Monday, October 8, 2012

Giving Thanks to Lake Ontario Salmon on Thanksgiving Monday, October 8, 2012

This trip would make it two years in a row where fishing on Thanksgiving weekend was not only possible, but the making of a very memorable trip. The weather was beautiful, the lake was flat calm and the sun was shining. Oh and did I miss something - YES the salmon were on the fall feed.

From Photo_Gallery10

Fall time is usually the most overlooked time of the year to fish for salmon. I mention that I am out fishing for them and I often get- well haven't they gone in the creek to spawn by now. My response is "That's the big mature spawning fish, we are after the 1-3 year olds that can find 15 lbs silver sided tanks ready to do battle.

From Photo_Gallery10

Also another funny observation is that these fish are like spring time salmon and fight like they are supercharged. It's like the cooling waters adds a little energy to there fight ont he line.

This day I had my friend Rob who happends to the the Grimsby TSC store manager, and his friend David. David works for the Niagara Region Public Health department as a Food Safty Inspection manager. At the City of Hamitlon I also worked for the Public Health department and we had "shop talk" conversations throughout the day.

The trip started off with brisk fall air and a smooth boat ride watching the sun rise off our right shoulders.

We stopped 5 times to scan water during our brisk 14 mile morning ride on flat water, and when we finally found them, the fish were biting. Happy Thanksgiving!

It was not a daybreak bite. It took until 7:45 am for our first bite and then they shut down at 12:30 pm.

Cutbait behind a Glow Splatter 10" short lead down 60 feet managed three kings. One king on a Blue NBK Protroll with Hoover fly on diver out 185'. Outside of that it was all spoons.

Speed was 2.7 mph on FishHawk, and temps read 50'F down 54 feet. 56'F on the surface.

Little cruising & graph watching revealed a tight pocket of of 3 yr old kings, bows, & cohos 35-65 down over 300 FOW. Every rod in the spread went off, and spoons in Watermelon & Blue Dolphin patterns were taking a few bites.

From Photo_Gallery10

Steady pick through out the morning resulted in full box, had some great weather & it was very fine way to cap off a very memorable 2012 season!

Shane Thombs

Sunday, September 16, 2012

September Bow Fest, Grandfather, Father and Son Team. September 16, 2013

For some, Fall means fairs and festivals. For those who like to enjoy fall fishing on Lake Ontario, it means a festival of Fins. Rainbows in particular are ready and waiting for your lure and although they are often offshore, the conditions for angler comfort can be picture perfect in September.

From Photo_Gallery10

This particular day was an example of just that. Two double digit bows came to the net and there was plenty of action throughout the trip. Let’s just call it Bow Fest, because like no other time of the year can you catch good numbers and often the biggest bows of the year. Also they are only shallow in the water column making short lead shallow set riggers and short string divers the most entertaining way to take these silver rockets. Little need for long lines, they are on the feed and ready to bite the back of the boat if it tasted good enough.

John (Grandfather), David (father) and William (son), were ready for one finally boys outing before they find themselves deep into the Hockey season and convert to a lifestyle of a “Rink Rats”.

From Photo_Gallery10

William is in rep hockey along with his older brother and younger sister. The entire family lives the eat, sleep, hockey lifestyle and although the season had just started, they wanted to take a moment and enjoy a last opportunity to do a fishing trip before a full schedule of practices, games, tournaments, and travelling from rink to rink.

Watch this video for an example of the steelhead action during this Bow Fest...


Friday, September 14, 2012

A POW after BOWS, September 14, 2012

Helmut was over from Germany to visit his brother John who lives not far from London, Ontario. There was a Language barrier with Helmut, but between fellow fisherman the only real language we need is the sound of the drag on a reel. The weather wasn’t the nicest, with light rain and choppy waters, but both John and Helmut were far too excited to turn back home. We started fishing and it didn’t take long before we were hooking up on rainbow trout. Helmut was really enjoying his time and was all smiles when we netted each fish. He was also no slouch in reeling in each fish, his confidence and experience shows he was an avid fisherman from across the pond.

From Photo_Gallery10

John was also pleased to see his brother enjoying himself and he shared in reeling in fish. John managed this nice 12 lbs Rainbow Trout.

From Photo_Gallery10

John is a Lake Erie Walleye fisherman with his own boat. I was paired with two that are good on the rod and reel, and yet clearly they developed fishing skills from opposite sides of the Northern Hemisphere.

Can fishing be considered a universal language? Or maybe it could be found in their genes.

John explained that even though they were brothers, Helmut and John grew-up apart, in much different worlds and were much different in age- nearly 20 years apart. It began with Helmut at a young age where during WW2 the Nazis took Helmut and his mother to a Nazi POW camp. As the war came to a close, Helmut was pulled from his mother and raised in an adopted family in Germany. His mother moved to Canada and John was later born and raised in Southern Ontario. Helmut and John didn’t know of each other until their mother passed away in 2011.

John and Helmut grew up in different corners of the world, but both happen to find fishing a centre for excitement and relaxation with the benefit of a delicious dinner.

Shane Thombs

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Schooling the Schooled on a School, August 23, 2012

Making this the second year Bob and his son Nicholas was able to fish with me, this was the first time for a new and very special guest. Bob’s daughter Madison was ready to learn with his dad and brother, what all the hype about Lake Ontario fishing was all about.

From Photo_Gallery11

Bob is a school teacher and his son and daughter were making their way through grade school and the start of high school. I was particularly fond of this fishing opportunity with the three, because like most tough social times in life, none of that stuff matters when you go fishing!

Nicholas explained that he is the centre of attention when it comes to amusing the bullies in school. Conversation about it was evident that it struck a sore spot and as with most adults listening to the stories of bullying, it immediately takes you back to a pivotal event where you yourself was in the bad situation and bullied.

From Photo_Gallery11

School years can be hard, but I expressed to Nicholas that for me, I found an outlet. Try to find an interest and allow it to be part of you. A passion for something allows you to focus on something that can become your place of piece, calm and understanding.

From Photo_Gallery11

We are given gifts, those gifts that are discovered and then applied with a purpose is the ultimate synergy. When you find that perfect fit you find yourself schooled outside of school. When you become immersed in your passion, that means so much to you, stress over social acceptance becomes less concerning. A passion that will take you to a new level of understanding of self-awareness of what you are capable of learning and being a part of, whole-heartedly. I write about this in first person because like Nicholas, I too felt out of place in the social fabric of school. But fishing and the outdoors was my found passion.

From Photo_Gallery11

This fishing trip was kept light, we didn’t dig into the social concerns, because fishing is an escape from all that. Instead Nicholas, Madison and Bob took turn after turn on the rods reeling in Rainbow trout after rainbow trout from a school of fish suspended over 240 FOW.

Shane Thombs

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The WOW Factor with Tom and Mac, August 22, 2012

Tom works with me at the City of Hamilton and we have been out a hand ful of times fishing together the past two years. Mac was also out fishing with Tom and I last year and to make it an annual thing Tom suggested Mac join him for a Steelhead fishing bonanza. To show him the "WOW factor" as Tom would call it.

From Photo_Gallery9
I was out in the morning and had a incredible trip with good numbers to the boat, This would be a tough act to follow! Here's the link to the morning trip blog report.

