7 lbs.

Then there was a two hour weight and a few trolling passes before we got in line from the Bat Cave to troll with the wind and waves down the south shore. We were being pushed in by the other boats and soon we seen our depths creep up on us from 130 to 100 to 80-70 – 60 then Oh NO the Full cores will soon be on bottom. I start watching the boards behave as they ran up and down four and five ft waves. The inside board’s tail starts to twitch. There’s bottom I said to dad as I picked up the rod and started bringing the board to the boat and watching the other board for something the same. It didn’t and the board I pulled in I took off and held the rod for a second only to feel a mushy Thump- Thump rather then tick tick. How do you explain how it feels- work with me J. I said Dad – your up. “What?” Yah it’s a fish!

Dad brought in the fish after cranking a way at 500 feet of line (Leadcore 10 colours) and brought the fish to the net. “NICE fish dad!” On the scale it went 10.1 lbs. Perfect that’s our two over 25”.

From Photo_Gallery6

The winds were strong, the rod holders made the whistling sound like over top of a beer bottle, and it was always a show watching the boats ride back up hill against them to make another pass. You would be entertained, but at the same time knowing you to will undergo the agonizing ride over 5 and 6 ft waves and whitecaps on every wave across the Reach. Luckily, dad and I didn’t get wet in the Key Largo, but Dave Mergerison “Fish Tales” speared more waves then he wished for and worked the bilge pump in his 18 ft Lund. NOT FUN but he was on fish. His three man crew pulled 9 walleyes on 13 hook-ups. Variety of sets worked for them, but 8 of the 9 fish were on Leadcores from 3 colour down to Fullcore and even Fullcores with Manns Stretch 20 Wonderbread. Firetiger Renosky, TD11 Purpledecent were some of their successful lures. The other fish was off the downrigger down 60 and out 150’.

Dad and I tried right to 4:15 pm and didn’t move another rod and ran back in, with the waves starting to subside. We followed up with our weigh-in and Dave Mergerison’s boat pulled away with two fish over and two fish under 25” with 21 lbs to win the tournament. Wet- but smiling!

Dad and I managed second with just over 17 lbs and Dave Viles took third with 16 lbs and change. Biggest fish of the group over the weekend was from Brian Ludwig with one at 11.1 lbs.

On Sunday we looked at the wind forecast and decided to pull the boat out and head home with our tails between our legs.

Wind, Waves and Walleye were a battle this weekend, but it was fun to get out with the group on the Bay again.

Shane Thombs

Monday, October 10, 2011

Thanksgiving Monday Erie Perch, October 10, 2011

What a great Thanksgiving weekend of weather and fishing. Four full days of flat calm water and today the sun is shinning again and it’s warm enough to be out in a T-Shirt. Brian Blainey, that docks beside me at Lake Court marina in Grimsby, was on a job in the morning but wanted to try for a bucket full of Erie Perch in the afternoon. That provided Aidan and I enough time to scout out a spot to net some minnows in the morning. We caught a few but they were really small.

When Brian got back from his window repair job, we hooked up my boat and Brian was fast on the phone to call Erie Tracker for Minnows- they were closed. The word on the website messageboards were that minnows were hard to get. So Brian called Fishmaster Tackle shop in Dunnville and luckily he had minnows available. It was a little out of our way, but we pulled the boat to Dunnville, picked up minnows and then turned east to Port Colborne to launch at noon hour.

There had to be 100 boats anchored in two packs, one pack at Point Abino and the other directly in front of Port Colborne in 65 FOW. We cruised straight out and then slowed when we got to the pack. It was flat calm and the last thing you want to do is run the boat fast and create a wake that will upset a lot of guys.

We merely were at idle scanning the area for fish and any structure to anchor on. There wasn’t much to make us stop and finally we seen a few hooks on the bottom and then dropped the anchor. Drop the minnows down and bang Brian brings up a perch. Then Aidan pulls up his first Erie Perch. But then it was tough to hook another for a while. We pulled the anchor and drifted for a bit until we seen more fish on the graph and then drop it again. That worked to catch a few more, but still not enough to be content with the spot. We moved around a bit more and moved back to an area where we seen a few boats catch a bunch when we were watching them.

Aidan Perch

From Photo_Gallery5

We then seen schools of bait on the SONAR and we decided to try it. It was a good decision. For the next two hours of fishing until 4:00p when we pulled our lines and ran in, we caught perch one after another. There were no Jumbos in our catches, but we managed 50 perch to keep that were all over 9 inches.

Shane Thombs

Friday, October 7, 2011

Bill's Hunt for Silvers, October 7, 2011

It was well over a year when my friend Bill and I were hoping to make a fishing trip happen. He had fished with me for walleye and bass on Lake Erie last year and both times we hit one fish the entire day- sometimes it is true when the say it is called “Fishing not Catching”. Although we try, the results were simply not good enough so I promised Bill a better Lake Ontario trip and explained that we will work around each others schedule and set off when convenient.

With Aidan bundled up with a coat, the chill in the morning air was a sure sign we were near the end of the Lake Ontario trolling Season. This far into the season very few fisherman have been out, so information sharing was non-existent. We knew that our trip would mean a “hunt for silvers”.

We motored our way out from Foran’s Marine in Grimsby and scanned the shallows first then ran for a short distance and scanned 60 FOW and then 80, then 120 and then 150. It wasn’t until we got to 200 FOW that there were some signs of life on the SONAR. But the bait and fish were marking on the graph were deep. 80 to 130 feet down. We still scanned for some time until there were enough marks to decide we would slow to a troll. We were in 250 FOW and the screen filled with bait and hooks.

I came ill prepared to fish effectively in those types of depths with all lines. So I made the best of it with two downriggers and long stretches from 107 divers. I also only had Leadcore on board and that meant the best I could do was put out a 10 colour Leadcore and add 4 oz of weight to get it down a little further.

Only a few times in the season are you forced to fish 100 feet down. But when I do, there are a few things that have proven to be successful techniques to catch fish from those depths. One is running downrigger lines with short leads. Flashers in glow colours are also good and running cutbait or cutbait imitations like MC Rockets are the go to sets.

Today I ran both riggers with one 10” Spindoctor with cutbait and the other with a number 1 MC Rocket. Consistent was glow colours in all parts of the baits.

Bill and Aidan

From Photo_Gallery5

It was a short trip fishing until 11 am and at the end I had a few waypoints ready for tomorrows charter. Bill had 4 salmon to bring home with the biggest at 11 lbs. Aidan was also smiling after having the opportunity to drive the boat with the water being flat calm.

