Sunday, April 29, 2012

Tom’s Tiring Brown Trout Trip, April 29, 2012

I pulled into the empty parking lot at Foran’s in Grimsby at 5:30 am to put the boat in the water for Tom’s 6:00 am start. A 13 hour day on the water the day before had me a little tired and slow moving, but I was still on schedule. I put the boat in the water, warmed up the motors and pulled out the rods. The sun was just coming up and the winds were still and the skies were slightly overcast, but not threatening rain.

A friend of mine also pulled into the parking lot by this point. Steve, who normally fishes Hamilton Beach and periodically down towards Jordon, decided to launch from Foran’s today after he discovered a number of "skinny water" Browns and Kings in front of Grimsby, from the day before. He mentioned that he also had an Atlantic Salmon yesterday from less then 9 feet of water. This was sounding good. Providing me two options for Tom to pick from; go where I knew kings were caught yesterday or fish directly in front where Browns and some salmon were caught in shallow yesterday.

The motors were well warmed up by this point and checked my Lowrance HDS8 for the time and discover it was already 6:15 and no sign of Tom yet. It was minutes later when he pulled into the parking lot and made his way to the dock. He was extremely apologetic, but he had a good excuse. His 18 month old daughter had the flu all night and kept him and his wife up. I asked if he need to do this some other time, but he insisted we carry on and get out fishing.

He came on board and we discussed the two options, filling him in on what I have heard and seen on the lake from the day before. Tom said he was interested in catching Brown Trout and to save the Kings for our trip in the Summer. Sounds great since I love to mix it up and try some different types of fishing. It was simply a troll that started once we passed the rocks at the Marina entrance. I put two lines in the water as flatlines and then proceeded to the bow the put out the big boards. I put them out at least 120 feet to each side with hopes that a greater distance will result in a more stealthy shallow water approach. We started fishing 12 – 16 feet of water and the boards would at times be in as shallow as 9 feet. I knew this because we snagged bottom a few times using shallow diving baits that run 9 feet deep on a long line.

We first trolled about ½ mile east of the marina and then we had our first strike from the outside board rod. We were a little slow to get to the rod, since the line was already off the board clip and back a distance when we finally got to the rod. When Tom had the rod in his hand a few head shakes and the fish was off. We will blame that one on being tired.

We trolled a little further east and discovered the water had gotten much clearer and it was time to make our way back west. We trolled to in front of Foran’s again and Steve who was fishing directly in front since our departure time, said he had two kings already in the boat. While he relayed that message, the inside board rod goes off and I quickly get to it this time to take up the slack line and then pass the rod over to Tom. Steve from the other boats cheers Tom on and we giggle with the silliness of it all. Tom brings the first fish to the boat. A nice 6 lbs female Brown Trout. That was on a Bomber Long A Michael Jackson colour set out 200 ft behind the board without weight.

From Photo_Gallery7

We put the fish back in the water and it was gone in no time. We get that line back out and moments later the rod set at the back corner of the boat using a William half and half Spoon (we picked it out of Tom’s box to try) and I added a 4 ounce weight set out 40 feet in 16 feet of water. The rod starts pulling hard right beside where Tom was standing. He fought the fish to merely 20 feet from the boat. It was another 6 lbs Brown Trout in estimation that was head thrashing on the surface when the hook pulled free and lure went zinging past my ear.

We trolled further west to as far as Murry Park and noticed the water getting clearer and we decided to turn once more towards Foran’s. There was a lull in action for about an hour as we were making our way back to the waters we needed to fish. This time we worked the contour lines where it dropped from 12 feet to 16 feet, but the whole way through we were left without a bite. When we passed Foran’s entrance this time trolling east we angled out to deeper water and found us in 18 feet of water when we took a rip on the starboard outside board rod. The line from the reel started pulling drag and almost instantly broke the line. That was a Purple Renosky with the pink belly back 200 feet on mono without weight. That’s three we have lost.

Then we trolled out to as much as 30 feet of water to see if there was any green water out that far and to our confirmation, it had cleared once we passed 25 feet of water.

So we did a loop to troll past the front of Foran’s again and it paid off as we took another shot on the Bomber Long A Michael Jackson off the planerboard. This was a colourful male Brown Trout that finished our morning full of fun and relaxation.

From Photo_Gallery7

A relaxing trip was necessary for both Tom and I after being tired from the night before and the day before, activities.

