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Fishing Articles by Bob Riege
From Top to Bottom Take a Gamble
by Bob Riege
The real coronary producer is a topwater lure for bass. Imagine a still surface water that erupts with explosive nature and then pulls on your line so hard that you think that you are about to lose your prized rod over the side of the boat. If the shock hasn't hit you yet the bass makes another leap for freedom and you have the opportunity to look him in the eye as he spits your lure right back at you.
A topwater bait is basically designed to be fished in shallow water, around some type of cover, or on dead calm days. It has been my experience that any ripple or wave action will cut the lureís effectiveness considerably.
If you arrive at a lake early to beat the sunís penetration and heat and the water is dead calm with just a trace of fog lifting out of the bays you know that this is a perfect day to start topwater.
Imagine that you have just arrived on a Canadian lake that is filled with boulders, sunken islands, miles of shoreline and rocky points.
That is exactly what happen this past June when a group of friends got together and decided this year the vacation would be with our spouses and we would do it on a Canadian fly-in. We selected Ignace Outpost Ltd. Brad and Karen Greaves own and operate this business and recently they also purchased Falcon Outfitters.
In the meantime where do you start fishing. Gamble Lake is a world-class small mouth bass and lake trout fishery. It is unparalleled in quantity and quality of these species. Pound for pound the smallmouth is the greatest fighter and most exciting fish in this area. They are commonly found in rocky lakes with many crevasses and overhangs which are found in abundance in this lake.
Smallmouth bass are extremely alert to feeding opportunities at the surface and respond to the sounds made by other fish breaking water to engulf a prey. Anything moving across the waterís surface that creates some type of disturbance is guaranteed to attract attentions. If the water is relatively shallow and the sun is shinning, the shadow of anything on the surface generally appears on the bottom. This, too, will telegraph a message to bass that something is happening above them.
If the conditions are as I described then spinnerbaits such as, Storm Rattlin Chug Bugs, or a shallow running Shad Rap are excellent for this type of fishing. Gamble Lake is extremely clear and these bass are visually orientated. Therefore, give them something they can really see. White colored skirts, chrome crankbaits, and make sure the lures are bulky enough give off a good silhouette from the surface.
There are times when smallmouth bass abandon cover and prowl open water, chasing schools of bait. Open water areas can be important to an angler, particularly when there is an abundance of baitfish. Predators tend to lurk below their victims, forcing the smaller fish toward the surface. Hence, signs of baitfish on top of the water can be a tip off to anglers and usually merits investigation.
For this reason the best action is to fish an artificial bait fast. It might seem strange, but the faster the better. In fact, when you think you are trolling to fast speed up a little more. My theory is that when an artificial bait goes whizzing by, the predator instinct takes over and the bass lashes out. Give that same fish time to look over an offering and the chances are it will refuse it.
Besides rattle, wobble and vibration don't overlook color. Try to match bait already found in the environment. Use flash tape to highlight crankbaits to give that extra flash. Along with flash you might want to change to a dramatic color. Chartreuse and the Firetiger colors aren't part of the environment but in clear water they are a visible target for fish. The type of terrain that you are fishing will determine color also. If you are fishing over sand, maybe crawfish color, or next to a weed bed or drop off, a perch color will trigger fish.
Shad Raps have been and excellent producer. The # 5 runs about 4 to 5 feet deep and the # 7 runs 8 to 10 feet deep. Perch has been my hands down favorite followed by chartreuse. Lately I have also made a switch to the Fat Rap especially in the crawdad color. While at Gamble Lake a number of good size fish were taken on a #10 Husky Jerk especially in crawdad color. Again, when you are fishing the mid range of the water column it is essential to match what the fish are feeding on.
The bottom holds a great many fish because it affords excellent hiding, a minimum of current, and more stable temperatures than the surface. In many cases, fish will hover just off the bottom.
To an angler, the type of bottom can be extremely important. Frequently, fish will stay on the edge where the bottom changes from sand to pebble, from mud to sand, and so forth. Any object on the bottom affords cover for a variety of animals. Rocks logs, natural rises or pockets, and anything that sticks up from the bottom often appeal to fish.
A general rule, the majority of fish in a lake spend a significant part if the time in the lower 10 percent of the water column. When the weather heats up like it did when we were on Gamble Lake I switched over to a jig. The jig is a bait that can be fished through all the water columns from the surface to the bottom.
To get the best action from your lure, I recommend using a 7' G-Loomis rod along with a slow-retrieve reel. Line size depends on the depth of the fish and the amount of cover, generally 8- to 12-lb. test Berkley XT works great. My best presentation came from gold and red jigs with a Berkley Power Tail, tipped with a Leech, or a Berkley Power Worm.
The camp at Gamble Lake was a great place for all in our group to meet any time of the day. Gamble is relatively small and it has a variety of areas to fish from top to bottom even in sight of the camp. The camp consists of the cookhouse, bunkhouse and a real Finnish sauna. It can accommodate large groups from families, church groups, or even a group of couples who want to get away for a change. You can fish as much as you like or sleep in and get caught up on some reading. Brad and Karen send along a fresh blueberry pie with each group. Bradís mother makes these homemade pies and they are delicious. Believe us you owe it to yourselves to get a hold of Brad or Karen and book a trip to Gamble Lake.
Besides fishing on Gamble Lake there is also access to a much smaller lake that has a lot of bass on it and you can get there through a short portage. Much more exciting, is the fact that Brad and Karen are about to put a cabin on an adjoining lake called Doan next summer, and that lake is virtually unfished. All in all, the Gamble Lake area is a place that I would go to again, because I know that it is a sure thing and no gamble at all.
For more information about Gamble Lake and other outposts contact:
Ignace Airways and Outpost or Falcon Outfitters. In fact, if you want
to see pictures of some of the bass that we caught as well as the camp
itself log onto www.falconoutfitters.com. or Ignace Outposts LTD,
Ignace Airways Brad and Karen Greaves, Box 244 IGNACE ONTARIO, P0T1T0
CANADA 1-807-934-2273 office, 1-807-934-6647 fax or on the web at:
firstname.lastname@example.org or www.ignaceoutposts.com.
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