Okbt/Okbn stop #2 St. Clair

Okbt/Okbn stop #2 St. Clair

        Lake St. Clair was the hosting body of water for this second stop and second double event of the year, Ontario Kayak Bass Trail and Ontario Kayak Bass Nation. It also marked the opening of the Bass fishing season down in my home zone. In the build up to this event we took what was already a much warmer than average spring and kept that dial cranked to ten, especially in the last couple days leading into the event and the day of the event as well. With temperatures reaching up into the 40s with the humidity and fairly calm days wind wise it was safe to say the spawn would be over. Anyway for those who remember from the first event on nippissing and what a salvage job that turned into I was really hoping to not make those same mistakes and put myself in a better position to have a better finish than at the previous tournament. So as the tournament day got closer I was paying attention to weather reports and fishing reports from the American side of the lake where Bass were a targetable species still. I liked alot of what I was hearing and I definatly plan on fishing st clair again, the way it is set up allows for certain favorites of mine to be key players in how you go about catching fish. For anyone that doesn't know, it's pretty much a bowl with a channel craved through the middle of it, and not a very deep bowl at that, mid-twenty feet being about the deepest you'll find unless you get into the shipping channel where it looks like mid-fortys is about as deep as you can get. Having said that though I have never fished St. Clair so any I didn't know just how true of a statement that was, as a result I had planned to go speed cranking all day as I felt like that would not only let me cover as much water as possible but also select for larger fish, in my experience I tend to get a better average size of fish when burning a crankbait for the day then I would after a day of dropshotting as an example. But I heard something in the reports from around the lake that changed my plan of attack for as long as the wind stayed down that is. Lake St.clair was expeirencing a notable bug hatch, specifically mayflies, and when I arrived the night before and saw how thick they were I retied to make sure I had not one but two different topwater options available to me to start my day.


         Here we go! I decided to head out around Peche island as it looked like it had everything I had been reading and learning about for the last week or so and with so many options I figured I would be able to figure out where the fish were in the water column and still have time to fill my limit and put together a good five fish length. I had plans to start in a certain area and work out words in a semi circle pattern from there but as I turned into the main lake I could see a kayaks already heading out or in that area already, so I decided to go to the far side of the island and see if I could find something less crowded. It didn't take long until I had a fish confirm my hopes that a topwater lure would play, unfortunately I missed with the hookset but never the less I knew I had something going on. A couple casts later hooked and in the kayak, I'm thinking it's going to be a great day not even a half hour into the day and I've missed one and have a scoreable fish for my limit, well I had it but while fidgeting with the tournament I.D. tags and my phone to take the picture it flips right off my ketch carbonate bump board and back in the water. So after some choice words and a self pep talk we get back after it. Another couple casts later and okay we finally have one that gets added to the board a 17.5 inch smallmouth bass. Fast forward and now all I am doing is sharpshooting for smallies with a top water. Covering water and fan casting while I look for busting fish to target cast at, and little while later I hook up again and this time with my biggest of the day 18.5 inch smallie and things are rolling, but not as good as they could be I notice I am having alot of hits but not anywhere near the hook ups I'm used to having. I am throwing a teckle kick knocker pup and it seems like the fish are connecting with the lure good but whether I'm just rusty with my hooksets or they just aren't hitting it as good as I thought either way I decide to switch and start throwing a megabass popmax and the first fish I encounter does what it's supposed to. There was no way I was going to miss that one! A 16.5 inch smallie added to the score board, but my time is running out as the wind picked up so did the waves and once they go going and scattered the mats of bugs on around the surface the fish stopped cooperating on the top so after throwing the popmax for a couple more casts than I probably should have I switched to what would be my favorite way to fish, well besides topwater, Crankin'. Specifically speed cranking, when I talk about the way a bite feels and the and how sometimes it can be a subtle difference in how the bottom feels, or like you just don't feel anything when your flippin' in cover, or a little quick tic on a dropshot, or slack in getting pushed in your setup when your throwing a jerkbait, all that goes out the windows. When you're speed cranking and doing it properly a bass has two options and they need to decide that right then and there eat it or wave bye, so when they decide to eat, they mean business. They hunt that crankbait down at full tilt and smash it. But that's a topic for a different article, it didn't really take long to hook up again as I knew I was already around fish, I had missed enough to know I was in a good area so long as the waves and wind stayed manageable. So as I boated my fourth fish of the day a 16.75 inch smallie it became more of a battle against the wind, waves, and boundary/canada,Usa border line then I wanted to risk so I started my first bigger move of the day.


