Well, it's that time of the year again, looks like my soft water fishing season is just about over. It was another great season. Caught some new species, discovered news spots, tried new gear and techniques, and made some new friends.
As I've been doing for the past few seasons, I'll summarize the season, starting with the predatory species:
Had another great season. Caught about a dozen largemouth bass over 4 lbs. Devoted more time to catching largemouth bass at the surface on topwater lures. The technique proved very successful and much more fun than other bass fishing methods. Caught my biggest bass of the season (4.75 lbs) on a Zara Spook, and my 9 year old son Levi caught 2 bass one 1 lure on the same cast.
Had a great largemouth family trip up North again, and my dad managed to win the FPQ contest due to that trip.
Hope to target them under the ice during the winter...
Hardly fished for smallies at all this season, caught a few in the 2-3 lb range.
Din't get around to targeting them at all, mainly to the extremely high water levels during the spring. I only caught one all season, it came on my first outing fishing between chunks of melting ice in March.
Don't think I'll be targeting them too much next season either, though you never know when fishing the St Lawrence.
Put a bit more time into targeting and catching Northern pike this season. Found a few great new fishing spots for pike, for spring, summer and fall. Spring was pretty good for trolling, my 5 year old Eli caught his first pike on a Wally Diver.
I put some time and effort into catching them on topwaters as well, especially as pike and largemouth bass often share the same structure.
Also managed a few decent pike from the shore, all in biking distance from my home.
How to invest more time in targeting pike next season.
Didn't bother with musky until the fall. Then 2 things happened:
1) I started biking down to the river and decided to put a few hours targeting pike/musky each time. Though I got a late start, I managed a couple follows and 1 small musky landed.
2)My friend and guide Mike invited me out to troll for muskies on a coupe occasions. Landed a nice one, lost even a bigger one. One things for sure, they always make for impressive pics.
Well see what happens next season...
Not a species I target too often, I got a couple chances at them in 2011. Started off ice fishing for stocked rainbow trout and brook trout with the kids. Didn't do too well, but the outfitter guaranteed the fish. Ari caught one, we got another 19 from his freezer.
Lake trout / landlocked salmon.
Mike came through again, invited me out to troll Lake Champlain in May. Not something I'd ever attempt on my own, he put me on to some tasty fish.
Didn't target sturgeon much this season, so it's not surprising that I didn't catch any. If I'm going to be still fishing from the shore, I'd rather stick with carp, unless I get invited out to fish them by boat.
Caught a few while night fishing, then a few more that took my boilies while fishing for carp. Big surprise was this 14 lb catfish caught by my wife right in middle of the day during a heat wave.
Last but not least, one of my favorite species. I devoted a lot more time to effectively targeting and catching them in conditions that were often tougher than in the past, due mainly to the extremely low water on the other side of the dam at Cornwall. Tried new rods, reels, lines hooks and bait, including some home made boilies for the first time. Took out new and old friends, family and the kids on many successful outings.
Starting with the kids, Ari, Avi and Levi all managed to catch their biggest carps this season, and while Eli isn't big enough to fight St Lawrence carp yet, He was there for the action as well:
Put some new friends and customers onto carping, as well as old friends onto new techniques for monster carp:
Finally, I landed my first ever mirror carp, an added bonus to my amazing carp fishing season.
Kids didn't get to do too much panfishing, but managed a fair share of bluegill, sunfish, rock bass, perch and bullheads, mainly early season before game fish were open.
There you have it. Another great season. Many big fish landed, and (probably) even bigger ones lost. That's what keeps us going back time after time. Many lessons learned, many good laughs, many good (and sometimes frustrating) moments.
At the end of it all, I plan to start again next season.