Always Have a Backup Plan – Episode 424

For this Fish’n Canada Show, you’re going to see what happens when Ang and Pete need a fall fishing fix but are unsure where to go or what to fish for. In a perfect world, they’d stick close to home. After all, it’s been a long season on the road.

In setting this day up, Ang said to Pete, “What about Pike?” They both immediately thought of Frenchman’s Bay off of Lake Ontario. They did a shoot there a couple years ago and had a blast catching Northerns in mid-to-late November.

Frenchman’s Bay it is. But they figured they’d better bring some extra gear because there’s no way they’d be able to turn down a quick trip out to the main lake. “Today, we’re basically goin’ fishin’ for whatever bites!” says Pete.


It didn’t take them long to get on the water and the conditions were perfect. Beautiful skies, calm water, armed with jerkbaits, inline spinners and even live bait. Look out Pike!

Angelo states, “I love trips like this one, where it’s ‘let’s grab the gear and just go fishing.’ Not strategically planned out. It’s not going to be a time consuming long drive, it’s just a couple of buddies hitting the water and hoping to catch some fish.”

Without so much as a sniff from the fish, it was ‘So much for Plan A.’ The Pike were either shut down or just not there. The water temperatures were still a bit high. The Pike in here become really active just before the ice moves in and two or three degrees can make a world of difference. Thankfully, the boys came with a backup plan. Next stop, the big lake.


The weather wasn’t looking stable; the clear morning skies were turning into a gloomy looking cloudy day. Things can turn real nasty, real quick in the fall. Always be prepared for the worst.

Their backup plan was essentially the opposite of their Pike fishing. In the bay, the boys needed colder water to make things happen; out here they looked for the warmest water available. And there just happened to be an endless warm water supply within arm’s throw: the Pickering hydro plant. So the guys switched gears and concentrated on Smallmouth and Carp—and pretty much anything else that would bite.


The setups for smallies are drop shot rigs and float rigs. If they could coax these babies to eat artificial baits, then so be it. But they’d been here before and the combination of gin-clear water and their big black boat hovering overhead makes these Smallmouth very skittish. Luckily, they still had some minnows in the bait well. “These could save the day,” said Pete.

As a backup for their backup, they had a great population of Carp in the area as well—and there’s no way our boys can turn them down the chance at a classic Carp fight.


Whenever you venture out Carp fishing, you should consider feeding the immediate area to draw fish into your zone and keep them there in a feeding mode. It’s surprising just how much control you can have over a wild animal.

Angelo says, “As for our Carp rigs, I’m using a light fluorocarbon line, modified Carp rig, real corn, and a single imitation kernel, while Pete’s using a conventional Carp setup with a heavy weight and a corn/mini boilie combination on a pre-tied hair rig. We’ve got a real difference of opinion here. I feel with the clean water light line is a must; Pete’s feeling is if they’re hungry, they’ll eat!”

Although their Carp presentations were at total opposite ends of the spectrum, there were some similarities between their equipment. A long rod is a must. It serves two purposes: long casts, if necessary, and the ability to fight fish properly. Remember the possibility of a 30 lb+ fish is very high and a long rod is the perfect weapon to tame that beast.

An interesting point in fishing the Pickering nuke plant is that it’s very confusing and frustrating. You can be targeting Carp and seeing tons of smallies—or fishing for smallies and seeing Carp after Carp. The bottom line is you can’t predict anything here!

Here’s a little trick to use when fishing gin-clear water with minnows close to the boat: Using your polarized glasses, always watch the bait. Normally, it will sit pretty much in one spot, conserving its energy. If a predator fish moves in, however, that minnow will start going berserk and you, the angler, will see flashes and fast movement. This is a tell-tale sign that you’re about to get bit!


The Ontario fishing regulations state that two fishing lines may be used when angling from a boat in open water on Lake Ontario. Could you imagine if the boys hit two big Smallmouth and two 20 lb Carp at the same time? Now that would be nuts and almost impossible to manage! It’s totally up to the individual which species they want to fish for, but if you’re a multi-species angler? Good luck with that one, buddy!


There is one constant that you can bank on when fishing current and that’s lost fish. These little creatures instinctively know which direction to go and how to put 100% stress on your equipment. If an angler could go ten for ten in a hookup-to-landing ratio in this spot, we’d be looking at a world champion!


“What an absolutely great way to end the fishing season,” says Pete. “Heading out on a brisk November day, targeting and then getting denied on Pike, but luckily bringing a backup plan with all the extra gear and cashing in on some great Carp fishing and a couple of big smallies. That, my friends, caps our season off perfectly!”



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