Shane Thombs

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Pete Maki and son have a Bear of a good time on Lake Ontario, August 27, 2011

Pete Maki of Sudbury is a Bear hunting guide. Also his son is with the Ontario Provincial Police working around the Owen Sound area but was previously an employee of a tackle shop in Sudbury and continues his passion for fishing. It was Pete that arranged this trip to get together with his son for a fishing trip in Lake Ontario. They were no stranger to trolling the Great Lakes with some salmon and trout fishing in Lake Huron/Georgian Bay and around Manitoulin Island.

The stories on the boat were entertaining with some incredible Bear hunting experiences shared, fish catches reminisced and a fond appreciation for guiding in the outdoors. A labour of love, not a labour as a means for wealth. Pete has been a guide for many years and it I had to ask how the Liberals cancelled the Spring Bear hunt affected his business. We were on the same page with our displeasure of how this came about. It decimated the tourism industry in the north during a time frame where there are no other tourism attractions to draw in dollars. Instead the wait to open lodges (those that stayed in operation) months later and now only rely on summer tourists to make ends meet. Prices of stay at lodges also had to go up to cover the spring loss of revenue. Guides for Bear hunting also fell off the map with the loss of this most important time. Now only a few stayed in business like Pete.

Also the Spring Bear hunt has changed the behaviour of the bears in the north. Bears are now encroaching on urban (town) areas looking for food. Bear attacks on people are talked about in the media, but the true cause to the increased Bear/people exposures are not described in the media as related to taking away the Spring Bear hunt. Media in the south is even more left wing on the topic and describes the hunting season cancelation as a good news story.

We left from the launch at port Dalhousie and set off to fish for staging fish in tight and out front for the first few hours. We didn’t even power up and the kicker motor was started and our troll began as we cleared 20 FOW. The King of the Lake Salmon Tournament was scheduled for the next weekend and a few boats were in the area to start a prefish practice. The bite was slow all around only seeing one other boat net a small salmon. We had two fish on, but they were off before the fight began. Two loops in the 30-60 FOW levels and we decided to go a little deeper. We broke 75 FOW and then 85 FOW and the screen lit up with hooks on the bottom. I figured Lake Trout, but wanted to be sure they weren’t salmon staging a little deeper. Bait was also prevalent in the area at both bottom and mid depths. I dropped the flasher/MC Rocket and Flasher Fly on two riggers down to the bottom and it was only moments later on a zig zag turn that had our first fish take. It was a Lake Trout and it came in with ease weighing around 5 lbs. Then after a picture the other rigger rod moved and the stark bend was released slightly and then doubled over. Pete was on it, this time a better fish. Drag came off the reel, not quickly, but made us think it might be a salmon. It was a heavy fish. Barely any line could be made and we needed to circle the fish to help the retrieve of line. The grey backed Lake Trout came up to the surface behind the boat with it’s big mouth wide open and the net slipped under it’s belly to bring it aboard.
Pete lifted the brute from the net and he was impressed by its size. We put it on the scale and it read 14.4 lbs! Nice.

From Photo_Gallery6

One more loop in the area and the Full core leadcore takes another strike. This time a small salmon comes on board.

I decided we should vacate the area and go to the Blue Zone for some silvers. We picked up and ran out 7 miles to around 290 FOW to the are of our waypoints from last week. It was only a short time and the program of spoons on short leads, wire diver/spoon and 10 colour Leadcore starts firing. Not fast and furious, but a steady pick and we managed a good number of rainbows/ one salmon and one pelagic Brown Trout to the boat. Here are a few to show.

From Photo_Gallery6

From Photo_Gallery6

From Photo_Gallery6

Great fishing with a few guys as passionate about the outdoors of fishing and hunting.

Shane Thombs

Friday, August 19, 2011

Jack and Isaac from Connecticut make the connection on Steelhead, Friday evening August 19, 2011.

I got a call from Jack while he was in a Niagara Falls Hotel with his family on summer vacation from Connecticut. He would like to show his son Isaac what fishing in Canada can amount to. Fishing is fishing, but with a lake that was flat calm and sunny skies, there was more then biting fish to make a memorable outdoor connection for this Father and Son team.

We departed from Port Dalhousie and made our way to the waters where we had success the previous weekend in 290- 310 FOW straight out from Port. When we came off plane the SONAR screen revealed a picture that looked very promising.

From Photo_Gallery5

What to put out was clear before even getting the first line wet with three riggers two divers and two leadcores of 10 colour and 7 colour sets. The riggers were managed in an inverted V with middle rigger running higher then the port and starboard riggers. Spoons were on everything, but the middle rigger was the decoy. Off the downrigger weight was a 5 foot segment of line with a 8“ Spin Doctor in Green Dolphin and a stacker clip set above it 4 feet and with a 15 ft lead. Port and Starboard riggers were set 10 or 15 ft below it with leads stretched out 25-35 feet back. Then the divers on 3 setting out 130 and 150 feet.

Isaac was busy during the four hour trip with numerous fish coming to the boat. Mostly rainbows but the odd smaller Chinook came in as well. Where time between fish allowed, Jack, Isaac and I talked about his schooling and had some pep talks on things that were meaningful for his age. Keeping a positive attitude and taking every opportunity to learn from his teachers even if he doesn’t like them. We talked about how fishing is not about catching but valuable time with friends or family. This night was a true connection between father and son, available by a fishing trip.

Shane Thombs

Sunday, August 14, 2011

East Coaster enjoys an evening on our inland ocean, Lake Ontario. August 14, 2011

Weeks before, I had John, our newest head of the Ministry of Natural Resources Law enforcement, out with his step son Luke and they had a great day on the water with warm, calm season and plenty of fish. This time John was looking to entertain his son Jonah while he was in town.

Jonah had flown in from the east coast where he was in Law School. John and subsequently Jonah are originally from Prince Edward Island and were accustomed to rough ocean seas and nasty weather.

Today was not a day I would normally take clients out in, the wind was moderate out of the east and the rain and thick low level cloud filtered out much of the daylight. It was as dark as dusk in the middle of the afternoon. The wind from the east also made a four foot chop and it would prove to be a great opportunity to run the boat in some nasty chop to see how it handles. John and Jonah were adamant about going out and laughed at the conditions after many experiences in much more adverse conditions on the ocean. I was happy to oblige and look forward to see where and how the fish reacted to these type of conditions.

