Sorry I had to post this here late by a few weeks but since I just joined I figured I might as well share our opening day derby experiences this year. So here it is:
Well I could not sleep Friday night even after having a few drinks with friends, the excitement was too much for the upcoming bass opener/derby on Long Point Bay. Normally I get excited, but I had a feeling this was going to be a better opener than usual.
So 3AM rolled around, Sleded was up. By 4AM he was at my house, we got the boat ready to go, were on the water by 5AM. First few hours we tried a spot that I was sure was going to be the winning spot. We could not get a fish to bite. Hopes were being shattered with every cast! Carp spawning everywhere, dead weeds and muddy water, not to mention by the time we got launched at 5AM 3 other boats had fished through our spot already and said they caught nothing.
I said thats it, we're going to find some green weeds, and we were off as fast as the motor could take us. I might add that for once the motor ran PERFECTLY all day and never even ran out of gas. Gotta love that. By the way, we opted to use the aluminum boat and small motor instead of the bass boat, because fuel costs are insane.
First we tried some weeds in about 8 feet of water that were 4ft below the surface. The fish finder marked a lot of baitfish and I could see thanks to my polarized glasses that the weeds were indeed green. 3 casts, boom, pike hit. Missed the fish but didnt really care because bass were on the agenda today. After a while more of fishing that spot we decided to move to the west end of the bay and look around there. It was weed choked with useless eel grass but once we got past that we found some great bass havens. Deep water and lots of cover.
When we got to a likely looking area I tossed a spinnerbait around to hopefully find some active fish, and picked up 2 small ones in a row. Not even a pound but it was progress. Soon after, Sleded tossed a senko style bait to obvious cover and smacked a nicer one, probably a little over 2 pounds. We figured 2lbs was not enough to qualify for the derby so a quick pic and she was released.
A few more small bass on the spinnerbait now, and we had fished the entire spot. Did a few more rounds on the spot and got a few more small bass, and decided to look for similar areas. We now had a pattern.
Now of course, we couldnt go through the day without landing a few of these guys on spinnerbaits. LPB has some of the biggest rock bass I've ever seen, that's for sure.
Anyways, we tried a lot of similar spots and did get quite a few bass. Most were in the 1 pound range, a couple going about 2 pounds. This is the norm for LPB in recent years.
I slowed down from my spinnerbait approach and also moved to the senko style bait. I hate using them, since everybody uses them all the time, but there is one reason I had to use it - it works. Well I flipped the senko into a likely looking shaded spot and pointed out a HUGE bluegill surfacing near my line, when I felt that telltale BUMP in the line. Set hook, and now I was pointing out the size of the BASS I had on my line. This was definitely a qualifier. As soon as Sleded laid eyes on her he grabbed the net. He knew it right away this was my qualifying fish. She jumped once and I nearly had a heart attack, thinking she was going to spit the hook. I buried my rod into the water and prayed I could keep the fish on. She bulldogged into some weeds and I feared the 15lb mono wouldnt be enough... but it was. I got her close enough and Sleded got her in the net. There it was, my qualifying fish for the derby!
On the scales she was 3.92 pounds. Not huge, but definitely a good fish. This put me in 2nd place, but there was still 5 hours of derby to go.
Here's the beauty!
She was then given to the Long Point Bay Angler's Association live release boat which was on site for the derby. Great to see them there promoting some catch and release.
Back out fishing to try and top it or put Sleded on the leader board. Unfortunately we could not top it in the amount of time fishing we had. However there is an interesting thing that happened. I hooked into a fish that I could not identify! It looked like a rock bass/bluegill crossbreed! Is this even possible?! Here's a couple pics.. definitely WEIRD!!
I am truly puzzled by that one. Must have been some major confusion between the rockies & sunnies down there
Anyways, a few more average size fish boated and released, videos shot, plenty of water consumed and nervousness itching me like a bad sweater. That was a long 5 hours let me tell you! We got back to the weigh-in to see I was bumped down to 4th place. No biggie, there is prizes for up to 10th place and I was just glad I was actually on the leaderboard, however it did kinda suck that I got beat out on 2nd and 3rd by a matter of only .04 ounces!!!
But that was my final finish in the Lakeshore Shopper Long Point bass derby 2006. 4th place. I am very pleased with that finish, like a kid in a candy store! To boot, I got an awesome prize pack. A sweet Daiwa rod/reel combo, Daiwa hat, minnow bucket, Fish Crisp, a pair of Strike King polarized sunglasses, a Woodstream tackle box and a spool of 10lb XT for the new combo. I must say it is a really nice spinning combo too. 5 bearings, continuous anti-reverse. Sweet deal.
Here's a pic of the leader board!
And a pic of me posing with the prize pack.
I gotta thank Sleded just for coming out today and for being the best net man in the history of bassin! Talk about a good partner. As soon as he saw I had a good fish on he literally dropped everything to grab the net and help me out. Thanks Sleded you're the best.
As much as I love the kawarthas and many other parts of Ontario, Long Point Bay bass fishing always has a special place in my heart. It's a beautiful spot with quite a few bass to be caught. It's not as great as it used to be for the largemouth but to those who are willing to put some legwork in, there are lots of bass to be caught, even some quality ones. Here's a shot I took of the beautiful bay, on a beautiful day.
*Quick edit - upon further investigation we found out that the mystery fish is called a "warmouth" and is rare in these parts! Interesting!*
Also if you would like to view the opening day Action Angling episode (8 minutes) then click the following link: