Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Optimistic Fishers result from Soroptimist Fundraiser Charter Prize, July 24, 2013

I donate 2 charters a year for the opportunity as fundraisers for those two separate causes. The one goes to the United Way Online Silent Auction available for City of Hamilton employees to participate. The results of that charter can be found following this link…

Today was a different cause which I donated a 4 hour trip, one that I also feel is very important and that I hope generated enough moneys to help the Stoney Creek Soroptimist Club continue their efforts find shelter and support for victims of Human Trafficking in Canada. When I first heard of this initiative, I thought – Here in Southern Ontario there is Human Trafficking? My ignorance to the topic was later realized that the golden horseshoe is a hotbed for Human trafficking activities. During a Fundraiser Golf event held by the Stoney Creek Soroptimist club, Scott was the luck recipient of the fishing trip package after a family member won the prize.

The trip called for 3 persons evening trip for 4 hours, but talking to Scott, it was clear that two young kids hardly amount to the ballast of a full grown man, so we made it a 2 adult, 2 kid trip departing at 5:00 pm and fishing until dusk.

From Photo_Gallery12

After our pre-departure safety briefing, I explained to Scott, his nephew Chris, and his older son Dennis and younger son Charlie, that although we plan to catch fish, we are all unaware of how our luck would transpire. Our weather over the past 5 days has kept us from getting out on the big lake. Winds, Thunderstorms and rough conditions were the hindering factor to hunt for more salmon. Even this morning was high Northwest winds and the residual of those winds left its mark on the lake even after the winds went light by noon.

We powered up out on the lake and pointed the bow towards the West North West to venture in waters north of Fifty Point Marina. The location was after a lead from a fellow Strait Line Anglers club member who departed at 2:30 pm was already into fish and found us a starting point.

We were able to set up all the rods without interruptions and then we had our first fish- a 10 lbs salmon that hit the 10 colour leadcore off the Planerboard that was pulling a Yeck 88 M&M glow. While that fish was coming in, we had a shot on the braid diver on 3 setting out 160 pulling a Michigan Stinger gold blue dolphin, but that fish came off only seconds from the strike.

We trolled further west and out to 160 FOW where we decided to turn back in to shallower water and find the edge of the bait. The bait was in less than 120 FOW and while we made our way towards that depth we took one rainbow trout and a lake trout. Then like a light switch we reached 130 FOW and the wire diver on 3 setting out 175’ pulling a Green Dolphin and Green Crinkle fly was smokin’ with obviously a bigger salmon. Chris was on it, this time, and he muscled the 25 lbs Chinook Salmon to the boat. Everyone on the boat was ecstatic over the size of the fish that dwarfed any size fish they had successfully landed in the past.

Mark and I continued to work to strengthen the spread, but there were only a few rods that were taken shots. Againt he 10 colour leadcore takes a shot off the board and the salmon on the other end of the line burned out all the backing on the reel to the knot on the arbour of the reel. I purposely held the line to prevent the fish from pulling out any more line, know this would likely result in a break off, but the fish cooperated and turned to swim back towards us. Scott reeled fast and gained some line and then it was trickery on the wheel to turn the boat and gain even more line until Scott recovered the backing on the reel. The fish came to the boat and it was a nice Chinook Salmon near 12 lbs.

The wire diver out 175 with the Green Dolohin SpinDoctor and Green Crinkle fly takes another violent shot and again the reel begins to peel. Now back to the start of the order line, Charlie sits on the box seat and we coach him to begin the fight of his life. The reel screams out to 550 feet on the line counter and finally we start to inch the fish back. In the meantime the braid diver takes another shot and this time we have an acrobatic show with what looked to be a big rainbow. A few jumps into it and the fish comes unpinned.

By now Charlie has the fish to within 250 feet on the dial and he hands the rod over to his brother Dennis to rest. Dennis is hard at it and as the fish comes into view the rod s handed back to Charlie for the home stretch. “A nice salmon here boys!’ I said to the crew as the net scooped the fish then lifted it over the transom with straining effort.

Dennis and Charlie are beside themselves when the big wide body salmon hit the floor of the boat. At the same time a big lamprey detaches from the side of the fish and begins squirming around the floor of the boat. The boys chased it around, picking it up and taking pictures with it until they realized that they also have a big fish to have a picture taken with.

