Only Quebec bass freaks like us would ever consider putting together a tourney in the month of March! But with the mild conditions this spring, did we really have a choice? Good pal Jason Gramada from MTL Bass Pros gave me a call and said he would set it up and before you knew it, Benji and I were at the St-Zotique ramp putting in for a bass shootout on St-Francis!
The last few days have been much colder and closer to normal March temps. However, this had a major effect on the water temps as it read a chilly 38 degrees in the morning. We decided to stick with a largemouth only gameplan as the main lake looked pretty nasty with some serious chop and 20K winds.
The bite was extremely tough as we struggled to find warmer water. It wasn't until late afternoon that we finally bumped into some largies in the back of one of the canals. A school of 10-15 fish that were sparsely dispersed in about 2ft of water amongst carp, crappie, perch, pike and a slew of different minnows. Unfortunately, these fish were not only in an exceptionally negative mood but also super spooky. Benji and I would spend the next 2 hours trying to get them to bite. We practically emptied out all the Plano boxes in search of that magical presentation that could get one of them to commit. It would ultimately be a tiny square-billed crankbait that would come to the rescue and land us our one and only fish of the day.
Back at the ramp, we find out that all the other teams also had very difficult days with the exception of 2 teams; the team of Charles Sim and Nigel Touhey and the team of Bruce Gammon and Denny Andrade. These two teams decided to go against the grain and brave the elements. And it paid off...big. Charles and Nigel would bring to the scale a 5 bass limit of 17+lbs with 5 smallies and Bruce and Denny blew the doors off with a monster bag of smallies that would weigh an impressive 21.75lbs anchored by a 5lb+ beast.
Just goes to show that picking the right strategy on that given day can certainly make all the difference. We chose to play safe and came back with pennies. Others rolled the dice and hit the jackpot. Bass season in Quebec closes tomorrow so the next few trips will probably be some Lake Champlain posts and hopefully some Laker action later on in April.
Hit the river again today with great pal, BassCat Pro Scott Nagy and his son Thomas. We went back to the same locations from the previous outing but to our surprise, not a single bite! With the cold front in effect, air temps were a chilly 7 degrees along with a rainfall that changed the colour of the water. We decided to adjust and backoff from the previous structures and work deeper. We hooked up with numerous smallies in deeper humps in about 18-22ft near current breaks on tubes and dropshot rigs. But smallies weren't the only species that wanted to play. We wacked about a half dozen 'eyes throughout the day including this behemoth of a specimen shown above. A 11lb+ female that fought like a champ. Even the last cast resulted in a healthy 7lb walleye to really put a smile on Thomas' face before we called it a day.
We used 10lb Nanofil with 8lb 100% Trilene Fluorocarbon leaders to get the presentations down efficiently. 3/8oz Ultra Tungsten dropshot weights, Mustad 2/0 dropshot hooks tipped with 3" Powerbait Sparkle Minnows completed the set-up. Water temp was still 42 degrees even with the cold front.
Absolutely unbelievable. This extreme mild weather is turning on the bite earlier than I've ever seen before. 44 degree water temps on the St-Lawrence have got the fish staging more shallow than one would think. Smoked quality walleye and smallies all day slow moving tube jigs off main points just off the current. 3/8 oz is more than enough. If they're not there, go just a bit deeper with a dropshot presentation. If you've got the time and means to get out there before the season closes at the end of the month, then don't hesitate! The fish are literally stacked like cordwood! Check out my BenWooTube video below to see some of the quality 'eyes that were boated.
Spent my first day on the water this year with good pal Denny Andrade and his bro-in-law Manny. Every March we take advantage of ice-out and get on the St-Lawrence for some pre-spawn 'eyes. Today we found them in deeper water ranging from 35' to 45' near current and points. Dropshotting was the go-to technique as we tipped our rigs with Berkley Powerbait sparkle minnows and Ultra Tungsten dropshot weights for added sensitivity. Pflueger Patriarch spinning reel spooled with 10lb Nanofil did the trick and my Fenwick Elite-Tech Walleye rod felt all the strikes. Water was still a frigid 37 degrees but who cares? It was an absolutely gorgeous and balmy 22 degress and sunny all day long. Ahhhh....now that's exactly what the doctor ordered! Best fish went about 5lbs but caught well over 40 in the 1-2.5lb range.
Whoa! This is probably the best word to describe 2012 thus far. So much action is so little time and the fishing season hasn't even started yet! Let's see, where to begin? Hmmm...Well for starters, I made the decision to sign up for the Renegade Bass series with long time fishing bud, Daniel Benjafield. It's arguably the most elite bass trail we have up here in Canada so it's a pretty serious commitment. Especially when you consider that I'll be going head to head with some of the best sticks in the biz. Izumi, Chonger, Desforges and the list goes on....On top of this, 2 or 3 of the bodies of water I've never even been on before. Nonetheless, I cannot express how excited I am and amped to embrace this challenge!
As if Renegade wasn't big enough, I've also signed up for the FLW Everstart Series event on Lake Champlain as a boater. Of course, I probably wouldn't have had the confidence to take on such a challenge on without knowing that I would be at the helm of a boat that could handle the mighty waters of Lake Champlain. Enter my newest sponsor, Charger Boats from Missouri, USA. Along with the support from long time partner, Maple Grove Marine, they'll be equipping me with a 2012 Charger 210 SUV multi-species model powered by nothing other than an Evinrude 250HO E-TEC outboard motor. Stay tuned for an in-depth build-up report of my new rig this spring!