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Posts Tagged ‘Largemouth Bass’

Hello All,

This week has been a hot one – both in terms of temperature and the activity level of largemouth bass.

In sharp contrast to the previous two weeks, when weather fronts were playing havoc with the bite, fish are once again feeding heavily – and hitting most baits with reckless abandonment.

I fished a stretch of the Rideau River Monday and Tuesday. Wind-blown slop was the ticket, with fish holding on the outside edge and smashing flipping jigs as if their life depended on it. It made for two of my best days on the water this season and my ‘bass thumb’ certainly attests to that.

Here is a short video I shot showcasing some of the action. Always nice to get back-to-back fish, especially on film!

Good Fishing,

Justin

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Hello Folks,

I am pleased to announce that I will now be offering select wildlife images for print purchase. For those that love nature and the outdoors, these ready-to-frame prints will make a wonderful addition to your home or cottage.

All images will be printed off-site on Kodak Professional Supra Endura VC Digital Lustre Paper. Prints will be protected in poly bags and shipped in cardboard-backed envelopes to protect your purchase.

All prints are 8 x 10 -inches in size.

Pricing Details

Canadian Orders – $18.00 each (includes shipping)

United States Orders – $20.00 each (includes shipping)

International Orders – $25.00 each (includes shipping)

Order three or more prints and instantly save $5.00.

Payment

I accept Interac e-Transfer, PayPal or cheque.

To place an order, or to request more information, please contact me at:  Justin.Hoffman@rogers.com

Images Available For Purchase

New images will be added in the future. Watermark will not appear on your purchased print. Please allow 2 – 3 weeks for delivery.

Great Gray Owl - Print #01

Great Gray Owl – Print #01

Great Gray Owl - Print #02

Great Gray Owl – Print #02

Red Fox - Print #03

Red Fox – Print #03

Red Fox - Print #04

Red Fox – Print #04

Moose - Print #05

Moose – Print #05

Whitetail Deer - Print #06

Whitetail Deer – Print #06

Whitetail Deer - Print #07

Whitetail Deer – Print #07

Whitetail Deer - Print #08

Whitetail Deer – Print #08

Duck Hunting Dog - Print #09

Duck Hunting Dog – Print #09

Largemouth Bass - Print #10

Largemouth Bass – Print #10

Scenic River - Print #11

Scenic River – Print #11

Great Blue Heron - Print #12

Great Blue Heron – Print #12

Moose - Print #13

Moose – Print #13

Great Gray Owl - "Solitude" - Print #14

Great Gray Owl – “Solitude” – Print #14

Whitetail Deer - Print #15

Whitetail Deer – Print #15

Yours In The Outdoors,

Justin

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November 15

Hello All,

Was definitely looking forward to this outing. The plan was for good buddy and fellow fishing writer, Tim Allard, and I to head up to Quebec and hopefully savour some of the bass and bluegill action that I enjoyed the previous week. Conditions were perfect – slight wind, warm temperature, and a mix of sun and cloud. What could go wrong?

Making our way over the Ottawa River and into Gatineau, hopes were certainly high. This was short lived. Less than a kilometre into our journey, a bump on the road, a loud “BANG”, and the extremely unpleasant sound of scraping metal. This didn’t look good. A quick look in the rear view mirror and all I see is the boat in a precarious slant on the trailer. Tim’s thought is a blown tire. My guess is a blown bearing. We were both wrong.

I gingerly guided the rig through a left turn and eased it into park at the side of the road. The look on the faces of the pedestrians in response to the loud metal noise was not a good omen. A quick look and we make the diagnosis – a complete break of the leaf spring. Not at the joint, but through the thickest part of solid steel. The audible metal noise was one half of the spring scraping on the pavement. Worst of all, the clearance between the tire and fender was less than a centimetre or two. In my mind the day was over. Actually, I was thinking the season. Tim had other thoughts.