The lake was still very calm and it was warm out, but still very comfortable to fish in. We ran out to the vacinity of my morning waypoints and set up. It was nice to see the same sort of action start immediately after setting lines. Soon rods were firing consistently and the yelling with cheer from Tom and Mac came on every silvery steelhead leaped out of the water behind the boat.

From Photo_Gallery9

Tom says while holding up this nice steelhead, "This is the WOW Factor". It was an incredible afternoon and while the sun started to drop we angled the boat to shallower water in front of Grimsby. Even after leaving the numbers of fish out over the 240 FOW area, we still continuted to hit fish all the way into 100 FOW where we ended the trip. Some big Trout came to the boat on this 6 hour trip but a very productive 20 fish boated ending the day with 42 fish in total between the two trips. I was exhausted!

Shane Thombs

English Style Fish? August 22, 2012

Steve moved to Grimsby from England a short time ago. Steve was not much interested in fishing when in England, but his brother Gary, who still lives in England, was a fishing fanatic. So much so, he was also a charter fishing captain who took large groups to angle bottom fish from the salt waters along the west shores of the United Kingdom in the North Sea and south to the English Channel. Salmon and Trout fishing was to be a new adventure for both Steve and Gary.

From Photo_Gallery9

My dad was with us on this trip and he has always had an interest in the English culture since he was second generation Canadian, but with roots in the United Kingdom.

Gary had flown in from England the evening before. This was his first day in Grimsby, Ontario, but Gary had travelled world wide for work and fished many exotic places. Steve made it a point to entertain his brother for the next week with somesite seeing and some Ontario angling trips. Steve had repeatedly mentioned he was less interested in fishing then his brother Gary, but he still wanted to see what Lake Ontario fishing was all about. Steve felt the need to know more about Lake Ontario and other local fishing opportunities since he now lives in Grimsby. I wish more Ontarians shared this interest for what outdoor activities are closer to home! More than 6 million Ontarians live in the Golden Horseshoe around Lake Ontario, and a small fraction know of the great fishing they have only minutes away?

From Photo_Gallery9

I am not one to pump up guests with high expectations of fish catching numbers or size. Instead I explain that we can only hope for the best. I use the caveat that the fish are always moving, sometimes you hit a good day when the fish are hungry and other times its tough sledding. Honesty the fishing had been superb since mid-June and a slow day this summer was still a very good day in retrospect. I had a lead on some great fishing over 220 FOW Northwest of Grimsby. I ventured to new waters today, but I had in mind what I needed to do.

It was time for the August Silver Blue Zone style fishing to begin. The Offshore connection! Although Steve and Gary may not completely understand the difference, the 9 mile run to our destination was a change from our shorter 4 – 6 mile runs we have been fortunate enough to make, and stay on top of fish, throughout the summer. Don’t get me wrong, the fish were still inside 150 FOW, but I felt the need to really stack the odds in our favour and knowing that August is usually the time to think off shore for numbers of fish.

I have a way of fishing blue zone (off shore habitat) waters that make things as productive as possible to catch fish and with a conservation ethic that will ensure thier survival when released. Although Leadcores are very productive in this pelagic environment, they are time consuming to set and are hard on the fish since it is a long fight to get them 500 feet to the boat. There are times Leadcore is needed to make bites happen on ultra-spooky conditions and shy fish, but if I can deploy a spread that pulls fish to the boat and can catch them on short lines- that is my favourite. Good for the fisherman and most of all, good for the fish.

Steve and Gary took turns on the rods as we boated 22 silvers with over half being 2 and 3 year old chinook salmon. The rest were high flying rainbow trout. Gary and Steve both witnessed great fishing, and we shared some great jokes and stories from the entertaining brothers.

From Photo_Gallery9

Shane Thombs

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Mitchel's Many, August 19, 2012

I am obviously passionate about fishing and I sometimes can’t help but talk about it at work. Sometimes I find an ear that will listen to my endless fishy discussions and during my tenure in a different department at the City of Hamilton, I found a co-worker that also shares an appreciation for this outdoor activity and I felt it necessary to show him what Lake Ontario fishing is all about.

Mark invited his dad to join us for this Sunday morning trip. His dad’s birthday had recently past and he lives in Whitby so it was a matter of matching our schedules and good weather to make it all come together.

Yesterday was one of those highlighting trips of the year. We boated lots of big fish and experienced great water conditions on the Lake.

Despite a migraine I woke up to, I was convinced it would go away if our luck continued like where it left off only 8 hours before.

Mark and his Dad, Bob, met me dockside at 6:00 am while the sun was still below the horizon. As we turned out from the marina and pointed the nose to the East the golden and red ball was just coming up to greet us. The Lake was still calm and it was an enjoyable ride to our destination east where we caught fish the day before.

We set up a 6 rod spread of 1 10 colour Leadcore, 3 downriggers and two divers. It was only a few minutes to get all six in the water, but it took less than a minute for the Fullcore to hook-up on the first fish. Handed the rod to Mark and moments later the one rod on the Starboard side downrigger releases. I hand that rod to Bob and we had a doubleheader – so we thought. ;)

When Bob got the fish to the back of the boat I netted the fish, but noticed another fish hooked on the slider as well. A doubleheader was actually a tripleheader but with only two lines! A few attempts to net the second fish were unsuccessful, so instead I resorted to lifting the fish in and hope the hook doesn’t pull out or line break. Both fish came on board and Bob was excited to see a Lake Trout and a Rainbow Trout come in the boat on a single try at the rods.

The trip continued with great action of Rainbow Trout and Lake Trout in the 5-8 lbs range. The Chinook salmon that were in the area the evening before had vanished. Mark caught is first Lake Trout, Bob and Mark both caught their biggest Rainbow Trout.

My migraine did subside, either that or the activity left me thinking about other things- Who needs Advil Liquid Gels when you have Trout that come from the Liquid of the productive waters of Lake Ontario.

Mark later said “So many fish were caught we lost count, but now we’ve got the video to go back to, and verify who won the bet between me and dad, haha. Hard to believe so many fish are out there in the lake and we had them all to ourselves that day without any other fishing boats on the water, and on a weekend too- no less.”

Now Mark will have his own fishing story to tell at work instead of lending an ear to listen to my stories.

Shane Thombs

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Vicki, Trevor and Andy rock silver salmon, August 18, 2012

Vicki and Trevor were looking for an adventure to share in celebrating a milestone year being together. It was a toss-up, jump out of a plane and hope the shute opens or jump into a salmon fishing boat and reel in a fish longer than your arm. Because we are here, you can guess the decision sided on a salmon charter.

From Photo_Gallery10

Two weeks from my last time on Lake Ontario after winds and crazy weather, it was now time to create something out of nothing. Most trips are with a destination in mind to start our fishing trip, but with no information to build on from a recent fishing trip, it is sometimes a shot in the dark. Those times you need to rely on your gut instinct when making decisions on where to fish and how to plan your attack.

Weighing in the facts; there was a reliable report of good numbers of trout out 250 FOW in front of Bronte. A run that would be 9 miles on smooth water- not even a concern. Although many days old now, I also had another reliable report that suggested a good mix of salmon and trout just east of Grimsby. Winds since that day were out of the west and I had a gut instinct that the winds may have pushed them slightly east.