        At this point it was still fairly early in the day maybe about 1030, so I was off to a pretty good start or so I thought but more on that later in the day. I knew I wanted to check out deeper having spent my morning in eight to ten feet I wanted to see if with the wind maybe some fish would be sliding out towards that twelve to fifteen foot range not only did control of my kayak get more demanding but I wasn't seeing the results I wanted so that trip was cut short and upon looking at Google maps I remember I had launched right beside a big long marina and that would both block out some wind and maybe be deep enough to throw a crank in and maybe some bonus topwater actions around the docks. Unfortunately there wasn't much depth six to seven feet and fairly thick weed growth, however being that the marina was in a channel with good current I decided to work my way down hanging tight against the man made shore where the depth stayed around that nine to twelve foot range. Having just petaled around for a little better then an hour and a half with a couple fishing stops time was starting to dwindle and I still needed one more fish to fill my limit before I attempted to cull out the smaller ones. I was also extremely thristy so as I poured water out of a my big yeti jug into my yeti rambler I checked my phone and my heart sank I received a messaged saying that my catches had been denied during to the fact that my location had been show in a marina on the far shoreline in the states very very far outside the boundary lines and border for that matter. It was approaching one pm, and as a result of this location mishap I had nothing to score. At that point I felt done it was hot and muggy the water was starting to look like it would be better for swimming than fishing, but as I started casting again going down the outside marina wall a hooked up and in my haste boat flipped an 18.25 inch smallie that only had one treble hook keeping it pinned, luckily though it worked out and I was able to score it. About another twenty minutes and I hook up again with a 17 inch smallie, so I've lost my fish from my previous spot but I'm finding success here at a good pace, but I run out of road so to speak. The deeper marina wall ends and I'm left on top of a big grass flat that's in about one to three feet of water, fortunately I already had a zman chatterbait minimax tied on for just this scenario so I travel down and skip some docks and set into something that feels like it could be big bass of the tournament, as I'm fighting the fish my kayak slides out to deeper water about six or seven feet and I catch a glimpse of a greenish brown side I finally bring it up and net it as I realize it's a musky probably thristy six to thirty eight inches. I instantly thought damn why couldn't it have been a twenty four inch large mouth, but also sweet I just caught my second musky ever and my first in my kayak. So I turn back and start heading up the channel again remembering a stretch that I didn't fish but I get there and it's too deep so I keep moving and pass my launch with maybe forty minute left in tournament time I'm tempted to call it and swim my time down and cool off but the depth seems good again and there are personal docks lining the shore up this way. At about the 2:30pm mark my chatterbait gets smashed this time it is a largie, and at 15.5 inches it's no twenty four incher but it all helps at this point so I score that now I'm thinking thirty minutes left and only two more to go it won't be pretty but maybe I can sneak in a limit as I turn the corner around the next point I see two other kayak anglers pitching docks and working their way down towards me, it was at this point swimming won the war and for the first time ever, and hopefully the only, I got back to my launch early and cooled myself off before loading up. Time to hit the road for awards and to congratulate the other anglers. 


          The text I recieved from the photo checker said to tell the organizer when I saw him at the awards, I honestly didn't think much could or would be done being that the event was over even though I knew I never crossed the boundary/border and had my fish finder tracks that showed where I fished all day. But after being told that the gps from my phone showed me as fishing the shoreline on the states side I went to my car plugged in the garmin and looked at my map I even jokingly sent the director a picture of my map from the day and just to confirm how crazy this mishap was. But in return I got even better new they went on and accepted my previous submissions bringing back my 18.5 incher, 17.5 incher and 16.75 incher adding to the 18.25 and 17 inch fish I caught late in the day culling out the 16.5 and 15.5 inch fish I had scored during the day. So I finished with 87.5 inches in total. Do the math, it doesn't add up does it, my score should have been 88 inches but after the morning mishap with my first fish jumping off the board back into the lake I rushed the picture of that 17.5 inch smallie and didn't make sure to close it's mouth all the way and recieved a .5 inch penalty that one penalty resulted in me fishing in 27th place tied with three other anglers two had larger fish witch gave them a higher placing, had I taken my time and sent in the correct photo even at 17.25 inches I would have finished 24th in the 115 anglers field for the okbt. And due to the lengths not being added to my final length I bombed on the okbn side of things placing 43rd out of 48 with 51inches had those scores not been added to my okbt limit I would have placed 96th in that field. Lesson learned, multiple lessons actually.


         Thank you to the great anglers that come out to these events it's always such a blast and, an enjoyable experience being around such like minded and passionate anglers. Thank you to the people who put in all the work to organize and run these events, special thanks in this case for working with me and making the call to allow those fish from earlier in my day I'm hoping to get into the classic this year and that would have been a kill shot, all because of weird phone gps systems I'm looking into it and doing what I can to avoid this scenario in the future, but as alwayd it is because of people like you that this sport continues to grow and get better and bigger every year. And lastly thank you to the sponsors that support the OKBT and Ontario Kayak Bass Nation we are so fortunate to have the best companies in the sport fishing world supporting us and helping us maximize our time on the water making us more proficient anglers. Being a leader of innovation and quality in their respective product areas you can be assured that if they are on the OKBT Banner or website they are top tier. Another shout out to the one and only migsig outdoors, seriously, whoever reads this trust me when I say that the only thing that kept that heat bareable and kept me fishing hard until I mentally called it quits was the spf shirts mig makes he stands behind his products for a reason so if you think of yourself as someone who gets after it in the outdoors give migsig outdoors a serious look you won't be disappointed. 

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.