This episode on Lake Temagami is an incredible wilderness treat. The area has become a legend for hikers, paddlers, campers—but especially for anglers. Part of the appeal is the rugged terrain. Massive cliffs plunge deep into the lake, and a long and varied shoreline presents habitat for a number of sport fish species.
Longtime Fish’n Canada fans will remember Angelo being here several years ago with the legendary Roland Martin. After that absolute beauty of a trip, we knew it would only be a matter of time before we had to bring the Fish’n Canada show back to Temagami.
To watch the entire Roland Martin episode with Angelo from 2005: click here.
COVERING THE WATER
As it turns out, our special guest—Mr. Roy Armes, CEO of Cooper Tires, who we also featured on a show last year—is a huge fan of Roland, and he’s been chomping at the bit to fish some of the same waters as him. Knowing that, when the opportunity to revisit Temagami came up, Angelo made a quick call to Roy. The Cooper Tire CEO instantly changed his schedule to accommodate this trip; Temagami would now be a welcomed stopover between meetings in Ohio and the U.K.
With such a busy time table, however, Roy could only indulge for a single day; after that, he’d be back to his business. In the meantime, Pete was happy to give up his boat seat for Roy.
Angelo says, “As bad luck would have it, a front had set in and wasn’t about to break until tomorrow. With this cold weather, the big smallies seemed to be hiding. Oddly, we saw good evidence of Pike and also something that we never expected: Roy catching a Lake Trout while he was drop-shotting for Smallmouth in around twenty-five feet of water. Very cool!”
They covered a vast amount of Temagami water; the north arm, the northwest arm, the south arm, and even into Cross Lake at the extreme southeast portion of Temagami. They threw everything in the book at the fish as well, from topwater to sub-surface presentations in 30+ feet deep water.
A NEW DAY
As the sun began to set on this chilly Temagami day, the already cool weather started to get downright cold, making the Smallmouth even less active. It really was poor conditions and, unfortunately for Roy, and he only had the one day. The true die-hard angler that he is, though, he stuck through it. He and Ang managed to catch good numbers all day long—just no hogs.
Pete says, “It’s a new day and a new opportunity for getting some of those finicky Smallmouth into our boat. It was a tough day yesterday for Ang and Roy. When two guys with that much experience are struggling, you know the conditions aren’t in your favour. But if there’s one truth in fishing, it’s that every day is different. The weather broke and the sun has come out. Today is my lucky day—weather-wise, at least. We’re going to miss Roy, who flew off to continue on business travels, but we’re ready to get to work.”
THE TRAILER HOOK
As Pete eluded to in the show, adding a trailer hook to a spinnerbait when conditions are less than favourable is a very good idea. A trailer hook is not to be confused with a trailer (a soft plastic added for colour and action); it’s simply an extra hook added to the bait to increase hooking odds. A trailer hook has an extra large eye, allowing it to pass over the barb of another hook.
Why use a trailer hook? Smallmouth Bass are a classic example of a species that sometimes warrant a trailer hook. When the weather turns bad or the mood of the fish simply “turns off”, Smallmouth will often slash at or bump a bait. We feel they are trying to injure their prey and then possibly carry through with the kill. By adding the trailer hook those short strikes are often turned into a hookup and a fish in the boat.
There are two ways of attaching a trailer hook to a spinnerbait. The first is shown in an above image: A piece of surgical tubing is slid over the eye of the trailer hook, which is then placed over the main hook through the now rubberized eye. Another option is to first put the eye of the trailer hook over the main hook eye and then stick a small piece of tubing on the main hook to stop the trailer from falling off.
The bottom line: You should always have a collection of trailer hooks available when fishing Smallmouth with spinnerbaits.
GREAT BALLS OF BAIT
On this day the boys discovered schools of tiny baitfish. Yesterday’s tough day might soon be a memory.
Angelo says, “After a day of cold temperatures and even colder fishing luck, I’m hoping a few changes will make all the difference—a new partner, new locations, much better weather. When you’re in a hot spot like Temagami, the fish will eventually turn on.”
Sometimes consistency is the name of the game. But sometimes it’s good to switch things up. The past two days have proven that even a minor change can make all the difference. And that’s particularly true when it comes to bait.
Pete: “We’re hoping our improved luck pays off as we head into some of Angelo’s old stomping grounds. Last time he was here with Roland Martin, the fish were literally jumping into the boat. Man, I’d love to duplicate that day!”
Their day actually did turn out much better. Hitting humps, points, and wood with traditional baits gave the boys a great catch (plus many followers). The turning point, however, was when Angelo dropped a Yamamoto D Shad into a weed bed that extended out from a point. He almost instantly nailed a gorgeous smallie. As all this happened, a huge ball of baitfish broke the surface nearby, so the boys knew this could be a dandy Hotspot. Ang switched between the D Shad and a drop shot rig while Pete tried jerkbaits, spinnerbaits and dropshotting as well. As time passed, they pounded the smallies and Ang even caught a fantastic bonus Walleye—the surprise of the day.