Sunday, May 1, 2011

Sunday Panfish Surprise!

  No... this post isn't about an outdoorsy brunch. Lately my Sunday routine is to get up at 6am, stay up for six hours, sleep another six hours and then get ready to go to work. Not very interesting or productive but it gets me back into the midnight shift sleeping cycle.

  This morning I awoke just before 6am, poured a coffee and fired up the computer. As it turned out Tackle Shop had gotten up at the same time to take Sid the Kid to work, only thing was that Sid was sick and wasn't going in and hadn't told his dad. So... he's up early for no reason and I'm doing my usual nothing.

  The only plan was to get me back home for bed by early afternoon so for a short trip I suggested we travel north and try the Nottawasauga River for some steelhead, redhorse, and possibly sturgeon. We arrived by the river in the town of Ivy just after 7:30 to find it completely blown out. Luckily Lake Simcoe was only 5 miles to the east and in less than 15 minutes we were standing on the end of the public dock in Belle Ewart admiring a 15" yellow perch caught by a not-so-friendly local. Aside from the hostile locals jealously guarding the end of the dock, we decided to move on because there was a 30mph cold wind blowing in from the lake!

  Earlier this week TS had shown me a You Tube video, "The Blue Ice Report", showing several people landing crappies one after another. The interesting thing about this video was that I recognized the marina and it was only a few miles to the south in Gilford. Another thing is that all the drainage ditches in the area were full of shiners, so finding bait wasn't going to be an issue.
  We arrived at Cooks Bay Marina a few minutes later with a full cooler of minnows for TS, and after paying $5 each to the owner for access, claimed our spots on the deserted slips. I'd decided from the start that this day was going to be fly only, so I assembled my 4 piece Sage, selected a hand tied olive bugger and was immediately onto fish.
largemouth bass

pumpkinseed sunfish

   The first three casts produced three largemouth bass 8" to 14" followed by several bull pumpkinseed sunfish and a couple good sized rockbass. After 20 minutes of landing a fish on almost every cast I decided to try the deeper water in the hopes of something larger and toothier, and was immediately rewarded with a 20"+ largemouth! After several short runs I had the fish to my feet and was faced with the problem of how do I lift him the 2 feet without breaking my tippet or having my electronics drop into the water as I reach for him? As is usual when faced with a dilemma that causes you to pause, the problem usually solves itself and that was the case here as I unwillingly opted for the "long distance release". For you non-fishers that means he got off!

  After an hour or so, Tackle Shop decided to join me and set up at the end of the dock I was on and proceeded to slam a school of jumbo rockbass averaging over 12", the largest close to 16". Soon afterward an attractive woman carrying a rod showed up and immediately landed a 3lb bass, only to be chased off by the owner because she didn't have the $5 entry fee. Rats. A few minutes later TS had one of his own.
   We were soon joined by a father/son combo intent on getting the youngster onto a pike. That wasn't going to happen on this day so we persuaded them into accepting some minnows and being content catching giant rockbass, one after another another.
father, son, and me in the background
   Just after noon the wind increased in intensity, it started to rain, and my "hotspot" had cooled considerably. The father and son had their fill of panfish and sought out warmer places while I began to pack up my rod. TS has always been reluctant to leave a productive spot and this time was no exception, but he realized I needed my beauty sleep before work and promised that this was the last minnow. Immediately his float disappears and after the hook set there's a large swirl on the surface and the line goes slack. When he reels in his line there's no hooks on the end so he packs up the rod and I think we're leaving. Not so. Another rod is already rigged and in less than a minute he's got the same fish on again! When the fish is brought to hand we can see the other hooks hanging from the bruiser's mouth. Who says catch and release hurts fish that are released quickly?

   So... not too shabby for an unexpected trip out on a day that where I'd probably just surf the net! A Sunday panfish surprise indeed!


  1. Great job, John! You and TS put a whippin' on them. Those are some really nice chubby Bass.

  2. Great fishing, Those unexpected trips are normaly the best, Great to see the younger generation having a little fishing fun,

  3. Awesome trip.
    I'd of helped out the fisherwoman in need for 5 bucks.
    Thanks for the great read.

  4. If she was attractive as you say, how come you guys didn't fess up $5.00 for her to stay. I certainly would have. Add a little beauty to your fishing day. I'm with Raz.


  5. Tell Tackle Shop nice bass, didnt know you grew them that big up there!

  6. Mel - TS calls me a whip fisherman when I've got my fly rod out.

    Paddy - We don't see too many kids fishing anymore.

    Raz / Mark - We would have paid but with her abilities and knowledge she made us look bad by comparison.

    Blake - TS is still growing bigger every day. OH... Simcoe's smallies regularly grow to 6-7lbs. My best largemouth was 7.5lbs.

  7. hey john,
    You and TS are great and this website of yours is awesome.
    I'm just wondering what ever happened to my phone call ( shakes fist), I had just moved in on Friday the 29th of april and by Sunday I was ready to start fishing. Good job on the largmouth TS im jealouse!

    Johnny Boy

  8. Hey what can I say? I've gotta do something to keep you guys drooling, you know it's a dirty job and all that.
    Johnny I'm sorry I haven't called you yet, will in next couple days. Wanted to call you when we head your way, but last couple times were last minute, which way do we go????????? Ahhhhhhh....... that way......I guess?
    Ithink we should call you "JB Crappy" k?

  9. By the way I'm having a bit of "discussion" with the wife, who thinks I should trim the beard and who thinks I should grow it?
    Imput from the masses of intelligent ;-)) readers would be greatly apreciated. It's a matter of pride and predjudice(not to mention my good distinguished looks)

  10. hey no problem TS I feel like i'm always in that situation " which way should we go", but we never seem to get very far unlike you and John. The nickname sounds pretty "crappy" but hey i'm a pretty open minded person, cool with me. As for the beard i have two words for you "KEEP IT". Plus I wouldn't want you scaring away all the fish, hahah just kidding

    JB Crappy

  11. Those tiny bass are great on a fly rod. Small fish fight like small people. Till the end.