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Weight Forward Jigs: WF

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Weight Forward Jigs, most commonly referred to as lead heads or ball jigs have been with us for decades.  These classic W.F. jigs are by far the most used and abused jig in the industry. A common error that anglers make is casting ball style jigs into weed, wood and rock structure, losing one jig after the other as if there were no better alternative. REMEMBER THIS:  Ball jigs are not designed for casting.  All W.F. jigs, including ball heads, power heads and the alike were designed to do one thing well and that’s vertical jigging. Granted, you can pound a nail with a screw driver, but using a ball jig for anything other than up and down is to severely limit your effectiveness as a jigger.

A personal favorite Weight Forward Jig is the Odd’Ball Jig from Bait Rigs Tackle Co. This performance W.F. jig has a counter balanced head that produces a unique teeter totter action when vertically jigged. Additionally, this head design will standup on bottom.  Some prefer a one, two punch of vertical jigging and a standup presentation over bottom.
VertStand

Regardless of your choice of W.F. jig, it is important to understand the strengths and weaknesses inherent to this design. It is important to note that the major strength of W.F. jigs is that they hang in a horizontal position at rest. To gain a better picture in your mind see the illustration of the Odd’Ball Jig.  Note that the long portion of the hook shank will come to rest in a horizontal position. This places the hook point in the ideal position for bait inhalation and hook setting. Conversely the W.F. jigs biggest weakness is that it plunges head first on the fall, placing the hook point in a vertical position. This is a very poor position for hook setting. What happen here is you feel the fish, he feels you, but you don’t have a good point of contact with the hook. The end result is you roll the jig in the fishes mouth and if your lucky, rip some lips on the way out. Unfortunately, as we all know, fish love to hit jigs on the fall and this is another major reason why W.F. jigs should be avoided for cast and retrieve presentations.moddballart

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CANADIAN LYNX – The Ghost of the Wilderness

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These stealthy cats avoid humans and hunt at night, so they are rarely seen.  So if you’ve had the opportunity to see one of these animals while in Canada then consider yourself very fortunate.   The lynx is a solitary cat that haunts, stalks and hunts in our remote northern Ontario forests in and around Wawang Lake Resort.  Although we’ve been at Wawang Lake for over 40 years now we have actually only seen these animals a few times.

Lynx are covered with beautiful thick fur that keeps them warm during long, frigid Canadian winters. Their large paws are also furry and hit the ground with a spreading toe motion that makes them function as natural snowshoes.

The Canada lynx is a good climber and swimmer; it constructs rough shelters under fallen trees or rock ledges. It has a thick coat and broad paws, and is twice as effective as bobcats at supporting its weight on the snow.

Canada Lynx_family

Lynx eat mice, squirrels, and birds, but prefer the snowshoe hare. The lynx are so dependent on this prey that their populations fluctuate with a periodic plunge in snowshoe hare numbers that occurs about every ten years.

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Posted by on April 24, 2017 in Lynx, Lynx Cat, Wildlife

 

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The Traditional CANADIAN FISHING Shore Lunch

Do you dream of…

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The sizzle of fresh fish over an open fire at a shore lunch spot?  Or, the heart pounding excitement as the waters of a calm bay explodes with the first fish of the day?

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One of the highlights of your trip will be the traditional shore lunch served in the great Canadian Wilderness!   On many occasions throughout your trip your group will meet up with other party members for lunch. You will gather at a picturesque sight outcropping on one of the most famous lakes in Ontario –  Wawang Lake.

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The anticipation of a delectable lunch of fresh caught fish will having your mouth watering far in advance of the prepared food upon your plate.  Sit back, relax with a beverage, and enjoy the sights as you and the group prepare the most mouthwatering fresh food EVER!

Sometimes preparation of the shore lunch is interrupted by the excitement of a member of your party hooking into a lunker while casting from a boat anchored nearby .   Party members scramble for nets and plenty of advice is offered as the drama plays out!

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The traditional  shore lunch consists of potatoes, baked beans or corn, bread, and maybe even dessert, if there’s any room left in those bellies. The fish is normally fried in lard or liquid shortening; however, for the health conscience, you can use your own favorite oil.