Shane Thombs FINtastic Sportfishing

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Ramage Does Damage, April 28, 2012

Brian Ramage, Linda and Paul had recently purchased a boat and were looking for some advice on how to rig their boat, and then fish for Great Lakes Salmon and Trout and Lake Erie Walleye. Brian, Linda and Paul determined to spend less time, and less money, hiring a guide to show and explain the techniques and equipment that will fast track there experience and understanding. Where it may take years and many tanks of fuel to discover and experience the facets of t rolling, they instead were provided with 4 hours of in-depth On-the-Water-Clinic through FINtastic Sportfishing.

From Photo_Gallery7

We departed from Port Dalhousie at 2:00 pm after weighing in at the Spring Salmon Showdown. We were motored out to in front of Port Weller with a plan to troll east towards our waypoints from our morning fish. We soon discovered that inside of 50 FOW along Port Weller Bay there was a wall of bait that went from top to bottom. At times we found that even trying to turn out and escape the large schools, they would go for minutes at a time while we searched for the outer edge. We managed to reach the outer edge and it wasn’t long when we would take a shot on a Downrigger but three times in a row we would come up empty handed.

Then we had our first Chinook salmon on a 7 colour running off the planerboard with a Chartrouse and Red Proking in tow. Ladies first, so Linda was on the rod and put the reel handle to work. The salmon was small, but it finally broke the ice. We proceeded to troll east with our waypoints straight ahead. From roughly the Greenhouses east of Port Weller to our waypoints we discovered clear water. The screen went blank and we were anxiously wait for our waypoints to arri ve. Our activity on the rods were also met with a lull as we covered the clear water.

We watch as the waypoints neared, looking over the side I announced, “Here we go”, the clear water turned back to pea soup like we had in the morning. And no sooner did we look at the GPS we were crossing over the area we were working throughout the morning tournament. Immediately we started to see fish streaking on the graph and following the downrigger weights. It was exciting as we anticipated the strike.

Then as we were in the middle of all our morning trolling trails and waypoints, the Slide Diver rod on the Starboard side set out 50 feet behind the diver and then 90 ft to the diver starters to show signs of life, Paul is on it, but it was merely seconds later, the port side downrigger goes off again and we were doubled up. Unlike the last few strikes on the downrigger this time it was a solid hook-up. I pass the rod to Brian and the drag showed a fish worthy of a fig ht. Brian was experienced reeling in fish and was able to working away at gaining line.

Paul’s fish was nearly ready for the net and everyone is watching the doubleheader happening at the back of the boat when everyone’s head turned to the Port side when the drag was absolutely screaming under the strain of a much larger and more powerful fish then anything we have hook up on all day. I was pulling line at an alarming rate and Linda’s arms were put to the test holding the rod up and watching the line be pulled from the reel. In the meant ime we net Paul’s smaller salmon and get it in the box. Then Brian’s salmon weighing roughly 9 lbs came to the net and was also put in the box, but upon returning to the back of the boat to help Linda out with her credible sized Chinook Salmon, the hooks pulled free and the fish was left unseen. The boat was full of excitement after so much action in such a short period of time.

The time for the trip was coming to a close as the sun neared the horizon. We ran back to Port Dalhousie on a calm lake and returned to the dock to complete the first Charter of the season with success, both fun and meeting new friends.

Shane Thombs

Spring Salmon Showdown Tournament, April 28th, 2012

It had been over a month since I had the boat out last. Opportunities to get out on the lake seemed to close up with other plans and bad weather. Even the Friday April 27th,a planned fishing day was met with wind an waves coming out of the Northwest. The morning of the tournament we had our boat checked and we put it in the water. While drifting in Port Dalhousie harbour I started the kicker to warm it up and it was fussy with the frosty -3C. I was impatient with the choke, but it was a few restarts and it was humming as usual.

The King Of The Lake Tournament was also to blast off at the same time so the tournament organizers suggested we wait until 5 minutes for them to blast off. We sat on the west side of the pier head and watched 30 or so KOTL tournament boats hightail it for there fishing spots. Only about 7 boats went west and the rest went East. When we blasted off we had a 3 ft chop from the Northwest as well as the wakes from all the KOTL tournament boats. It was a brutal ride all th e way to Port Weller. We sat down in front of Port Weller. I had a look with the SONAR as we continued at about 10 MPH. Scanning for any signs of bait or fish. The KOTL boats didn’t stop at Weller and instead motored further East with a giant pack working the ledge of the Niagara Bar.

