Rapala RipStop 12 – New Fishing Gear for 2018

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Rapala revolutionized minnow baits when it introduced its first Rapala RipStop —the #9 size— in 2017. The only bait with a turned-down boot tail, it’s considered part jerkbait, part twitch bait and part swimbait, with one important difference: it stops in place as soon as you stop your retrieve.

The Rapala RipStop #9 quickly earned its reputation as a fish-magnet. Now, its big brother has joined the line-up to answer the call for the times when you need to cast farther, fish deeper and present a bigger target.

Introduced at iCast 2018 on July 12, the Rapala RipStop 12 is twice as heavy and dives a foot deeper than the original. This beefed-up bait is 4.75” long—more than an inch longer than the #9—and has three no. 5 treble hooks.

Rapala RipStop 12The first few casts with the Rapala RipStop

I was a fan of the Rapala RipStop 9 as a lighter bait for targeting smallmouth and walleye. And I was excited to learn that a larger, heavier version was on its way this year.

I’ve now had the opportunity to fish the Rapala RipStop 12 a few times this season. It hasn’t disappointed. The hard-stop is still successful in triggering bites. But now I’m able to throw it farther, dig a little deeper and at times, take a more aggressive approach.

I love to hit the water early in the morning whenever I have the chance. It’s a great time to find good walleye up shallow, especially around the edges of weed beds. This is how I took my first casts with the new bait—and with some faster twitching back from shore, hooked up on the pause in little time.

Next, I took the bait on a bass tour around a small lake in northwestern Ontario—hitting shallow boulder piles off corners, turns and points. The bass wanted it slower that day—often striking the suspended bait after a long pause. I caught enough bass in a short few hours to know that this would be one of my go-to baits for the rest of the summer.

Rapala RipStop 12

Where to Buy the Rapala RipStop

If the introduction of the #12 is anything like the #9 was last year, they may fly off the shelves for the next few months—especially during the peak of summer bassing. Rest assured, the Rapala RipStop 12 is coming to a tackle store near you soon. It’s also available now through Rapala’s online store rapala.ca.

by ~ Carolyn Kosheluk

Rapala RipStop 12

 

Lures for Catching Hard Water Perch

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Tony Roach with Yellow Perch
Tony Roach with Yellow Perch

Tony Roach with a yellow perch caught through the ice

During the hard water season, many anglers venture out onto the frozen surfaces of the Belle Province of Quebec in search of one of the most popular species, the yellow perch.

by Patrick Campeau

The sport of ice fishing, which has been practiced since the dawn of time, serves to relax and provide fun and entertainment. It also provides the opportunity to bring home some delicious, tender fillets that everyone enjoys.

Far too often, upon analyzing the contents of our ice fishing tackle box, we find bare trays and selections are limited. If this is your case, the following assortment is the perfect selection of baits to outwit these small delicacies.

Ice FlyIce Fly Jig
This lure has really proven itself over the years. I am sure that the majority of perch fisherman have already tried this little creation, generally designed by artisans. There are no really large tackle companies that seem to manufacture them. This offering that imitates an insect as a larva is totally irresistible for perch. The size of hooks used varies from 6 to 14. You will often find ice flies on display at specialty shops in size 6-10. The eyelet can be straight and tilted forward or to the back.


Tungsten Banana Bug
This model, in its original form, introduced me to the glory days. Tied on at the top back of the bait, it swims on a horizontal axis. For maximum movement with this 1/28, 1/16 or 3/32 ounce tungsten lure, gentle inch to 2 inch “twitches” impart an up and down swimming action. Its action is quite unique. It is balanced so that every time it’s raised the head tilts forward, which has the effect of simulating a small fish that dives mouth wide open towards the bottom, as if feeding. If you use a conventional closed knot, it will not work properly because the fishing line will cause too much resistance during its various motions. Opt instead for an open tie that does not close. I have been very successful working this bait by raising it barely 8 to 10 cm and then letting it fall back down without tension. northlandtackle.com


The Mud Bug
This jig from Northland Tackle has a unique appearance. This lightweight 1/64 ounce lure with a size 12 hook or 1/32 ounce with a No. 10 hook has a stocky oval shape allowing it to stand. Its appearance mimics the face of a large insect larvae emerging from the shallows. Oversized eyes add an extra inviting touch for small predators. The eyelet is positioned at 60 degrees to accentuate its action. Work it slowly with a lift and drop of 15 to 20 cm and twitch your rod tip frequently to impart an enticing action. northlandtackle.com


