Georgian Bay Monster Black Smallmouth

What a week of fishing. I spend so much time on the water it takes all night before I get land legs back. Since the rain soaked CSFL Tournament on Couchiching that I think I’m just dry now from until yesterday I have logged over 100 hours on 3 different lakes. Monday and Wednesday were phenomenal days on Couchiching with Wednesday being the best day for both quantity and size I have had in 2 years. Fish included a smallmouth over 7 pounds which I have never seen before on Cooch. Fishing on Cooch and Simcoe was incredible but by far the nicest days have been on Georgian Bay where perfect windless days with more sun than my skin can handle have allowed perfect views of the bottom at more than 30 ft.

Any ripple or sun glare in the wrong direction can camouflage even the darkest fish

Today was a continuation of last week’s exploration trying to find transitioning smallmouth. Moreover the fish that only come to the shallows once to spawn and head back to the depths of the bay. Much of this population once pelagic nomads now spend most of their time in deep water feeding on a rebounding population of huge northern crayfish, sculpin, and of course goby. They have taken on a new shape as those once broad back torpedoes that would rip the rod out of your hands now begin to look like more traditional Great Lakes deep water smallies. Many of them are blacker than coal which makes them easy to sight fish when shallow. It is hard to miss them in 4 ft of water over rock or gravel.

Over 20 feet of water and every rock and ridge is as clear as if there was no water at all. The water on the bay is so incredibly clear you can see down 30 feet. So when you are shallow it is difficult to gage the depth with a sonar. In this picture we are in 7 feet of water and the blue water to the right is 20 feet deep.
Arial picture.

Once your eyes are trained to picking up the shadows moving the rest is easy. But if the fish sees you the gig is up, there is no way to get bit by these spooky fish. Jerk baits and spinners baits work well but if you bring fish to the boat and they don’t bite before they see you those fish are lost. We chased one big black fish around for 30 minutes. Originally the fish just appeared beside the boat. This happened to me once at the Canadian Open where we threw everything but the kitchen sink in front of the fish but he had no interest in us. Finally we were leaving and I just tossed a spinnerbait over its head and BAM! Unfortunately not today.

Very long blind casts produced some great fish including a 6 pound blackie and several well over 4 pounds. With a tournament coming up this might be a good find if it wasn’t these transition fish. You can never count on these fish as they constantly move, here today gone tomorrow.

6 pound reward

Mike with a nice local fish

Another fish spotted over 50 meters away. A long cast with a grub is all it took.