We motored out heading directly into the waves and with the 21 degree dead rise and Carolina style bow on the Key Largo, the vessel sliced through the waves like a hot knife through butter. Running into them at 23 MPH and not taking a single slap or jolt. The boat truly performed up to my expectations.

We stopped in 230 FOW east of Jordon Harbour which put us in front of Port Dalhousie. Instead of turing the boat and rolling with the waves, as we normally would, I decided we better keep the bow pointed into the waves so we can move deeper still. Ron was busy keeping a straight line while I deployed a 7 rod spread. I was looking for the fish to be high in the water column considering the low light and chop. Many of the sets concentrated on the top 50 feet with temperatures pointing out that at 50 feet was the thermocline. It wasn’t long before we started catching fish and while we went Ron marked the location on the GPS as a Waypoint.

When we reached 290 FOW there as a distinct change in the picture on the sonar graph. We were marking pods of bait and many fish. Almost instantly seeing this, we were into fish. Shots were regular. Jonah and John took turns and many times had to grab one rod after another as I was busy netting, removing hooks, and releasing fish after fish. It was fast a furious action and I was happy to have Ron on the wheel to keep us from spinning around in the waves and messing up the 7 lines.

The Downriggers were hot with the centre rigger set the highest in the water column at 28 feet and the Port and starboard riggers beneath it staggered at 35 and 45 feet. I was targeting Rainbows and keeping the riggers above the thermocline was the ticket for the fast catching.

In the middle of catching rainbows John also managed to catch this great looking Coho John (right) is holding up along side Jonah (left)and his biggest Steelhead of the day.

From Photo_Gallery5

7 and 10 colour leadcores were also towed by small inline boards and wire divers on either side of the boat were set with 107 divers with spoons and made to run out to the sides on 3 settings with 110- 140 feet of line to focus on the 30-40 foot level.

We were scheduled to fish until 8:00 pm and as that time approached the already dark skies reduced the amount of dusk low light almost dark. We pulled lines and motored back and this time running 28 -30 mph running with the waves. By the time we got to dock it was dark and it wasn’t long after the boat was on the trailer that I was in complete blackness. The rain was only spitting through the entire trip so rain gear was worn but managed to stay dry.

Jonah was impressed by the fishing in Lake Ontario and managed his biggest Steelhead at 10 lbs. We shared some stories and sent Jonah off with good luck with his schooling and a safe flight back. Clients with true sea legs are hard to find, but John and Jonah were not your average guest on board, they were steady and sure in the less steady Lake Ontario conditions.

Shane Thombs

Monday, August 1, 2011

Robert and grandson Daniel from West Virginia, go fishing on the Canadian Civic Holiday, Aug 1st, 2011

The world wide web has extended my business once more. Robert found me through a website designed to provide a search for charter fishing businesses and I registered with the site in the late spring. Come late July I had a phone call from Robert looking to book two days on Lake Ontario while they are here to enjoy a vacation with family in Hamilton.

The Sunday charter had to be cancelled due to Thunderstorms that rolled through only 1 hour before departure. The weather had been rocky to say the least over the last few days and Tstorms seemed to blow through once a day.

Our Monday departure conditions were much more favourable. Light winds from the west and the threat of Tstorms in the afternoon.

We motored out to 100 FOW in front of the Microwave tower that stands at the top of the escarpment beside Woverton Road in Grimsby. It was merely minutes after the first rod was set and only having two others engaged in the troll that the first rod went off on the Port side downrigger. Daniel reeled in the first fish of the trip a small salmon; But as soon as the fish was in the net the middle rigger fired and this fish was a much bigger salmon. It started to pull line of the reel when the starboard downrigger popped up and followed suit. At that moment Daniel’s line broke. But with a fish on the other rod, it was a quick swap out and he was back into fighting another muscular fish.

The fight lasted for minutes and we managed to bring the fish into the net only to our amazement. Firstly, Daniel had just caught the biggest fish of his life, a fish that was big enough to eat his previous personal best. But I was amazed of this fish not for his size, but that we managed to get the fish in the boat. The rod that had hooked up moments before and broke the line was a Green Dolphin SpinDoctor and Atommik Tournament Hammer Fly. That fly was in his mouth, and the larger sized snap swivel a the front of the Spin doctor was caught on the hook of the spoon that was on the downrigger rod that fired a sort time after this fish hit and broke the line. A miracle we caught this fish and Daniel lifted his 22 lbs Salmon for this picture.

From Photo_Gallery5

For the rest of the trip we caught numerous other salmon, had great conversations over the differences in politics from Canada and the US and other matters of the economy and employment. We had the world’s problems solved between the gunnels of my boat in 6 hours.

The Sky was turning dark to the North and moving fast across the lake towards us. It was already the end of our trip and the rods were in with little time to spare. We got to the dock and the thunder was cracking. Daniel and Robert managed to get to there car before the rain came pouring down and I managed to take the boat back to the slip and get the gear off before the rain came down in buckets. Talk about timing.

Days after out trip Daniel, Robert, and his sister and grandmother stopped at the house to pick up there fish. During the rush I offered to clean them instead of pulling them out in the rain.

Daniel was excited to boat such a great fish and Robert was happy to treat his grandson to the experience and find quality time together.

Shane Thombs

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Aidan takes his personal best Chinook Salmon, July 30, 2011

A fun trip with Gord Viles and my 6 year old son Aidan.

We were in Gord's boat and had planned to take some footage for the Flea Stripper tool used to remove fish hook flea and spinny water flea. See for more.

It was a much slower day for numbers of fish, but we did manage two roughly the same size. One of which happened to be Aidan's personal best Chinook Salmon. Check out this video clip. Congrats Aidan, and thanks to Gord for the morning fish.

Shane Thombs

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Holland to Grimsby, Fishing makes it a Smaller World; Eve of July 27, 2011

It’s a small world and in my profession of using computer software to view the world on my computer screen, it’s even a smaller world to consider running into someone that uses similar software but located somewhere else on the planet.

Ton and his son Bas had boarded for a evening trip and it wasn’t until a short time after leaving the dock where I asked what Ton was doing in Canada after noting his thick dutch accent. His home was in Holland and he was here on business but also brought the family to experience Ontario and parts of the United States while Ton was traveling to various cities but returning to a house they had rented in Vineland for a number of weeks.

