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.