The Puppet Minnow
This offering from Northland Tackle measures only 1 ½ inches and weighs 1/8 ounce. It perfectly imitates a minnow. This metal, vertical jigging lure has an eyelet on the back which keeps it horizontal when you work it. It is equipped with a single hook on each end and a small treble on the belly. So there are five hooks that help to sting its attackers. An inverted V-shaped rudder instills a provocative motion and prevents it from tumbling over itself and tangling. Its unique action stimulates all the senses of a perch. When jigging this minnow, it rises on a perfectly linear axis. Then, when given slack, it comes spiraling down head first into the abyss intriguing all fish within meters of it. northlandtackle.com


Forage Minnow Jig
If you are targeting perch that are relatively aggressive, I recommend you try your luck with this perfect imitation of a small fish. It has an eye catching color with realistic holographic patterns that make it even more attractive. For the best action on this bait, simply rip it up quickly a short distance, then drop back down gently without tension. Then, go back up by jigging a few times and start the same routine over.northlandtackle.com


Syclops
Mepps developed this great classic a long time ago. The vast majority of fish-eating species on the planet cannot resist it. Even the smallest version of this family wreaks havoc on the perch population. This marvelous 1/8 ounce, 4 cm lure, offers an alluring swimming action on a sinusoidal axis, like a fish in water. mepps.com


W10 Wabler
This small reproduction of the famous Williams Wabler will find a place in your box as it also offers a very irregular and exciting action. This lightweight, 1/16 ounce lure measures 2.5 cm. It has a side to side flutter and wabble when it goes up and then when it falls back into the shallows, it resembles an inert prey that has lost all control. Perch looking for an easy meal will let themselves be easily seduced and trapped on its sharp treble. I especially favour the blue and red luminescent colors. The W20 Wabler, this slightly larger cousin of the W10 Wabler, can be fished in the same way as the W10 but is also a favourite when bent at a 90 degree angle making an L shape out of the spoon with the treble hanging off the bottom of the L and your line tie at the top. When jigged this altered shape imparts a very aggressive action and can be a very productive option for perch. My favourites are the classic silver and gold in the hammered Nuwrinkle finishes. Tip the odd shank of the treble with a maggot or other bait on slow days. williams.ca


Buck-Shot spoon
This brightly coloured, 1/16 ounce spoon has a sound chamber that awakens even the most dormant yellow perch. When imparting slight jerking motions, the pellets in the chamber create an easily detected rattle below the surface. When dropped down with no tension, it slides from one side to the other. If the fishing action is slow, I like to aggressively agitate this bait to create an underwater riot. northlandtackle.com


Fishing Line
Some anglers seem to think it is better to use a heavier line in case a walleye or pike comes along. In this case, I would say it does not bother me to lose a few lures at the expense of these large predators rather than compromise the subtlety of my presentation. Keeping to lighter lines will catch you more perch. Given that the Canadian record perch is 2.97 lbs, 4 pound test line like Maxima Ultragreen is more than enough. A perch’s teeth will not cut your line. maximafishingline.com

Slowing Down to Catch More Fish

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Smallmouth Bass

It was an up and down weekend as far as the weather was concerned. Saturday was plagued with thunderstorms and heavy rains while Sunday was very hot and calm. We were fishing for smallmouth bass on Lake of the Woods in Ontario.

The fishing was slow but despite the bad weather on Saturday we managed to muck out about 2 dozen fish. Though the usual haunts that were stacked up 2 days earlier were barren and we fought for every bite.

Sunday had it’s own challenges. The drastic weather change to calm and hot kept the bite in shutdown mode and we struggled once again to find fish. We decided to pick apart a new area of the lake which was going to present a difficulty in itself but in the end, this day was a great learning experience and we picked up on a few things that we feel are of value to share.

OUR TARGETS

Bass are like us and, on hot sunny days, want a place to escape the heat – so we started by looking for shade.  This can come in the form of large shadow-casting boulders, weed cover or trees (standing or laying). When we arrived at the new area we wanted to target we started by using our GPS to pinpoint the structures we though might have fish. A few reefs, boulder fields, and mouths of shallow bays etc. We did find a few bites in the boulders but it wasn’t until we started working a shoreline of one of the shallow back bays that we got a look at what was going on and keyed on how to approach these timid fish.

WHAT WE WITNESSED

Along the shoreline we came across a small indented bay (no more than 2-3 boat lengths wide and 3-4 deep). There were a few key elements that made this spot look particularly good and caused us to key in on it.