The world became smaller when I asked “What type of business was he in?”, and he told me he was a sales rep for the Software called Bentley MicroStation. When I had told him about my work experience with GIS and MicroStation we started talking about all things Mapping and software related to the trade, people we knew and places that he has seen it used. Small world indeed.

The lake was absolutely beautiful for our trip, it was calm and the skies were clear. I was curious to try new water. I went through my notes from past years and found the same date from last year. After punching in the Latitude and Longitude in the GPS we were on our way. The waypoint put us in 140 FOW and straight out from Bartlett Road in Grimsby. We initial scanned with the Sonar for signs of bait and fish and it took about three minutes before seeing a respectable school of baitfish.

We set up in 160 FOW and angled outward. It was a short time of about 15 minutes before the downrigger with Flasher/fly went off. First up was Bas and he managed a small Chinook to the boat. Then a diver rod was shaking and Ton was there to bring in another small Chinook to the net. By then we were in 180 FOW and then things changed.

At 200 FOW all the way out to 250 FOW we discovered a great number of rainbows. For the next three hours Ton and Bas remained on the rods bringing in one after another. All rods were firing and we also had two triple headers and 1 double header.

From Photo_Gallery5

Some of the rainbows put on a great aerial display behind the boat.

Most of the rainbows were small. Mostly around 4 lbs, but there were the odd 6-8 lbers and two that read just over 10 lbs on the scale. The riggers were hot and full core leadcores on inline boards took more time to set out then it was to get another fish on them. It seemed 8:00 pm came quickly and the sun was going down. Rods were not pulled but rather taken out of the water because of catching a final fish.

From Photo_Gallery5

Bas and Ton were an enjoyable father and son team that joined us all the way from Holland. The world is a smaller place when you we talk to other fellow fisherpersons. No matter where on earth we come from- we all strive to catch our next fish on the other end
of our fishing line.

Shane Thombs

Friday, July 22, 2011

Salmon, put up your dukes with John and Luke, July 22, 2011

Ron has been a long time friend and during the days of being deck hands on Reel Pleasure fishing Charters in the mid nineties, him and I cut our teeth on Salmon and Trout trolling on Lake Ontario. Ron has since made a career as a Conservation Officer. From time to time he comes out to see silver fish again.

My reports of quality fishing sparked an interest for Ron to entertain his boss John and his boy Luke for an evening of fishing. John had recently been promoted to be the head of Natural Resources Law enforcement in the Province moving out of the district and in transition to move to the MNR Peterborough head office. With the new promotion comes a Blackberry that rarely goes quiet. John originated from PEI and was accustom to big water and boats in the ocean. Luke at 9 years old was without the same experiences yet and a trip out fishing on a salmon boat was one that will truly set the tone for future fishing experiences.

From Photo_Gallery5

John, Ron and Luke met me at Lake Court Marina in Grimsby as we pushed off the dock and motored our way east for about 8 miles before setting down near the waters that were found productive two day prior to. Also the Salmon Dance Tournament scheduled for the next morning was to blast off from Jordon Harbour and it was an opportunity to see if the fish were still in the vicinity to angle for, in competition, the next morning.

Two riggers, three divers and two lead cores were set out. The baits and numbers were no different in choice from those that were productive a few days before. It didn’t take long and we were into fish. Salmon and Rainbows paraded to the net and we managed a doubleheader and triple header. John and Luke were on rods for the majority of the evening boating a good number of fish and a few decent fish came unhooked. John and Luke managed a 2 salmon over the 18 lbs mark and one around 15 lbs. 4 salmon intotal came in the boat and another 3 rainbow trout and a Lake Trout.

From Photo_Gallery5

When we came back to dock, nightfall was upon us and the temperatures dropped to a comfortable level as we took some pictures and then sat at the picnic table and had a few cold ones. Great fishing with John and Luke!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Reid's Christmas Gift, "He just thinks were fishin" Evening July 20, 2011

The past five falls semesters I have been teaching part-time after work at a local private college in Stoney Creek. I taught Introduction to Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to students in the program of Communication Dispatch. These students are working towards becoming the person on the other end of the phone when you call in an emergency for Fire, Ambulance or Police. GIS in a nutshell is a computer map with the added intelligence of data associated to the features you find in the map. In dispatching for 911, they need to know how to get from Point A and to the “ACCURATE” location of Point B.

In the fall of 2010 one of the students in the class got into a conversation of fishing and how GPS and mapping go hand-in-hand. This sparked the conversation about my charter business I run throughout the spring and summer and for Sheila it gave her an idea for a Christmas present for her son Reid. A fishing trip on Lake Ontario for 4 hours!

The evening of July 20rth was much anticipated by Reid and Sheila was ready to join him on board to take pictures and live in the moment with her son’s new experience fishing for Salmon and Trout on Lake Ontario.

We pushed off the dock at 4:00 and headed out in the lake with a stiff South wind. We headed East North East to set up in 120 FOW and drop lines. Mark Penner was ready on the wheel to manage a straight trolling line while 4 foot waves where trying otherwise. We caught one small Chinook salmon early on and then the rods went quiet for about 1 ½ hours. By then we had trolled with the waves for a number of miles to put us in front of Tufford Rd between Beamsville and Jordon. The rods started to fire and soon we were into our first double header. A Chinook in the 18 lbs mark coming off a wire diver on 3 setting and out 140 with a Green NBK and Mirage fly. The other fish was a rainbow trout that came to the net after being caught on a full core and Yeck 88 M&M gGlow.

Not long after setting the rods another rigger rod goes haywire with yet another powerful king salmon was hooked up. This fish fell for a Silver bullet Reg sized MC Rocket behind a Atom-mik custom Spin Doctor called White Killer. That fish spun out 500 feet of line in short order and we circled the fish to gain back some line. Meanwhile we hook up with two other fish to make a tripleheader and Sheila was on one of the rods and I tried to maintain pressure on yet another good line burning king on the third rod. Sheila’s fish comes to the net and it’s a smaller lake trout and we quickly pass the rod to her and get the Lake Trout out of the net for Reid’s fish that was finally making it a shorter distance to the net. We scoop the fish in the net and bring it on the deck, Reid was totally exhausted and at the same time exhilarated when he seen this fish in the net. We put the fish on the scales and it read 29 lbs! I measured it and it’s Total length was 40 inches.

From Photo_Gallery4

After a quick few photos the fish went back and Sheila passed the rod with the other fish on it for Reid to crank in. By this time Reid had broken a sweat and his arms were feeling the strain of yet another quality Chinook Salmon. He managed this fish on a Braid Diver set out 150 feet on 3 setting and using a NorthPort Nailer Blue Butterfly. We weighed it and it pulled the scaled down to 15 lbs.