We clean the boat up a little and get back on track and bring the speed up to 2.5 mph on the down speed Fish Hawk. Temps were 45 degrees down 60 feet over 120 FOW so everything was high in the water column and we placed the rods in the zone between 40- 60 feet . They reeled in a few more smaller salmon as well as one about 15 lbs that came on the wire diver just as we were pulling lines. Final Count 2 rainbows, 1 Lake trout, 7 salmon and 4 other missed shots. Here’s the group with display of some of Lake Ontario’s finniest.

From Photo_Gallery12

Shane Thombs

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Put out the fire when the reels get hot, July 3, 2013

A father’s day gift was all that was needed to coax three generations to form a father family fishing trip. Jim invited his father Wes and son Mich to join him on a fishing trip. Wes lives in Grimsby, but both Mich and Jim live in Stoney Creek not far from where I grew up.

Jim is a long time Firefighter and had recently watched his son Mich, follow his dad’s footsteps to wear the uniform and bear the crest as a Hamilton Firefighter.

The evening fish meant leaving the dock at 5:00 pm and making our way out onto the flat lake with fog that surrounded the boat making it difficult to see past a mile. I followed my GPS plotter intently and kept a close watch over the bow to avoid any debris or headheads in the water (commonly found on the surface in recent trips).

We set down west of the Grimsby Weather Marker in roughly 75 FOW. From there we trolled outward towards deeper water and discovered that the picture on the SONAR continued to mark good schools of bait as we ventured deeper. When we hit 140 FOW all ten rods were in the water fishing, but I wanted to make one change. “Let’s set up the meat” I said to Mark as he steered the boat heading North. I matched a roller head with a piece of meat behind a King Fisher Oki 11” flasher and put that back 15 feet and down on the rigger going deep. After setting the rod we waited. Now we were nearly 45 minutes into our trip and the rods stayed still, but the SONAR showed much activity below the surface.

The flies came upon us on the boat, biting our ankles and causing curses to fly with them everytime we went to swat. Then the buzzing from fly wings was replaced by the buzzing of the Okuma Clarion as the drag sang pulling the knot the held the braid backing to the 400 feet of copper line below the surface and the rod bounced.

Wes jockeyed into position to sit at the “Box Seat”, handed him the rod and then we coached him to reel down-pull up. I suggested we share the fight between the three, and one by one the fish inched it’s way closer to the boat. Marking the copper at every 100 ft, the excitement built up to see this fish as we made it to the home stretch. The lengthy fight allowed plenty of time to turn the boat and clear the rods from one side making a path to the back of the boat clear from obstruction. This also meant that the boat would be angled back to the waters we hooked up in since we now ventured out to 180 FOW and the SONAR began to draw clear of underwater activity.

The fish comes to the net and the guys are ecstatic with its size. Collectively this fish was much bigger than any other fish they have caught. The measuring tape showed a total length of 40” but the fish was thin, on the scales it read 24 ½ lbs. A team effort, Nicely done!

The next two hours the fishing on high lines began picking away at rainbow trout and we also managed one small Chinook that came off at the back of the boat and one Lake Trout on the 400 copper. At 8:00pm I brought in one of the Planerboards since it was an opportune time to bring it in for the last hour of fishing. I was midship when Mark yelled “rigger, rigger”. I wasn’t there to grab it, but Mich was on it pulling the rod out of the Walker Downrigger rod holder and began reeling. The fish was swimming up towards the surface and we told Mich to “reel, reel, reel!” That he did and he pulled up all the slack to the point where the rod tighted up in a nice arch and then I said “say good by – that fish will be going for a run”. Sure enough the drag clicked out slowly and then began to speed up, faster and faster. The 17 lbs Trilene XT clear monofilament line was dashing off the reel. Surely the reel drag disks were burning hot, but we had the right guys on the job. Where the reel read 160 feet to begin it’s set, it now read 450 ft in less than two minutes. We turned the boat and quartered the fish off the Port side to reduce the momentum.

Again the three took turns reeling in this fish and when it came into view the Oki Flasher popped out of the water, but the fish was not to be seen. It’s dark back blended into the dark water background and it wasn’t until the fish was 15 feet from the boat when it was known to be another quality Chinook salmon. Wes was the last guy on the rod as he cracked up the fish when it took a turn toward the rigger cable and I had to handle the line to steer the fish towards the mouth of the net. It worked! The fish was netted and I hoisted it over the motor and onto the floor. Again the guys were euphoric and Wes said “ I think it might be bigger than the other one.

From Photo_Gallery12

The measuring tape showed the fish being shorter by 2 inches, but on the scales it was only 1 pound less than the first at 23 ½ lbs.

A night to remember and I’m sure a few fish stories will be shared at the Firehall.

Shane Thombs