This was one of our first shoots of the season and man was it a good one… but it didn’t start out that way.
Upon our arrival at Branch’s Seine River Lodge (near Atikokan Ontario), we had a great chat with lodge owner Quentin Branch about the fishing opportunities and he immediately had us pumped about a possible Smallmouth Bass pattern that was pretty solid… ok we’re listening!
What Quentin essentially told us about was a population of Smallies on one of his adjoining lakes that were open water, bait-oriented fish. This pattern very much intrigued us in that with our forward-facing fish-finding technology from Garmin, this might be the perfect scenario.
Once we hit the water and headed towards Quentin’s marked or suggested areas, we soon found out that the seemingly “always here” strong winds were howling across our open water area causing nasty waves and conditions.
Now, although Pete and I can fish in the wind like this, our camera operators can’t shoot. The platform (our FNC1) is moving way too much.
With that said, we marked some fish, waypointed the areas, and headed for more sheltered fishing spots.
Long story short, it took days before the winds slowed down, but they finally did – and all I can say is WOW!
Pete and I had a full day of catching gorgeous northern Ontario Smallmouth Bass on both topwater baits and twitch baits.
ELECTRONICS WERE THE STARTING KEY
Garmin’s LiveScope technology certainly helped on this shoot. Note the big ball of bait at the top left and the marauding Smallmouth below… MONEY!!!
While scouring the area with our electronics in the LiveScope mode, we quickly found big schools of baitfish suspended up into the water column. And then the turning point came… big Smallmouth hanging around the bait. This was SO cool to see on our Garmin units. It was also the only way we could effectively stay in tune as to where the fish were.
OUR BAIT CHOICE WAS THE FINAL KEY
Yo-Zuri’s 3DB Twitchbait… deadly on Smallies!
Although we wanted the topwater bite to be on fire, unfortunately, that deal didn’t turn on until the end of the day. I’ll get to that in a bit.
Since the topwaters weren’t tearing it up, we decided to go with a bait made by Yo-Zuri called the 3DB Twitchbait. From the moment I saw this bait (while we were looking at what to order from Yo-Zuri) I knew it would be a killer… and I was right!
With the same “walk the dog” action that so many topwater baits put out, this twitch bait does pretty much the same, only under the water’s surface. And let me tell you, the Smallies up there LOVED it!
One of many big Smallies we caught on this shoot
We boated a whack of gorgeous Smallies during that day and the bite was amazing. The fish were crushing the twitchbaits. So much fun.
And then by the day’s end… as I said earlier, the topwater bite turned on, but, unfortunately, only for a short period.
We were throwing the Yo-Zuri 3DB Pencil Poppers in the large size and again, the Smallies loved it. This unique bait not only pops as the name implies but it walks the dog in perfect fashion. Double duty for some great action.
What a great shoot, episode, and trip in general.