Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Opening Weekend 2016

It's here, the 2016 open water season in the southern division has begun. Having been out of the province for over a week, Saturday was more of a scout around, check water levels and temperatures while soaking some bait, more than a serious trophy hunt session. Eager to shake the cobwebs and leave the habit of missing bites on the east coast, we spent the morning at a few spots (some more populated than others) on a smaller river multi species angling. We ended up with a few nice walleye for lunch, while releasing some redhorse suckers, bullheads and pike. On our way to break for lunch we were lucky enough to see a few tom turkeys trying to impress a female or two in a clearing on the hillside.

After cleaning the fish we seasoned and pan fried them in butter leaving no flake behind while making quick work of them. We thought we would see if our catfish holes would be productive on the southern Red River, so after a quick session on a creek, we headed off for some early season kitties. The wind was howling by the time we got there and we ended up with a few small channel cats to shore and a few missed bites to follow. Knowing we had a full day of fishing with some nicer weather ahead of us we agreed to head back to prep gear for the next days trip out on the boat.

Day two was full of adventure, flurries of fish and many different birds. The drive up to the river was filled with stories of seasons past and aspirations for the one ahead. We were the first ones to the launch and were quick to head down stream in pursuit of some big drum and carp and maybe some walleye if we were so lucky. The tactic was simple, putt along the river identifying structure or fish, tie to shore and cast jigs or set up bottom rigs and see what might bite. After slow and sub par action at our first spot, we headed off for greener pastures and oh boy did we find them. We came upon a deeper section that clearly held mounds of fish below and consistent action followed for hours. Rarely would a few minutes pass without someone hooking into a fish.

The freshwater drum off all sizes were thick and more than willing to bite almost anything we tossed to them. We all landed a few over 24 inches with my wife getting the biggest and personal best and 29.5 inches. It put up a phenomenal fight peeling drag and digging deep like a smallie on steroids, her tackle was truly tested. I landed a hard fighting 32.5 inch pre spawn carp that may be my heaviest to date although we hadn't a scale on board. The wind was really kicking up throughout the day pushing more fish into the river from the big lake it flows into. Shelter was minimal and small bouts of rain were on the way but we didn't care and continued to fish.

It turned into exactly the kind of day we all needed with steady action and tired arms by the days end. We were able to watch pelicans, herons, terns, grebes, ducks, eagles, hawks and bitterns along with many other species going about their daily happenings. It was good to be back on a boat and I look forward to the outings ahead and the sights, challenges and trophies they may provide.

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