Autumn is here, and what you may not know is that it is my least favourite time of year. Of course it’s a beautiful season with stunning foliage, fishing can be great and it kicks off hunting season, but it’s always sad to bid farewell to good old summer, my favourite. With cooler temperatures setting in and shorter days, the best cure for missing summertime is to get outside and soak up the sun, bear the elements and catch some fish at any opportunity! (It’s a pretty good deal not having to bathe in sunscreen or swat bugs too!)
An Ontario smallmouth on the feed of alewife, falls victim to look-alike the Rapala Rippin’ Rap.
I haven’t torn myself away from bass quite yet and I’ve been focusing a lot on smallmouth from my Alumacraft. I adore the colours, the jumps, and how aggressive they are in packs. In the fall, it can be more challenging to locate smallmouth or figure out a pattern, but when you do it can really pay off with large active wolf packs. The photo above was taken from a day that I won’t forget. While working my way into the bay I had caught a mix of largemouth and smallmouth, some with alewife freshly in their throats. They were hungry! Upon getting closer to the creek, large schools of bait began breaking the surface everywhere! Seagulls took notice and began crashing down on them from all directions. This is when the blitz began: bait busting, fish jumping clean out of the water and birds plummeting from the air. I’ve heard the term ‘buck fever’ when referring to hunting, but I felt something similar with this blitz going on. This was the largest freshwater blitz I had ever seen, I was nearly shaking with excitement and felt like my hands couldn’t move as fast as my brain.
A partly digested alewife next to my hand for size comparison, mmmmm!
I picked up my size 6 (colour: Helsinki Shad) Rippin’ Rap set-up (7’2″ medhvy x-fast Concept Rod and Shift baitcast reel spooled with 12lb Sufix Castable Invisiline 100% Flurocarbon) and began casting into the madness. This lure has a similar profile and colour to these alewife. Fish were striking when it hit the water, but I found it most effective to slowly retrieve it back to the boat. I was having such a blast bringing in fish after fish in a variety of sizes, and even had two fish on at once for a brief few seconds. Getting right on top of the school, I even dropped the Rippin’ Rap to bottom in 20 feet of water and lifted it vertically watching it on my Humminbird. These fish were ravenous! When bass are so active, it’s fun to experiment with presentations and see how they react.
Jacket on, jacket off, layering up is key at this time of year.
The quick weather changes can make it more difficult to locate fish, so paying attention to little details can make or break your day. One morning I woke up to only 1C and frost on the boat and truck. It was a very windy day on the water. Exploring areas with rock cliffs exposed to the sun and grass in the shallows resulted in schooling fish seen on my Humminbird. The water was only a few degrees warmer in these areas and that’s where the fish were active. Using Spot Lock on my Terrova enabled me to stay in these areas and bring some fish in the boat on a drop shot rig.
Smallmouth can be found stacked up and active in areas with slightly warmer water temperatures.
The past month has been truly exciting on and off the water. On October 4th I represented Rapala Canada at a Canadian Tire promotion in Kemptville, Ontario. This store has a new look with a separate fishing/hunting section. It was great to see anglers from social media come in to say hello. Thank you for stopping by!
Canadian Tire fishing/hunting Pro Shop in Kemptville, Ontario.
If you stop by Kemptville Canadian Tire, you may notice a familiar face on the wall!
Right after my in-store at Canadian Tire, I began filming my biggest project to date. I can’t give too much away, but I will share with you my Google+ post about the project:
Click the photo to read the caption.
The film shoot was one of the most incredible experiences I’ve ever had and I cannot wait to see the final product. I will certainly be sharing it through my social media pages and my website. Thank you Discover Boating and the incredible film crew that made it possible!
After the shoot was all wrapped up, it was time to head to my hometown for a presentation at a school in Napanee, Southview Public School. After recently completing their Stream of Dreams project, I was invited to talk to the students about my passion for fishing, growing up in Napanee and the types of species I love to catch in the area. Throughout the past year, the students have been learning all about protecting their watershed and the species of fish in the area. Volunteers in the community cut out around 600 fish shapes out of wood for each student to paint and then when complete, all fish were attached to the fence outside of the school.
Speaking to over 600 staff and students at Southview Public School in Napanee about the importance of protecting our watersheds and fisheries.
I will admit I was a little nervous before this presentation, with over 600 in attendance (my biggest live audience yet). As soon as I began speaking, my nervousness changed to excitement. That’s what happens when you talk about something you love. I spoke about growing up in the area, how I got involved in fishing and where my passion for fishing has led me. I congratulated the students, staff, and volunteers for their hard work in learning about protecting the water in the community and also played a video that I had created for the students. The excitement and cheers with each specie of fish on the screen just got louder and louder. It was a memorable day for me to have the opportunity to reach the next generation of anglers. The school principal, Mr. Mouncey presented me with a fish to add to the fence. I painted the fish and look forward to seeing it on the fence next time I am in the area.
Thank you for reading my adventures!
Hi Ashley, I've just found your page after you popped up on my Google + feed. Hoping to get some great pointers from you for large and small mouth fishing. It's getting pretty crisp out on long point Bay but I'm hoping for a few more outings before I winterize the boat. I have two boys who have really taken to fishing the past few years and they have reignited my love of the sport. We always live release but would love to put more fish in the boat. Thanks for your tips and ideas. I'll be reading through your website for more. All the best.
Thank you so much for reading! Glad to hear that you are sharing fishing with your family. It is such a great bonding experience and not to mention so much fun! All the best on the water and please feel free to share you stories and photos with me 🙂
You are awesome!!! Keep up the good work. If you ever want a second speaker to tag along I have a passion for fishing & filmmaking. I'm older & have grown children but would love to invite you to ice fish with me on lake shields, Montgomery Mn this winter!
With the onset of cold weather it is great to see these pictures of these nice football smallies from a few months ago. Makes me yearn for warmer weather and to live anywhere but Kansas haha, oh well, at least we have good hunting here to make up for the poor fishing.