Crappie on The Fly?

Crappie on The Fly?

Aaron Jolicoeur- Exist To Fish Canada Writer

Aaron Jolicoeur- Exist To Fish Canada Writer

 

Crappie on the Fly

 

Spring in the Kawartha’s Northumberland region is a magical time of year for anglers. After packing away the ice fishing gear, multispecies anglers like myself are constantly watching conditions to anticipate their next bite. As the ice disappears and the water starts to warm it is as though the entire lake comes back to life within those first few warm days of spring. At the same time the nearby

'Continuing to notice the subtleties of the technique we were using, we were watching the fish hit the bait while it was falling. A quick rip and pause was the deal and we took full advantage, filling the livewell with eaters and releasing a few big slabs.

‘Continuing to notice the subtleties of the technique we were using, we were watching the fish hit the bait while it was falling. A quick rip and pause was the deal and we took full advantage, filling the livewell with eaters and releasing a few big slabs.”

great lakes tributaries begin to rumble as the spring steelhead migration begins. It truly is an exciting time to be a fisherman!

With the abundance of long awaited angling opportunities, I find myself facing decisions about how I will make the most of my time on the water. Do I throw the boat in  and invade the shallows in search of slab crappies? Maybe the pike are on a hot jerkbait bite?! And I hear the steelhead are smashing nymphs… the choices!!!

crappie8

“We tried changing colours, depths, weights and anything we could to try to dial in the bite. But we did not catch fish, in fact we were watching the big slabs swim up to our bait and blatantly refuse! It was frustrating to say the least”

It was one of those warm sunny days of spring that I decided to go out in pursuit of crappie. My partner and I slowly and quietly drifted my boat into the shallow bay where I suspected to find our targeted species. We were not disappointed as we could see their ghostly silhouettes sitting among the mats of thick weeds and dead leaves from last fall. We had a typical panfish float style setup.

Nothing too fancy, just a little tube rigged under a light bobber. We cast amongst the vegetation and watched as our floats sat still. We tried changing colours, depths, weights and anything we could to think of to dial in the bite. But we did not catch fish, in fact we were watching the big slabs swim up to our bait and blatantly refuse! It was frustrating to say the least.

Our success changed drastically when we abandoned the float, and began casting light plastic baits into the weeds. The fish were interested in the horizontal presentation, and were much happier to chase and smash the fast moving bait, than they were to eat the spoon fed option under the float.  Continuing to notice the subtleties of the technique we were employing we took notice of the fact that the fish hit the bait while it was falling. A quick rip and pause was the deal and we took full advantage, filling the livewell with eaters and releasing a few big slabs.

The fish turned out to be more active than I had anticipated, and it was nice to dial in the bite, however I couldn’t help but feel like if I had an even lighter jig, it would hold the bait there that much longer…Perhaps it may have even led to a few more bites that day. Who knows? It turned out to be a great day, filled with hooksets and good times.

The next day I woke up feeling satisfied with my crappie haul from the previous day. I was in the mood to feel some weight on the end my fly rod and headed to the river in search of fresh chrome steelhead. The river was high and dirty with all the spring runoff, and although I’m sure the river was loaded with fish, I didn’t catch any.

But something happened that day while I was on the river. I was drifting my woolly bugger through a pool that had more current than usual. I noticed my fly was suspending in the water, but not getting down into the depths of the pool. As I stood there staring into the mesmerizing flow, my imagination wandered and I couldn’t help but daydream about the crappie I had caught the day before. Staring at the slow moving fly, gently falling through the water, all I could do was picture a big crappies mouth opening up to devour that fly.

crappie2

“Staring at the slow moving fly, gently falling through the water, all I could do was picture a big crappies mouth open up and devour that fly.”

My fly rod was still in the truck from the steelhead adventure and was the first thing I grabbed while launching the boat the next day. I slowly crept back into the bay, and with the grace of a ballerina gently landed my big green bug into the big school of crappies. They were still hanging out in the same clump of weeds, in the same bay, just waiting for me to return! The excitement got real as I

Kypefish Woolly Buggers are all Hand-Tied to perfection on Quality Hooks. The great thing about using Woolly Buggers is that they are extremely versatile in their presentation and what source of bait you would like to try to mimic. Depending on how they are fished they can mimic: Cray Fish, Minnows and Leaches making them a great fly to use for almost EVERY SPECIES and should be inevery anglers fly box! They can also be used while Fly Fishing or Float Fishing.