Do I go west out 9 miles or do I run east for 7 miles? The question was literally answered only moments before passing the rocks and pushing the throttle down. East it was as we travelled and stopped in front of Bartlett Road in Grimsby. Then continued to troll east as we set up.

Only with a few rods out to start, our first fish was on and Vicki was first to pull in a fish. A rainbow trout to break the ice at about 2:15 pm. Then there was a period of about 30 minutes that required Mark to search out the area for more fish. Then we hooked up on a dandy Rainbow trout and Trevor was next. It was a beauty rainbow trout and I decided to cut the trolling motor down to reduce the speed for the fight. Mark mentions 2.3 on the down speed.

Trevor managed the 13 lbs Rainbow Trout to the boat, took some pictures and then put the fish back. But then the light switch turned on. It was like the fish turned on. It felt like there wasn’t a single full minute went by without having a fish hooked up. And they weren’t small fish. Salmon in excess of 20 lbs and numerous rainbow trout over 10 lbs.

From Photo_Gallery10

Watch the video to get a feel for the activity during the 4 hour fishing trip in the middle of the afternoon.

Trevor and his father Andy took turns reeling in fish. Vicki was sensitive to motion sickness in the boat even though the water wasn’t choppy. It was unfortunate that she felt that way but she was a trouper for insisting we continue fishing even as she continued feeling ill. We did call the planned 6 hour trip short and arrived dockside at 6:30 pm.

From Photo_Gallery10

A short 4 hour trip but it was an action packed trip with a great bunch!

From Photo_Gallery10

Shane Thombs

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Farms Feed Cities, but when it's time to play, Farmers go fishin', August 8, 2012

My friend Andrew who is a Agr-specialist and lives down the street from me in Beamsville, hadn't been out fishing much in recent years. But whenever he has the chance- he is eager to get out on the Lake. He was familiar with the water and was an operator on a ferry boat down on the St Lawrence River in eastern Ontario. He was even thinking about buying a boat and might even dock it on Lake Ontario so he can "escape out on the lake" after a day of work.

From Photo_Gallery11

The weather looked right and the boat was waiting at the dock so it was an easy decision to run down to the boat, turn the key and set off for a short evening fish. My son Aidan joined us for the trip as well. He is getting so big for a 7 year old, knowing his way around the boat, tie us off at the dock and handle a fishing rod.

As an Agri-specialist Andrew's work is not to farm, but to consult with farmers on crop selection, fertilizers, and other crop management needs. Although I grew up spending most of my summers at my grand parents farm, I was only briefly exposed to the on goings behind the business of farming. Haying, bringing the cattle to barn and mucking the cow stalls and shoveling the gutters was only scratching the surface. I remember those that came to visit my grandfather on what seed to purchase and what yeilds would be best in which fields. I'm sure most years the consulting from people like Andrew were my grandfather's asset.

From Photo_Gallery11

We managed 8 fish to the boat and lost a few others. Andrew pulled in his biggest fish ever a nice 19 ½ lbs Chinook Salmon. Him and Aidan shared reeling in 4 other chinook salmon that were 2 and 3 year olds (6 - 15 lbs), and we managed one rainbow trout and one lake trout.

Best lure for us was a Blue Dolphin Magnum Warrior spoon I just bought at Grimsby Tackle that evening before going out.

It was set 62 feet on the rigger and back 10 foot lead. The temperature at that depth was 45’F!!! The water went cold fast below the surface even though we were seeing very hot air temperatures.

The schools of alewife as the main forage for the salmon was shown in large schools on the SONAR screen, every few minutes in the 120-130 feet of water depth range. But the bait moved in from 120 to 90 feet of water as dusk approached. My first pass in the 130-120 feet of water was bait rich and we caught fish in that stretch, but on the second pass back through the same water, the bait was a lot less plentiful, so I turned inside and sure enough it filled the screen for nearly 5 minutes straight.

Grimsby- Beamsville waters hasn't looked as good as it does now, since the first week of July. There are lots of fish around, maybe less big kings as early July, but still good numbers. Usually we are poking out to look to the offshore waters called the "Blue Zone" by now, but to our delight the fish are still inside!

From Photo_Gallery11

The trip reminded me of my grandfather whom loved to fish when ever he could. Farming life wasn't with much time to fish. He left the house to go to the barn before the sun rises, be back for breakfast, then back to the barn to clean the milkers, back to the house for Lunch at noon, and then out in the fields or fixing fences for the afternoon, be back for dinner at 5:00pm. There were no cell phones to tell you to be back - my grandmother had the have the meals ready on time. My grandfather and uncles had to be back on time or it was cold or eaten by those who were on time.

CHCH News would be on during dinner to see the weather. He ate real fast, told everyone to shut-up so he can hear the TV and hurried me, my cousins and my uncles to finish up as well so we can get to barn for the evening milking the cows. Once done at around 7:00 pm it was time to rest for the evening, joking around, watch the Blue Jays during the summer or his favourite "Hockey Night in Canada". I was a Boston Bruins fan for a while, but my grandpa asked me why- they are an American Team. I switched my favourite team to the Toronto Maple Leafs from that point on - even though they are not the best team in the NHL. He would watch those games closely- moved in the seat at every pass and shot- like he was there on the ice with the players. But after a long day farming, it was hard for him to stay awake during the second intermission and most of the time he fell asleep before the game ended. That was the day in the life of my grandfather on the farm. He passed away from a heart attack in the barn one afternoon when I was a young teenager, the farm was later sold and my uncles turned to other careers knowing that farming is a tough go, but friends like Andrew are very important to the future of farming in Ontario

Shane Thombs

Monday, August 6, 2012

David and son Jamieson discover the pleasure of a Salmon Charter, August 6, 2012

David and his son Jamieson met us at the dock at 4:00 pm. We were going through introductions and pre-departure safety checklist; the question came up, as it does with every trip with new clients, “Have you done this type of fishing before?”

The answer to the question was an eye opening realization for me.

David had seen a nightmare salmon fishing charter that while he explained the details left me listening without distraction and with my mouth hanging wide open in surprise. He had been on a salmon charter on Georgian Bay where the charter captain insisted on going out fishing despite 10 and 12 foot waves that were crashing over the rocks at the entrance to the marina. David went on to explain how within the first hour everyone but himself and the captain were sea sick. David was not one to get seas sick, but the captain on the other hand was likely not capable of getting seas sick since he was intoxicated with alcohol and high from smoking marijuana!

The story went into greater detail of the charter experience from hell that without surprise resulted in only 2 small salmon caught for a 6 man charter.

After his story was told, I was shocked he didn’t, in the least, show an expression of displeasure from his experience and almost came across as if he might have thought all fishing charters were like that. My question for him was, “After that experience, Why would you even consider trying another charter? That would scare anyone away for life”. David then had mentioned he was referred to me by a business associate that went fishing with me last year. Sean and Peter must have told him about their experience and how I operate differently. Read Sean and Peter’s experience following this Blog entry link

When we came into view of the lake from the channel exiting the marina, I could tell that David was at ease to see the lake was flat calm. Not even a ripple on the water and it meant that his son Jamieson would not be introduced to salmon fishing in the same manner as his father was.