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Don’t be afraid to streamline the batter or coating with some of your favorite spices. All in all it will be a outdoor dining experience that you aren’t likely to soon forget and eaten in the outdoors with a view to remember doesn’t get any better!

So is it any wonder that folks comment that the shore lunch was the best part of the trip they talk about most when they get home?  Good food and good friends in the most spectacular setting at Wawang Lake will implant a memory that will last forever!

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What’s the BIG Deal About Fishing?

Is there a better place than a lake to relax and clear your mind? I don’t think so.  When we fish, the world and our troubles just seem to melt away and give us a chance to reflect on family, friends and answers to our questions.walleye

A few weeks ago, I was enjoying that kind of tranquility while anchored on deep weedline point. It was classic early summer structure and the walleye were stacked up there as I happily caught and released them on virtually every cast. In my mind I kept telling myself “OK, just one more and then I’ll go.”

But you know how that goes… you get that “one more” and feel unwilling and unable to leave. So you repeat the pledge “OK, just one more and then I’ll go.” This got me to thinking: Why can’t I just leave? I’ve literally caught thousands of identical walleye in my life, but am powerless to the desire to catch another one. Why?

So I decided to stay there for a while and try and figure out why fishing is so addictive. The first addictive factor is the feeling of being out in nature. Even if the fish don’t cooperate on a particular day, it’s still great to be out on the water. Of course it’s a lot better if the fish ARE biting. But the smell of the water and sights and sounds of nature are always captivating. It never gets old.

The next thing I thought about is the allure of the underwater world. Hunting is intoxicating because you see your prey and go after it. Well, fishing is hunting too – but for prey that’s hidden beneath you in a mysterious underwater world. There’s something thrilling about the challenge of that. Using your wits to unravel a lake’s structure and find where the fish are; why they’re there; what their mood is; and figuring out the bait and presentation needed to catch them. Once that feeling of accomplishment gets in your veins, there’s no way to shut off the drive to do it again and again and again.

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The bite is something you get hooked on too. That simple, subtle feeling of a fish taking the bait is amazing. And bites come in so many styles. My favorite has to be the feeling of a walleye taking a jig on deep structure. But a close second is a topwater smash by the top predator – the northern pike. And let’s not forget the magic of a fish pulling down a bobber. The sight of that, especially with children, is something that keeps us coming back for more.  Adding to the allure of “the bite” is the element of the unknown. You never truly know what’s taking your bait. You could be trolling crankbaits for walleyes and catching ‘eye after ‘eye when suddenly it’s a monster northern pike that falls prey to the wobbling bait. Bonus!

Don’t get me started on the feeling of the fight! Having a strong fish at the end of your line is as good as it gets. It’s the reason I couldn’t bring myself to leave  that got me thinking about the addictiveness of fishing in the first place. And there’s something that happens with each and every fish that takes a lure. Whether we’re conscious of it or not, each fish allows us to hone our hook-setting and fish-fighting skills. They’re critical skills for converting bites into fish in the boat. Becoming proficient hook-setters and fighters is extremely rewarding.

I would be remiss if I didn’t say that another reason we fish is to satisfy our primal urge to put protein on the table. My family and I absolutely love to eat fish. There’s nothing as delicious and healthy on the planet in my opinion. OK, a moose backstrap comes close. But eating fish never gets old.

Which brings me to my final revelation about the magnetism of fishing… family. There are plenty of activities you can do with your parents, siblings, spouse and children. But nothing brings a family together like fishing does. So do yourself a favor: round up the fam and go get a fix of the finest, healthiest addiction a person can get… go fishing!

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THE MOOSE – Bold, Majestic & Potentially Dangerous

moose at night If you’ve ever driven any distance through the Canadian bush – especially endless miles of tree-lined, two-lane highways, then you will know about the moose as they often move about our Canadian highways freely.

There are foreboding signs along the way featuring outlines of these hulking creatures nonchalantly strolling across your path. The message is not one of protecting the environment, it is one of avoiding mortal danger and a warning to YOU.

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An uneasy feeling starts to set in right about dusk, when the light of the sky darkens enough to match the light thrown by your high-beams.

