Italo’s Blog

131

Two-year old Benjamin Chester catches a nice Smallmouth Bass on his first fishing outing.

Posted on Tuesday, August 4, 2009

My wife and I just got a kids fishing outfit and tackle box for our 2 yr. old grandson, Benjamin Chester.  We decided take him fishing for a short time just to get him used to using it and catching fish.  So, Jessica and Dan (Benjamin’s parents), and Benjamin met us at the Welland Recreational Canal (Thorold Rd., Welland, ON), and we started Benjamin fishing by using a small red & white bobber, a small split-shot sinker, a small hook and a piece of worm.  Within a few minutes he was landing his first Sunfish.  After his first fish he ended-up catching a couple of Round Headed Gobies, a Yellow Perch, and a nice 1 1/2 lb. Smallmouth Bass.  Way to go Benjamin!

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131

Wind, Rain, Weeds & Big Largemouth bass on the last TV shoot.

Posted on Thursday, July 30, 2009

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The first part of this week proved to be quite a fishing experience!  I left Sunday night for Lindsay, ON, overnight-ed there and spent Monday pre-fishing for a “heavy-cover”, largemouth bass TV show.  I headed out early Monday morning and my first stop was McLaren’s Creek at the south end of Sturgeon Lake.  I was ready to put the boat in around 6:30 am, but there was such low water and little cover along the edges of the canal that I opted to change my strategy and headed up to Mitchel Lake.  For those of you that aren’t familiar with Mitchel Lake, I like to call it a “transit lake” because most boaters go through it traveling from Balsam Lake to Lake Simcoe.  I chose to launch my boat right on Mitchel Lake since there is a long canal from Balsam Lake that is 10km/hr.  As soon as I launched my boat the wind started picking up.  I had a plan to fish the south-end of Mitchel Lake that looks like a large flooded farmers field (and that’s exactly what it is since all of the Kawartha Lakes were created when dams were build and land flooded).  To get there you have to go under a narrow culvert that goes under Hwy.#48.  The G3 boat barely fit through the culvert, but I got through.  I started fishing the 1 by 2 km marsh and quickly started raising fish from thick cover fishing the Lucky Strike Weedless Spoon and the Texas Weedless Spoon.  My goal was to see how many fish I could get to reveal themselves, but not to hook too many since I was planning on doing a TV show using the same techniques the next day.  I raised about 7-bass, including some large fish and headed back out the culvert and into the main Mitchel Lake.  There is only one large grass-flat on the main lake and by 11am I was working it.

To lead up to my next story I have to tell you that I only took two baitcasting outfits with me and three heavy action spinning outfits for this shoot.  Anyway, I’m fishing the weeds with the Lucky Strike Weedless Spoon/TriggerX trailer and a large largemouth bass takes it about 6′ from the boat.  The fish looked like a 5-7 lb. fish.  I heaved back and set the hook and the baitcaster exploded in half!  Yup, I did not get the hook into the fish and it was off.  Disappointed and now only left with one baitcaster to do the show I called Normark in Oshawa and had them arrange for someone to bring up two R-Type baitcasters for me to use for the shoot.  By now the wind was howling at about 50 km/hr and in was raining hard enough that I had to put my two-piece rainsuit on.  I figured I had a pretty good idea of where the fish would be holding and I took the boat out and headed to the Scugog River to check things out there.

By 3pm I was standing at East Cross Creek where it flows into the Scugog River.  The boat was backed-up to the boat launch and I just walked over to the bridge to evaluate the conditions.  Just like McLarens Creek on Sturgeon Lake, there was hardly and water and the large lily pad bay that I used to fish was reduced to 25% of it’s size.  The main river was so grown-in that I figured it was not even my while to launch the boat so I headed back to the Motel and prepared for the next day.

The camera crew and I departed the Motel at 6:30 and promptly launched our boats around 7:15 on Mitchel Lake.  We negotiated the spiders in the narrow culvert and the shoot was-on.  The wind was stronger than the day before and we were fighting the heavy vegetation with our electric set at 80% power!  I fished hard and would you know it, the fish had moved.  Instead of holding in the intermediate vegetation where I had raised them on the Lucky Strike Weedless Spoon the day before, they were under the heaviest weed-mats.  So, I quickly changed my strategy and started casting TriggerX worms/1/16 oz. weights into plate-size holes in the heavy-mat.  I quickly started hooking fish and literally heaving them onto the weed-mats and dragging them to open water where I could fight them.    I filmed several fish that way and and than headed back through the culvert to the main part of Mitchel Lake where the large bass had broken my rod the day before.