Regardless of the situation, we knew that getting the boat back to Ottawa was imperative. After a brief period of brainstorming – in between bouts of language I can’t repeat – an idea was hatched. Using a couple of pieces of wood, some electrical tape, and a bit of brute strength, we were able to fashion a “cradle” on the frame, to take the weight off the axle and level the entire boat. It didn’t look pretty but it was the fix we needed. Tim deserves a huge thanks on this one. It was his idea, and with it being a two-man job, I certainly couldn’t have done it solo. Thanks a tonne, bud!

As we slowly made our way back over the bridge, with yours truly cringing with every bump we hit, Tim made a few phone calls. We decided to tow it to Stittsville for repairs. Now, this boat trailer is 23 years old. Would it be worth putting the money in to fix it? Buy a new trailer instead? I had some decisions to make as I cruised down the 417.

Before arriving in Stittsville, Tim made a few calls to boat dealers for a price on a new trailer – as did my Dad. All three marinas offered varying prices. And as we found out shortly after, the cost for repairs was too great to bother fixing. Off we head down the 416 to Kemptville.

Having done business with them in the past, Pirate Cove Marina is a top-notch operation. They were able to offer us a brand new, galvanized 2011 EZ Loader trailer – with some great heavy-duty features – for considerably less than one of their competitors could do for a painted version.

In less than two hours we were good to go. Moe and his staff completed the paper work effortlessly, prepped the new trailer perfectly, and made the transfer of my boat onto its new throne efficient and without hassle. They even powerwashed my whole rig for me!

For those in the market for a new boat or service, definitely give Moe and his staff a call at Pirate Cove Marina. I highly recommend them.

Here is a shot of the new trailer:

To say we were stranded in Quebec at 9am, it was quite astonishing to be back on the road by 12:45pm. With Quebec out of the question due to distance, we decided to head to a favourite Eastern Ontario lake and salvage the last few hours of daylight we had. Besides, we had brought a stove, pot, and hotdogs to cook up on the water, and we were both getting hungry!

We launched the boat and headed to a known weedline that always produces largies at this time of year. Depth ranges between 7 and 10-feet, and most come from the edge or the clumps themselves. Bucktail jigs are the weapon of choice. Although it took some time, we finally started connecting. Nothing huge, but aggressive fish that love to hit the jigs with reckless abandonment. What was really on our mind was the big crappie this area routinely coughs up. They can take a little work to locate, and generally turn on right before dusk, but once found, the action can be fast and furious.

We played around with the bass for a couple of hours, while searching for signs of crappie. And then it happend. A tell-tale tap on my bucktail jig (at this point I was still trying to tackle a few more bass or a bonus walleye) and a chunky crappie came to the boat. It was on!

Tim worked a float and jig combo with a light action rod – I stuck with my larger bucktail jig on baitcasting gear. The fish didn’t seem to mind. For the next hour we had a flurry of action. A few double headers, multiple cast fish, and some 20+ slabs in the boat when the dust settled. The biggest went 12.5-inches, and most measured between 11 and 12.

Forgot to add – the hotdogs were a hit out in the boat! Definitely something I will be doing in the fall from now on. And if all of the above wasn’t enough to turn the day around, I ended the evening with a sweet catch. Twenty-two inches of solid gold!

It hit a black and white bucktail jig at boatside – in seven feet of water. Was an awesome surprise!!!

So, a bad day turned into a good one in the end. 12 largies, 20+ crappies, and a bonus walleye. All in just over three hours of fishing. I’d say the new boat trailer gave us a bit of good luck.

Until next time….

Good Fishing,

Justin

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Hello All,

November 8

With the weather forecast looking more than favourable – and the wind non-existent – I made the decision to head out on a solo mission to my favourite Quebec lake.

Launched the boat at 10:30am and motored over to the productive spot that coughed up most of the fish the previous week. I decided to work in a bit shallower than before, hoping the largies would be relating to the cabbage and rocks that are prolific between 6- and 12-feet of water. Seeing a large school of baitfish in tight also helped with the decision.