If you know about the threat of the moose you will tend to slow down just a little, and your eyes will skirt furtively for motion and shadows along the treeline. Because you do not want to hit a moose. If you do, it will almost certainly be THE event of your day. Although generally timid, the males become very bold during the breeding season, when the female  sutter a loud call, which can be heard from up to 2 miles away, and are often mistaken for lowing cattle; at such times they fight both with their antlers and their hoofs. Fierce clashing of antlers between males is also not uncommon during the rutting season. The female gives birth to one or two young at a time, which are not spotted. The gestation period for a moose is about 216-240 days. After the young are born, they drink the mother’s milk, which is very high in fat and other nutrients. Because of the milk, the calf grows very fast.

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The cow moose is reported to kill more people in Canada than any other animal (far exceeding the toll of the grizzly bear). These large animals can be extremely protective of their young, and caution should be exercised when approaching a cow moose.

In the spring, moose can often been seen in drainage ditches at the side of roads, taking advantage of road salt which has run off the road. These minerals replace electrolytes missing from their winter diet. However, this is where the most potential danger lies in these locations as the moose will come out to the open for various reasons one especially to get away from the flies. So on your journey up to Wawang Lake be sure to heed the warning signs – keep your eyes peeled and scan the timberline on each side of the road for these majestic animals.

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Posted by on October 16, 2016 in Adventure, Moose, Moose sightings, Wildlife

 

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A Great Walleye Dish

Walleye & Wild Rice

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Bottom Bouncing Techniques

Baitcaster_ComboThere is one rod and reel set up that some anglers swear by and say works better than any of the other type of equipment – the bait caster.  Then there are anglers who swear by other types of equipment and use them very well, but accordingly to the bait caster operator, those other anglers have to work much harder to accomplish the same productivity.

A bait caster with a flipping switch will allow you to meter out line by engaging the thumb bar and thumbing out the line, when bottom contact has been made, release the thumb bar and the reel automatically engages in the static position – or simply put the spool is locked up. This allows for one hand operation and helpful when bouncing all day. It helps you from getting tired too. The drag should be set at medium strong tension, you can pull out line, but too not easily.

A recommended rod is the St. Croix PC 66M. This rod is 6’6” with medium action and a fast tip. Pull 1 ½ to 2 oz of lead because the depths worked in the summer will be in the 20′ range. That is the home of summer walleye. Sure you may find them deeper, or shallower, but they spend most of their time in that 20’range.   Remember not all medium rod actions are created equal. This rod has fast tip and plenty of backbone. If you are going to try another rod, hang a two ounce bouncer off the tip and shake the rod up and down. It will be obvious if the rod is too whippy and this you don’t want.trilene xt  You want to see a little bit of bend but not a bow in the rod.  The drag of the spinner and the line will add further weight to the tip.   There are many types of line out there but one to consider using would be 10 # Trilene XT.  It’s tough and it stands up under abrasive conditions but try to stay away from the no stretch hi-tech lines.  There is no give with those types, so the rod has to handle all the shock.   A lot of ripped lips and lost fish is the outcome and we don’t want that.

There are excellent anglers who use a spinning rod and reel for the bottom bouncing presentation, but with bouncing it’s harder to operate spin cast reels than the bait casting setup.  However, if this is your choice of equipment here is a few tips to remember.

  • The rod should have a fast tip and enough backbone to handle the 2 oz.
  • The medium sized spinning reels work good, don’t go to small otherwise you won’t be able to put enough line on the reel and will be quickly adding new line.
  • The best way to let line out is to definitely not let the rig free fall. All this will accomplish is to put twist in the line and create a jumbo mess between the line and the rig. Line needs to be metered out.   Let four or five loops come out from the reel and then interject your finger against the spool. This will stop the descent, pause for a second, and then do the same thing until you find the bottom.
  • A controlled descent is the only way. Even though this rig isn’t the easiest setup it is do-able, it is workable, and for those who only have one type of rod, it can be done.

Bouncers, Snell’s & Blades

walgrthrMost of the lakes in northwestern Ontario are rocky bottoms generally and if you drag a bouncer you are going to get hung up, or, if pulling a Snell that is too long and consequently rides too low, same thing will happen.  A preferred type is the Lite Bite setup by Quick Change because the line runs through a weight snap and allows you to feed line out on lazy fish.  Similar to the way line goes through a Lindy Rig weight. The bouncer is straightforward with a single wire strand with lead half way down.  Be sure to carry weights from 1/2 oz. to 2 oz., lighter for shallower fishing and heavier for 20+ depths.