First was the shade. This bay was facing north meaning that much of it was well shaded from the south from the trees standing along the shoreline. Our first fish came from a nice shade patch on the northwest point of the bay. The second fish came from a shade patch on the opposite side. So we confirmed that these fish were definitely crowding into the shade on this hot, sunny afternoon.

The second feature of this bay was a few small lily pad mats. Again, providing shade, we were able to muck another 2 fish out from under their cover.

Now the third feature that made this area extra tempting to us was a small laydown on the east side about halfway back into the bay. This was small, little more than a stick, but large enough to cast a little shade and provide some cover. While not really paying attention I felt a tug on my line and looked down to see a smallmouth spit my bait and head for this tree. I shouted to my fishing partner for the day to throw her bait in there and see if she could get a bite (convinced that he probably already determined mine was not food). She did and what we saw surprised us because this fish was acting a lot like a male protecting a bed/nest. He pick up her bait, swam it about 5 feet away, spit it and shot straight back to his post. I tossed mine in and got the same response. From then on, cast after cast, we couldn’t seem to get a response from this fish which is when it dawned on me what I needed to do.

THE SOLUTION

With each cast, we aimed as close as we could to the fish and twitched and bounced and walked our baits around trying to elicit a bite to no avail. While tossing my bait one last time (the same mustard coloured tube jig this bass had already picked up and moved twice) I said to my partner “I bet if I just drop it in front of him and don’t move it, it will agitate him to the point of just eating it”. So I did just that. Landing the bait fairly close and confident he could see it, I let it sit. And sit. And sit. He made a small motion toward the bait after a few moments and paused. Still I let it sit. He finally swam up to it and picked it up. I could tell he only had half the bait so I left a little slack in the line and stayed perfectly still and that’s when he decided to commit and swallow the tube. With a mighty hookset he took of swimming but wasn’t long for the fight before we had him in the net.

Having keyed in on all of these elements, from the structure and cover to the way that fish finally took the bait, we were able to pattern these finicky smallies and use that information to start hooking up on more fish. Now, even if the water was a little deeper or darker and we couldn’t see the fish, we knew to slow down our presentation and trust in the clues we had picked up.

The next spot we hit was a much larger lay down where we had just witnessed another angler drop a fish. Knowing what we knew now we were confident that we could key in on that spot and find success. Right away my partner felt a bite and I reminded her “It’s the same thing, just let your bait sit” and sure enough, a moment later came the pick up, the hookset and the end of the story.

CONCLUSION

Now this story may not provide the exact solution for you when the bite shuts off (though try it, it might). But what’s important to note is how to put together the clues and get the fish to start biting. Maybe you need to change your bait or the size of your bait. Maybe change your presentation or targeted structure. We gathered the clues and were able to key in on fish in an area we had never fished before. With a little effort, you can too.

 

Working at a Fishing Lodge

By Kyle Sanson

Imagine being able to fall asleep every night to the sounds of loons calling and waking to the view of the sun rising over a glassy lake. During the day, you can fish in some of the best trophy waters Canada has to offer, watch a moose and her calf swim across the bay, or take a boat trip to one of the many waterfalls on the lake. At night you can see more stars than you’ve ever seen before and maybe, if you’re lucky, the northern lights will make an appearance. This was my experience during the summer of 2015 when I worked at a fishing lodge.

Located in Northern Ontario, the lodge is situated in the middle of Lady Evelyn Lake, a fishing paradise. Filled with countless walleye, trophy pike, and football-sized smallmouth, the lake was a perfect place to spend five months. Accessible only by float plane or a half-hour boat ride, it truly was in the middle of nowhere.

The remoteness of the island and everything that came with it was exactly what I was looking for. There was a telephone, although reception was sporadic, and it could be very frustrating for the person on the other end of the line. There was Internet, but it too was frustrating. Perhaps the best part about the lodge was the lack of cell signal. By lack of, I mean none at all. None of the guests or employees were able to use their cell phones or tablets. The result was that people engaged in face to face conservations.

Arriving in early May, it was still relatively cold. The first boat ride to the island felt like it took four hours and I couldn’t wait to get out of the wind. There was still snow on some of the rock faces, and we had to pay close attention to the direction of the boats due to fallen trees.

In the first month we had several staff changes as people realized the remoteness of the lodge was not a good fit for them. The days were long, from sun-up to sundown, with a break from 12:00 until 4:00.  In the middle of the summer, when it isn’t dark until 10:00 pm and work starts at 7:00 am, the days were especially long.