Kypefish Woolly Buggers are all Hand-Tied to perfection on Quality Hooks. The great thing about using Woolly Buggers is that they are extremely versatile in their presentation and what source of bait you would like to try to mimic. Depending on how they are fished they can mimic: Cray Fish, Minnows and Leaches making them a great fly to use for almost EVERY SPECIES and should be in every anglers fly box! They can also be used while Fly Fishing or Float Fishing.

watched a huge crappie dart out from a clump of weeds and snatch up the big bug. Fish on!

I am not a professional fly fisherman by any means. I am just an angler that likes to have fun and catch as many fish as I can. I get a kick out of switching things up and thinking outside the box. But as the day went on, I was growing more and more in love with catching these big crappie on the fly. It was an absolute blast. The fly was the perfect bait to balance the crappies preference for a horizontal moving bait with a dead slow fall. I got bit on almost every cast for several hours that day. By the end of it, my big green bug had been pulverized and was nothing more than some loose string and a couple feathers.

crappie7

“On the business end I ran floating line with a 5` lead of 8lbs test, followed by 12” of 5lbs fluorocarbon. “

The setup I used  was simple, and could be done by anybody with simple fly gear. A 6 weight fly rod worked for me that day, but I’m sure you could get away with a lighter rod. It was nice to have a little extra stiffness in the rod to pull fish from heavy cover. On the business end I ran floating line with a 5` lead of 8lbs test, followed by 12” of 5lbs fluorocarbon. A handful of simple flies is all you need, I would suggest a few natural colours like black and olive, and also a few bright bugs like chartreuse or pink.  Be sure to bring your fly rod along for your next Crappie outing. Give it a try! you won’t be disappointed!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Aaron Jolicoeur

Aaron Jolicouer- Exist To Fish Canada Writer. Aaron is a true multi species angler. His love for fishing has been prominent his entire life. And that passion holds true today. Aaron is an absolute Muskie Fanatic!! This is his true love and he spends countless hours chasing these true Giants.

 

 

Product Review: SMITH Optics Guides Choice

Product Review: SMITH Optics Guides Choice

Date: 4/18/2016
Product type: Sunglasses
Manufacturer: Smith Optics
Reviewer: Alex Meletis

 

he Guide’s Choice has been reimagined to exceed the needs of our most demanding customers. Incorporating our most advanced eyewear technologies, this style boasts wide temples and an aggressive wrap for superior light protection. Add to that premium Italian spring hinges, megol nose and temple pads, a detachable sunglass leash, and premium 8-base ChromaPop™ and Techlite glass lenses, the Guide’s Choice is engineered for those that truly believe in the life outside walls.

The Guide’s Choice has been reimagined to exceed the needs of our most demanding customers. Incorporating our most advanced eyewear technologies, this style boasts wide temples and an aggressive wrap for superior light protection. Add to that premium Italian spring hinges, megol nose and temple pads, a detachable sunglass leash, and premium 8-base ChromaPop™ and Techlite glass lenses, the Guide’s Choice is engineered for those that truly believe in the life outside walls.

 

 

 

Introduction:

As you pack up the boat and get amped for a day on the water the first thing most anglers reach for are their sunglasses the morning of the pursuit. Whether you’re a tournament angler, a guide or just out for a day on the water the performance of the Smith Optics is unmatched. The ChromaPop polarized lenses are by far the most superior polarized lenses I have used to date. After trying every brand under the sun in grueling weather conditions from extreme heat to extreme cold, Smith Optics excelled in these conditions proving they were the best in the business. They pierce the water cutting the glare in all light conditions and stay clear on those hot Bright days when other brands fog up and may cause you to foul net and loss a fish of a life time.

 

 

Guide’s Choice Sunglasses Specifications
Type Guides Choice
Length 120 mm
Weight light
Material Evolve frame material
Hinge type Stainless steel spring hinges
Colors Matte black (other colors available online)
Lenses ChromaPop polarized/8 base lens curvature
MSRP $290.00 CAN

 

 

Quality/Construction:

Smith Optics are meticulously manufactured to provide you comfort and maximum vision in tough conditions. The quality of these lenses are unmatched. With a water and oil proof coating, the water simply beads and runs off the lenses when navigating on those rough water or rainy days providing you better vision as well as clean easily when there is dirt or finger prints on the lenses. Smith lenses also provide an Anti-reflective coating vacuumed applied to the back of the lenses which eliminates sidelight reflection.