We powered up and headed East of the weather marker and began dropping lines in 160 FOW. It wasn’t minutes into the trip where we hooked up on our first fish. Jamieson was handed the rod and he brought in the first fish of the trip, a small 4 lbs rainbow trout, but it was his largest fish. Moments later another rod went off and David was on it. Another rainbow trout came to the boat but a little larger than the first.

David was already happy about the success he discovered and we were only 15 minutes into our troll. The next 15 minutes I was able to get the rest of the rods in the water, just in time to start a steady pick of salmon and trout for the remainder of the 4 hour trip. Jamieson broke his biggest fish multiple times and had some incredibly strong salmon on the line. A few had gotten off during the fight, but this fat coho salmon came to the boat and Jamieson and his dad were smiling from ear to ear.

From Photo_Gallery10

The last hour of the trip the wind had came up from the south and we trolled directly into the winds and approached shallower water. I asked if David would like to call it quits early since we were seeing whitecaps and a 2 foot chop. He looked around and said, “This isn’t rough!”

We came into 80 FOW where we hooked into another nice salmon that had David and Jamieson in surprise as the fish burned line off the reel and buckled the diver rod over like a pretzel. The fish came off, but the spirits were high to conclude the night.

David was happy to see that his son Jamieson wasn’t exposed to the same Salmon charter fishing nightmare that he was. They went home with lasting memories of lots of fish and some big fish.

From Photo_Gallery10

As Mark Penner and I cleaned up the boat and brought it back to dock, we talked about how the industry of charter fishing has all sorts. We confirmed that our approach to safety first and enjoyment second is clearly what makes FINtastic Sportfishing a professionally run charter service. There are many other charters out there that operate with the same ethics, but there are also some that do not.

I came up with my Mission statement for my business after this trip. A mission statement that is the cornerstone to my business approach

To provide a charter fishing experience for my customers that can be enjoyed during our time on the water as well as create a lasting memory. To add an educational element to our fishing trip and to manage expectations by booking your charter date around the best fishing times and where safety is paramount.

Shane Thombs

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Sea Legs Larry treats Josh and Nick to a rollie-polly fishing trip, August 4, 2012

At the dock for 4:00 pm Larry, his son Josh and Josh’s friend Nick boarded the boat and we headed out on the lake, but met with wavey conditions. The extreme heat advisory was evident inland, but the wind from the east across the lake was a refreshing temperature change and we were eager to take advantage of the natural air-conditioning while fishing this evening.

Knowing the troll should be primarily with the waves coming off the stern I ran against them for 8 miles and stopped the boat in 240 FOW before starting the kicker motor and trolling with the waves “down hill”.

It was a slow start with the first three fish coming off before Josh would boat his first fish of the evening. A Rainbow Trout that went in the box for dinner. The next two hours we caught 2 more rainbow trout as I eagerly waited for us to reach my waypoints from my morning trip. As we approached my waypoints we began hooking more fish and soon we were into a doubleheader and a parade of rainbow trout that came to the boat.

Here’s the video that captured only a part of the trip since I forgot to turn it on until late in the trip.

The chop on the lake kept the guys testing their sea legs. Larry let the boys take turns on the rods as he watched with pride.

Nice treat from Larry who later discovered how tiring you get when you are exercising you’re Sea Legs

Shane Thombs

Tom tries to avoid the Heat, but the fishing was Hot! August 4, 2012

I’m not one to suggest going out in extreme heat alerts, but the lake has a way of moderating the temperature and if you plan your trip to avoid “Bankers Hours” you can usually get out on the lake and remain comfortable.

July was a hot one and with very little rain. August started out as a continuation with high temperatures pushing the mercury to just above 35’C and feeling like 40’C with the humidex. The forecast for today was nothing short of those stifling temperatures and with little wind in the forecast for the morning. Tom and I knew we needed to make a quick fish in the morning before the sun gets too high in the hazy sky.

Tom met me at 5:30 am dockside in the dark and said lets go and set up before first light. This was to be his 3rd of 4 outings with me this year and this one was a solo run with the opportunity for more rod time. We made our way out on the lake with a slight role on an otherwise flat lake. The stars were still in the sky and the street lights on shore were the only source of light other than the navigation lights on the boat. The flashing amber light on the Grimsby weather Buoy was a great point of reference and we continued at 20 MPH to just past the marker and set up in 120 FOW.

We pulled the flashlights out and used the navigation stern light to charge up the glow tape on some of the lures and flashers before setting lines.

The four rods were quickly set and we were patient, yet inpatient at the same time. “Any second, we should hear the drag pull”, I said with a sense of positive thinking. The sound of a drag would be the only indication of a hooked fish, considering the dark impeded our ability to detect any rod movement. The first 10 minutes of the troll without a sound , felt like an hour. The SONAR showed we were in the vicinity of fish but it was a period of waiting for the fish to turn on.

It’s hard to describe the sensation of first light while salmon fishing. It’s like a light switch is turned on in an instant and your heart begins to beat fast as the sight of your set downrigger rods first comes into view. The anticipation of the first strike is like knowing the split second before a punch is about to land square on your cheek bone, or seeing a lighting strike off in a short distance and waiting for a crack of thunder.

Then it happens, the first rod goes off, I grab it and hand it to Tom and a Rainbow Trout breaks the ice, but before the fish is netted the other down rigger rod goes off and so it begins. For the next three hours Tom witnesses the busiest morning of fishing he had seen. 2 Cohos, a hand full of Chinooks up to 19 lbs and about a dozen rainbows that went all the way up to 11 lbs.

From Photo_Gallery10

At the end of the morning 4 hour trip the sun was starting to bead sweat on my brow and it was obvious our time to pull lines couldn’t be more perfect to escape the heat.

For fun I wanted to see if the fish still would hit at extremely slow speeds and slowed the motor to 1.7 mph. moments later the diver with a spoon is hit and Tom brings in a Rainbow Trout. I put the rod in the rack to retire it for the morning and then pulled the two downrigger rods. I left the 10 colour leadcore until last. Then I grabbed the leadcore and proceeded to jig it for a minute . Then a strike! It hit lightly , but then started throbbing the rod while in my hands. I held the rod bent for a moment but the fish came off. I jigged it some more, but then reeled it in with a chorus of chuckling from both of us.

Shane Thombs

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Arnold and Thombs kids, Cheer, Laugh and share High Fives, August 1, 2012

My mother-in-law has terminal cancer. At 63 Years Old she is in the hospital and my wife is spending a great deal of spare time with her. It’s been a drag at home as well, kids are showing the effects of the added stress in the house and it was time to remove them from that for short period of time. My kids are young- my son is 7 and my daughter is 4. Both have been fishing with me, but this time I wanted friends to come along to make it even more special.

I called my buddy Ron and asked if he would like to bring his kids out on the boat. He has three kids, 9,7 and 4 and our kids have been able to play together since birth. Nancy, Ron’s wife was also able to go.

From Photo_Gallery11

This was a boat load, but because they were all very small kids- I have had bigger payloads with 5 adults. I reached the person number capacity, but well under the payload capacity. 

This was a fun evening where the Arnold clan met me and my kids dockside at 6:00 pm and we set off for a short evening trip. We boated out to 150 FOW and Ron helped me set lines and keep the boat straight. An easy task since the lake was flat calm. Good think because Nancy can get sea sick and there is no telling how all the kids would take a choppy day on the lake.

