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

Friday, July 6, 2012

Port Burwell is alive and well for Walleye, July 6, 2012

The hype about the central Lake Erie Basin walleye fishery has intrigued me for sometime. Last year while I ran the Strait Line Anglers Club Lake Erie Walleye Tournament, I had kicker motor issues with a stuck carburetor needle. I instead spent the weekend on land and ran the tournament without participating in it or having my first central basin walleye trip.

Mark Penner “Fish Dawg” included me in an open invite to fish with Chris Vanrooy “Jammer” in his 17 ft Crestliner. I couldn’t pass this one up- local knowledge and finally experiencing the central basin walleye bite.

From Photo_Gallery8

The season was still regarded early, and many anglers were coming up empty handed after a day’s fishing. Chris, on-the-other-hand, was on fish the past week during his vacation. An 8 mile run out of Port Burwell at day break was on a flat Lake Erie and with hazy hot humid air temps. The full moon was still up and this was concerning to us considering the walleye had the opportunity to feed the majority of the night.

We got to within 2 miles of his waypoints from 4 days prior to. Third rod out and it takes a fish immediately. Wire diver on 3 setting on a UV Green diver and FireTiger Super Slim spoon out 140 ft. The first walleye in the boat at around 6 lbs.

From Photo_Gallery8

The entire spread was set shortly after; one 5 colour Leadcore on Inline board off the starboard side that later switched out to a 150 ft copper line down the shoot, one 7 colour Leadcore on Inline board off the Port side, two wire divers on 3 settings and one out 140 and the other 120 and then switched to 135 later in the day. One rigger down 40 ft with a spoon and a free slider spoon as well. The other rigger was a two colour leadcore (secret weapon rig) with a gold Ripplin Redfin with orange belly on the downrigger down 20 ft.

From Photo_Gallery8

All rods were made firing on both Walleye and Steelhead. We concentrated on temp breaks evident by slicks of calm water around 1 ft chop. Thermocline was at the 35-40 ft depth over 58- 64 ft of water.

We managed 13 walleye and 5 steelhead by 2:00 pm where we traveled back. The temperature was comfortable out on the lake, but coming to shore- it was obvious we were coming to the high heat and humidity that the forecast was calling for with a humidity temperature at 41’C!

Big Thanks to Chris for hosting us and I learnt a lot on good spoon colours and techniques.

Shane Thombs

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Hamilton Harbour Gold in the Future?, July 5, 2012

Hamilton Harbour was stocked with 50,000 Walleye about 1/2 a gram or 2 inches and another 50,000 is coming tomorrow (July 6th). The test bucket of walleye showed a few morts, but not enough to concern and stop the release of the rest from the tanks. There were a few that didn't make it, but it was only a small few we could see that didn't make the transition.

From HamiltonHarbourWalleyeStocking_July5_2012
The article made the Hamilton Newspaper "Spec" on July and here is the link to the article for your read...

I'm sure there is alot of negative thoughts on this, like...
Will they survive?
Will it make a fishery that would in the future be sought after?
You wouldn't eat them out of the bay anyway!

Regardless, I think it is a great thing to see walleye going into the harbour.
This is really a test for the MNR to see if we might have walleye that will establish HH as a home. plantings in the past haven't been successful, but the bay is going through a dramatic change. For an example, the Perch fishery has exploded in recent years.

The Dissolved Oxygen level was almost 10 parts per million, which is very good, and the water temperature was 24'F near Maccassa Bay where they were released.

Many challenges are still left to clean the bay, but wouldn't it be nice to see a little Hamilton Harbour Gold from these guys inthe future?

My son Aidan is in some of the shots as well as Colin from the MNR who was the lead biologist in this.

Here's the pics... leyeStocking_July5_2012?authuser=0&feat=directlink

Shane Thombs
FINtastic Sportfishing

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Adrian and Gerald catch more than an independent salmon on Independence Day, July 4, 2012

A boat full of Canadians likely contributed to our luck finding more than one independent Chinook salmon on the American holiday Independence Day.

Adrian Fleming is the previous owner of Grimsby Tackle but retired from the business and has spent more than half the year in the United States living in Florida. Adrian has been staying south, living primarily independent since his wife Heather still continues full time work here in Southern Ontario.

From Photo_Gallery8
Since his return to the great white North, he has been busy building a new house and hasn’t had the opportunity to go fishing. It was fitting to ask him if he had time to spend a morning on Lake Ontario now that signs of bigger Chinook salmon are starting to show up.

The evening before, the Strait Line Anglers Club had our monthly meeting, this month it was held at Grimsby Tackle for a BBQ. While at the meeting Adrian and Gerald and I discussed fishing in the morning and we made it a plan to leave the dock at 6:00 am.

From Photo_Gallery8
We motored out to slightly west of the Grimsby weather-marker and we began setting lines. I mentioned to Adrian and Gerald, that although there have been a great number of rainbows in the area, we will look to target Chinooks and see if we can develop a pattern to catch them. Two evenings before on a charter we had discovered the return of good Chinooks to the Grimsby waters, but we were still figuring out what they want and where they are. It was todays goal to target them with all rods focused on Chinook salmon. This meant running three riggers, three divers and targeting the 50- 70 foot part of the water column.

