Good Old Fall Bass Fishing Competition – The Happy Camper

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One of my favourite YouTube channels is Paddleheads

It’s hosted by Ben Kelly and Adam Macrae. They’re both canoeists, as well as anglers. That’s a rarity in the paddling community.

I prefer canoeing and fishing as well, so I jumped at the chance to join them on their latest outing to one of their favourite Crown land lakes near my home in the Kawarthas.

Joining me in my canoe was my fishing buddy, Ashley McBride. He takes his angling seriously, so he thought we should challenge the Paddleheads to a good old fishing competition: first fish, most fish, and biggest fish. The losing team had to state to their YouTube channel’s audience that the other team was the “elite bass fishing anglers.”

Ben and Adam had a lot going for them. They had fished the lake before, which was a huge advantage. It was late fall and the smallmouth bass we were searching out had moved off their summer cover along the shoreline and headed out into deeper water. The Paddleheads also had a portable fish finder, multiple rods and reels, a giant landing net, and a collection of lures that they knew were successful the last time they fished the lake. Ash and I had single rods, a tiny net, a couple of spinnerbaits, and a handful of jigs.

No surprise the Paddleheads got the first fish. They knew of a hidden shoal out in the middle of the lake. But it didn’t take Ash and I long to hook into a good-size bass, taken off a notable rock drop-off.

The score was 3 to 2 – with Ash and I in the lead. Low numbers of fish. The cold weather slowed the fish down considerably, but we had to stop for the day. It was an hour before dark and we still had to locate to make camp. There weren’t any designated spots on the lake, so we had to spend the time to build up a fire ring and find a flat spot to pitch our tents.

We gathered wood for the fire, heated up dinner, took a couple of casts from shore with hula poppers, and then settled down with a wee dram of whisky to tell a few fish tales around the campfire. It was a good day, with good company.

A strong east wind and a mixture of snow and hail greeted us in the morning. It was a tough paddle out, and an even tougher time to try and catch a fish. Ash caught a single smallmouth not long after leaving the campsite, which never made it into the boat. However, Ben and Adam lucked into two more, both successfully netted and released, with one measuring just over 17 inches.

So, check out the video I put up on my KCHappyCamper YouTube channel of the trip.

And check out Paddleheads version on their YouTube channel

And yes, I humbly declared the Paddleheads the “elite bass fishing anglers” of the trip. I can’t wait for the rematch.

Kevin Callan

Kevin (aka The Happy Camper) is the author of 18 books; his latest being Once Around Algonquin: An Epic Canoe Journey. He is an award winning writer and a keynote speaker at outdoor events across North America. Kevin is also a regular guest on several television morning shows – including The Outdoor Journal. He has won several film awards and was listed as one of the top 100 modern-day explorers by the Canadian Geographical Society. He was also made Patron Paddler for Paddle Canada.

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