MANITOBA (HONOURABLE MENTION)
To be honest, I’ve only fished for bass in the province of Manitoba once during my entire fishing career. (Angelo and Reno have hit the province more, always with great success.) I’ve heard there are lots of Smallmouth throughout the province—and some big ones to boot. It’s most definitely an area for Ang and me to explore in the future.
The one and only Manitoba bass lake for me was called Bradley Lake. It’s not a big lake from what I remember. But once we dialled in the smallies, that little lake put out some big Smallmouth Bass! It had all of the crucial elements: shallow weeds, healthy weed flats in the mid-depth range, and a vast amount of deep water and bluff rock walls.
Bradley is located east of The Pas, Manitoba. It certainly does not grab the fame and glory of the province’s most prominent fishing waters like Lake Winnipeg, Gods Lake, Lake of the Prairies, Dauphin Lake or the Winnipeg River, but those are sizable waterbodies that produce large numbers of multiple species annually.
Like Peanut Butter and Jam
Back in the day, when we visited Bradley Lake, we certainly were not the smallie anglers we are today. Time builds experience. Also, Senkos, swimbaits, weight-shifting suspending jerkbaits, creatures, etc. were not even thought about yet. It was crankbaits, spinnerbaits, floating minnow baits, curly-tailed worms, jigs and so on. Lots of choices, mind you, but still not like today. That said, the two baits that shone—and still would to this day—were tube jigs and topwaters, with the latter producing big time.
Smallies and topwater baits are like peanut butter and jam. They work perfectly together. If you find yourself in the right situation (usually calm, clear water), make sure you tie on a popper, walking bait or a prop bait. It’s always worth a few casts and if you get hit, you’re hooked as much as the fish is!
Of course, with all great fishing memories comes the “not-so-great” ones. Bradley is also the place where Ang stuck himself in the shin with one of those nasty little Pop R Excalibur trebles. He seemed to be on a self-hooking roll back in those days. Thankfully, he finally to grew out of it!