Each year I aim to spend time targeting multiple species and as much time on the water as possible. Why wait months for just one species when we have so many to chase? Since my last blog post (my saltwater kayaking trip), I have been busy chasing pike, gar, largemouth and smallmouth bass.
Summer is officially here and I couldn’t be happier for my favourite season to arrive! This time of year holds endless fishing opportunities yet poses a big issue…. What to fish for?! I can’t think of a better problem to have.
My first five pound bass of the season caught in Gananoque, Ontario! I’m hopeful to find more 🙂
A longnose gar caught on the Bay of Quinte.
Longnose gar have become a favourite since I began chasing them in my kayak a couple years ago. I’ve owed my gar success to the Rapala X-Raps (especially the Glass Ghost colour in size 4 or 6). When targeting gar, it’s important to use lures or flies with smaller hooks due to the narrow and bony mouths on a gar. Larger hooks are overkill and will not penetrate their beak properly, which can result in frustration and losing fish. In the spring and early summer, gar can be found in the shallow warm water on flats, in heavy weed cover, or spawning on rocks and structure.
My best method is sight fishing and hunting them in the shallows. When I spot a gar, I cast beyond it and work the lure parallel to it’s body. The X-Raps are great because they suspend yet don’t go down too deep. Getting the lure right in their face and pulling it away seems to be something they can’t resist, and it’s pretty incredible watching them swipe at it and then eat it! When hooked, gar will go BALLISTIC putting on a full show! Gloves and an appropriately sized landing net make it much easier and safer.
A smallmouth bass caught and released in Quebec.
The Zone 10 Quebec bass season opener was June 13th (earlier than where I live), so I ventured there for an afternoon to take the edge off and stick some bass! It felt good to get some smallies and largies in my Alumacraft. It’s absolutely gorgeous in Quebec, and although it’s not too far away it feels like a vacation. We saw 2-3 boats on the water and the landscape is incredible. I am looking forward to spending more time there!
Before I talk about the local bass season opener, I also wanted to share with you a new hobby I have recently taken up: Gyotaku! Gyotaku is a form of art, also known as fish printing or fish rubbing. It can only be done on keeper fish, and the fish can be consumed afterwards. I kept a 15 inch walleye for my first print. There are lots of videos on YouTube on how to do the fish prints, which is how I learned.
My first Gyotaku print – a walleye (not complete yet)!
From the start: Cleaning the fish and propping up the fins.
Painting on the watered-down ink.
Rubbing the rice paper on the inked up walleye.
After pulling the rice paper off and letting the ink dry, I painted on the eye! I am looking forward to printing more species and framing the final products! Can’t wait to add more fish art to my home.
Back to fishing: This past weekend marked the opener of bass season in parts of Ontario. I spent opening day back home on the Bay of Quinte chasing largemouth bass.
We caught lots of largies in the 2-3 pound range but couldn’t find the kickers!
Our success on Quinte was found in shallow water in areas where bluegill were spawning and in warmer water in the upper 60s to lower 70s. Searching several bays and creeks that had fish present during last years opener revealed that they were just not there yet. We had to cover a lot of water to find success, and with a late year I feel the fishing can only get better!
Sunday was spent in Gananoque testing out the waters of the 1000 Islands and scoping out fishing spots for the 1000 Islands Big Bass Challenge coming up in a couple weeks. Garry Fisher, the organizer of the event, had been telling me how great the fishing was for quite some time and I am glad I finally experienced it! My first fish of the day was a five pound smallmouth bass which I released to be caught again! We did well with bass and also caught a ton of pike.
Another shot of my five pounder caught in Gananoque, Ontario.
This smallie was caught on a steep rock shelf on a drop shot rig. My set-up: Rapala Concept 7’2 medlight, extra fast rod, Shift reel spooled with 15lb Sufix 832 braid and a 10lb Sufix fluorocarbon leader, VMC 7356 Sureset Drop Shot hook, an X-Zone Slammer for bait and a three-quarter ounce drop shot weight. I LOVE the versatility of dropshot fishing and I usually go with heavier weights to get down fast and know instantly that I am connecting with bottom. (Hey, I’m impatient!) I cast, drag and even pitch drop shots under docks and around structure.
The pike were also biting good!… I mean, inhaling jerk baits!
I am very excited for this upcoming weekend, which will take me to Windsor, Ontario, for the Border City Classic kayak fishing tournament. I fished this event last year and had so much fun (you can read my newspaper article about the event here)! This year brings great prizes just for participating including a Hobie kayak giveaway! The trip of a lifetime will be awarded to the winner of the event, entry to the Hobie Fishing World Championship held in Amsterdam this year!
With several events and adventures coming up, I hope that summer won’t go by too quickly. Maybe I will see you at an upcoming event!