Snells in the 30″ range works best but a little more difficult in clearer waters.  The bouncing style used is to run the bouncer a foot off the bottom and then bounce it on the bottom to a cadence.   The snell should be approximately 30”  and should ride lower than the bouncer; it’s right in the fish zone then.  Snells with either two or three hooks are most preferred. Hooks placed about 2.5 inches apart seem to hook up good. Of course, a Quick Change clevis is a must in order to change blades often and eventually finding the hot blade for catching.

DEEP CUP NEON COLORS FLUORESCENTSnell test is 14 pounds, but can vary with your preference but always high quality mono, never Spider Wire.  For beads, use 4 or 5mm in a variety of colors.   Use a stacker bead with one bead ahead of it next to the clevis it’s easy to assemble and works just as well.

For blades carry a mixture of Colorado’s, Indiana’s, and willows—with equal amounts of each in small, medium (most), and large sizes.  Hammered colors worked best in nickel (silver), brass, gold, and copper. Plus, a mixture of the other colors.   Have a few darks for the dark days.   Use Colorado’s early in the season until the fish get warmed up and begin hitting.  Colorado’s are the preference of most blades. As the waters warms, speed up and use the slider———–the Indiana. Then during the warmest water of the season, run the fast ball—the willows.    Always remember to keep things simple and you’ll be sure to catch fish.

Bouncing is really a simple presentation, there is just a few important techniques that we’ll go over, and after one trip to Canada, you will have it down pat. Your fishing will never be the same, guaranteed and your fishing catching confidence will grow tremendously.

Bottom Bouncing – The Technique
Begin with 1 oz. of bouncer weight for every ten feet of depth fishing. Unless, there are special circumstances, such as running extra fast, then run heavier weights; sometimes two 2 oz. attached to the weight snap. You can attach more than one bouncer to a weight snap if you need to run heavier set ups.  For instance you have marked fish in 20’, which is a depth range that most common for summer fishing and where the walleye will be.   A good setup would be a 2 oz. bouncers a willow leaf. The fish will almost knock the rod out of your hands.

Be sure to have approximately a 40 degree line angle going into the water. Gives the best hook set and best bottom control. With too little line angle you won’t get a good hook set, and with too much angle you won’t get good bottom control, except a lot of snags.  Neither is desirable.  What determines line angle?   Bouncer weight and boat speed.

bottombouncerrigwhiteWith this type of set up use night-crawlers, leeches or minnow but many swear by crawlers in this instance. The new plastic worms or gulp will work too.  However, they won’t be as productive compared to fresh healthy live bait, but still good to use in a pinch.

In letting the line out, press the thumb bar and while keeping your thumb on the spool controlling the rate of decent, meter out the line until the rig makes contact with the bottom. Another key point here, if you let the rig free fall, you will get line twist and possibly a big mess besides and in some cases the rig will be rendered useless. So let the line out steady and slow.

Ok, you are on the bottom. Engage the reel, and lift up the rod tip up a foot. In a couple of seconds bounce the bottom. If you don’t feel the bottom, let out more line, not too much just enough to find the bottom. Engage the reel again and lift the rod tip up foot. Then bounce the bottom to a cadence, don’t drag it. The Snell will ride lower than the weight but will be in the prime fish zone and above the snags. Once you feel that tug, drop your rod tip back towards the fish and then slam it forward – setting the hook, hard.

If you get snagged, it is best to go back directly over the snag and rip straight up, it should come out fairly easily every time. If you try to rip it out from an angle, you will seldom get it loose.

When going through a school of fish and not catching, try changing blades, styles or both. Don’t hesitate to change blades. However, you can never underestimate a hammered finish blade that will outdo the other colors most of the time.  Once you master the techniques of bottom bouncing you will catch more fish than when jig fishing. Actually the best setup is using the bouncer to find them and if they are grouped switch over to jigging, otherwise stay with the bouncer. It is the best search tool on the Canadian Shield lakes to find and catch walleye.  It will transform an amateur into a pro very quickly.

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