1 Volume 1, Issue 4 - May In this issue: Crappies Pg 2 The Fishwitch Journal The Stocker Wobbler Record Crappie Caught Classifieds Big Bag Bait Company Twice the plastic baits, 1/2 the price!! - Zipper Worm Products, Finger Rest, TailHummers, Tube Spin, Tube Buzz NITE-BOBBER Fishing at night just got a whole lot easier! Lights up when you catch a fish! (301) Soft Baits The worms are soft, but strong. I use MGM Lures because they stretch and don't break. Broken lures means lost time, and lost time means lost bass!" -Cecil Kingsley, Bass Pro Get a FREE Sample! (530) Crappies - "Scoring BIG on Springtime Slabs" by Justin Hoffman (c) 2001 As spring slowly makes its appearance, thoughts of opening day crappie waken me from my hibernation and begin to make my pulse quicken. Although their name might be a turn-off, these wonderful little fish have everything an angler could want - they are fairly easy to catch, they're feisty on ultra-light equipment and they taste delicious in the pan. By understanding their breeding habits, knowing the equipment and techniques needed and by following their locational patterns, this spunky fish with the funny name can share a special place in your heart too. Return to the Shallows As the weather warms, and the ice retreats from northern lakes, crappies begin their migration from the deep offshore areas where they have been suspending to the shallows in search of food. Here the waters start to come alive with crappie feeding on baitfish and insects that occupy the south-facing shores, since these are the first to warm up. This is the best time for shore anglers to get in on the game. Among the favourable spots to find large schools of fish are around man-made boat canals, although boat canal locks and docks are also prime areas. This can make for a relaxing outing, with no boat to worry about and oftentimes, very little fishing pressure. Other crappie will stage at drop-offs outside of bays, periodically returning to the shallows to feed. Shore anglers can pick these fish off if they are there at the right time, although a boat is usually necessary to fish the drop-offs. If weed cover is slow to start, many shallow water crappies will relate to alternate cover, namely sunken trees, brushpiles, stumps or old reeds and cattails. This early migration, or "fake spawn," usually only lasts a week or two, yet these fish can be intercepted by paying close attention to the conditions and activity. Once this migration has ended, the crappie does an about-turn and disappears for a short period of time. Fishing can be tough during this retreat, since it is a guessing game as to their location, but, due to nature's way, relief is in sight. Soon the shallows will be teeming with crappies once again, as the mating ritual is about to commence. Spawn Time In most parts of North America, when water temperatures reach 66 to 68 degrees F, crappies begin their spawn. This activity takes place in water that is less than two feet deep. Continued on Page 2
2 Volume 1, Issue 4 - May pg 2 Spawning can range from mid-may to early July, depending on how far north the individual lake is. Here in Southern Ontario it usually occurs in May, however, the temperature is the ultimate deciding factor. During the spawning period, it is best to concentrate on the shallow areas around cover. Again, any section that has a concentration of stumps, fallen timber, boat docks or reeds can be sensational. Individual crappie can spawn at different times of the month, even on the same lake, so usually you will be catching pre-spawn, spawning or post-spawn fish. Outside weed edges or drop-offs away from the shallows will hold many of the post-spawn fish that search for food here once the spawn is complete. The Right Tools for the Job Crappie fishing equipment is quite straightforward and simple. Any light action rod between five and seven-feet is adequate. I, however, opt for an ultra light rod, which provides much greater sensitivity and relays an astounding fight from these scrappy fish. Many people also use long, sensitive steelheading rods that give tremendous reach for placement of your bait. Match your rod with a good quality ultra- light reel, filled with four-to-six-pound-test monofiliment, and you're set to go. Baits for crappie are quite basic as well. During the "fake spawn," when the water temperature is still cold, and the crappie's metabolism is slow, live bait is your best bet. A one-to-two-inch minnow suspended under a small float will be all that is needed. Once the water starts to warm, a switch to small tube jigs and twistertail grubs gets the nod. I prefer brightly coloured plastics with white, pink and yellow getting the most action. It is best to suspend these small jigs about six to twelve inches under a float, depending on water depth. It should be noted that crappies eyes are located on the top of their heads, which enables them to look up to feed, so all baits should be fished in this zone to ensure that the fish can see your offering. I always apply some sort of scent product to my baits as I feel it gives the jig a more tempting quality. Jigs can also be tipped with a small minnow or piece of worm if the fish become really finicky. If the fish are in an aggressive mood, then the use of small spinners or mini crankbaits can pay big dividends. On an outing last spring at Rice Lake, in Southern Ontario, the crappie became so feisty that they where trying to eat my float every time I cast to them! A quick switch to a mini floating crankbait twitched on the surface provided a fastpaced and delightful afternoon. Crappie fishing in the spring is a relaxing and very fulfilling prelude to the summer fishing season. It's a wonderful way to spend the day with children and family, and once tried, will always have you returning for more. By following the specific breeding and migration patterns, and coupling this with the right equipment and baits, the winter will become just a distant memory, and will leave you wondering why spring doesn't last all year long. Editors note : For crappie monofiliment, you want 4 to 6 lb. test of a very limp and manageable line like Trilene XL. It helps you get better bait action and feel out of small jigs, etc. Some anglers might prefer the super sensitivity of FireLine, my favourite! Hand Made Nokian Footwear Handmade Nokian boots are assembled in Finland at an advanced manufacturing plant. To ensure a good fit, every boot is made from nearly 20 carefully sized pieces. powassan.net/brusheys (705) Get the KROCODILE Casting/Trolling/Jigging Spoon/Wobbler at our online store. (705) mattawaadventurecamp.com We offer you housekeeping log cottages located on the Ottawa River. Access to ATV trails and fishing. For the more adventurous at heart Mocassin line camp is ideal.