 

 

Quality Ratings Smith Optics Guide’s Choice Sunglasses
Finish(1-5) Level of Detail(1-5) Hardware(1-5) Craftsmanship(1-5) Total Possible Rating (10 being highest )
5 5 5 5 20 20 10
Performance Ratings Smith Optics Guide’s Choice Sunglasses
Ease of Use(1-5) Quality

 (1-5)

Position at Rest (1-5) Durability (1-5) Total Possible Rating (10 being highest )
5 5 5 5 20 10

Features/Design:

The Guide’s Choice Frames paired with the 8-base ChomaPop lenses came highly recommend. After further review I could understand what the hype was all about. With a wide temple design and a tight arm wrap for the superior fit, these frames allow your face to breath and prevent your lenses from fogging or slipping off on those hot sunny days while providing maximum UV protection. The Guide’s Choice design provides consumers with the maximum comfort with their Megol temple and nose pads also featuring Italian spring hinges and a detachable sunglass Leash. Smith Optics honors a great lifetime warranty on their glasses to sweeten the deal.

 

 

Feature /Design   Ratings Smith Optics Guide’s Choice Sunglasses
  Consistency(1-5) Weight(1-5)  Comfort

(1-5)

Range of sizes (1-3) Total Possible Rating (10 being highest )
5 5 5 3   13 10

 

 

Application:

As a professional fishing guide there are certain standards that are set in your gear when performance is crucial in putting clients on trophy fish. My lenses have to allow me to clearly see through the water when coaching a client on a large fish, when it decides to follow his bait boat side. Not only is the polarization of a lens important, but the durability and quality of the lens and frame have to be able to withstand all elements. Not only did Smith Optics preform to meet these standards but exceeded all my expectation.

Smith Optics Collective Final Rating
Construction/Quality   10
Performance   10
Price   8
Features   10
Design (Ergonomics)   10
Application   10
Total Score 58
Ratings Key: 1 = terrible : 2 = poor : 3 = lacking : 4 = sub par : 5 = mediocre : 6 = fair : 7 = good : 8 = great : 9 = excellent : 10 = MUST HAVE  

Conclusion:

Smith Optics provides an array of frame selection for both sexes, to meet every outdoorsmen need. Smith Optics also accommodates to winter and summer outdoor enthusiasts looking for quality goggles as well as those looking for a pair of prescription glasses. You can also find appeal and other Smith Optics gear at www.smithoptics.ca.

I look forward to another season of guiding in the great white north and feel confident that the performance of my Smith Optics with help keep my eyes protected and help me be more successful when landing trophy fish.

Alex Meletis. Exist To Fish Canada Writer

Alex Meletis. Exist To Fish Canada Writer

 

On Your Mark, Get set, Kamooki!!!

On Your Mark, Get set, Kamooki!!!

Get ready to fish like you have never fished before! SmartFish™ is engineered with patented technology to deliver the most versatile presentation with every cast. The power is in your hands to SmartFish™ your way

The excitement is just killing me, the spring walleye hunt is drawing near. As I rummage through the multitude of baits in my arsenal for toothy critters in spring, the one that stands out is the Smartfish by Kamooki ltd.
The reason for my excitement? The versatility factor. The ability to fan cast key areas, vertically jig the Smartfish, bottom bounce or simply deadstick them is revolutionary to me. These baits are nose weighted and neutrally buoyant in the tail which means that the Smartfish stands up in an enticing, self balancing position which mimic’s a feeding baitfish. This is a “trigger” that creates a feeding response in walleye (and any sportfish). It’s unique spiraling, circular action when vertically jigged mimic’s an injured or fleeing baitfish, which is another key “trigger”.  The nose down position coupled with the tight, consistent wobble indicative of the best rattlebaits means that I have the ultimate control to retrieve it as steadily or erratically as I see fit.
Trolling you ask? Absolutely. I’ll control depth with length of line and rod position or possibly the use of  a dipsy diver in some situations. Heck, some walleye anglers attach crankbaits to 3-way rigs to run the bait a few inches off bottom which I might try as well. Having the ability to present these baits in such a wide variety of ways and situations means that my ability to deduce the depth fish are holding, and if they are keying in on vertical or horizontal presentations, becomes much faster (thus making me much more efficient on the water).