From Photo_Gallery11
From Photo_Gallery11

It wasn’t long before we started hooking up. 13.5 lbs Rainbow Trout came on a 300 ft Copper line rod with SpinDoctor NBK and Atommik Tournament Screamer Fly and some decent sized salmon caught on the downriggers were winched in by the kids as they all took turns battling fish after fish. Purple MC Rocket behind the large sized Bechold Flasher down 82 ft took three decent sized chinook salmon. Rainbows regularily took the M&M Glow coloured Yeck 88 set behind a 107 Walker Deeper Diver on 3 setting out 180ft on 30lb test braid.

Everyone one of the kids were bursting with excitement and the cheering section was loud and giggling. When Myra was on the reel fighting a 14 lbs Chinook Salmon all by herself, the kids chanted, “Go Myra Go- Go, Go, Go”. Myra wouldn’t stop laughing and there were highlights throughout the night that made each kid experience something extra special.

From Photo_Gallery9

It was a night of laughter, cheering, smiles and high fives, and opportunity to escape the stressful reality of watching a love one suffer with cancer. We ride through life with all its ups and downs; it’s nice to know you have the opportunity to break out of “the downs” with good friends enjoying a night of fishing on Lake Ontario.

Shane Thombs

Monday, July 30, 2012

Paul and Rob set the fish bar high for Logan and Griffin, July 30, 2012

Logan and Griffin are not lacking in fishing opportunities with experience fishing at the cottage. Starting off a kid in the sport of fishing is an essential part to making a fisherperson for a lifetime. All too often these days kids in southern Ontario are deprived of what was once a common outdoor activity.

All sorts of reasons can be used, but the most misunderstood to many parents is that hiring a guided fishing trip is an investment that can make memories that last a lifetime. The same type of money that would be spent at an amusement park for a day, can instead be put to something unique, with an outdoor experience with an educational value. That’s right educational value! Learn what types of fish live in Lake Ontario, the biology of the fish, how they came to find Lake Ontario home and how conservation of the fish habitat and selective harvest can teach kids that we can sustain a fishery available for their kid’s, kids. Get that from a roller coaster ride!

Logan, Griffin, their dad Paul and friend Rob joined us for an evening of fishing departing from Grimsby. The lake was picture perfect evening with light winds that kept the lake flat and let us manage a lengthy boat ride to the waters straight out from Beamsville. We stopped in 180 FOW off the “nose of Beamsville”. Mark Penner took over the wheel and I went to work setting rods.

We almost got all the rods in the water before the first fish was hooked up on a Leadcore. Logan was up first and with help from Rob, She managed her first Rainbow Trout to the boat. Griffin was up next and it wasn’t minutes until he was handed a rod to battle a small salmon.

Then Mark pointed the boat towards the tip of the nose off Beamsville where the contour lines converge from deeper water to the top of a reef that has the potential to hold fish. This is where in an instant we hooked up with three in a row. This kept both kids fighting fish and Paul with a chance to reel in a fish. Paul’s fish came in rather quickly which provided him the opportunity to help Griffin with his fish that had a decent salmon on a 10 colour Leadcore that put the fish 500 feet behind the boat before it pulled another 300 feet out on a single dash. Logan was provided assistance by Rob and they pulled in the biggest of the day.

From Photo_Gallery9

Logan and Griffin were smiling the entire night, we talked about how the fish grow larger and more rapidly compared to the cottage lake they normally fish. A different specie of fish doesn’t compare in size and everything with fishing is relative. A big fish on one lake can mean something different on a different lake. None-the-less they set the bar high and they have a few bragging rights to go back to school with.

Shane Thombs

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Magnum Bows with Bill and Stuart, July 28, 2012

Bill had been fishing with me for three years and we have had some fun trips on the lake and some not to fun. One time we went Walleye fishing on Lake Erie and on a half day of fishing only managed one walleye. A tough bite, but Bill was still interested in getting out fishing. We even tried getting him out for some Bass on Lake Erie and it still was a rough and tough bite only managing a handful of smaller bass.

Last year we turned a corner on our luck. Without high expectations we went out for an exploratory trip on Lake Ontario on the Friday morning before Thanksgiving. I say exploratory, because that late in the season we needed to explore to find fish. Expectations were low, but to our surprise we found them that day and caught a bunch of nice late fall silver chinook salmon.

Here’s the blog entry… This morning we were met with a different type of bad luck- the weather. I took a look at the lake before coming to the pick-up dock and it was flat, but the dark clouds and the updated marine reports were suggesting a change for the worst. Yesterday’s forecast for today was wrong and Bill and co-worker Stuart met us at the boat dock and we talked about our options. I suggested we cancel and rebook the trip, but Bill and Stuart said let’s give it a try and we will come back in if it becomes too much.

So we set off for our planned 4 hour trip departing at 6:00 am. As we were motoring out on the lake the winds were coming up. By the time we got to 80 FOW we were already in 2 ½ ft chop with whitecaps all around. We continued to about 110 FOW and then settled into our troll. Mark Penner was on the wheel and was busy keeping the boat on a consistent course. I set three riggers and three divers as well as one Full core out the shoot. It was all we can manage as the waves continue to grow. The initial sets were continuously interrupted by Rainbow trout. Bites were fast and furious with many shots on the rigger free sliders.

From Photo_Gallery9

There was a time where the rigger on the starboard side wasn’t in the water for more than a minute before it went off again on another fish.

From Photo_Gallery9

Other shots came regularly on the other rods, but nothing as good as the rigger sets with free sliders. We released a fair number including some of the boat’s largest rainbow trout. Three were over 12 lbs. 13.5 and a 16.2 lbs Monster bows were caught and released to grow even bigger. Stuart broke his personal best three times and although the pictures are in colour, they still leave out the great excitement that filled the boat this morning.

From Photo_Gallery9

By 8:30 we had a limit of rainbow trout and the odd smaller salmon in the box and enough rough water to call it a time to pull lines. Both Stuart and Bill had the fishing trip of their lives all within a 3 hour window.

Shane Thombs

Friday, July 27, 2012

Tom and Mac, talk smack when it comes to Lake Ontario Rainbow Trout, July 27, 2012

Tom has become a FINtastic Sportfishing fan and had introduced his friend Mac to come fish with Tom on his second of four fishing trips this season. Tom works with me at the City of Hamilton and we find ourselves talking it up over lunch about the current fishing trips we have been on. Tom’s conversations usually end with, “so lets go fishing!”.

Mac shows up at the Dock at 5:00 pm, but Tom is caught up in traffic on the QEW that kept him from getting dockside until 5:20 pm. It gave Mark Penner and I a chance to meet Mac and go over the safety gear and pre-departure checklist. Tom had already been through the list a bunch of times, and his late arrival will mean him stepping on board and away we go.

