Monday, May 20, 2013

Queen Victoria Day Kings have arrived, May 20, 2013

I get to fish with some great people throughout the year, but nothing is more enjoyable then one-on-one time with my son, Aidan. Every parent knows how it feels when your son or daughter score their first goal, that same feeling is when you watch them fight a fish that is half their size, get emotional about how difficult it is to reel in and then when the fish gets in the net, the floor of the boat will not see their feet for the next few minutes as they jump up and down yelling in celebratory fashion.

From Photo_Gallery12

Yesterday was one of those days, where we launched the boat from St Catharines Marina and ran up to the New York Ontario border line off the ledge of the Niagara Bar. We set up in 190 FOW and the first fish came within 10 minutes on Glow Frog Diver, Green/Glow on Black Spinny and matching fly. This same set managed 4 kings for the day as uI stretched out the lead on the diver from 210, 220, 230, 270 ft as the day went along.

The first fish, and the rest to follow, were all on Aidan's arms to fight, unless we doubled up which happened twice with the highlight being at the end when the Rigger fired with MC Rocket down 124 ft and the wire diver fired and I was on it. 18 lbs king on the diver and Aidan tells me the reel reads 607 ft. Knowing this was the perfect end to the morning, I pulled everything and set the kicker on idle and let Aidan lay a smack down on this fish. He said, "dad all this reeling will help my wrist shot". That's a true Canadian Boy!

From Photo_Gallery12

We got his fish in the boat and he was beside himself while another boat with a family trolled past and gave him a round of applause. 21 lbs on the scale and the largest of the day!

These fish are for a MNR study on stomach contents. Also 5 of the 7 kings had Ad clips and I will send in the snouts to have them check for Coded Wire Tags.

Shane Thombs

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Grays for United Way, May 19, 2013

In the fall of 2012 I donated a 3 person 4 hour trip to the United Way City of Hamilton Online Auction. Of roughly 40 items in the auction the fishing trip was second only to Toronto Maple Leaf Tickets and the winning bid for the fishing trip was to the highest bidder Bill Jr.

I wanted to make this a great trip to show my appreciation for their generous donation to the United Way, but the fishing for salmon was dismal to non-existent leading up to our planned date with Lady “O”. I called Bill and described the situation and commented that we still can target Lake Trout (Grey Trout) or we can reschedule our trip when the fishing for salmon improves. Bill said let’s get out there and fish for Lake Trout and enjoy the day. The morning was with light winds and scattered clouds. We boated to the east side of Grimsby and set up in 80 FOW.

From Photo_Gallery12

The Cowbells and Peanuts were put on the bottom using two downriggers, the other 8 rods we ran were with baits that we would hope to find some silvers higher in the water column.

It wasn’t long and the downriggers tracing the bottom were getting bites. Bill Sr was first up, but part way through the fight he was feeling the effects of an aching shoulder and his grandson 15 year old Cameron took over and netted his biggest fish ever. The lake trout was a 5 or 6 lbs fish and I had the feeling he would have the bar set higher as we continued throughout our short trip. The next two the fish were lost during the fight. We found some warmer water that reached 53’F in front of Beamsville and there were some suspended fish that looked like they could be Salmon. We watched the rods in anticipation, but it was a no show from fish with silver sides.

From Photo_Gallery12

We turned out to over deeper water to take a look and the water went colder so we turned back to shallower water and the parade of Grey Trout came one after another and provided plenty of action for the three to go home with stories of Cameron’s personal best notched up three times.

Grey’s made the day for this United Way Charter, Thanks to Bill for his generous donation to the organization.

Shane Thombs

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Adam and High school buds; Joe and Matt hook some Lake Trout, May 4, 2013

I have known Adam in recent years at the City of Hamilton. He worked for Real-estate in the Economic Development and every once and a while I would provide some Geographic Information System (GIS) software and data support for his needs in looking up property information using City Planning data. Adam recently found work in Halton Region in a similar roll and it is always interesting to hear the comparison of notes between the two organizations. Although the municipal structure is slightly different since Halton remained a two tier system and Hamilton was an amalgamated city 12 years ago. Adam mentioned that Halton has money and great people to work with, but a ton of work to keep up with development.

Matt is an Electrician living in Hamilton and Joe lives in Toronto and working hard to get on a Police Force. The three went to High school together, and although post-secondary schooling and careers sent them in different directions, they still maintain a friendship.

The morning was the Salmon Slammin’ Tournament and the returning boats were with long faces from a slow bite. Mark Penner who was to assist with this afternoons charter returned to dock with 4 Chinook Salmon and one Rainbow Trout. The five fish managed the win in the tournament and I was eager to hear the details before we pushed off the dock.