A few casts in and the first largemouth was in the boat. A Fin-tech Football Jig teamed up with a YUM F2 Mighty Bug was the ticket.

Bites were extremely light. Lifting the jig would generate little attention from fish. Barely dragging the bait along bottom was the ticket. Here is the area that the fish were holding in. Notice the cabbage weeds on the screen. Down Imaging on this 798 Humminbird unit is phenominal for detail.

The first hour coughed up ten largies…with the largest being this 3lb 9oz fish. All came from the edge of the cabbage with most out of 9-feet of water. One lone smallie came on a trimmed-down Booyah Pigskin Jig.

Headed over to the finger next and put a puny smallie and a decent largie in the boat. The smallmouth was right on the top of the 11-foot hump, while the largemouth was on the deep edge in 15-feet of water.

Wondering if the largies might be up shallow, I decided to work down a shoreline while tossing a crank. It was a waste of time….nobody home. Shortly after, at 1:30pm, Andy showed up at his cottage and in my boat he jumps. Back to the spot from this morning we go.

The fish were definitely a little on the finicky side this outing. They wanted the jig one way – and one way only. We slowly started putting fish in the boat. Working water a bit deeper (15- to 19-feet) had us in the smallmouth. We stuck with the football jigs and Mighty Bugs.

Working out in to deeper water, we came across long, thick lines just off the bottom on the Humminbird screen. We were in 21-feet of water. Tim and I had come across this the previous week and assumed they were smallmouth. Thinking the same, I dropped down my jig and watched it dance up and down on the screen. I had a few small “whacks” but failed to connect. Drifting away from the area, and as a means to soothe my sore back, I opted to sit down in the boat and drop a jigging spoon (Macho Minnow) over the side. A few minutes in and a solid “thunk.” This fish came from 19-feet of water and hit 12-inches off bottom.

Then this guy hit.

Three smallies came in the boat in less than 15 minutes. Compared to the ultra light hits of earlier, these fish hit like freight trains!

It was then we finally discovered what the “mysterious” lines were. Bluegills!!!

They were hitting the large Macho Minnow with gusto. Most weren’t getting hooked, but I did bring four in the boat. Although I did have smaller spoons in my bag, I didn’t have an ultralight rod – or even a spinning rod for that matter – on deck. Boy I wished I did! The last fish of the day was this 9 1/2-inch bull ‘gill. Gotta love when you can lip them…

 As we slowly motored to the cottage in near-dark, this is what the Humminbird showed. Hmmmm. Suspended ‘gills? Smallies?

Next week will see a full assault on the resident ‘gills…and the bass. The bluegill fishery is untapped on this lake and I’m really curious to see how big these boys go.

Andy and I finished off the day with 26 bass and 4 ‘gills. Not a bad day on the water in superb conditions. But if anything, I learned a lot on the water this outing…and that can often be far more valuable than catching.

Until next time.

Good Fishing,

Justin

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Hello All,

With less than a month remaining for open water bass excursions, making each day on the boat count becomes all the more important. After cashing in on 38 bass on my last trip into Quebec, expectations were high for this return engagement.

November 2

My good buddy and fellow writer, Tim Allard, and I made the trek northward this morning. We arrived to the lake at 9:30am and were greeted by fairly calm winds and stellar weather conditions. Although we still wrapped up…layers would be peeled as the day wore on.

We headed over to our favourite finger on the lake – which tops out at 11-feet, with 23-feet of water surrounding it. It runs approximately 50 yards out from shore.

Tim began working a small black and brown hair grub while I worked a football jig teamed up with a YUM Wolly Bug. The fish were up on the hump at this time of the day, and five smallmouth were quickly put in the boat. Sadly, they were lacking size.