We motor out on the lake where there was no wind, but it still had a slight roll on the lake from the wind event the day prior. I hadn’t been on the water for a number of days and due to the winds we were unsure what might result. In the past I have found the day after a windy day the fish are at times spread out and not congregated in one area. The tactic for us today is to make a steady pick of fish while we continuously move around. This also meant that we needed to space out our presentations to fish different depths and different distances from the boat. 2 long line Leadcores, some short lead shallow mid depth and deep downriggers and divers set at various lead lengths to cover all depths and distances from the boat. We set up in 110 FOW straight out from the marina. The picture was great with bait in the area and a few marks mixed in. We needed to work those fish and cover water keeping a close eye on what water had bait fish and avoid staying in waters without.

The first five fish that bit came on a variety of different presentations, and they were biting short and not staying hooked up for very long. We lost 5 in a row and both Tom and Mac were feeling a little gun shy to take on the next fish, but Mac took the rod again and this time the fish came to the boat. It was his first Rainbow Trout on Lake Ontario taken by trolling. They both were smiling and giving high fives, obviously feeling good that we “broke the ice” and through the “skunk” from the boat.

Our luck improved as we strengthened our presentation to replicate patterns that showed the most fish activity. Throughout the trip both Mac and Tom boated numerous Rainbow Trout. They were joking around talking smack like they were on a fishing show. They were excited at every jump or pull of the drag that went on throughout the night. Mac also boated his first lake trout right at the end of the evening. The count improved with more fish in the boat then lost and Mac and Tom talked about setting up an August “Blue Zone” trip with Mac. Tom said as a close-out, “Stay tuned, because we are going fishing”

Shane Thombs

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Jared and Dean fish where the salmon are mean, July 18, 2012

Usually this time in July would be considered the peak run of good numbers of big salmon passing by the waters of Grimsby/Beamsville, but things are showing signs of slowing down and the fish have continued to progress in migrating further east to the waters in front of Jordon Harbour and beyond. The mature salmon were already turning grey on the belly where only a month ago they were as white as the clouds on a cold winter’s day. The summer was progressing rapidly on the Lake, likely due to the warm winter and spring.

This was one of Dean and Jared’s first time on Lake Ontario fishing for salmon and trout. This was a great opportunity to cover the details about our techniques and tackle we use. Dean had great questions that Mark and I tried to answer. Fishing is a game of unknowns that we try to make sense of. Sometimes it comes together sometimes we wait until our next outing figure out what catches fish.

Here’s the video…

I had a feeling that a run towards the east was in order to intercept a few kings on route for the waters east of Grimsby. We boated to the waters in front of Vineland and stopped the boat in about 150 FOW. There had been a significant blow from the east the past day and the lake still showed a significant 1 ½ foot roll on the lake. Otherwise we had little wind, but it was easier to troll West South West in search of salmon with the nose of the boat pointing towards our home port in Grimsby. Minutes into our troll the 300 foot Copper line rod on an inline planerboard starts pulling out the backing line in a rapid speed. Jared was handed the rod with further instruction on how to fight the fish. The fish came off, but Jared kept his spirits up in hopes of hooking and reeling in the next one.

Then a sizable Lake Trout came to the boat and spit up one of the largest alewives I have seen. It had to be 8” long dwarfing any of the baits we had on the boat.

There was a lull in the action for about 2 hours as we continued our troll past Beamsville and now straight out from Bartlett Rd in Grimsby in 120 FOW. The water had changed and signs of bait fish and the odd mark on the SONAR suggested more fish. Sure enough we were onto our next fish and Jared was ready for his next try. He battles another great fish to the boat and successfully lands an 18 lbs Chinook salmon.

From Photo_Gallery9

In the last hour of the trip as the sun was dropping down towards the tip of Rattlesnake point on the Escarpment in Halton, the activity of the fish rose. The next fish was also Jared’s to try again and he puts his new found fish fighting skills to the test and boats a 14 lbs salmon.

The night of fishing is coming to an end and I am slowly taking in the rods and putting away gear with only two more rods left in the water. The conversations turned to a summary of how the evening went and how it’s coming to a close, but Mark Penner on the boat said, “Guys we are still fishing here, and the SONAR is revealing a really good picture”. On quo the downrigger fires and it was time for Dean to battle a fish. I handed the well bent rod to Dean, and the fish screams off line. Everyone on the boat was excited and laughing. I pull in the other rod and start the big motor preparing for our run back to dock as soon as we catch this powerful fish. Dean manages the fish to the boat as we chased the fish down and maintained a tight line with Marks driving skills to help.

The fish is scooped in the net and brought on boat. Biggest of the night. 21 ½ lbs. A great fish to end the evening. It was a great evening on the big Lake and with great company to make it a complete summer evening that we will not soon forget.

Shane Thombs

Saturday, July 14, 2012

I'm proud of my son Aidan, July 14, 2012

My son Aidan is 7 years old with enough time on the boat and experience bringing in fish that is well beyond his years. I’m very proud of his abilities, enthusiasm and patience he displays when out fishing with me.

He was out on the lake the night before with Hockey friends and as always, he waits his turn on the rod knowing guests go first. He wasn’t in bed until 10:00 pm well past his normal bed time and I said to him, “We are registered in a small derby tomorrow (talking about today) if we win, you can take half the money. Your choice; we can sleep in and we can go fishing late morning, or we can leave first thing in the morning to try the early bite.”. His response was quick, educated and surprising. He said “Lets go early to catch the big one!”

5:00 am we get up and charge out of the house down to the boat and leave dock at first light and still ½ before the sun made the horizon. Aidan was excited knowing it was just him and I that will take turns on the rods and have an opportunity to enter a fish in the derby. He is competitive in nature, but it didn’t dawn on me that by suggesting we were in this small one day derby, would bring out his competitive side.

I coached him with strategy and explained the need for us to work as a team. It was a great moment when he realized that he was an important part of our mornings fishing accomplishments and that together we will bring fish in, maybe lose a fish, but know we did it together.

We ran out to in front of Beamsville where we left off from last night. We put down two down riggers with Purple SpinDoctor and a new Purple MCRocket that Aidan named, Purple Nurple and the other downrigger with a Yeck 88 NBK spoon. Then two wire divers with SpinDoctors and Flys. One was set on 3 and out 200 and the other set on 3 out 185. One combo that has been best on the boat for nearly two weeks. Mark Penner calls it 7 o’clock, because he ran it from dawn to 7 or from 7 to dusk. But it’s been good all day, so it goes out for the day. It is a Green/Glow/Black SpinDoctor with a Glow Frog Fly with everything pulled behind a Glow Grog 107 diver. The other diver was Green dolphin 107 pulling a Mountain dew NBK SpinDoctor and a CrazyBitch fly.

Aidan is now getting used to the routine of setting rods and I have him doing things like letting divers out and having them engage at the right numbers on the line counters.

From Photo_Gallery9

We set rods targeting the kings at deeper sets then where the numerous rainbows resided. The first half an hour we missed two fish on the rigger with the spoon, but then the starboard side wire diver rod starts with the ringing of the drag as line was ripping off the reel on a good fish. I grab the rod and simply held the rod at a consistent bend while the king motors towards Jordon Harbour. It pulled 500 feet of line off the reel on a steady powerful run. Then it stopped. I placed the rod in the rod holder for Aidan to crank away while I turn the boat to help Aidan gain line and prepare the boat to net the fish down the centre out the back. Aidan cranked away but was tiring after reeling in 200 feet of the line on an obviously heavy salmon. I took over and reeled some of the line until it was within 50 feet where I then had Aidan back to reeling the rest of the way and I grabbed the net, slowed the boat to a slow crawl and then manoeuvred the boat and with some luck that kept the fish down the centre of the back of the boat and straight into the net. Aidan was excited and we gave high fives and big hugs after the fish hit the boat’s floor. We didn’t weigh it, just put it in the box and set back up.

