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.