Spent the last week camped on an island south of Washington Island. The weather was wet and chilly which made for some tough days on the water, but when you come all the way from South Louisiana you make the best of it and fish hard everyday. We got on the water Monday afternoon and fished until 4:30. Broke the ice and caught 4 fish before heading back to camp. Tuesday and Wednesday were much better days for fishing as I landed 10-15 nice bass (smallmouth, largemouth) and also caught a few northern to round it out. One of the pike was particularly nice which was caught on a silver and black rapala minnow. Thursday was a very rainy and cold day and I only managed 4 fish that day but we only fished a couple of hours before the weather got too bad and we had to head to the camp. The last day started out pretty nice as I caught 3 nice bass before the rain started again. Two of them were very nice with one of the bass (largemouth) topping the 5lb mark. It was a PB for me in the Boundary Waters. I’ve been fishing the BW since 2000 trying to catch a 5 lb smallmouth and as luck would have it I ended up with a 5 lb largemouth instead. I did hook and loose 2 big smallmouth on Tuesday and Wednesday. I saw both fish as the spit my wacky worm back at me and laughed as they went back into the water. I actually lost 6-8 fish just like this as they were not hooked but just holding on to the wacky worm. Speaking of wacky worms , this is what a majority of my fish were caught on. Where ever I could find some structure such as fallen down trees in the water I found fish. It was like clockwork. I would cast or pitch it towards the end of the tree and they would pick it up and run. It was a beautiful thing to watch. It was even more fun catching them. I did throw the Zulu rig ( Thanks Mike) but they were not having it. I think with the weather being like it was they wanted a slower presentation. I love the Zulu as I have caught some nice fish with it but on the trip the wacky worm ruled the day.
I hooked the largemouth perfectly in the mouth and had the fish released in very short order. She swam away with no problem and is doing well. Does anyone know how old the largemouth may have been. I know they grow much slower in the great north.
This info is about Ontario, so you caught about as big a bass as grows up north: " The maximum age seems to be between 13-15 years, reaching lengths of 55 cm (22 inches) and reaching weights of around 5 lbs."
I will paddle eternal, Kevlar and carbon.
Nice fish! If you want a 5 pound smallmouth you might want to plan a spring trip. The Zulu bite gets tough this time of year unless you use some weight to take it deeper or fish moving water. Thanks for sharing!
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Most of the bass I caught on the wacky worm picked it up while it was falling and started to swim away with it so I could visually see that something had it. The bass in this report didn’t do this. I was pretty close to the log when I pitched the bait and the worm started to sink and when it got out of sight I felt my rod tip vibrate and I knew a fish was on the line. When I set the hook I could immediately feel the weight of the fish and then the fight began. The fish made two runs which stripped line from my reel. The first run was towards shore and the second was out to deeper water which took him around 3/4 of the boat. I saw the fish during one of these runs and knew it was a good fish. I elected to lip the fish as the net we had was a nylon net and was horrible for netting fish. I used it for a pike at the start of the trip and never used it again. It did too much damage to the fish and hooks of the bait got tangled in the net which took forever to untangle. Thanks to the good people who promote and protect the boundary waters and it’s fishery as it’s a truly special place. Thanks for the tip on spring fishing Mike. I do plan to make one of those trips but need to fine tune the dates so I miss most of the mosquitoes and flies. I know you have been many times so what would you say is the best time to go ?