We set off to work a variety of structure areas, keying in on some of the spots I had success with on the previous outing. On that day crankbaits were the ticket. Today….not even a whiff. I blame myself for wanting to hug shorelines – even against the better judgement of Tim – and that cost us some time on fish for sure. Although the water temps. had only dropped 4-degrees from two weeks prior – and hovered at 46-degrees now – it became obvious the largies had shifted to deeper water.

By noon we only had a dozen or so fish in the boat. We both began scratching our heads. With the sun up, I hoped that the afternoon bite would turn on, and for that, we’d have to stick with a deep-water tactic. (It wasn’t much of a morale boost when Andy joined us on the water for a few hours in his boat…and only had a few fish to his name when he called it quits.)

We decided to head up to the most easterly portion of the lake. This area has always produced, and in the past, it was connecting your jig with the small clusters of rock (in the middle of a mud and extremely sparse vegetation bottom) that would get you bit. Before giving that a shot, I motored us over to a small and visually insignificant rock “point” that has produced well for Andy and I in the past. Coincidentally, this was also when Tim cued up some Rush tunes on his IPhone. The fish must have liked the vibe. In ten minutes we put five chunky smallmouth in the boat. Finally, our confidence was back.

My big fish hit a 3/4oz Booyah Pigskin Jig with a YUM Chunk.

Although the largies were not relating to shallow structure areas whatsoever, I did pick off one chunk from some rock and weed clumps in six-feet of water. It also came on the Pigskin jig.

We decided to spend the last three hours of the day working our large mud flat, while keying in on any isolated rock we could connect with. The fish were now on big time! We were putting smallies (and a smattering of largies) in the boat in record speed, and the fun and laughter we enjoyed sure was worth wading through our dry spell of earlier. Tim’s football jig coupled with a plastic spider jig seemed to account for the most fish, although the variety of creature baits I employed certainly came in a close second.

This would be the average-sized fish we were catching.

The record Andy and I set on this lake two years ago was 53 bass. Our goal every outing is to break the magical 50 mark. With the flurry of action Tim and I were getting, both of us were pretty pumped to see about shattering it. Of course, this pig of a largie that Tim got late in the day (a 4lb 6oz fish that came from 15-feet of water on the spider jig) heightened our excitement even more!

As the sun dipped behind the trees, and the remaining light waned, we were forced to call it quits. I’m fairly certain we burned our spot out – as the action finally died – and unfortunately, we missed hitting fifty fish by a mere five. What a day it was! Certainly our best day for numbers of fish all season, and Tim’s tank of a largie was great to see. The power and fight these smallmouth put up is second-to-none, and both of us were amazed at how acrobatic they were when on the end of the line.

So, a certain 100+ pounds of weight for 45 bass. We both drove home in the dark with a smile on our faces.

Until next time….

Good Fishing,

Justin

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Hello All,

This past week has blessed us with some  phenomenal weather. Temperatures in the mid- to high-20’s and pure and unobstructed sun made it feel like summer once again. Digging out the shorts and sandals in honour of this one last hurrah sure felt fulfilling.

I had the pleasure of sharing the boat with Ashley Rae of SheLovesToFish on Monday. Not only is this woman an accomplished angler in her own right – and a breath of fresh air for the fishing industry – but she is also one of the most down-to-earth and friendly people you could meet. Regardless of the fishing action, I knew we were in for a fun day on the water.

October 10

I made the drive down to Kingston to meet up with Ashley early this morning. After a quick introduction and a stop for gas, we headed northward to a favourite lake of hers. Arriving at the launch some twenty minutes later, we are joined at the ramp by Dale Minicola, CEO and President of Marine Central. Behind his tow vehicle was the “Charger” bass boats he carries. I gazed over with a slight hint of envy!

After a few quick words and well-wishes, we set off in our prospective boats in search of some fish tales. Ashley and I take a short ride up the lake and stop at a point. Working out from it in the ultra-clear water, we begin tossing baits in the 8- to 15-foot depth range. It doesn’t take long for Ashley to connect with the first one of the day on her drop-shot rig.

