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