3 Volume 1, Issue 4 - May 2001 The FishWitch Journal - May 2001 (c) Mary Riley A DIM VIEW - The best lake trout I ever caught was the one I couldn't see. I've had to wear glasses since I was ten, and no, I am not going to say how long ago that was. I was lucky in that for years my prescription didn't change. If my specs broke, wore out or were lost I had only to go out and replace them. So when I noticed that my vision was deteriorating even with my glasses on, I went for a checkup and got the shattering news that I needed bifocals. Worse than that was the realization that my "looks" were going. Literally. When I got the new glasses, it took a few weeks to adjust to the reading and distance sections of the lenses. At the same time, I had this odd middle section where everything blurred somewhat, an area that was suspiciously similar to the view after a few too many drinks. Time passed and I was finally getting used to looking at the world in a new way. Until the start of icefishing season. Suddenly I had to sit in an ice hut and try to see my tip up. I had to try and detect a hit on the stick through that blasted middle section of my lenses. Or I had to tie on a swivel or bait my spreader. New lenses or not, I still could not see up close, and would take the flippin' glasses off in disgust. The Boatin'Bud is a portable storage unit designed to hold all your fishing gear, boat safety equipment, first aid kit and personal belongings. It's unique design enables the Boatin'Bud to fit the majority of aluminum boats and has a universal clamping system. (416) So it was that one day I had a major tangle in my line after missing a fish. I pulled off the glasses to peer at the bird's nest and in an instant they slipped out of my fingers and shot forward in a perfect arc. Three hundred dollars straight down the hole. I watched in horror as they dropped like a falling leaf. Light was flashing off the gold metal frames as they disappeared into the shadowy green depths. Actually, the fluttering action was not unlike my favourite Williams spoon... I had to fish blind for a week while I waited for new glasses to be made. My fishing buddies had a field day. Bets were laid as to who was proficient enough in spooning to hook the lost specs off the bottom. The boys jigged the entire area of the hole where they thought the glasses might be laying in the silt. They even tried dragging a powerful magnet, to no avail. In the meantime, they figured out that I wasn't catching as many fish as I had before. So I think they put two and two together and slacked off their efforts to retrieve the glasses. Now I learned the true meaning of fishing by feel. I had to sharpen my reflexes so I would catch the slightest movement of the stick. I had to be more careful when I had a fish on, because I couldn't see when it was ready to be hauled up. I missed some good fish and got humbled. But it taught me more about fishing through the ice than all the talk in the world. Finally, one beautiful quiet day, I got out my little rod and reel and put on my lucky Irish spoon. I sat on my little stool and dropped the lure down a 10 inch hole. I sat there jigging. I couldn't see the shoreline. Hell, I couldn't see my rod tip. But I could still feel. I felt the hit. I set the hook on pure reflex. I heard the reel scream in protest as the trout ran deep and peeled out the line. And I felt the fight, really felt it, because I sure couldn't see him until I had all 14 pounds of him lying beside me on the ice. That trout wasn't the biggest I caught, but he was by far the best. Next year, I'll be after another one, a big one with my name on it. I'm hoping he'll see his way clear to visit my fishing hole. If he happens to be wearing a certain pair of glasses, he just might at that.