The sun is blazing early in the morning, and without a breath of wind on the lake, the air temperature is already getting hot. I always have trepidation about weather like this in the fall. The fishing can either go one of two ways – really great or lacklustre to say the least. I was feeling a bit of confidence after we broke the skunk so early in the day.

We continued to work various water throughout the morning. While in some skinny stuff, and after catching a couple of small pike, we both looked down to see  a hefty largemouth slowly swimming in water less than two-feet deep. That girl would be the first of a few we would gaze at but were unwilling to bite.

Fishing was tough to say the least. We worked deep, shallow, and all depths in between. One thing that did strike me was the tremedous amount of bait fish in this system. They were literally everywhere! And in massive schools. Could this be the reason the fish seemed to have a severe case of lock jaw?

While working a hump early afternoon we had a visit from Dale. Of course, we voiced our lack of luck and were expecting to hear the same. But, someone always finds fish and Dale had done quite well. Asking if we had a camera and a scale for one smallie he had in the livewell, I jumped in the Charger and obliged him with his request. His 4lb 14oz smallie came on a Rattle Trap.

With some helpful direction from Dale, we headed out to a few spots he suggested in hopes of picking up a few piggies ourselves. We did mark a few fish down deep – as well as a couple of suspended fish – but other than another pike, we were shut out. Frustration was beginning to set in a bit for us both, and after a bit of brainstorming, I came up with a plan. It was to go ultra-shallow. My reason was quite simple – the smallie bite was not working for us. Also, the few largies we had spotted were in skinny water. But, my overall thinking was with the sun high and the water temperatures rising, and not much in the way of cover throughout most of the flats, fish should be pushed back into any available overhead cover they can find – pads and slop – no matter how shallow the water is. Figuring we had nothing to lose, we headed to a back-bay shoreline and began tossing frogs. Ashley’s first cast and a missed strike. A few casts later – the same deal. Now I was getting excited!! We might have finally figured out the pattern.

While working my LiveTarget Frog past a clump of pads and slop the water erupted ferociously. I was thinking a big largie. This is what came to the net.

We continued to work the slop and pads and picked off a few fish here and there. Fish were “pushing” water at our frogs or missing the bait completely, so hookups were definitely lower in comparison to the surface strikes. Isolated pad beds or slop seemed to be holding more fish, so we actively targeted these areas.

With the afternoon fading and the action dying at the far end of the lake, we ran back toward the launch to end the day on a close-by shoreline. It looked mint with healthy green weeds and rock, but only a few puny bass came in the boat. Since the ramp was congested, I suggested to Ashley we might as well give the pads a try mere yards away from the launch. I get a quick largie on a frog and Ashley picks one up on a swimbait. With renewed confidence, we both decide to give the remainder of the pads a try as the sun is beginning to set. As earlier, we begin getting action on top and put a few more largemouth in the boat. The water was less than a foot deep. Ashley had two cracks at a largie that would have ended the day on a high note. Sadly, both times he missed the frog completely. The water was so shallow we actually could see his massive back come out of the water when he turned on the bait.

With the sun now dipping behind the trees and the air temperature dropping quickly, we motor over to the launch and pull the boat out. We ended up redeeming ourselves, and I kind of kicked myself that I didn’t think to work this pattern earlier on in the day. Especially since frogs, pads, and slop seems to be my “bread and butter.”

An awesome time was had on this outing and a new friend was definitely made. We already have plans in place to chase lakers in the next few weeks. I can’t wait!!

October 11

With the weather still nice and wanting to get out with my Dad for one more fair-weather outing, we hooked up the boat and headed off to our stretch of the Rideau River. Judging from the action Ashley and I had on the frogs the day before, I made the decision that we would work these all afternoon and see what would happen. Off we head to Valhalla and straight to the stretch of pads that hadcoughed up the 4lb 4oz fish two weeks before. 

