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