4 Volume 1, Issue 4 - May ONLINE STORE Popular European fishing lure now being cast in U.S. markets. Swissmade Stocker Wobbler hooking more and more North American anglers. It's a fishing lure that was originally invented in Switzerland back in But because of increased angler interest, the Stocker Wobbler game fishing lure is now being brought to market in North America. The Stocker Wobbler is a durable, all-metal trolling/casting lure that is designed to be fished with live or dead minnows to increase strikes while trolling and casting. "The secret of this lure lies in the action it creates in the water," says Stocker Wobbler patent holder Hansjoerg Kaempf, a Swiss born fisherman who now makes his home in Florida. "The minnow, whether it's alive or dead, gives off the appearance of an injured bait fish and proves to be almost irresistible to predatory fish." Handcrafted in Switzerland, the product is 5.5 inches long and sports three strategically placed treble hooks. The Stocker Wobbler's steel or plastic bill creates the unique action and can be adjusted to change the lures trolling depth. The innovative lure has had a great reputation in Europe for years even though it has never been commercially marketed. "I have been using the Stocker Wobbler myself for over 30 years, " says Kaempf. "None of my American friends and fishing buddies has ever seen anything similar. Our recent tests in the U.S. and Canada continue to show very positive results." Kaempf says the company is also developing two additional models in smaller and larger sizes. For more information, fishing tips or ordering details go to: Southern Ontario Yields Record Crappie - By Jeff Morrison A lucky angler by the name of James Zahaluk, had no idea what species of fish was on the end of his line, when he recently landed the pie-plate sized White Crappie from the Detroit river. The Amherstburg angler thought he was dreaming when the 16 inch, 2 pound 11 once fish finally came to the surface. Zahaluk knew full well that most of these fish weigh well under the one pound mark, and that his catch was indeed something special. Using a teardrop jig, tipped with a Jensen Glow Ball, James brought the huge crappie to shore, and was faced with the decision as to what to do with it. Under Ontario's Record Fish Registry rules, your catch must be officially weighed, measured and be accompanied by several photos, to be eligible for registry. James's large pan fish was later officially entered into the Ontario Fish Registry as a new provincial record. Zahaluk shattered the previous white crappie record which tipped the scales at 2 pounds 2 ounces. Congratulations on your fine catch James! For more information on the Ontario Record Fish Registry, contact Mark Holmes at: (705)
5 Volume 1, Issue 4 - May 2001 Classifieds SMOKERS Your own "old-fashioned country style" smoked fish...bacon or ham...jerky...pheasant or duck, is easily and economically achieved with the Little Chief TM or Big Chief TM Home Electric Smokehouse. Delicious smokehouse flavors of Hickory, Apple, Cherry, Mesquite or Alder permeate the meats to add mouth-watering tastes that are just not available with grocery store or even expensive delicatessen products. The pleasures of the age old art of curing and smoke-flavoring can be yours to enjoy at home with the easyto-use and economical Little Chief TM and Big Chief TM Smokers. The Ontario Fishing Network has an international circulation and is published online 12 times annually. Present circulation is 1,700. Contributions, letters and photo's are welcome. Stories, cartoons and columns appearing in this newsletter reflect the view of the artist or author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher. Advertising rates available on request. Ontario Fishing Network P.O. Box 2288 Sturgeon Falls, ON P0H 2G0 (705) Fax (705) TACKLEMANIA Thousands of fishing products online... get ready now for spring at GREAT prices SAVE 30%, 40%, 50% or more off regular prices when you shop FFO. As the ONLY OFFICIAL FACTORY OUTLET for Abu-Garcia, Berkley, Fenwick, Mitchell, Johnson and Spider Gear, our super low costs on close-outs and remnant lots mean rock bottom prices for you. Browse our online store for today s bargains. If you don t find what you need, check with us again soon our inventory s always changing! Now shipping to Canada and the US! Become an Outdoor Writer! People who write for fishing magazines may have the best job on earth-- how can you beat getting paid to go on fishing trips to exotic locations? If you've ever wondered about pursuing a fulltime or part-time career as an outdoor writer, then a new Canadian correspondence school is just for you.call us: (604) linksnorth.com/outdoorwriting High Quality Bug Shirts, Sleeping Bags and Canoe Packs Dont let the bugs bug you! duenorth.net/outdoor Ontario Fishing Lodges Visit our searcheable directory of great Ontario fishing vacation destinations Luhr-Jensen J Plugs - Darting Minnow Action, Free Sliding Swivel Chain Design, Buoyant Lure Floats at Rest Custom Fishing Rods! Rod repair and maintenance! me: