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Where the "Big Girls" lie

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to find the elusive "Big Girls" and the Pointe didn't disappoint. We checked into Kenlea Cottages where owner Mike Bristow brought us up to date on the recent action. Mike told us the Walleye bite was particularly good this year and reports of big pike came in daily. Bob and I studied the charts to find some likely spots where the water would still be cool enough to hold big fish. Little did we know the first spot would be Mecca It is rare to find places where fish of 10 to 15 pound average exists but they are still out there.

Big Pike story in Pointe au BarilWe headed out through the channel from Pointe au Baril Station. It doesn't matter how many times you have been on Georgian Bay, the incredible beauty distracts you from your quest. The molded rock and wind swept pines on aqua waters leaves an impression and sense of exclusive Canadian aLight Houses you pass the famed lighthouse and stare to the open bay you realize the enormous size of the fishery and the anticipation starts to build.

With trolling motor down we crept into our first spot. My first go to search bait was a jerk bait to test how aggressive the fish might be. The first bay we entered was ideal spawning water, protected from the main bay, 4 to 10 feet deep with cabbage weed already standing and water temperatures in the low 60 degree F. A few casts in I felt that familiar violent strike and head shake only a pike can produce. I was reminded of just how strong these fish can be when every time I got her close to the boat she would rip more line out and we would start over. Finally she came close enough for Bob, with clove on, grabbed her. At close to 40 inches and just shy of 15 pounds the first of many fish was in the boat, picture taken and back in the water to be caught another day.

No sooner was the first fish released, Bob halls back and tries to set the hooks on another but the fish dropped the 7 inch gold bomber. You know your with someone who has caught a lot of big pike when you watch them in action when something like this happens. Bob had another rod ready with a 7 inch sucker rigged with a quick strike trailer hook under a float. He cast ahead of where the pike was and the sucker went frantic just before the float was dragged under as it headed for deeper water and the second fish was on. Once again it was several violent runs before we landed another good fish.

Another sign of someone who catches large fish on a regular basis is the release equipment on hand. Extra long shaft needle noise and cutters for reaching downAnother big pike from Pointe au Baril toothy mouths to remove or cut hooks. A set of jaw spreaders and of course a glove in case the fish explodes in hand. Many a scar has been left on hands that thought the fish would stay still through the operation of remove and release.

Another picture taken and back in the water. This was repeated several times until any of the remaining fish in the bay got spooked and even the lowly sucker wouldn't work. With over a 10 pound average going for use we thought it best to give the bay a rest and start the search for the next great spot.

Within a couple of kilometers there was a similar looking bay with the same basic make-up of weeds, water temperature, and mud sand mixed bottom. As we crept into the bay trying not to disturb anything we drifted right over top of a huge fish. This was the one we were looking for and could top the scales at 20 pounds. Bob started the hunt with a big sucker and before long the big fish was eyeing the meal. She flared her gills and chomped down on the sucker and immediately released it. After several seconds she grabbed the sucker again, a quick head shake and then released it. This went on for several minutes, each time the results were the same. We spent so much time on this fish we started to compare her to teenage teases we knew and named her after one of them. It's difficult to leave the fish of a lifetime but we didn't want to spend the day watching her so we moved on vowing to come back for her later.

As we moved closer to shore we started to see dark shadows on the bottom so we backed off so that we could fish the shadows with jerk baits. After taking position a few long casts later I felt that exhilarating strike and head shake and another fish was on. This fish was smaller, around 9 pounds but until I got it to the boat I had no idea what I was dealing with because they were all so strong and the strike on a jerk bait using micro braid line amplifies the feel.

 

Once again my partner had everything under control and a quick picture was taken before release. I no sooner checked my hooks and line and got ready to cast when Bob sets the hook on another. This was a good fish, peeling line on a tight drag like the spool was on free spool. Our first look at the fish was 5 minutes later. She had completed engulfed a 7" bomber. Another nice Pointe au Baril Pike

Unfortunately there are times when you simply have to cut the hooks off and release the fish hoping they dissolve over time. In this case there was only one small barb left and the fish swam away healthy and a little mad. These big pike take a long time to grow to the size they are and every precaution has to be given to ensure a healthy release. The days of keeping large fish for trophies is long gone and replicas last longer, look real, and come in every imaginable size and profile.

After about an hour the bite died so we moved on to the next bay. By now the sun was high and shallow water fish spooked easily. Some of the key ingredients into finding bays that will hold big spring pike are are soft bottom, weeds even if they are still down, shelter so that they can warm early in the spring and maybe most important is access to deep water.

After spawn pike seem to return to the bays they spawn in. Big Georgian Bay Pike will feed shallow but most likely they are feeding on something bigger than these bays can hold. It is not uncommon to see pike with whitefish in belly. They will move in and out of these bays until the water warms above high 60's and then move deep for the summer. There are exceptions to this, where big fish reside in an inland bay for the entire year. Water temperatures inland can be 10 degrees warm than out in the bay but for the most part all the criteria is the same. Pointe au Baril 40 incher

We spent the rest of day exploring the area and choosing some bays for the next morning. The best way to find these big pike is sight fishing and the best time for that is early morning when they are lying in the shallows.

The next morning we headed back to our prospect bays and went through the same routine of creeping into the shallows. The time we spent just scouting paid off as the second cast in the first bay of the morning produced my largest fish of the trip.

With five more fish averaging 10 pounds within two hours it was time to pack up and head back to the camp. It was another great morning by anyone's standards and Pointe au Baril lived up to its reputation as one of the best big pike fishery anywhere in Ontario and I now know why so many TV shows are filmed here.

As we arrived back to Kenlea Cottages, owner Margaret Bristow was standing on the dock and asked how the morning was. We told her we had a great day and that we maintained our over 10 pound average. She told us one of her guests had landed a 43 inch pike off the dock that morning. Doesn't it always seem to be the way it happens. You spend the day scouting and covering the bay and someone catches a bigger fish on the dock where you left from.

Reports of great walleye fishing from the guests almost had us cancel our next days commitments and stay just one more day but that wasn't to be. We'll save that for next trip.

For more information about Pointe au Baril or Kenlea Cottages, visit their web sites Pointe au Baril Chamber of Commerce or Kenlea Cottages

 

 

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