This Fish’n Canada episode promises to show you a different side of what Ang and Pete encounter on some of their shoots. Most people think that for fishing television hosts everything comes easy, right? Wrong! In this particular episode, they hit Mother Nature’s motherload of bad weather and water conditions. They travel to Eddie North’s Attawapiskat Adventures in Northern Ontario.
A drive to a fishing destination in Northern Ontario during the spring is usually anything but consistent in the weather department. It can be sunny and hot one minute and freezing cold the next. The drive to this destination started out in Southern Ontario with temperatures in the twenties on the Celsius scale, but by the time Pete and Ang reached their destination in Nakina, the truck thermometer ended up hitting zero—plus, they hit a freak snowstorm to boot!
Luckily, when the boys finally arrived at the Nakina Air Base, the snow stopped and they were able to fly to the Attawapiskat River, the home water of this adventure.
A couple of years ago The Fish’n Canada Show fished the Attawapiskat for Pike with great success. But on that occasion, the conditions were perfect—nice warm spring days, perfect water temps, and a slow meandering current. On this trip, things were different, though.
The flight to the camp ended up going great and, in fact, the weather was definitely changing for the better. There is something about flying over Northern Ontario that really calms and yet excites an angler at the same time. Eddie North’s Attawapiskat Adventures was the ultimate destination, a very rustic hunting and fishing camp. If you are looking for a no-frills affordable camp that is situated in some of Ontario’s most pristine Pike and Walleye waters, then this is definitely for you!
COULD IT GET ANY WORSE?
After disembarking the plane it didn’t take long to figure out that something wasn’t quite right. It was just a question of what, exactly—until finally, it clicked. The water levels looked high. There was no worn shoreline to speak of and the brush and foliage were right at and into the water’s edge. Knowing that the conditions were less than perfect, the boys rigged up a variety of baits both in terms of size and actions. Under these circumstances, it’s important that an angler lets the fish dictate what’s going to work, not the other way around. The official word finally came out: The water levels were six feet higher than normal… and rising! Not a good thing. Could it get any worse?
ONE FOOT IN THE GRAVE…
So, the water levels were off the chart and, in fact, higher than they had been in decades, which put one foot in the grave. But all of a sudden the water temps have plummeted lower than pre-spawn, and it was well past the actual spawn period. That’s foot number two.
Just as expected, the big Northerns of the Attawapiskat were playing hard to get. Hammer-handles in the shallows are commonplace in almost all Pike areas no matter what the conditions. And they end up driving you nuts when you’re hunting for 40+ inch monsters!
Angelo says, “With the fishing conditions being so horrible, Pete is usually of the mindset to undersize his presentation. His first choice is a little five-inch suspending minnow-bait which will coax out all sizes of fish, even the giants. It’s a good choice but my theory is go big or go home.” And this theory definitely proved to be true on this trip.
His bait of choice was a giant, white Waterwolf tube with a floating insert. It doesn’t actually float, but it sinks so slow that it drives Pike and Muskie so crazy, they can’t resist smashing it.
“Thankfully, Ang caught those couple of big’uns because that was it for the day,” says Pete. The boys would trek back to camp and regroup.
THE NEXT DAY
Finally, the weather looked like it was starting to really turn. You’d be surprised what a warm sunny day can do for spring Pike.
They found a little sweet spot in a bay and Ang got Pete throwing the giant tube. “He’s a hard man to convince, but an easy man to convert,” says Ang.
The Hotspot they discovered was a grassy underwater point that was slightly different than the rest of the bay, and that can make all the difference—and not just for Pike! Subtle differences are what it takes in order to overcome extremely negative fishing conditions.
The rest of the day turned out much better in the big Pike department. As the water heated up, the fish definitely got cranked up. So the boys decided to expand their little fishing area to the surrounding shorelines, expecting more fish to move in and start feeding.
“Believe it or not, that little weed point produced about ninety percent of our good bites, and that was our ultimate saving grace,” said Pete.
NOTES FROM THE BOYS
PETE – Sometimes in fishing, things just can’t be explained. One minute you will beg, borrow and steal to get a bite, and then all of a sudden the tides turn and the fish bite everything in sight, just like in this episode. You have to be confident, persistent, and adaptable. With these three things, success will eventually come.
ANGELO – Do not get hung up on a “magic” bait or lure. When you arrive at your fishing destination, assess the water conditions, weather, barometer, etc. They all have an effect on the fish, even in a fish-filled area like the Attawapiskat River. Once you determine what state you feel the fish will be in, it will become much easier to choose a corresponding presentation.
The saviour for this trip to the Attawapiskat River was a big Waterwolf Tube bait made by Canadian bait manufacturer Mike Nabulsi from Deseronto, Ontario.
The boys pack these giant plastics on every Northern Pike adventure they go on now and Angelo usually fires them out even in the harshest of conditions. The colour of choice was white for this trip—as it was a couple of years ago on another stretch on the same river when Fish’n Canada shot with Hearst Air.
There are a couple of key factors when using this bait: a slow fall and sharp hooks. The retrieve the boys usually start with is a slow steady pulling or jerk followed by a one to two-second pause to allow the bait to sink. If the fish are cranked up then a more aggressive jerking action will work better.
This bait originally came with a wood plug or insert giving it buoyancy. Angelo only has one left and he better not lose it because he swears by it. A large swimbait hook with a bit of weight will work as well. A leader is a must!