We departed St Catharines Marina at 15:20 hrs and with Mark’s first hand morning tournament experience we headed in the direction where he managed the fish to win the tournament. We ran to the Canada/US border line on the ledge of the Niagara Bar. It was the intent to make the run into the wind and then troll back with the east wind on the stern. We sat down and began our troll with 8 lines ranging from 80 feet down to just under the surface looking for anything willing to bite. Throughout the next 1 ½ we made changes and trolled in and out from the drop off on the Niagara Bar Ledge. We marked a few but Mark said the picture changed since the morning tournament bite.

The rods didn’t move with a bite so I thought let’s get in shallow and look for a few greys to bite in the East wind conditions. We turned into 60 FOW and with a few adjustments in the rigger depths and adjust to a slower speed, the first few marks of fish on the SONAR turned into an instant strike on the downrigger set to 42 ft. First fish was reeled in by Joe and it was a 7 lbs Lake Trout that bit a Warrior Blue Dolphin Mag spoon. We broke the ice!

The center rigger traced the bottom with a SpinDoctor 8 inch and an MountDew Green Dot Magnum MC Rocket. After the boat was steered into Lake Trout grounds on the top of the Ledge, the center rigger bumped with another Lake Trout. I grab the rod and pass the rod over to Adam and the fish spits the hook.

The next change to add another presentation to the spread of lures out behind the boat was to add a full core chute rod (pulled behind the boat and not on a planer board). On it we put a Mirage Howie Fly on a ProTroll that I had customized with Gold and green dots on crush glow. The rod bent over minutes later and Adam was up for the challenge.

The fish was an obvious heavy, but we were unsure it was a Lake Trout or a lazy Chinook salmon. The pressure on the rod/line was nothing short of testing breaking strength. The fish was sounding and vicious head shakes would have everyone holding our breath and then laughing at Adam’s struggle trying to reel this fish in. When the fish finally came to within sight, there was no question this was a big Lake Trout. We scooped the fish in the net and Adam was smiling from ear to ear.

From Photo_Gallery12

The fish on the scale in the boat read 21 lbs and because I have purchased a boat ticket for the St Catharines Game & fish Derby, that makes everyone eligible on the boat to fish the derby and this fish would be one to bring to the scales. The leader after Saturday morning was a 19 lbs Lake Trout and this was looking like we had a leader at least for the short term, but their were two three other Lake Trout brought in that would set the bar very high. 29, 28, and a 25 would push Adam’s fish into a fourth place slot for the current standing.

After boating that big Lake Trout and knowing that the sun was starting into the dusk hour, we emphasised our efforts for a Salmon. We trolled out off the Ledge and then further west to in front of four Mile Point and then turned back in towards Weller Bay. We marked next to not fish until we reached 60 ft of water where we saw a few good hooks following the downrigger weights and staying with us for a little while before tailing off.

From Photo_Gallery12

It wasn’t meant to be and the salmon were left to bite another day, but long time friends Adam, Matt and Joe will have the story to tell and the memory of a worthy derby Lake Trout entry to keep for a long time

Shane Thombs

Lanny is met with blue spring skies and silver spring salmon, May 3, 2013

This would make my first trip to target spring salmon. Last weeks tournament results from participants fishing the King Of the Lake tournament were with dismal results. A slow start to the salmon fishing season is the reality, however we know that, like a light switch, Chinooks can show up and the fishing can go from tough to terrific.

This will make two days of consistent and fair weather with sunny skies and calm mornings. We launched from Port Dalhousie and powered up to boat towards Port Weller. 3/4 of the way to Port Weller I stopped to take a look, and the SONAR reveled very little but had some decent surface temperature at 49'F! We ran a to Port Weller and set up 2 riggers, 2 inline planerboards, one of which was a 3 colour leadcore with a Lymans.

15 minutes into the troll the 3 colour takes a fish. A female rainbow trout that looked like it just finishing spawning in a nearby creek with worn out fins and skinny appearance.

The next 4 hours we struggled to get another strike. We worked 50-70 FOW between Port Weller and in front of Weller bay. We worked hard on a few locations that we marked great fish that came in under the boat through the down riggers.

Then we finally got a strike, The downrigger with a Dreamweaver Spoon set 70 feet back and 27 ft down. The drag indicated a decent salmon and it came to surface a few times and then came to the net. This one went roughly 15 lbs and it's fins were black in colour and it was very shinny silver. Love those silver salmon.

From Photo_Gallery12

The turn back through the areas also caught us another salmon, but this time a coho. Same spoon, same depth, same set. Now it was noon and we watched other boat go in or continue to fish in front of Port Dalhousie. The thought was maybe the fish were in the 49'F water we discovered first thing in the morning. But we trolled all the way to Port Dalhousie and the water never reached the same temps.

Slow bite prevails this day, but a few silver fish made the trip a successful outcome.

Shane Thombs