Our dirt bikes bring all the boys to the yard. Damn right, they're better than yours.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Fishin’ Accomplished II: Bass in Action

If guys actually went fishing as much as they talk about going fishing, fish would probably be extinct. After living in Toronto over a year, I finally bought a license and dropped a line through the ice at Lake Simcoe, which got me stoked to get back out and explore more of the ridiculous number of waterways in this part of the country. I was starting to worry it was going to be one of those years, though, where I bought a license for one friggin’ trip, but luckily Alana’s dad (Alan) invited me along on his annual fishing trip with his engineering buddies. So last weekend we drove several hours though an apocalypse-quality rainstorm to Ottawa, where we dropped off Alana and her mom so they could explore the city for a few days.

Things were off to a bad start when stopped for gas and accidentally set off my car alarm. Usually you push a button on the keyholder to kill it, but the remote died a while ago and couldn’t remember how to stop it. So the horn is blaring, people are staring and we’re reading the manual with mounting frustration until finally I drive the car – lights blinking, loud honking and all – a few blocks away so we didn’t get lynched. Finally got it turned off and we drove another hour-and-a-half just over the Quebec border to a cabin on Allumette Lake, a.k.a. Lac aux Allumettes. This being Franco territory, were no longer anglers, we were franglers. Ones with poisson on the brain.

The weather was not cooperating, though, and it was a cloudy, windy weekend with intermittent rain. Rain gear and a cabin full of beer fixes that problem. Alan’s buddies are awesome guys who know how to ravage a beer or ten, and it was a great weekend. But on to the fishing…

The first morning out was slow. We took out a couple of aluminum boats with outboard motors and tried jigging for walleye, but it was too wavy, so we moved into a bay and trolled. We caught a couple of smallish pike, one of which I got. I decided to go it Alberta-style. So, using a technique favoured by my uncle, one that has yielded many a walleye at Lake Isle, I went to local bait shop, and rigged up a bottom bouncer, which is a special weight with a long strand at the bottom (which allows it to bounce along the bottom without getting caught), with a 90-degree angles bar, to which one attached a pre-made rig with beads, a flutter and baited hook. Nothing works like leeches, so I used the grotesque little bugger, much to everyone else’s surprise and mild disgust. I was a believer in a den of skeptics.

Heading into another sheltered bay, we trolled and BAM! – a hit. It was unlike anything I’d reeled in before, as it rose to the surface immediately and thrashed around. I caught my first bass, which are unheard of in Alberta (that said it was clearly the Oilers hat bringing me luck). It was a blast to haul in, putting up a good fight for a fairly small fish. A few more passes in the bay and we discovered a spot that consistently yielded hits, and I ended up with three bass and another pike in total, making myself the Bassmaster. That’s right, call me the Bass-o-matic 3000 and get me a goddamn fishing show: stat. I was also the only one in the boat who caught anything, so the skeptics were intrigued and the newcomer’s reputation was in good standing. I chalk it all up to how diligently I probed that bass-hole. Ahem…

A night of drinking, cards, good food, and general rousing of rabble gave way to morning and a trip down to the end of the lake where it’s fed by two rivers, making for some crazy current action and lots of chop. Alan and I were in one boat, and Moe, who was hosting the weekend, and Denis were in the other. The wind was whipping up some nasty waves and it was a little hairy but we trolled around the edge of the current. No luck, so we tried jigging a little before moving to where the other river dumped in and tried a bowl, which a map of the underwater geography indicated had a deep pocket (57 feet). While we were here Moe and Denis caught a small walleye and a larger catfish each near the river.

No luck here either, so we went down the shoreline off of a weedy patch. Another aggressive strike and I hooked into a bass a good size larger than the ones from the day before. We trolled the area a bit more before moving out towards the island and finding a drop-off point (no depth finder, just old-school feeling our way around the bottom with an anchor) to jig with rubber Powerbait. I stuck to leeches and Alan stuck to live baitfish, but no luck. We made our way back for lunch.

The wind picked up a lot and it was looking like a wash for the rest of the day, but then early evening it eased up so Alan, Moe and I cruised back down the lake to re-try the cross-currents. With darkness threatening to puch our fun in the face, both Moe and Alan got a small walleye, and Alan got a decent-sized pike. The walleye gods did not shine upon myself, however.
It was one of those weekends where even without fish or sunshine it was still a blast.

That night we ate the most amazing deer roast, with all the fixings, plus some lake trout caught in the area. The icing on the fish cake (a fishcake with icing – yuck) was the half-dozen hauled in the boat, which was turned out to be the biggest catch. I still have yet to smash into a walleye out here, but I’m stoked to keep trying.
And, any fisherpersons out there reading this who haven’t caught a bass: yes it is as fun as those guys with nasty cop moustaches, beige vests and bad hats make it seem on the fishing shows. I call those dudes “Bass-tards” and I wonder if it’s a look that one slowly morphs into as a result of fishing too often.

Bass puns – can you ever really have enough of them? You bet your ba... Aw, nevermind.


Blogger Alana said...

hee hee. Why are fish puns so funny?

8:21 AM

Anonymous collin said...

Ahhh, yes fishing puns, there certainly are a lot of them...ahem...I very much miss your uncle's set up (Pat???). Is the male ego so fragile that only that bam-first-strike, can make up for a week of bad news? Well I don't know about that, but Yes, Yes, Glorious Yes.
In the Hat, I've been fishing twice this week on two hour-long excursions in the mornings before work. My girlfriend Emma knows spots that are 25 minute drives in just about every direction. She's a bit of a girly girl, but I won't deny the sheer attraction to a fashion conscious beauty digging in a bag of worms, or talking about the London Underground on the way to some prairie reservoir.
Lakes are big and alien places if you think about it, and she has.
Her eyes light up wondering aloud how on Earth a human could ever find a fish in one, let alone trick it into biting on a sculpted hunks of shiny metal and big fat dew worms.
Anyway, most of it is shore and stream fishing, but soon, we'll go to the Cypress Hills, a heavily wooded area with some larger lakes on the way to Swift Current.
In recent times, I've really turned my back on the trout. As a child it's all I went for and it'll be nice to get at it again. There's also perch here (!?!), and less common walleye. Basically, I have some very enjoyable work ahead of me.

10:29 AM

Blogger Superdude said...

Ah, fishing. The ocean becons me night and day, and it's only the fact that my cousin has my car all day, and that I haven't had a job for three months and should be looking that keeps me home.
WHen I go fishing in the ocean here (which doesn't require a license) I catch little pollock (boston bluefish--too cute to kill) sea perch (too bony and scuzzy), sculpins (too ugly), cod (too wormy). I usually hook some item of my clothing (too stupid).
One thing about fishing here in June and July--when I go, stand on the dock in Herring Cove about 20 minutes out of town -- a beautiful inlet with old fishig shacks and tons of rocky outcrops-- I usually stop fishing when my arms get tired of reeling them all in. I use beef heart as bait on a line and sinker jigger-rig -- no spinners or spoons will do--and I've never taken one home to eat. I think fish are cutest alive. And the bones make me gag.

7:39 AM


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