Sunday, May 15, 2011

A Hard Days Night

    No... this has nothing to do with a cheesy movie from 45 years ago.

   As I mentioned last week, Tackle Shop is increasing his weekend activities with regards to picking at garage/estate sales and flea markets so early Saturday morning fishing forays have been placed on the back burner. In order to keep our angling addiction satisfied this week we decided he would pick me up immediately after work and we would proceed north from there. Thankfully the last shift of the week at the factory was uneventful, so at 8am I was out the door and primed to catch some fish, unfortunately as I left for work the night before I'd forgotten my camera so there's no recent pics for this weeks post.

Holland River, April 2010
  We miscalculated on the early morning traffic so it took well over an hour to travel the 45 miles to Bradford and the Holland River, where several weeks before TS had hooked a good sized bowfin. We were returning for another chance at the local version of a snakehead, TS soaking a worm and me casting some new streamers bought last weekend. I'd found an area where workers had been dredging a canal and had strung an expanded metal curtain across the waterway which allowed the water to pass but concentrated the fish wanting to travel downstream. A closer inspection showed several dozen 5-10lb carp, a few bass, and large schools of crappie, perch, sunfish, catfish and minnows all gathered in an area no larger than an average home washroom. I'd been hunting bowfin and chanced upon a honey-hole of species that would readily accept a well presented fly, except on this day! Repeated casts to the frantic schools only stirred them up more and the only thing I managed to hook were several 4" shiner minnows snagged on quick strips of the line. After several hours of  fishing TS had two bullhead catfish and I remained "legally" shut out. 
Holland Canal, April 2010

  By noon the temperature had soared to over 80 degrees with a killer humidity that sapped our energy and the only thing that kept me upright was a constant supply of coffee. We decided to search out a cooler and hopefully fishier location, so we left the agricultural "soup" of the Holland River for the crystal clear, cool waters of Lake Simcoe in the small town of Bell Ewart. Along the way TS and I stopped a few blocks from our destination and scooped a cooler full of shiner minnows from a small creek.

  As we walked out onto the public concrete pier, schools of perch could clearly be seen everywhere to a depth of ten feet! Tackle Shop was catching them one after another much to the despair of the other idle anglers that were using worms. I quickly went through my nymph box and found they were nipping at everything I tried but wasn't able to hook many because they'd spit the fly out without me ever feeling the bite. I developed a new strategy of making a long cast of 70-80 feet, letting the fly settle for half a minute to get a school's attention and retrieving with a sharp, short strip-pause-strip-pause...and managed 100 perch on 100 casts! On the rare casts that didn't hook a fish until the majority of the line was retrieved, you could see as many as 200 perch eagerly following and fighting over the fly!

  After a while a massive school of shiners swam past the dock. It was larger than a good sized house, took more than five minutes to pass, and gave me a bad case of vertigo as I looked down into the roiling water. Tackle Shop took this opportunity to use his net and refill the minnow cooler. With more than enough bait for himself, he shared with the rest of the anglers on the pier and soon afterwards everyone was catching perch non stop. We spent several hours there, caught and released a couple hundred fish each, totally refreshed from our earlier sauna and decided it was time to move on for something different.

  A 15 minute drive inland (and another stop at a coffee shop for me), and we arrived at the Nottawasauga River. This time we were greeted with ideal conditions of moderate flows of clear "green" waters and only a few other anglers in sight. I immediately assembled my rod and lost the first fly on a submerged log on the first drift. The second fly was lost in a tree before it even got wet. The third fly saw a few drifts before it joined it's partner on the log. Long hours and too many coffees do not make John a good fly fisher so I decided to cut my losses, unpack the spinning gear and join TS fishing bait on the bottom of a deep fast pool in the hope of getting a sturgeon or redhorse sucker. Soon afterward dark clouds rolled in from the west and the sky opened up as if Noah himself had finish his little DIY project. I was ready to pack it in after ten minutes of patiently sitting in a deluge, soaked to the skin with only an 8" chub to show for the effort and discomfort. 
Nottawasauga River, early May 2010

Nottawasauga River, early May 2010

  It was late afternoon, the sunshine had returned, I was beginning to dry and after a refill of my favorite go go juice, TS talked me into a return to our first spot of the day. The heat and humidity had dispersed and the fish had become more active with the lowering light. I returned to the morning's unproductive "honey hole" and caught a 9" bluegill on the first cast, followed by several more bulls, a rockbass, a couple perch and crappie and a 12" bullhead catfish! Then I got a log, several clods of dirt, a bush and several fences. For me it was time to call it quits before I emptied my fly boxes. By now I'd been awake over 24 hours and my coordination was akin to that of a zombie.
 Do zombies drink coffee and fish?
I don't know, but Deadfishers sure do!!!


  1. Wow John,
    A 100 perch, a day of a lifetime.


  2. I would say that very definitely is a full day of fishing. Especially with all the action and fish caught! Glad to see you tried a little "Ass Backwards" fishing.

  3. Nice job Im the perch. I know what those long days are like. Sleep it off buddy

  4. Excelent fishing, We call 100+ fish or 100+LB of fish a red letter day, Some great pictures there John, I dont understand why the waters look low while other places are in flood?,
    Made up for you,

  5. Catching up. Hey John. All, the Zombies I know don't drink coffee. They're not very good company any way. They growl a lot and they're always trying to bite you. Glad you had a good fishing day.


  6. Just found your blog. Nice job on letting the perch know who's boss. Great pics and nice fishing blog. YOu got a new follower. Tight Lines.

  7. Such trips are the best for me. I remember them for a very long time. Recently I was fishing for over 20 hours. I returned home at 1PM and at 2PM i was haveing an important meeting, and so on, until midnight... :)

  8. sounds like a pretty successful day perch, catfish, and tons of coffee. I went fishing today and I caught what you guys were looking for a BOWFIN... i didnt even know what it was when i caught it i had to google it once i got home, What a fight!!!! ne ways great post once again you guys

  9. Sounds like an amazing day...glad i found your blog, looking forward to following along!