Reid was perma-grin at this point and I said to him “Merry Christmas” from mom. The sun started to drop down and the evening was coming to a close, but there was still enough time for one more. And one more it was. The rigger rod springs from a fish and Reid gets set to do battle. This time it’s a heavy deadweight and he inches line back and forth as the fish had gave little ground. Dusk was approaching so Lines were being cleared at this time and Reid muscled the fish to the net. It was a massive Lake Trout. Put it on the scales and it was slightly over the 20 lbs mark.

From Photo_Gallery4

On the ride back Reid and Sheila shared conversation as the cool evening breeze blew by while on our run back to Grimsby. That conversation was between them, and as the Song “Just Fishin’ from Trace Adkins goes, “what I call liven and he just thinks were fishin.”.

Merry Christmas Reid!

Shane Thombs

Mike's On-The-Water Clinic, Morning July 20th, 2011

I find one of the most enjoyable but not commonly requested of me, is a service I provide called “On-the-water Clinic”. The concept is to allow a one on one information sharing to help someone who would like to fast track their learning curve in the facets of Great Lakes Trolling on their boat or my boat.

The morning of July 20th Mike was looking for advice to help turn his 16 ft aluminum fishing boat into a salmon catching machine. He has the rig to get it done, and he hired me to come on board and to show him a few things that I would recommend to help up his fishing expectations and catch rates. Mike works long hours at Chrysler and when he gets on the water, he would like to spend less time seeking fish and more time catching fish. Nothing is cut in dry in fishing, but to demonstrate new techniques, add a different perspective and show attention to details can carry with the client a number of fish catching intellectual assets.

After conversation with Mike on his equipment, and areas of salmon fishing as his interests in learning, I brought along some braid and wire diver rods, leadcore rods and a copper rod. Mike’s experience with anything more then downriggers was limited and it was my goal to help validate that having a variety of equipment will go a long way to catching more fish when the bite slows on the riggers.

I haven’t been fishing from Fisherman’s Pier, but during the week day it was easy to make out where a handful of boats were fishing and it provided a starting point.

Immediately I set up the graph and GPS to read on split screen, with the fish ID off and the sensitivity cranked up. I was familiar with his Lowrance unit and it made it easy to place the settings for our trolling needs.

One of the two downriggers failed to work and although that was concerning to Mike, with a four rod spread one rigger was plenty. So one rigger rod was set, one wire diver rod on the starboard side and braid on the port side and a Fullcore (10 colours) leadcore straight out the back. In the first two hours we boated four small shaker Chinooks on the flasher/fly on the braid diver set on 3 and out 140 feet. The other was the leadcore that took a few shots with a black/purple/silver NK mag from Mike’s box.

We trolled the 100 – 120 feet of water and I suggested we look shallower since we had yet to see bait. Getting close to the shell pier we reached 75 FOW and bingo the Fullcore rod starts clicking out line at an alarming rate. Mike was on it and it was clear that it was a decent fish. While he works the rod, I look on the graph and we are thick into bait in 65 FOW. Yes we found the bait. So we turn on the fish and show Mike how the driving the boat can help fight a fish just as much as the guy on the rod and reel. That fish comes in and it is a perfect 18 lbs king.

From Photo_Gallery5

We set up again and work east along the Shell pier in the 65 FOW just along the pods of bait. The diver takes another small king and while Mike fights it the Leadcore reel starts singing once more. We switch rods and he is on the bigger of the two. Another 18 lbs king and the shake manages the successful double header. We again set up and work the same water and find a scum line in front of Bronte.

The Wire diver rod takes a bite and Mike brings in this small Atlantic Salmon, but while we get it in the net the Full core rod goes off one more time. In this picture he is holding the Atlantic Salmon while the leadcore rod is bent over from another fish in his other hand.

From Photo_Gallery5

This time the Chinook was a little smaller at 15lbs but it was a frisky fish.

The trip was nearly over with the noon hour approaching by this time and I merely made the comment that sometimes there are particular rods that are hot and sometimes they are not. But there are also times when you know that running a particular bait will produce and you have to keep it in the water. That rod was the rigger rod. No sooner was that out of my mouth when sure enough the rigger rod jerks from it’s regular bend to a doubled over approach. The rigger rod was equipped with the MC Rocket behind a SpinDoctor gets a hook up and the drag starts to peel line. Mike wrestles with the fish and we manage that one after clearing the rods and circling the fish. It too was 18lbs and a great end to a fabulous day on the water.

Needless to say, Mike came back to the ramp with a new experience and a different insight on how to fish for salmon. Thanks Mike for inviting me on your boat and we will have to do it again sometime.

Shane Thombs

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Visser’s didn’t miss-er, on Lake O; Eve of July 16, 2011

Chris Visser had booked a trip the previous Saturday, but due to on shore winds, we needed to reschedule, but this time Visser didn’t miss-er. Chris’s father Jon and uncle joined him as we departed at 3:00 pm.

We were charged up after a great morning charter and headed to our waypoints that were so productive only a few hours ago. We set lines and the first rod went off and Chris was first to boat a fish- A nice rainbow trout in the 9-10 lbs bracket. But for the next two hours we searched around our waypoints and the fish were not showing up on the SONAR like we had seen in the morning. We managed to hook up on a decent Chinook on a wire diver flasher/fly on 1 ½ setting out 100. It came to the boat and pulled the scales to 18 lbs!

The decision to troll to shallow water to see if the fish had moved in to feed as the evening continued. We angled back Southeast towards the weathermarkers and we started to take shots on the riggers and on the leadcores pulling in smaller kings and many rainbow trout. When we reached 110 FOW total mayhem started with rods starting to fire at a regular rate. First with smaller kings and rainbows that cleared the cores and we put them in the rack to get them out of the way of the big bites. Where leading up to the evening bite, spoons dominated throughout the day now was switching to a flasher/fly and flasher MC Rocket bite. 3 Diver rods were set with two on starboard side and one on the port side. On Starboard we used wire diver at 1 ½ setting and out 110 with flasher/fly and the other 3 setting out 120 ft with a Northport Nailer Butterfly. On the Port side was a braid diver on 3 setting and out 130 with flasher/fly. Also the riggers were set with Flasher/Fly on one side and Flasher/MCRocket on the other.