OK, you won’t believe this part.  I fish the same area where I lost the big fish the day before (heavy mats of weeds that were blown in to the growing thick vegetation), and 30ft. away from where the big bass broke my rod, it hit again.  I saw it come out from a mat, hit my rig and in my excitement I set the hook to fast and it took my TriggerX trailer.  I quickly re-rigged, cast to the same area and the fish made a U-turn and smashed the lure.  I set the hook and snapped of the fish using 20 lb. fluorocarbon on my 30 lb. Rapala Titanium Braid.  I have to admit I felt down.  This bass was a bully.  First he broke my baitcaster the day before, than he broke my leader.  Like a sad puppy I had my tail between my legs and we moved to the main canal that connects Mitchel Lake to Balsam Lake.  The wind was so strong on Mitchel Lake that we could not longer fish or film properly.

My strategy in the canal was to locate isolated lily pad clusters off the main channel and work my Weedless Spoon through it.  First lily pads that I fish, “Bang!” Fish on.  Next lily pad bed, “Bang!” another fish.  Now we had enough fish for the show, but out of the corner of my eye I noticed a cedar tree that had fallen in the water right on the rocky bank of the canal.  I called over to the camera crew and told them I was going to toss a living-rubber jig/TriggerX trailer in the tree and to start filming.  I made one cast to the edge of the tree when a bass that looked like a small submarine came out about 2-feet to inhale my jig.  I set the hook and the rod did not break this time.  I fought the big fish to the boat and used a new Lucky Strike Live Release net to land it.  The fish was about 22″ long and probably weighed between 5-6 lb.!  The crew got all the action live on disc.  From there we fished a few more lily pad beds and I ended up hooking a couple of more fish and by that time the electric on the camera boat was almost out of power, so we called it a day.  I’ve just given you an pretty good description of what went into doing that TV show.  Before we left, we drifted in the middle of the canal and shot a bunch of tips on the presentation I used to catch the fish, the lures, rods & reels.  I hope you will get a chance to see all of the action (and the heartbreaks), when the Fishing Heavy Cover for Largemouth Bass show airs on TSN in the new series.

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131

When you watch Bill McFarlane & I catch Walleye this week on TSN, keep this in mind.

Posted on Thursday, July 30, 2009

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When I fish with guests I often tell them that it takes a lot of faith to catch fish.  I’m not talking religion here, what I’m saying is that if you are on a large body of water, like this week on the Lower Bay of Quinte, and I’m casting my Rapala Tail Dancer along the weedlines with my friend Bill McFarlane (who has such a busy schedule he hardly gets to fish), and there are only about 10 miles or so of weedlines, and we are hoping for or lure to get close to one walleye at a time…..it takes a lot of faith!  I know most guys that will fish for a couple of hours and if they don’t catch fish, they loose so much self-confidence (I’ll call that faith that they are actually going to catch a fish), that even though they keep fishing, they are already done.  You know what I mean?  They have such a negative attitude and they start telling themselves they are just going to keep casting and the likely hood of them hooking nothing is literally 100%. 

I have learned over the year that confidence is the most important thing not just in fishing, but in life.  You sell stuff for a living?  You better have confidence in what you are selling.  How do you get confidence? You learn as much as you can about a thing.  In my case it’s fishing.  You fish as much as you can and put the things you have learned to practice.  When you don’t catch fish you try and understand why and try different tactics, until you catch fish.  You fish in different weather conditions.  You fish throughout the year, on the hottest days, and on the coldest days (through the ice).  You fish in windy conditions and calm conditions, and you do all this until you get really good understanding of this fishing thing and how to catch fish….that’s how you build confidence.