The water temperature was reading 59-degrees. The pads were less sparse and again, with the heat and sun, it was my hope that fish would be up amongst cover and in the shallows. We began to see action almost immediately. However, like the previous day, the largies seemed to be pushing water at our baits, or short striking altogether. I decided to downsize our LiveTarget frogs to see if a smaller profile might be what they wanted. 

Here is one of the areas we were working.

 The largemouth were keying in on very specific spots. We would only find action if baitfish were present and generally from pads that were facing into the wind. Fairly rudimentary thinking, but the baitfish presence was definitely key.

Although we had 15+ blowups on frogs, we only connected with 2 largies and 2 pike. Dad lost a decent-sized bass when it came unpegged after a short tussle. He was not happy.

Here is the best of the two. This fish actually made a bee-line wake for a good five feet before smashing the frog. Was cool to see.

Great to have a couple of good days on the water. Enjoying the weather, a new friendship, and time with family is something I was definitely thankful for.

The next couple of weeks will be seeing me ply the waters of Quebec for bass, a laker outing, and some crappie evenings.

Get out and enjoy the fun that fall fishing brings – it won’t be long until it is over.

Good Fishing,

Justin

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Hello All,

Was fortunate to get out on four seperate outings this past week. The nights are cool and the water temperature is beginning to drop, but for the most part, the fish are still relating to their summer haunts and busting baits fairly well.

September 9

Hit the Rideau River for a few hours this afternoon. The frog bite was on big time and made for some pretty explosive topwater strikes. The largest fish on this outing was 3lb 9oz – I was lucky to catch the action on video.

Ended up with twelve fish in the boat but missed a load more.

September 10

Ventured out to one of my favourite little lakes on this day with a good friend of mine. This is the same body of water that Christine and I (ok, more like Christine!) had enjoyed a banner day a couple of weeks prior.

Weed flats were producing fish on spinnerbaits early on but trying to duplicate that pattern left us scratching our heads. Opting to try for smallmouth, working deep water, points and shoals was seemingly futile. We came across some beautiful looking water, but unfortunately the fish were not were we believed them to be.

We did figure out that the shallow water bite was fairly consistent. Isolated pads and wood began producing fish for us fairly well and we began scraping together some fish.

This 4lb 1oz fish was my best for the day. It came from an isolated piece of wood surrounded by healthy weeds. My flipping jig barely broke the surface before this girl smashed it on top.

My buddy ended off the day with a 4lb 2oz fish that came from the same dock as Christine’s 4lb 1oz fish. Good chance it was the same largie.

Although we worked hard for our fish on this outing, we managed to boat 20 and had two come in over 4lbs. Not a bad day in the books.

September 11

Headed out for an afternoon fish on the river with my Dad. Worked over some new slop pads this time and this 3lb 4oz fish ended up being the best of the day.

Plenty of blow-ups on LiveTarget frogs this afternoon, but connecting with them was often a problem. Many of the fish were “pushing” water at the bait. Slightly frustrating. We did manage 9 largies and certainly enjoyed some laughs and good times along the way.

September 12

The wind was howling on this day, but with a few hours to spare in the afternoon, I decided to give the river one last go. The action was down considerably from the previous days, and although I put a few fish in the boat on frogs, they just weren’t interested for the most part.

Pitching Texas-rigged Double-Wide Beavers did produce some decent action, especially along the edge of off-shore slop. Depths I targeted was between 1 and 3-foot deep. In the end the wind won this battle – but I did put 10 largies in the boat, with 8 of those coming on the creature bait.

Throughout these outings, water temperature ranged between 64 and 71 degrees. Fish are beginning to range to their fall haunts and fishing may be tough over the next couple of weeks before things stabilize. Wood, rock, and slop should continue to be a viable pattern – both shallow and deep.

I won’t be back on the water for another week, but with the cold-front ahead of us, I’m really not complaining. The fall feast is just beginning and plenty of fruitful days definitely lie ahead.

Good Fishing,

Justin

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