Seemed a rigger rod would go off and with a back up rigger rod already rigged with another flasher/fly was sent down while fighting the first. As soon as it was down it would go off before the first was in the boat. Divers were also taking shots at the same time and at one point we had a triple header with two mature kings dashing line from two reels and a high jumping rainbow on a diver rod. Jon was on a giant king for nearly 30 minutes from the rigger rod using the MCRocket Silver bullet behind a Whitekiller SpinDoctor. The line pulled from 50 feet behind the ball to nearly 550 feet on the reel’s counter. Both Jon and Chris manage there kings to the boat at nearly the same time. Jon took this 29 lbs king and Chris with one a little over half it’s size (still a decent sized king.)

From Photo_Gallery4

Evenings like these are the ones you don’t want to miss, and the Vissers didn’t. Great times and many great memories were made.

Shane Thombs

Building a Good Day on Lake Ontario, Sat. morning July 16th, 2011

Tom, whom I got to know through working at the City of Hamilton as he works in the Building Section in the Planning Department, was in conversations of fishing since we first met last fall. I like interruptions at work when it comes to fishing talk! :) Tom is an avid fisherman as well, but hadn’t been given the opportunity to try out open water trolling on the Great Lakes and asked if I can show him what it’s all about. Short answer is “Yes lets go when the fishing is good- July perhaps.”

On Saturday Morning of July 16th that day finally arrived along with Tom, Tom’s Uncle Peter (school teacher) and Peter’s son Nicklas joined us dockside in Grimsby at 6:00 am for a trip across a flat Lake Ontario and a golden Eastern horizon as the sun made it’s way up.

We motored out to 120 FOW and set up heading North towards deeper water. It wasn’t long when the first rigger rod started pumping and Nicklas was motivated to bring the first fish in the boat. A small Rainbow trout, but it broke the ice.

Then consistently throughout the day all the rods were producing fish and the fish count grew to over 25 fish by the end of the trip. We worked waters around 160- 220 FOW and concentrated baits in the top 35 feet where some schools of prey fish (bait) and plenty of fish were showing up on the SONAR. Notable fish for the day were Rainbows up to 11 lbs.

From Photo_Gallery4

From Photo_Gallery4

All three experienced a decent sized king (Chinook ) salmon from between 15- 18 lbs.

From Photo_Gallery4

From Photo_Gallery4

From Photo_Gallery4

And a few small ones went home with them for the BBQ that evening.

Tom, Peter and Nicklas were good on the rods and ready to do battle with high jumping rainbows and drag burning kings. A great trip with the bunch and look forward to our August trip for Walleye on Lake Erie.

Shane Thombs
FINtastic Sportfishing

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Sudbury Sunday Morning, July 10, 2011

Our friends Paul and Glen from Sudbury recommended us to a friend they work with (Keith) to make the drive down to Grimsby and come out for some Salmon and Trout.

At 6:00 am Keith and his two friends come on board. They said they were into it last night, hey it was Sudbury boys out of town on a Saturday night. So it was a Sudbury Sunday morning trip out of Grimsby.

A 5 mile boat ride to just inside the west weather marker we set up in 80 FOW. After talking to a friend the morning before, he had some success with Chinooks out from the rifle range. Knowing this, it was our game plan to seek for bigger kings in the water between the weather markers and Fifty Point.

The lake was flat and the skies were overcast with high level clouds. The temps for the day were supposed to climb very high, but the cloud cover seemed to help the temperatures throughout the duration of our trip.

When the first line was set on the rigger down 28 ft, the second rod was only pinned in the other rigger when the first one went off with a rainbow coming to the boat. Third rod to go out was a diver on 3 setting and out 90 feet and within minutes it goes off. This time an unsuspecting surprise, a Brown Trout about three lbs.

Then all of 7 rods were out and then a steady pick of rainbows came to the boat with the odd small salmon. In the meantime I ask my dad (who’s driving) Keeping driving out until you stop marking pods of bait then we will turn west. That turn didn’t happen until we reached 185 feet of water.

The Wire Diver set on 1 ½ and out 85 feet with a NBK SpinDoctor and Skienmachine Attomik fly takes a major hit and peels drag. That fish comes to the boat after a lengthy fight and a double header with a smaller king, and the fish weighs in at 18 lbs.

From Photo_Gallery4

Then there was a number of rainbows for a while when we decided to then turn back around and go over our waypoint where we hit the 18 lbs fish.

We get close to the waypoint when the full core on the planer board pulling a Hog wild Magnum Warrior Spoon goes wheeling with a screaming drag. But this time the drag didn’t stop and with concern, we started to turn on the fish. Now the fish had slowed it’s pace for pulling drag, but to me there was a little difference in the mode of fight that this fish was displaying. Staying down and using it’s brute strength and think and heavy body this king was applying pressure on the equipment that concerned me to watch. After all that line back on the reel and the fish in sight, the boat erupted with excitement as this fish was nothing to sneeze at.

I put the net around the beast and ask for help to manage the net over the motors and into the boat. Dad helped and the fish hit the floor with a thud. Keith was spent. His arms like rubber, but his adrenalin to pick up the monster wasn’t second guessed. He held it for a few photos and then on the scale to see what she turns out in numbers. 30.8 lbs reads the Digital scale! Impressive.

From Photo_Gallery4

A few other kings and a bunch more rainbows and two Lake Trout completed a Grand Slam of four species and 11 kept fish in the box. The count of fish that came on board was over 20 fish but we lost count. Even on the way in, a few other great Chinook hook-ups were on the line but managed to get off during the fight.

From Photo_Gallery4

The fish cleaning resulted in a decent amount of fish going back to Sudbury and a few more fishing story’s to be told.

Shane Thombs

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Sean and Peter, Saturday Morning July 9th, 2011

Sean and his father Peter jumped on board for a morning 6 hour trip begining the day at 6:00 am.

After a great evening of fishing the night before with Doug I had in mind where to start fishing. The lake was rough with 4 foot waves out of the Northeast all morning. This made a sloppy ride, but Chris and Peter were familiar with rough water after fishing excursions out of Costa Rica for sailfish.

It wasn't long after our 4 1/2 mile run straight out to the Grimsby weather markers where we hook our first fish; a rainbow trout on the downrigger set 30 feet and using a glow frog Northport Nailer K100. There were a number of fish that followed with a mix of rainbows, salmon and lake trout. But the highlight of the trip was a giant Lake trout that Sean managed to the boat. The fish pulled the scale down enough to read 21 lbs! Big Lake Trout. Good stuff Sean.