After scanning for a few minutes I wasn’t happy with what I seen on the graph and said, lets go to the old Riffle Range area and see if there is anything to be seen. Fishing the ledge is not my favourite when there are so many boats in combat to run the drop-off. We ran to 55 FOW west of Four mile point and immediately started marking bait up high and a few hooks at mid depth. Ran two riggers and started letting out the 3 colour put on an inline board and stared setting it out when the board started pulling back. Fish on, its was a small coho and we put it in the box to find the BBQ later. That was on the new goby coloured MC Rocket with orange dots ran naked without a flasher in front. I set it out again and had the rest of th e spread put out and it went off again with a coho. In the mean time the Lymans on a five colour leadcore yanks the board back and the drag begins to sing, but a short time later the hooks pull out and I said lets get the big board out and do it clean.

Once the big boards were out we had two five colours on the port side board and the three colour on the starboard side. For the next few hours we struggled to match the consistency of the two five colour leadcores using the downriggers. Changes in spoons and cutbait and MC Rocket off the riggers were not getting it done. Shorten the leads up from 150 ft to 100, then 50 and then 40 ft. Still nothing. The Slide Diver out 50 ft and then 90 feet to the diver on a 5 setting took a massive blow and the fish was an obvious quality king, but the change over from my hands to Kenny seen the fish pull off and it marked 3 in a row that were sizable kings that we had lost. We still only had two cohos in the box in a horrible success rate in getting the fish to the boat.

We worked the same area as the picture told us not to move. We marked most of the fish 30 ft down and they were curious coming right into the riggers. I changed the 3 colour for a 7 colour and it wasn’t long when it takes a rip off the planerboard. First king comes to the boat around 8 lbs. Then the 5 colour leadcore goes again and it’s a doubleheader. We boat that fish that is almost the same size king at around 9 lbs. That same five colour with Michael Ja ckson Bomber Long A starts getting hot but we drop another fish and then finally hook-up on another good one. We get that one in and it’s the biggest of the day for us but only 12 lbs.

From Photo_Gallery7

We finished the day with a bad rate of landing our fish, but still brought in our three salmon to the scales and found us sitting about middle of the standings between 21 boats. I don’t know our official standing as I turned back out for an afternoon/evening charter. Read the next blog; “Ramage Does Damage, April 28, 2012” for more on it.

Shane Thombs

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Early Spring Update 2012

There is nothing, in my opinion, better then fishing for spring Chinook salmon in shallow water. At times it can be tricky to find them and then make them bite, but it is well worth it when you do. As you may know, the 2011-2012 winter was the warmest on record. Signs are everywhere that the seasonal signs have progress ahead of schedule, and the water temperatures and fish location and behaviours are proving without exception we are seeing an early season In mid March, Brown Trout were being caught in good numbers. Where boats were ready to start the open water fishing, they were rewarded with a good Brown Trout to start the trolling season. I managed to get my boat out on the water for it’s first trip of the season on March 21st, where I was delighted to find the motors start with a quick crank and off we went out of Foran’s in Grimsby. We left the dock at noon after a morning of cleaning and prepping the boat. A quick four hour fish resulted in one Brown Trout weighing 6 lbs. We fished in TShirts and enjoyed the afternoon sun turning our faces red by the end of our day. The following Sunday I joined Mark Penner for a trip down to the Niagara Bar at the mouth of the Niagara River. We drifted the bar for a number of hours and lost one fish and boated this nice 14 lbs Lake Trout on a Jig.
From Photo_Gallery6
The winds started to blow every time I had the chance to get out on the lake for the next two weeks. As well the warmer water temperatures continued it’s upward increase. By Easter weekend consistent reports of Chinook Salmon were coming to the boat for those who like to ply the shallow waters of Ontario’s South Shore of Lake Ontario. Easter for me was also busy without time to afford a trip to experience the spring chromers. But the wait was ended on Thursday evening April 12, 2012. Brian Blainey “Mako” has had his boat in the water at Lakecourt for weeks already. He invited me to join him for a fish in front of Grimsby. A quick trip home from work and to the marina to join Brian for the evening voyage. We left the dock at 5:00 pm, we were greeted with green water in front and an offshore breeze making our shallow targeted fishing area a wonderful place to fish. We rounded the rock pier and noticed a guy on the Pumphouse Pier fighting a fish we watched as we motored out slowly and he landed it. A quality silver fish (likely a king) was in the bag of his landing net and he was excited The following video sums up a great trip of shallow kings with Brian Blainey. Shane Thombs