Many anglers who may be looking forward to a fly-in adventure this summer can rely on experiences from their home waters upon entering a new lake. Much of the knowledge you may have gathered over your fishing career can transfer to your upcoming trip with Wilderness North. Many of our Southern guests are well-experienced anglers for species such as bass and crappy, and that is great! Don’t discount taking with you some of the techniques you use in your home lakes, as with some minor adjustments, you can unlock the secrets of a new river or lake in Ontario’s north.
Many of the day to day techniques and lures you are accustomed to will work wonderfully in the north. Here are a few examples of smaller-fish lures that can be upsized to target giants.
Tubes are a bass angler’s staple, both for smallmouth and largemouth bass. Either rigged traditionally or Texas rigged, the simple tube can be fished deep as well as in the heaviest of cover. Tubes are designed to imitate a variety of things bass like to target including crayfish or gobies. Their erratic action is irresistible to bass. Well, the same can be said for Northern Pike – Many a bass tube-jig has been lost to a giant hookset and the unmistakable, almost magical feeling of a pike’s surgically sharp teeth cutting your fishing line. With a few minor adjustments, tube-jigs are a fantastically effective way to target pike. Firstly, upsize your offering. Many bass tubes come in the 2-3-inch range, for pike, up your game to a minimum of 6 inches and utilize a minimum 1-oz jig head. On the line end, you can take a page from the fly-fishing book by adding 18 or so inches of knot-able titanium bite tippet or simply use a nylon coated steel leader.
Bass and crappy anglers know the worth of a spinnerbait. Slow rolled or ripped through the grass, spinnerbaits are deadly and often a true confidence bait for many anglers. They are considered a reaction bait and will often garner immediate strikes because of their vibration, flash and profile. Northern pike will readily take spinnerbaits; however, there are baits manufactured now specifically for big fish. These spinnerbaits are big and move a lot of water. Big blades, shiny reflective surfaces and enticing pulsing skirts all play in the big pike spinnerbait game. Minimum 1-oz baits will result in larger fish to your net.
Weighted and non-weighted swimbaits and soft plastics are fantastic for targeting species of all sizes. Designed to mimic a sick or dying baitfish, they flutter and twist as they fall, yet spring almost miraculously to life as they are reeled back into action. The texture of these baits allow fish to attack and hold on… just a little bit longer than say a hard-plastic or wooden lure. Big, single hook swimbaits are deadly for northerns. Remember in our lakes, their forage is walleye, whitefish and sometimes even brooktrout, so don’t be afraid to up your anti and beef up the baits you throw. The single, barbless hook also makes removal a breeze, which is great for the fish and your fingers.
These are but a few examples of how you can transfer some of the knowledge you’ve gained over your fishing career to put you in the driver’s seat with respect to having the upper hand on a new body of water. Don’t’ be afraid to upsize what your experience has said works. Fishing is all about experimentation and putting the pieces of the puzzle together and imagine how fun it will be to unlock a new secret on how to target big northerns in an area new to you. And of course, please share, we’ll all benefit from your experience in the long run.