From Photo_Gallery4

Shane Thombs

Friday, July 8, 2011

Doug the Fireman puts out the fire from hot fishing, Friday Eve July 8th, 2011

Doug was given a Father’s Day gift of a fishing charter on Friday night. To say the least he was ecstatic to come on board and depart from Grimsby in search of salmon and trout. John Poirier was also with us to steer us in the right direction and keep us on fish. It wasn’t long in the set up before the action started. Soon the back of the boat was busy with fish taking shallow set spoons on Riggers and shallow set divers (out 90 feet on 3 setting was hot). Spoon colours didn’t seem to matter and it wasn’t long before the longer 7 and full core leadcores were put away and replaces with 5 colour leadcores.

The warm water was thin across the surface and it appeared the optimal depth to catch fish was between 25 and 35 feet down. Below that it was ice cold. The Sonar only showed the odd hook , but bait was around so that was enough to know to stay in the area of the weather markers with the most concentration inside the weather markers into as shallow as 70 FOW.

We boated 9 for 11 with a grand slam of Rainbow Trout, Lake Trout, Chinook Salmon and an Atlantic Salmon! The largest Chinook was 12 lbs, but the highlight of the night was when the strike from an 11 lbs rainbow sends the fish out of the water 1 ½ times it’s length in the air.

From Photo_Gallery4

The fish was high flying and a true challenge to bring in. Biggest rainbow Doug has ever seen. He caught his biggest Chinook salmon and his first Atlantic salmon that night as well. Fishing was hot- but Doug the fireman could handle it.

Shane Thombs
FINtastic Sportfishing

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Canada Day Weekend 2011

They say it’s better to be late then to never show! Finally it is time to ready the boat for it’s first trip of the season. Thursday before the long Canada Day weekend, friend Brian Blainey and I launched the boat at Lake Court Marina in Grimsby and while he parked the trailer I started up both the Main motor and kicker motor. Both started right up and purred like a kitten.
Barb, Brian and I took it for a spin out on the lake taking a nice long sweeping turn out in the lake while the sun was going down. Motor ran great. Back to dock and be ready for a fish come the morning.

Canada Day Friday Morning was a nice one. We set the boat up with the equipment and Aidan (my son), Brian and myself. We motored out to 70 FOW straight in front inside the weather marker. Setting rods was a slow process as /I was checking over everything as we go. Before we got to the third rod the first rod went off and Aidan was on the rod. Then it was a double header with the other rod in the other rigger. Brian was on it. Aidan’s Lake Trout came off, but Brian managed his Lake Trout to the back of the boat where we unhooked it at the transom. Then the other rigger rod set after Aidan’s lost fish was pumping and another Lake Trout was hooked and landed this time by Aidan.

Adjustments were made to avoid the parade of Lake Trout by speeding up and keeping the baits higher in the water column. Even that couldn’t keep them off. Fullcore leadcore behind an inline board pulls back and Brian pulls in this brute 19.2 lbs Lake Trout.

From Photo_Gallery4

We moved out to deeper water out to 195 FOW and the braided line 107 Frog colour Deeper Diver out 90 feet on a 3 setting with a Michigan Stinger in Mongoose with black ladder takes a couple rainbows in at around three pounds each.  The rigger down 40 ft was good for some shaker kings and lakers, and the sliders were productive with more rainbows.

From Drop Box

The biggest king at only about 9 lbs came in on a wire diver black Walker 107 Deeper Diver set on 1 ½ and out 110 with Mnt Dew NBK with a Mirage Howie Fly.

It was a great day on the water and the first trip on the boat was a success.

On Sunday my dad and Aidan were up early for a morning fish. We began our troll south east of the East weather marker and my game plan was to troll east to hunt for more kings.

Immediately we start hooking up with a 4 lbs Lake Trout and a smaller rainbow on a shallow diver set and riggers. As we troll east we discover the down water temps were getting colder so a loop inside lined up in front of Bartlett Rd in Grimsby we troll into 75 FOW and then turned and troll west again. When reaching the east weather marker We catch another Lake Trout  and then another three rainbows as we troll west past the west weather marker and further to in front of  the microwave tower located at the top of Woverton Rd that runs up the Escarpment.

From Drop Box

From Drop Box

Nearing 10:30am we decide to troll our way back to the weather markers and turn in and pull lines. At 11:00 am we reach the middle of the two weather markers and turn in between them. The Wire diver using a black 107 deeper diver on a 3 setting out 90 and pulling a North Port Nailer Butterfly with Pearl ladder back tape starts head thrashing. I grab the rod and the drag lacks a smooth retreat of wire as the mid teens king starts swiftly pulling line from the reel. After a five minute fight the hooks pull free and the fish swims away. Great day again fishing with dad and Aidan.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Salmon at Grimsby Weather Marker, Saturday Eve June 11, 2011

The last day of the St Catharines Game & Fish Spring derby, there was a nervous Brian Blaney as he waited to hear if his top spot 26 lbs 7 oz king we weighed in Thursday evening, would hold in there for the last few hours. Here's a picture of it.
From Brian shows his 26lbs 7 oz St Kitts Derby Entry

Bad news- it got beat out at 4:00 pm-we found out the next day.  I stand corrected - He won! Congrats bud!  Note to self - hearing information through third person is never the best:)

The fishing in the evening started off with two quick kings, both on divers. Wire out 120 on 2 setting with Wonderbread Spin doctor and Mirage Howie fly. That king went 3 lbs 11 oz. The next one was a spunky 18 lbs king tagged with 1627 that took a Michigan Stinger Glow Alewife Stingray behind a Walker 107 wonderbread diver on braid back 200 ft.
From 18lbs takes the reel counter up to 550 ft before turning

There was a period where we couldn't get anything going despite marking fish continuously in the rigger lines but nothing willing to take a lure. With many changes with spoons and flasher fly combos we finally managed two more kings. One smaller shaker on a free slider using another Glow Alewife Michigan Stinger with the rigger down 50 ft and slider around 27 ft. The other king was a frisky 11 lbs 12 oz king that jumped twice. A Yeck 66 in Glow Frog 40 feet behind the ball and 33 feet down. It was tagged 1629.
Down speeds throughout the night were 2.0 mph on Depth Raider.
End count was 4 for 5 all around the Weather marker in 95 fow to 125 fow.