From Photo_Gallery9

Then the next two hours we caught a hand full of other smaller Chinook Salmon on up to 15 lbs, but it was the case where the clear skys, calm lake was likely chasing those kings deeper off the Beamsville reef’s structure we call “The Nose”. We trolled off the tip of the nose over 150 to 170 feet of water and I noted our down speed show significant currents at depth. Where at one point we were crawling at 1.8 miles per hour on the GPS we were trolling 2.7 mph on the Fish Hawk Probe down 100 feet. Aidan’s so called, Purple Nurple hits a fish. The fish is heavy and again pulling significant line off the reel and was clearly another great fish, but the shear power of the fish the hooks pulled out in the middle of the run. Aidan was upset, but I reassured him we found the fish we need to catch.

So we worked the tip back and forth for the last half hour catching a 10 lbs king on a diver and then we turned back towards the west to do it again and that was when we doubled up. Both divers. One out 325 on 3 setting and the other out 280 on 3 setting. Bother were bigger fish, I pull my fish in rather quickly at it weighs roughly 15 lbs and I toss it back to help Aidan with his bigger fish. Aidan manages to bring the fish in all on his own and I just steered and cleared the rest of the rods knowing we were packing it up once we were finished with this fish. We get it to the met and it’s a fish around 20 lbs.

I said we have a bigger fish in the box, but he insisted on weighing in this fish as well. He wanted to feel like he accomplished this fish on his own and brought something to the scales. So in the box it went.

We docked the boat and loaded the fish in the cooler and made our way to Grimsby Tackle to weigh them in. They already have a leader at 24 lbs 8 oz, so we first take Aidan’s fish and put it on the scales. It pulls the scale down to 20 lbs, and the guys gave Aidan the high fives after I told them it was 100% Aidan to reeled that fish in. The bigger fish we caught first thing that morning was then put on the scales and we looked closely at the needle as the Ahhs came from everyone watching. “Almost! It’s 24 lbs 6 oz- shy by 2 ozs”. Aidan had a long face, but I told him next time we will do it.

Then the guys from Reel Wild fishing Charters pulled up. They had a big fish, Aidan watched in amazement. They put the fish on the scale and it was 30 lbs. The clients they had on the boat cheered and Aidan too was happy to see them enjoying themselves.

We got beat out in the little derby, but we won as the best fishing team in the competition! Thanks for the day little buddy!

Shane Thombs

Friday, July 13, 2012

Jordon Lions Minor Hockey Association Summer Salmon, July 13, 2012

My son Aidan has been playing hockey the past two years at Jordon and will begin another season starting in Novice in September. Aidan playing hockey found great friends where we continue to meet throughout the summer away from the arena. Friday July 13th was one of those opportunities to get together with the Dave and his son’s Matt (fellow teammate of Aidan’s) and Mac the younger brother entering Tyke this year.

The evening was met with a beautiful calm lake where we motored out into the lake to just east of Grimsby in 120 feet of depth. I set up a number of rods and in 20 minutes we were into our first fish. Mac cranks in a Rainbow Trout. It was a short time later Matthew was handed a rod and cranked in another Rainbow trout. Clearly the 7 colour leadcore was in the right depth of water for Rainbow Trout.

From Photo_Gallery8
It was a slow, but steady catch rate of rainbows and the odd Salmon throughout the night, until we reached the waters in front of Beamsville. It was here where we started a fast pace of catching fish. In the meantime the kids were without skates and hockey drills to tire them out. The kids were excited and running around the boat like they were chased by bees. Dave and I were busy reeling and netting fish only capturing the attention of the boys when ever a fish was brought in the boat. They were too interested playing in the bow of the boat to get involved with getting behind the rod and reel with a fish on the other end of the line.

The last hour of the day while the sun was going down and we were looking to call it the end of the evening, the diver rod fires and the drag screams with an obvious great fish. This brought the kids to attention at the back of the boat and were still goofing around.

From Photo_Gallery8

Dave battles the fish to the boat and we land it with cheers from the boys. Dave catches his biggest fish. This 26lbs salmon.

From Photo_Gallery8

Dave is the Social convener for Tyke and is busy organizing and keeping communications with the teams from September to the end of March. A volunteer that allows all the kids enjoy themselves on the ice. It was nice to get him and his boys out before he is busy in the arena.


Thursday, July 12, 2012

Future Olympians reach FINtastic Sportfishing Gold Medals in high jump Rainbow Trout and long distance running Salmon, July 12, 2012

Do you know someone who became a star or reached a high level of accomplishment, but first met them before becoming famous? This day of fishing with David and his two son’s Gavin and Troy was likely one of those meetings with those whom you feel have great potential.

Troy (16) and Gavin (14) are runners that are near the highest in Canada for their age categories. Traveling around the world competing at the international level and representing our country. The Summer Olympics is about to open in London in two weeks’ time, but these two young athletes are too young to compete this time around, but I will be watching for them to raise their hands on the podium in 4 more years at the 2016 Summer Olympics.

Troy, Gavin and his father David have also tangled with some great cottage “up north” fishing and was eager to see what Lake Ontario had to offer for hard fighting silver coloured fish.

The evening trip left the dock at 4:00 pm and we set off on a 1 ft chop coming out of the East. We traveled out to 150 feet of water roughly 8 miles off shore from Beamsville. We set up and almost immediately started catching fish. Gavin manages a Rainbow Trout and Troy also pulls in another Rainbow. David takes the third try on the rod and this time a 5 pound Chinook salmon comes to the boat.

Half an hour into the trip we had three rods with fish on at the same time. During the exciting three fish musing at the back of the boat, Troy manages this nice 17lb Chinook Salmon, the largest of the evening.

From Photo_Gallery8

David humbly shared both his son’s great accomplishments in running and some of the extraordinary places they had competed in, spanning the globe. Troy and Gavin both sit in the top five fastest runners for 1500m distance running in Canada for their separate age groups. The younger Brother Gavin is currently beating his brothers times at his age and both appear to have their sites on college scholarships. I think they might be your 2016 Olympians, based on the extra reeling in fish training we provided.

Shane Thombs

Monday, July 9, 2012

Kids can catch Kings too, July 9, 2012

When you fish upwards to 50 plus days a year, the bar is set high in what you would call the best day in years. Monday July 9th 2012 was one of those trips that reached the bar, but more importantly the best day in years was also experienced by two kids!

Over the weekend I attended a birthday party that my family had attended. My cousin Wayne was also there and I had mentioned that he and his 5 year old son George should come out fishing with me while I’m on holidays. On Monday afternoon the weather looked good and I texted my cousin to meet me down at the marina for 5:00pm.

Wayne pulled up at just after 5:00 and we were off the dock with lifejackets on the kids and ready to make our way out into the lake by 5:30pm. It was Wayne, his son George my 7 year old son Aidan and me to find our way to Lake Ontario Salmon waters.