Braid Diver was set to 3 and out 175ft with Gerald’s pick of a great set-up using a Mountain Dew ProTroll and an Atommik Tournament fly called a Crazybitch. Setting the next rod inside of that, was a wire diver on a 1 ½ setting and out 140 ft using a Green Dolphin 107 sized Walker Deeper Diver, with a Spin Doctor NBK and TG fly, and the wire diver on the other side of the boat was Glow Frog 107 Walker Deeper Diver, with a Black Green Glow SpinDoctor and Glow Frog Fly (this rig was named 7 o’clock by Mark Penner since he had success with it before 7 in the morning or after 7 at night). On the Downriggers the starboard boom rigger set 69 ft down and pulling a Yeck 88 NBK spoon stretched back 50 ft. The middle rigger had a White Killer Spin Doctor and #1 MC Rocket Reg size down 55 ft and on a short 15 ft lead. The Port side Boom rigger had a Yeck 88 Mnt Dew NBK spoon that was stretched back 60 ft and down 75 ft.

It is hard to determine the best set-up as all of them were firing at a consistent and regular basis. It wasn’t long and we were into doubles and the majority of the fish that came to the net were in the high teens to mid twenty pound range. No real big fish, but enough reel drags screaming for mercy to make it an enjoyable morning.

Gerald and Adrian were a good group to fish with and we had some great information, stories and fishing conversation. The morning fishing effort resulted in a fair number of good salmon on the line that we would complement a great group effort and not an independent effort.

Shane Thombs

Monday, July 2, 2012

Visser’s not lesser on dusk time kings, July 2, 2012

I am often asked what is better, morning fishing or evening fishing? My answer is; whenever I can get out! With all honestly, salmon and trout fishing on Lake Ontario is a hunt to find them before you catch them and unless you clued in on their location first thing in the morning, you might be missing the morning bite happening somewhere else. Instead an evening trip can be as productive and some times more productive then a morning trip, if you are hunting for them, find them, and sit on top of them when dusk arrives!

From Photo_Gallery7
Today, this statement was made true. I had a morning fish that resulted in some smaller kings first thing, but the hunt for a decent fish was unsuccessful. Later in the morning I find good schools of bait elsewhere to where I began our morning trip and it wasn’t long for the evening hunt to focus on different water. This new location held enormous alewife bait schools and plenty of smaller salmon and steelhead during the day. The start of the evening trip was slow and our presentations focused on steelhead up high and some smaller salmon while the sun was high and the temperatures were very hot.

Chris Visser took on a part time job at Grimsby Tackle to help out on Saturdays. During the beginning of the trip I described some of the tackle, techniques used for trolling for salmon to help him understand it’s for use, to speak to it when working in the store talking to customers.

In preparation for the lower sun, we pulled some of the rods out of the water and focused on a 6 rod spread with the target for bigger kings. Seeing the bait fish, knowing the smaller kings are in, the words “I know those big kings got to be here too” was said repeatedly.

The picture on the SONAR graph was wonderful to see, and as dusk arrived Chris and father Jan witnessed the marvel of a plan that actually came together! A plan that kept them busy on the rods reeling in something other than silver steelhead. They were on black mouth salmon, kings, the Chinook salmon of Lake Ontario.

Leading up to this date, kings in our waters were scarce or peppered in locations without much need to target them with intensity. Bows and cohos in the month of June were essentially the species of fish that kept the rods moving and provided great fun. But tonight marked the first night of the arrival of great July salmon fishing for the Grimsby waters.

Chris and Jan managed a number of great fighting salmon that came on wire divers with flasher fly and SpinDoctor and MCRocket on the downrigger. Then as the sun was about to disappear on the west horizon, a double header of hard fighting kings made the night end with great excitement.

From Photo_Gallery8
What’s better, morning or evening? Who cares- let’s go fishing and find out!

Shane Thombs

Out of Town Work – provides Out of Town Play, July 2, 2012

Rich and co-worker Roger were up from California to work in Ontario for a little over a month on a decommissioning project in Solar power industry. Rich and I were back-and-forth trying to fit this into our schedules where he was working long hours and some weekends to bring the project to a close and then fly home.

With only a week left to stay, it was finally time to “Play”, and it was all about time spent catching fish on Lake Ontario.

The weather forecast was calling for hot temperatures and the lake was flat with little to no wind. We motored out of the marina heading out the North East and settled in water a little shallower to start the morning. I was curious to see if the bait was concentrated in shallower when we head east of Grimsby.

It was minutes into the troll and we caught our first fish in 70 FOW. We caught and kept the Rainbow Trout and kept trolling the 70-80 ft depths going through giant schools of alewife. It was a steady pick of rainbows and the odd Chinook salmon until we got to in front of Beamsville where we discovered a pod of fish that kept the rods moving for nearly an hour on Salmon. We lost a good salmon on a wire diver and Yeck 88 NBK. A nice surprise was this Brown Trout that also took the Yeck 88 NBK spoon on a wire diver out 140 on 3 seting.

From Photo_Gallery7

Then the bite slowed and we headed for deeper water and then trolled back towards the west to in front of Grimsby.

The SONAR was blank for about 2 hours as we trolled in the 100 to 140 FOW between Beamsville and Grimsby. Then like a light switch the bait was all over the screen and the fishing got hot along with the temperatures on a flat lake.

We started catching Rainbow and smaller salmon, one after another for the last 2 hours of the trip. By noon it was time to pack it in and come back to dock. At the same time they had reached full limits while we were clearing lines. It’s always fun to clear line with biting fish rather then pulling them out themselves.

When you are out-of-town for work, can also mean you can be out-of-town for play. Why not play with some hard fighting, high jumping and drag burning salmon and trout on Lake Ontario?

Shane Thombs