Better luck next time on the derby standings Brian.
Shane Thombs

Friday, May 6, 2011

Grimsby skinny water, May 6, 2011

John wasn’t available to get out early on the Friday Morning so we left Foran’s ramp in Grimsby at 9:00 am. Knowing our game plan was to roll out past the rocks and start fishing, we warmed up the kicker in the marina and followed out past the muddy water coming out of Forty Mile Creek. We started in 25 FOW and trolled out to about 45 FOW. Winds were Southwest on our stern and the heavy overcast let go some light showers periodically throughout the morning. We started with two spoons and two Fastrak body baits fishing from bottom to flatlines off the boards up top.

Once breaking past 25 feet of water we were in clearer water. It was evident that the southwesterly winds and calm seas for over the past week was started to work against us in keeping expansive coloured water out to any reasonable depth. The SONAR showed very little in the clearer water with the odd fish extremely high in the water column.

Surface temperatures were 44’F and in the muddy water close to shore it was 46’F. Very little bait on the SONAR as it was thought that is too high in the water column for us to see them.

With two hours gone by without a sniff we decided to turn in shallow and put the stick baits and shallow sets a real go. We trolled to inside 22 FOW in front of Grimsby Beach and just reaching the faint coloured water provided by the plume from Forty Mile Creek roughly 1 km west of our location when our first fish of the day started to move the rigger rod on the starboard side. The rigger set 11 ft down and a Michigan Stinger Stingray NBK set back 75 feet takes a coho. While reeling it in the Starboard inline planer board gets heavy in the water and then starts pulling back. John is on that rod to begin a double.

The coho comes to the boat easily and was recorded and released before bringing the fish on the board to the net. The fish come in to the net and the first king went 12 lbs at 10:40 am. Tag number 1626 and released.
Bomber Long A Red Back with Yellow Belly and black dots. 150 feet back flatlined on Mono.

We trolled west back to in front of Foran’s and then turned and went East again to stay in the 20 FOW and troll with the noted .7 mph currents that were moving east along the shoreline. Our down speed was 1.8-2.1 mph and GPS was 2.3 mph going east and nearly 3 mph trolling west.

Trolling just past the rocks at Forans in 20 FOW the port side in line board gets slammed. It is peeling backwards at an alarming rate and the board in like a highspeed water skier and the reel sounds like the whining of the ski boat’s motor! It was humming along and then off in the distance the king clears the water and instantly the line goes slack. Broke off the only Yellow top white belly Bomber Long A that was set on a flatline on Mono 130 feet behind the board.

On the same troll to in front of Grimsby Beach, we turn out and it slows the port side board to nearly a crawl, and then it jerks back and starts going in reverse. Fish on! The king was sluggish this time and throughout the fight Johns thinks it’s a lake Trout. Then at the back of the boat the fish wakes up and starts short runs and weaves back and forth. The fish comes to the boat and weighs 11 lbs. Given tag number 1628 and released.

This was a Bomber Long A 130 feet back and was another discontinued Bomber Colour. Silver with orange head, yellow top and belly.

Time ran out and we needed to head in at 1:00 pm. 3 for 4, but wish we clued in on the shallow fish earlier. That’s fishing.

Shane Thombs

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Ken Fisher Memorial Derby, April 30, 2011

13 boats and 30 people made for a great showing to the Strait Line Anglers Club annual Ken Fisher Memorial derby and club day celebration. Ken Fisher was a good friend. I fished with him every weekend for nearly three years on board the Grey Ghost. He was a joker, a story teller and an avid Salmon fisherman. He put a lot of energy in keeping the club on track. He was a treasurer for many consecutive terms and continued to press the guys to keep the club a unity of good friends and great pride of being a part of the club. Ken Fisher passed away before his time with brain cancer and the club will not forget his passion for fishing and fishing friends through the club.

The day was picture perfect with sunshine and little wind. The spring, thus far, has been cold and rainy and even though we were at the end of April, the fish were still in a typical early April patterning of shallow and only feeding in short time windows and when the opportunity presents itself.

A 6:30 am blast-off had us guessing where to start. The King of the Lake (KOTL) tournament out of Port Dalhousie had their blast-off at 6:00 am and had already reached their fishing locations before we started. We noticed that a number of the KOTL tournament boats were fishing west of Jordon out to as far as Grimsby . Waters in front of Beamsville were the most plentiful with a cluster of boats, and we decided to run out in that direction and scan with the sonar for clues to tell us when to pull off the throttle and start our morning troll.

The SONAR didn’t reveal anything that would tell us to stop, so John said- lets set up on our old early April 2009 waypoint straight out from Vinland in 50 FOW. Our surface temperature was 42’F. We watched as the boats continued to troll west in front of us and moved shallower over the course of the next hour, but not nets were pulled. We followed suit and turned in around the location of the end of Tufford Rd between Vineland and Beamsville. On our turn in and deciding to turn back east along what we finally come across was some green water in 30 FOW, we hit a coho on a three colour and NK28 mirror spoon with Mnt Dew Tape on the face of the spoon.

The decision was made to pull lines and run back to in front of Jordon. We set-up in 40 FOW and continued to troll in shallower and into coloured water from the plume coming out of Jordon Harbour . The water inside of 30FOW was chocolate brown. Many boats were fishing in the muddy water, but we decided to work the water outside of 30FOW

We marked some fish close to bottom in 40 FOW and worked one small area over and over.

A Bomber Long A with a yellow back and white belly was set 50 ft behind the ball and down 28 ft.

After a short time the rod takes a light strike and John takes the rod and pulls the line out of the release with a quick jerk of the rod and then quickly gathers the slack line only to set up on a heavier fish. It wasn’t long and the drag started to pull off the reel. Not a long run, but it was clear it was a king. A short fight and the king came to the net. Then the other rigger using a Black and Purple customized with metallic metal flake on the side also set 50 feet back and down 22 feet.

I grabbed the rod and quickly brought in another small coho.

We work the area, but nothing seems to move so we angle outward and a short time later hit one last fish. Another coho on the three colour leadcore pulling a Orange Crush NK 28.

Time was running out and weighin at 2:30, we decided to call it a day at 2:00 and go it to get prepared for the weighin and BBQ. Everyone managed to catch fish and it was easy to see that it was anyones game to catch the largest fish- salmon or otherwise.

We managed to weigh the largest with our king coming in at 15.96 lbs about 3 pounds over second place.Great day to be on the water, and a great event for the fellow Strait Line Anglers.

Shane Thombs