Kamooki’s patented technology is what really separates the SmartFish™ from all other lures. The secret of the SmartFish™ is in harnessing the intricate relationship between the buoyant and non-buoyant properties. This is best demonstrated when the lure is resting on structure, where remarkably, the SmartFish™ maintains its upright profile on a single contact point. It is in this position, that the SmartFish™ achieves mechanical equilibrium. Through the harmony of its precisely crafted zinc keel and bottom-heavy design, integrated with a beautiful, uniquely shaped body, the SmartFish™ comes alive!

In clear water I’ll favor natural patterns like “Yellow Perch”, “Walleye” or “Natural Shad” while in murky darker waters, more gaudy color choices such as “Green Tiger” will get the nod. I’ll start my search in tributaries and their backwaters, river and creek mouths and adjacent humps and main breaklines in search of post-spawn walleye. During daylight periods I’ll search in deeper  weed edges along these breaklines and humps adjacent to the spawning grounds, while shallow flats and points during dusk periods could be the ticket. In open water I’ll lean on 6’6”-7’6” casting combos spooled with 10-12lb fluorocarbon and when I cast and jig in and around heavier vegetation I’ll go with a 6’6”-7’2” med-heavy spinning combo spooled with 20-30lb braid. In all situations I will always use a high quality snap swivel to combat line twist.
As I write this my heart races and I just can’t contain my excitement! I’ve gotta run to my tackle room and continue to re-tool! See you out there,
Jamie Wilson-Head writer/editor at www.existtofish.com, featured writer-Scout.com, Fishulo on Scout, Past- Angling Authority, Rahfish, ODM, Core Mag, BNM
Check out the Smartfish at www.kamooki.ca
Outdoor Therapy

Outdoor Therapy

Outdoor Therapy

Kirsti Harris

Written By Kirsti Harris- Exist To Fish Canada Writer

 

 

The outdoors means so many different things to so many different people. Sure I like to hunt and fish but I also rely on the outdoors to provide me with means to recharge and reboot the internal hard drive. Sometimes in life, you need these moments more than others. The great outdoors and Mother Nature is always there to provide me with my “outdoor therapy.”

On one such occasion when I was starting to feel worn down and not myself, needing a little break from the rigors of work. It was time to get outside and play. But what should I do?! Go explore a new lake, hike to a new destination, drive down a dirt road to find a campfire spot, fish some rivers, or rent a canoe for the weekend and paddle to an island to sleep under the stars. I though the last option was just what my soul needed to satisfy my sense of adventure.

It was a beautiful day near the end of September. The bugs were just starting to taper off, and the forecast for the weekend was looking perfect. My girlfriend and I packed up all of our gear and our faithful huskies into the car. I was already starting to feel myself again just from packing up the vehicle knowing that our next destination is out of the city limits. This was going to be a great adventure surrounded by the sights and sounds of wildlife and fish and the smells of the trees and campfire. Looking through the back roads map book, we picked a new lake we hadn’t been too before. It looked like it had a perfect sized island on it that we were going to try get to, to do a bit of fishing and spend the night star gazing.

Once we reached our destination we began to unload all of our gear into the canoe to set off. Except one thing was missing; our tent! This just made our adventure that much more exciting. We decided to just go with it and figure out a shelter once we arrived on the island. It was a short, but difficult 5 km paddle to the island trying to balance all of our gear and the two dogs. We arrived at a beautiful small little island surrounded with black spruce trees and moss. We unloaded all of our gear and started getting down to business with making a shelter right away so that we would be able to fish all day and not have to worry about making a shelter in the dark.

Kirsti Harris- packed and ready for another adventure!

Kirsti Harris- packed and ready for another adventure!

We made a lean to shelter out of dead fallen spruce trees and used pine bows for padding and comfort underneath us. It was a good thing the bugs were almost gone and that the temperatures were just right so we were able to have a comfortable sleep outside under the stars. A perfectly cozy shelter for the two of us to sleep in with our 2 dogs was completed with enough time to head out to do a bit of fishing.

Paddling the shore line we ducked in to let the dogs off so they could follow us on the lake’s edge while we fished. We reeled in a few tiny perch and a couple medium sized pike that were all released. Just as the sun was starting to set, a monster pike came up and snapped my friend’s line. I don’t know what’s worse, not seeing how big the fish was and losing it, or seeing how big it was then losing it. Either way the adrenaline rush is such a thrill, even just being the spectator.

