How We Caught ‘Em: Calm Lake Smallmouth Bass

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Presented by Xplore

The first episode of this season took us on an outstanding trip to the Atikokan area of northwest Ontario. We were scheduled into Branch’s Seine River Lodge on Banning Lake which is part of a multiple-lake system. 

For this shoot, lodge owner Quentin Branch directed us to another lake on the system called Calm Lake. Since all these lakes are joined and navigable by water, we simply left the lodge docks and headed towards Calm.

The fish he told us about were groups of open-water Smallmouth Bass that often feed on Cisco. Right up our alley!

One problem: the winds kept us from shooting in the area of choice. 

Long story short, when we finally got to shoot, we made the best of it.

Ang was the first to strike with the large size of Yo-Zuri’s 3DB Twitchbait. It’s a gorgeous lure that the angler imparts the amount of action they need by either straight reeling with the odd pause, or as the name implies, twitching the rod. It’s very reminiscent of a glide bait that you see Muskie anglers use. 

Unfortunately, Ang lost that first fish (a 5-pounder by the way) but it showed us two things: the big fish were in the area and they’d hit the Twitchbait. 

That’s solid intel!

We proceeded to have the time of our lives with this pattern. We’d find active schools of Smallmouth that were hovering under big balls of Cisco (that we would see via our Garmin LiveScope) and fire out long-bomb casts into the abyss. Every now and then, a Smallie would come up and crush our offerings. 

As I said above, a straight reel and stop retrieve worked well. This was produced by simply stopping the reeling for around a second and then abruptly starting to reel again. 

However, our best retrieve was just everything from gentle to aggressive “pops” with the rod tip. By keeping the rod low and twitching the baits, it seemed to drive the Smallmouth nuts.

I think a key to this day was the use of fluorocarbon lines. I was throwing 15-17 pound test and it worked flawlessly. Just the right amount of stretch and sinking rate.

We also had a bit of luck on topwater towards the end of the day. The 3DB Pencil Popper was the ticket here with a floating line.

All in all, this was one of the most productive and enjoyable shoots of the entire season! Check out the full episode below:

Fish'n Canada

The Fish’n Canada Show first aired in 1986 with phenomenal success. In 1988 the program went coast to coast on CBC, the first North American weekly fishing show to broadcast on a national network. In 1992 the show went into syndication adding Global Television Network, prominent CTV and affiliates, and several cable networks. The move resulted in unprecedented fishing audiences. With the addition of WFN U.S. and The Sportsman Chanel Canada today the Fish’n Canada show dominates the airwaves with a national weekly reach of 3.5 million and ama of over 450,000 easily making it one of the most-watched “outdoors” programs in North America.

4 Responses

  1. Calm Down and Carry On!

    The old adage, “The Calm before the Storm” has never been more prevalent than the Fish’n Canada this episode shot at Branch’s Seine River Lodge in the Atikokan area of northwest Ontario.

    Calm Lake as it played out, was anything but when it came to the weather and how Pete and the crew ultimately caught lunker Smallmouth Bass.

    When things did settle down climate wise, switching and twitching was the ticket to their success. Adapting to what nature throws at you and indoctrinating the K.L.P. process definitely has its benefits. Much like the “Calm After the Storm” song by Dutch country rock duo The Common Linnets, that was chosen internally to represent the Netherlands at the Eurovision Song Contest 2014 in Denmark, it is a win, win situation.

    Let the music play on!

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