“Don’t tell fish stories where the people know you; but particularly, don’t tell them where they know the fish”
Okay this week we are starting up a new addition to the blog and it’s all to do with angling. Not a single member of Paddle In is by any means an expert angler. But we do spend an awful lot of time sitting around in a boat with fishing rods in our hands. That has to count for something. Before you head out on your first fishing trip make sure to consult your Ministry of Natural Resources page. For example in Ontario all rules and regulations can be found here Ontario’s Fishing Laws . Also make sure your outdoors card is up to date. Finally whenever possible practice catch and release, obey the seasons and keep to catch limits.
This weeks piece comes from Andy who somehow manages to catch fish on every trip we head out on. He says it’s skill, I think it might have to do a bit with horseshoes 🙂
There is something very special about waking up at dawn, brewing yourself a perfect cup of camping coffee, and taking those first couple casts of the day. It is just something about the stillness in the water, and the quiet of the early morning. This image of back country fishing makes me smile every time.
It doesn’t take a genius to fish, but it takes a little patience, a good attitude and a whole lot of luck. When you go on a canoe trip, it stands to reason that you are close to fish, which normally means there is fishing to be had. The back country is the perfect place to fish. It can be hit or miss, but for the most part, the lakes are smaller, with loads of features, and are sparsely fished.
I like to be as prepared as possible when I go into the bush, so often time I bring far more tackle than I need, or even use. I stick to what I know and what lands fish for me. I am far from an expert fisherman, and barely even an amateur. All I know is that I love it. Usually, in Northern Ontario lake I fish for a handful of fish. Bass , Trout , Pike and the occasional sunfish. This suits me quite well, because they all enjoy most of my lures of choice.
I normally start with my trusty Rapala, or jointed Rapala. I love the way that they move in the water, and the rattle that the hooks make as it is reeled in. The movement imitates a wounded fish with a broken back. This lure tends to drive the Bass wild, which is okay with me. They come in many different colours to please any picky fish. The also run below the surface, but when reeling is stopped, it will float to the top, tending to run subsurface and an average reel rate.
If I’m trying for anything that swims, I normally will throw on some kind of spinner. These come in so many shapes and sizes, that there is something for everyone, no matter what you are trying to hook. For me, these are some of my most trusted lures, and are a real treat to fish with. Because they are a little weighted, they are able to sink down to those fish that may be sitting close to the bottom of any lake or stream, and the flash and rattle of the spinner can really illicit some awesome feeding response from a lot of fish.
Finally, my favorite lure in my collection is probably the Jitterbug, not necessarily because it catches me the most fish, but because I think it is really fun just to cast and retrieve it. Not only does it weigh a fair bit, which makes for some obscenely far casts, but it just sounds hilarious bubbling through the water as it makes its way back. It creates a lot of surface disturbance and noise, which can really drive the bass to hit hard, and often. With it being a surface lure, watching some of the bigger fish hit it is probably one of the best parts about it.
Once you have picked your lures, and have your kit assembled, it is always a good idea to have a pair of pliers, or a multi-tool handy, to get the hooks out of the mouths of some of the greedier fish. It can prevent you from getting a hook through the finger if your grip slips, or the fish shakes. An injury in the back country, when you are relatively far from aid isn’t a situation you want to find yourself in.
Like I said earlier, when I’m camping, I spend most of my days enjoying the quiet moments casting and reeling; looking forward to that next big hit that gets your heart racing, and brings the biggest and goofiest smiles across any adventurers face. It is a therapy to fish in the back country, when there is not much entertainment, you have to learn to be alone with your thoughts, be one with the water, and land that next monster fish.