We set up within 100 yards from the weathermarker in 110 feet of water and the light East South East winds were on our stern while I set up. Moments after the first rod was set, it went off. Flasher/fly down 60 ft found a jumping 6 lbs Rainbow Trout so George was first to catch his biggest fish to date.

He got the fish in and suddenly the wire diver on the port side starts peeling out line from an obviously heavy salmon. I give the rod to George again and he is cranking away at this great fish with a grin from ear to ear. Then the braid Diver on the starboard side of the boat starts ripping of line and buckled over. I get that set up for Aidan and he is sitting beside George in the “Box Seat” both battling two decent sized kings.

From Photo_Gallery8

George’s fish comes to the boat first and while in the net a lamprey is still attached. I pulled it off and Wayne put it in the bucket while we get the net ready for Aidan’s fish. We get Aidan’s fish in the boat also and it is a tank!

We measure them up and find George’s fish around 23lbs and Aidan’s a 28 lbs brute. This beat’s Aidan’s previous personal best by 6 lbs! Here’s the two fish before releasing them.

From Photo_Gallery8

At this point I realized I hadn’t turning the GoPro camera. I also hadn’t put my hat on yet since our ride out on the boat in fear of loosing it in the wind.

I will let the video speak for itself the kind of action the rest of our night experienced.

Wayne caught a number of salmon over 20 lbs and caught is personal best at 30.7 lbs!

From Photo_Gallery8

By this time we had trolled a straight line to infront of Fifty Point and the entire way we marked great schools of bait and great fish on the SONAR in 140 – 160 feet of water.

I was slowing down the spread at the end of the night clearing rods by fish and not putting them back in the water. The last fish was slightly over 20 lbs and the last two rods came in without fish by 8:20 and we were back to dock by 8:30 pm.

It was one of those evenings of fishing you will not forget anytime soon. I hope the kids will remember the fun we had that evening as well.

Shane Thombs

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Bill shows Terry and George how its done, July 8, 2012

Fishing is not limited by age, gender, or level of mobility. I have had the privlege to fish with individuals that would otherwise might be considered out of the so called "target market" for fishing charters. I don't believe all of what is told to me by others who think they know better. They likely do in most cases, but for today I learned you are never at an age that would limit your success while fishing.

Our trip was met with some very nice conditions and we were off the dock for a 4 hour fishing trip that would take us into the dusk hour.

From Photo_Gallery10

Bill is later in life with much experience. His son Terry and friend George were also ready to do battle not only with Salmon and Trout, but also a friendly battle to see who catches the biggest fish. It was clear that the very begining of our trip the three were nothing short of a comical bunch. There were one-liners and sarcastic comments shot in all directions this evening and Bill wasn't at the lesser in all the banter.

From Photo_Gallery10

There were plenty of fish caught, and the three took turns on the rods bringing in fish within the size range of 4-8 lbs. But Bill in his years of experience, showed them how it's done with this beautiful chinook salmon.

From Photo_Gallery10

Shane Thombs

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Ken turns a fun fish to my learning experience, July 7, 2012

I’ve been made a fool of. I have learnt a valuable lesson. You can say I was gullible- but know that it will be the last time I am persuaded to take someone fishing that talks a big game, but falls short on the bill.

I was getting calls from Ken for weeks to take him fishing. Before I can explain my charter service and details about booking a trip, Ken describes himself as something more then my average client. He ran a charter boat out of Bluffers Park in Scarborough and talks freely about how he has caught all sorts of big fish. He claims he can show me a few big fish tactics and he would like to come out recreational fishing when I have a spot available. You can obviously tell by my tone that his stories were less then impressive when I finally got to know him in the boat.

This Saturday morning was my first registration in the new Summer Saturday Salmon Series derby held at Grimsby Tackle. I was eager to make an early start on Saturday despite the lack of sleep from yesterday’s fish on Lake Erie and a 2:00 am wake up to travel 2 ½ hours to Port Burwell and get on the water at day break.

I told Ken to meet me at the marina at 5:00 am and Mark Penner would also be there to give it a good try to enter a quality fish.

Ken stepped on board with three rods. One was a beautiful 8 ½ ft Fenwick twist downrigger rod with an almost brand-new looking Shimano Charter Special lever drag reel, the other two rods were something less desired to find on the boat. Ken suggests he run one side of the boat and Mark and I would have the other. This is unusual to the way I run my boat since everyone on the boat works as a team and no one side of the boat is put in competition against the other. It’s counter productive. But this is supposed to be a fun fish, nothing too serious so I obliged. Ken suggests we put a little side bet on who on the boat gets the biggest fish. Again this is unlike how we do things on my boat, I declined.

We set lines in 60 Feet of water straight out from Casablanca Rd in Grimsby. Ken sets two rods on his side, one in the downrigger and the other flatlined from his miniature 3 ft rod.

On the other side of the boat was my four rods, two in downriggers and the other two were divers with Flasher and fly rigs. We were finally set up and Ken tells us his side of the boat will take the biggest fish of the day with his set-ups and any fish on our side would be between Mark and I to reel in. It’s fun fishing – I thought – who cares about formalities.

I watched Ken pull out gang trolls and body baits the size used for muskie. In the meantime he shared stories about his financial successes and how he is a millionaire and lives comfortably. The phone conversations that persuaded me to take Ken out for a fun fish and accept his offer to help chip in for gas was clearly a mistake on my part for being so naïve. A wealthy man that is unwilling to pay for a charter. I knew I was the one at fault for this and felt bad that Mark had to share the boat in this circumstance. I instead took the line of professionalism and I could tell Mark also did the same. Big kudos to Mark for reading the circumstance understanding my mistake. Instead Mark and I concentrated on making our four rods fire with every opportunity.

From 5:30 to 9:30 Mark and I shared back and forth each of the first 9 fish that came on the four rods on the one side of the boat that was deemed “unfit for bigger fish”. Every fish we offered the rod to Ken and he shakes his head stubbornly and makes a few changes to his lure selections on his own rods.

9:30 am we watched the approaching black thunderstorm clouds and the fishing was only getting better and better as the black clouds rushed over head. Again the wire diver on our side starts with the drag screaming for mercy on yet another king over 20 lbs. this fish was number 10 in the morning, and I offer this one to Ken. He murmurs yes and I handed him the rod as the decent fish made for waters further from the boat. In the meantime the other diver rod goes off and I fight a 19 lbs king to the boat while Mark begins packing things away while bolts of lightening seemed closer.

With all the gear up, we slow the boat and Ken is able to manage his fish to the boat. This was to be the biggest of our morning but there is no time to put it on a scale, while being chased off by the thunderstorm.

From Photo_Gallery9

The three of us made it to dock with the rain pouring down and we jump in our vehicles and make our way down to Grimsby Tackle to weigh our fish in.

From Photo_Gallery8

Ken puts it on the scales at Grimsby Tackle and it weighs just under 23 lbs and holds the lead for the morning while three other boats arrive with fish caught before the storm. I had plans for the afternoon so getting back out on the lake after the storm blew over, wasn’t a possibility. Later that afternoon someone weighs in a fish 1 pound heavier and bumps us out of the lead.

I learnt a lesson not to be persuaded by a big talker. Friends and family are my only invitees for a recreational fish during my day off.

Shane Thombs