” I was fortunate enough to be able to make the 9 hour drive to Timmins this past week for the annual NOPWT Walleye Tournament just outside of Timmins, Ontario. After the lengthy drive, my fishing partner, Shane Turcotte and I finally made it! The weather was horrible… It was cold, it was raining and it was windy! Being the insane anglers that we are, that didn’t keep us off the water! We quickly got the boat ready and began our search for some illusive Mattagami River walleye… And illusive they were!!! Shane and I spent a solid 8 hours trying to figure out these fish and only managed 2 small fish for our efforts. It was time to call it a day; we had not only been beaten up by the weather; but by the fish as well. After quick ride down the river we made it to our lodge. Marie Gannon, our host and owner of Post 392 was at the dock to meet us and show us to our rooms. After warming up with with a hot shower and cup of coffee it was time to eat!!! AND EAT WE DID!!!! From escargot to turkey and stuffing to everything in between; we ate like kings! Marie is an amazing cook and really looked after us well throughout our entire trip. Not to mention our rooms were immaculate!
The next morning brought with it the same weather conditions but we were not going to let that get us down! We were going to find the fish today come hell or high water! Much to our chagrin, it was time to explore deeper waters. Just a week before our arrival, the water temperatures were 71 degrees and today they were a frustrating 61!!!! Either way we were determined to find fish! We moved out to deeper water and the “hooks“ (fish on the fish finder) began to appear! We dropped our lines down and within seconds we had a fish on! Finally, we figured them out! Or so we had thought. We spent the next 2 days catching over 150 walleye and not one of them was over 10 inches! Frustration began to mount and our confidence began to dwindle as we knew that these fish would not translate in to a pay check. On the eve before the tournament, I was chatting with a good friend (Rob Mazzuca) who was also staying at Post 392 and he shared some exciting news! He as well had spent a considerable amount of time fishing deeper water and had the same results as we did. He made it a point to spend his last day of prefishing in shallower water (8-14 feet) in hopes of finding bigger fish. His hunch paid off and he was able to land 4 big fish jigging shorelines and all were over 22 inches. A sense of relief came over me and my confidence was back! If there was one thing that I know how to do when walleye fishing; it’s pitching jigs on shorelines!
Tournament day was finally upon us! Shane and I reviewed our plan for the day and made our way to the check in After a short fog delay it was our turn to blast off!!! We hit the shoreline that we felt would hold fish and it did! My first cast; fish on, I yelled!!! And shortly after that, the line snapped! It was going to be one of those days or so I thought. After persisting and sticking to our game plan we managed to catch and weigh in our limit and included in our limit was a good size walleye that helped us land 16th place after Day 1.
On Day 2, we agreed to target big fish as it would be our only hope of moving up the leader board. Again, we arrived at another shoreline that we knew held fish and we were right! Over the course of an hour fishing a 50 yard stretch, Shane and I managed to 7 BIG bites but we couldn’t land the fish! We were fishing with 5 inch sucker minnows on 1/4 oz jig heads without stinger hooks! That right there; cost us a pay check. We should have know better than to fish with large minnows and not use stinger hooks. The ability to hook a fish with a bait of that size is nearly impossible unless they are really on the bite! As I type this, I still hang my head in disappointment. We did manage to weigh in our 4 fish limit with a whopping 1.14 lbs. Yes, as the day was drawing to a close, and there were no fish in the well, we were forced to go deep and grab 4 of those 10 inchers which caused us so much frustration earlier in the week. In the end, we finished in 25th place, a couple of pounds out of the top 10. Aside from our complete oversight with respect to stinger hooks, I had an amazing time. The scenery was breath taking, I was able to learn a lot about the fishery itself and most importantly, I was able to make some good friends that will be will be in my life for many tournaments to come. That in and of itself made the entire trip worthwhile! If any of you ever have the urge to try your hand at tournament fishing for walleye, I suggest you enter one of these events. Details can be found at www.nopwt.com. And if you are ever in the Timmins area and are looking for a place to hang your hat and be treated like Royalty, I suggest you give Marie Gannon from Post 392 a call; the contact information can be found at http://www.nt.net/post392/ .
Enjoy the pics!
Grant McAllister, Account Executive
Canadian Sportfishing Productions Inc.