We decided to call it a night as the sun was setting so we got the campfire going to start making some supper. Campfire meals are my favourite. We were able to watch the sun set from the island while we enjoyed our campfire cooked meal accompanied with a cup of hot chocolate. I was tired from a long day of adventuring and I couldn’t wait to sleep in our shelter we made. I fell asleep listening to the crackles from the fire and hearing the fish jumping in the distance under the light of the moon and the stars. This

Kirsti Harris- Exist To Fish Canada Writer

Kirsti Harris- Exist To Fish Canada Writer

 

Product Review: Big Eye Walleye Leather Wallet

Product Review: Big Eye Walleye Leather Wallet

Date: 4/11/2016
Product type: Accessory (Big Eye Walleye Leather Wallet)
Manufacturer: Big Eye Leather
Reviewer: Chris Huskilson

 

"Walleye Leather is only made in one place in the world – at Big Eye Leather"

“Walleye Leather is only made in one place in the world – at Big Eye Leather”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Introduction:

For close to 50 years Clint has been in the ‘fur trade’.  Trapping his first Beaver at age 7 and selling his pelts to Hudson’s Bay Company. With cash in hand, he thought this is what I want to do! Clint worked his traps and on the family mink farm and before long, his legend had spread. He soon became a sought after instructor teaching trappers throughout Manitoba.

Clint loves what he does. And perfecting the tanning process of walleye skins was a 20-year journey. Now Clint and Big Eye Leather are able to offer you your own a piece of tanning history, Genuine Walleye Skin Leather products.

 

Clint Boyd

Clint Boyd

 

 

Big Eye Walleye Leather Wallet Specifications
Type Accessory (wallet)
Length NA
Weight NA
Material Walleye Leather
Hooks NA
Colors Natural Tan, True Walleye and Brown
Origin La Riviere, Manitoba, Canada
MSRP 49.99-59.99 CAN

 

 

Embossed Ostrich Grain Leather Inside.

Embossed Ostrich Grain Leather Inside.

Quality/Construction: 

Big Eye Leather wallets are made of Walleye fish skin in La Riviere, Manitoba, Canada. This is a unique waste by product from one of the most sought-after fresh water game fish – the Walleye. After many years, Big Eye Leather was finally able to perfect the process of tanning Walleye skins into supple which became a family secret recipe. It became a strong durable leather that feels and smells like any other leather product but features the distinctive pattern of Walleye skin. A definite conversation piece, these wallets are sure to be at the top of the list for any fishing enthusiast.

 

Quality Ratings for (Travami Big Eye Walleye Leather Wallet )
Finish(1-5) Level of Detail(1-5) Hardware(1-5) Craftsmanship(1-5) Total Possible Rating (10 being highest )
5 5 5 5 20 20 10

 

Distinctive, One of a Kind Walleye Skin making each wallet unique.

Distinctive, One of a Kind Walleye Skin making each wallet unique.

Features/Design: (fill in a description of key features and design)

  • Walleye Leather is only made in one place in the world – at Big Eye Leather
  • Distinctive, One of a Kind Walleye Skin making each wallet unique.
  • Durable Tanned REAL Walleye Leather Outside.
  • Embossed Ostrich Grain Leather Inside.
  • Application: 
  •  This product can be used at any time really. It is very functional and comfortable. Also a great conversation piece the second you pull it out of your pocket. 
 Big Eye Walleye Leather Wallet Collective Final Rating
Construction/Quality 5
Performance 5
Price 5
Features 5
Design (Ergonomics) 5
Application 5
Total Score 10/10
Ratings Key: 1 = terrible : 2 = poor : 3 = lacking : 4 = sub par : 5 = mediocre : 6 = fair : 7 = good : 8 = great : 9 = excellent : 10 = MUST HAVE  

 

SMELLS LIKE LEATHER!

SMELLS LIKE LEATHER!

Conclusion:

I you are an angler you need to purchase one of these! So unique! And flat out awesome! You cannot get these anywhere else on the planet! MADE IN CANADA!   This is a very unique accessory that let’s everyone know that we Exist To Fish! A rare, yet perfect 10 from the Exist To Fish Canada Team.

 

 

Chris Huskilson

Chris Huskilson-Exist To Fish Canada Writer

 

 

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