I’m pleased to announce I’m back in business and ready for another fun and fish-filled season out on the big lake. It’s been a long winter and a busy spring in terms of getting setup for this season but we are now officially underway. Pike season has been open for 3 weeks and perch and walleye are also there for the catching as of this past Saturday.
I would like to thank the guys over at Bridgeview Marine in Delta BC for their great service and Mike Prieur over at Mac’s Marina in Lancaster who did a fantastic job getting my boat ready for the water in a very short time. Over the winter months I purchased a 2008 75HP 2-stroke Optimax with 250ish hrs use from Bridgeview Marine and I must say I was quite impressed with the service Barry and Tim offered over the internet and over the phone. I was a little wary of ordering an engine from so far away but the price was quite reasonable and they had precisely what I wanted for this boat. I have now installed the engine on the new Rebel and it is running beautifully. The result is a very responsive setup with tons of fishability and much more speed and control than I had with the 50HP on it. The Optimax is also really quiet. So far, so good!
Although I absolutely love the boat, I still need to make a few changes. For example, I will be switching to a 24 Volt system for the bow-mount trolling motor for added power and battery life. I will also add a Lowrance X15 unit with downloadable maps and GPS to the boat. I am tired of paper maps and hand-help GPS units. Although that system does work perfectly well, it has run its course and I like the idea of having the GPS, sonar and map on the same unit. It is time to focus solely on fishing. I also don’t have the rod storage of a 19 foot boat and I need to figure something out. I’m thinking it will have something to do with Velcro straps. I’m just not sure where I’m going to set them up yet. I am a far cry from my old Sea Nymph and trust me, I’m going to really enjoy getting used to fishing from this boat.
Speaking of which,
Pat and I were like two kids going out on their grandfather’s boat for the first time Friday night. After the maiden voyage and a few high fives we grabbed two rods and eagerly headed out to one of my favourite spring pike haunts. I picked up 3 or 4 half ounce jigs, a small variety of large trailers, a one ounce five of diamonds spoon, some spinnerbaits, a Zara Spook and headed out. The lake was beautiful and calm on that sunny evening after the rain subsided. The only other boats we saw were Laframboise checking his nets and a few guys looking for pike (presumably) tight in on shore near Greg Quay. This is why I love getting out there early in the season. You have the lake virtually to yourself.
As we approached our honey hole, I started throwing and swimming a large jig with a 5″ flat tail minnow imitating plastic trailer while Pat covered water faster alternating between spinnerbaits, lipless rattle crankbaits and spoons. On my fifth or sixth cast I saw a large shadow following my jig to the boat. I let it drop to the bottom and swam it up 5 feet fairly quickly. The fish inhaled the bait but bit short and I wasn’t able to obtain a solid hook set. You know, with a name like Jigger you’d think I actually were a good jig fisherman. I did get a good look at him though. It was definitely in the 10 pound range and it looked like a musky because I could see the vertical stripes on it reflecting in the sunset light. He came up really close to the surface causing a giant swirl and then disappeared back into the dark, murky waters. I was disappointed in my inability to hook the fish but was encouraged for two reasons: my bait was drawing interest and there were large fish hunting in the area.
After a fiery start, a few more follows from smaller fish, long minutes went buy and just as I was thinking about trying another spot Pat tells me he’s snagged on bottom. Or so he thought. When I heard him say “wait a minute this is a fish” and subsequently saw his rod pump in long and powerful sequences I knew he had a nice fish on. I reeled in, paddled towards his fish a little (didn’t have the battery connected to the trolling motor yet) and watched him battle the fish. My first look at its shoulders almost made my knees buckle. After a few minutes of incredible runs, testing out the drag on Pat’s PT Tour Edition, and even a jump we had her in the boat. She registered 14lbs on the Normark scale. The fish was perfectly hooked in the corner of the mouth. After a few pictures and no longer than about 30 seconds out of the water she was off in a hurry soaking Pat with a cold 50°F shower. Not bad for a year’s first!
Although the weekend looked really promising, this was unfortunately the only real highlight. We headed out the next morning and the fishing was brutal. A cold front had moved in, bringing constant rain and dead calm waters. I managed to catch and release a nice smallmouth (although we were looking for pike) and that was it. We ended up wet, cold and frustrated so we headed in after only about 2hrs on the water. On Sunday when I woke up the thermometer registered in at a whopping 6°C and it was rainy and windy. I reluctantly opted for a warm cup of coffee, a blanket and fishing shows instead of the real thing. It’s unfortunate because this weekend was also the walleye and perch opener and last weekend was warm enough to water ski. But hey, what can you do about weather except complain right? I supposed all I can hope for now is for this week to go by quickly, better weather for the Lancaster pike tournament next weekend, and hopefully another fish anywhere near this size. 🙂
Until next time, have a good time on the water and stay outside! Jigger.
Oh, and send me your pics of fish caught in the area. I love to see what others are catching.