OK, now back to this weeks show.  I was filming with Roger Cannon for largemouth bass the day before Bill McFarlane came down.  Because we were fishing shorelines trees with plastic swim baits for largemouth, I really did not get a chance to pre-fish walleye weedlines for the next day.  That was OK since I have fished the Bay of Quinte since 1976 (wow, that’s 33 yrs. of practice there!!!), I had a pretty good idea of which weedlines are the most productive in Aug..  Also, the wind was from the west for the last few days, and that usually produces consistent fishing action (a north-west wind in Ontario usually means we have a stable weather system).  So I meet Bill the day of the walleye shoot and the wind picked up and switched to the north and eventually it switched to an east-wind (not good, means a cold front will move through and the fishing usually becomes tougher).  So we start fishing and Bill catches the first fish after about 10 min. of filming and we have one fish for the show.  Well, we fish, and we fish, and we fish those weedlines.  You know I said there are about 10 miles of weedlines, we must have fished at least 5 miles and no fish!  We literally fished all of the spots I know, but continuously, even though we were not catching fish,  I kept encouraging Bill that we just have to keep cranking and fishing different spots, even different spots than I have ever fished in my 33 yrs., and that eventually we would find them.   Well, by about 2pm (we started fishing around 7am), we hit a weedline that held walleye off of Sherman’s Point (north point at the mouth of Hay Bay).  It was a big weeedbed/weedline, but we only caught fish on about  a 50 yd. stretch.  The wind was blowing so hard by than that we would get about 10 casts in and had to power the boat back up (too windy to use the electric to get pack up into the wind), and make a big circle to get back above the productive part of the weeds.  Each time, I would hook a fish or Bill would hook a fish.  The show turned out excellent with lot’s of great action and tips that I did back at the dock.  Even though we fished most of the day, the bulk of the show was show in about 1 hr. (from 2-3pm).  So what’s the moral of this story?  Especially as a professional angler, I have to have so much confidenca/faith, that when I’m fishing I have the anticipation that I’m going to hook a fish on every cast.  That dosen’t often happen, but I’ve learned that that’s the attitude I need to have to consistently catch fish.  So, next time you are on the water, and you are not catching fish for a few hours, don’t get discouraged.  Remember my story and don’t stop fishing.  Just keep casting away, work on thinking positive, expect to catch a fish on each cast, and one of your “next casts” will probably produce a fish!  Enjoy that show, we enjoyed the hard days work that went into it!

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131

Eagle Lake Island Lodge Pike fishing on TSN this Week.

Posted on Thursday, July 23, 2009

[singlepic id=170 w=320 h=240 float=]Barb & I have fished a lot of lakes for pike, but when we were taken into one of the guided back-lakes out from Eagle Lake Island Lodge, I have to tell you that I did not expect to catch 50-100 pike in just a few hours.  Getting in there was neat since we boated to the far-end of the Eagle Lake, than meandered up a small river until we got to a beaver dam.  Low and behold at the beaver dam there was a G3 10′ Jon Boat waiting for us, that’s when we had to unload our fishing gear, including a 12-volt deep cycle battery and a portable Humminbird sonar, and load it into the small Jon Boat.  We barely got out of the small channel and in the 2nd or 3rd cast we started nailing pike.  Most off the fish averaged 3-5 lb., but the action was non-stop.  We lost track of the amount of double-headers we hooked and ended up destroying several spinnerbaits from hooking so many pike.  The fish may not have been huge, but like two kids we had a blast!!  If you want to see non-stop action, tune in to the show this week on TSN.  If you have an interesting pike story I would love to hear about it.

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131

Lake Ontario Salmon & Trout TV shoot.

Posted on Tuesday, July 21, 2009

I just had the pleasure of shooting a dynamic Lake Ontario TV program trolling for Chinook Salmon and Rainbow Trout with my good friends Aldo Nava (www.niagarafishingadventures.com ), and Kim Rhodes (www.luckystrikebaitworks.com ).  We headed out from St. Catharines around 7am this morning with the 1750 G3 rigged with Cannon Downriggers to 100′ of water and started to set up our lines.  As soon as Aldo set-up the first rod, a fish hit which Kim Rhodes successfully landed.  It turned out to be a beautiful 15 lb. Chinook Salmon.  Within 4-hours we landed about 5-fish that included one double-header (15 lb. Chinook & 10 lb. Rainbow).  The Lucky Strike Flipper & Attractor Spoon series worked excellent fished from 50-70′ deep.

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