That being said, the work was interesting and kept us on our toes. I was part of the Operations and Dock Staff, meaning I cared for the guests’ boats and performed maintenance and daily duties around the island.  The lessons that I learned will come in handy not only in life, but as an outdoorsman.  I learned how to troubleshoot issues with boat motors and how to fix these problems.  I learned how to clean fish, and how to clean fish fast!  My ability to operate a boat improved drastically.  As well as various outdoors skills, I learned life skills.  We were taught how to problem solve and think of ways to complete tasks efficiently.

With the majority of the guests being American, it was interesting to experience the differences in culture.  Some arrived like professional anglers with multiple rods and several tackle boxes; others had one rod, five jigs and crank bait.  Whatever their style or reason for coming to the lodge, they were always appreciative of the work we did and made our jobs easier.

I took this job because I love the outdoors and I love to fish.  I was able to experience both of these every day I was there.  The fishing was amazing.  On my birthday I caught my first pike of the summer; my roommate, Danny, pulled in a 30-inch pike while dragging a spoon behind the boat.  Seeing him jump out of his seat and yell with excitement is something I will never forget.

How To Get A Job At A Fishing Lodge

Glassy Fog

Remoteness
The first thing to consider when applying to a lodge is how remote it is.  Not all fishing lodges are as remote as Island 10.  Some are just off the highway and have all the amenities a regular resort would have.  If you love fishing and the outdoors but aren’t looking to live in a remote location, one of these lodges would be better suited.  Some are close enough to towns that you will be able to pick up food, toiletries, etc.  There is also a high chance of having some cell signal and better Internet so for the tech savvy, that would be ideal.

The more remote style lodges come with their own challenges which will increase the workload for the staff.  Fishing lodges require gas for the boats and possibly diesel for the generators.  If the lodge is accessible by road this usually isn’t a problem. However, remote lodges must find a way to get fuel drums to their location. This lodge was accessible by boat which made this tricky process a little simpler. Fly-in locations have to load drums into planes and unload them once they land.  At close to 500 pounds each, 45-gallon barrels are not an easy lift!

Delivery of food also presents a challenge for remote lodges.  Road-access lodges can back the truck up to the door.  They can also run to the store to get more food if necessary.  Remote lodges don’t have this luxury.  Kitchen staff must plan ahead and be able to predict how much food they will need.  This is especially important for fresh produce and meat.  There is only so much fish guests and staff can eat!  What it comes down to is; the more remote the lodge, the harder the staff have to work to maintain a high level of customer service.

Location
The lodge’s location relative to home also plays a role.  I chose Island 10 because of its remoteness, but it was also closer to home than the majority of fishing lodges in Ontario. It was only a six-hour drive from the landing to my house. Other lodges I looked at were 20-plus hours away. In my case, I had to come home to attend graduation so I knew I wanted to stay close because of that. It would not be fun to spend a day or two driving home, attend graduation ceremonies, and drive back the next day. If you have no plans for coming home for the season, then considering a lodge farther away is possible and creates a different set of opportunities.

Positions 
One of the most important aspects to consider is the job you will be assuming. Lodges generally offer similar positions with minor tweaks depending on how they operate. As already mentioned, I was a dock hand and operations staff. The other staff positions on the island were housekeeping and wait staff. They would serve the guests breakfast and dinner, and would clean the cabins while the guests were out fishing.  Some lodges split these positions so that dock staff only work at the docks and operation staff only perform maintenance around the lodge. Generally, the larger the lodge, the more likely it is that these positions will be more focused in one area. Performing both roles would just be too much work at some of the larger locations.

Guiding  
Guiding is another job available at many lodges. The majority of lodges offer this position to locals and anglers who know the lake, but some will offer it to newcomers. One lodge I applied to had guiding and combined it with the dock staff and operations position. Since there wasn’t enough demand for guides at the lodge, they didn’t hire guides to only guide and instead made sure their dock staff knew the requirements of the job in case a guest requested one. Another lodge I applied to wouldn’t give first-year hires a guiding position at the start, but did offer a spot at their guide school at the beginning of the season with a chance to guide once they learned the lay of the lake. Getting a guiding position at a lodge is more difficult than a dock staff position because fewer lodges offer it and the requirements are higher.  That being said, working as a guide means you get paid to fish, so the work it would take to get the position is worth it.
Type of Service
Another aspect that affects duties available at lodges is the type of services the lodge offers. There are generally two types of lodges, American plan and Housekeeping plan. American plan is essentially all-inclusive meaning all the meals are cooked for the guests and cabins are cleaned by the staff. Housekeeping means guests are responsible for their own meals and the cleanliness of their cabin. If you are looking for a job as wait staff or housekeeping, searching for American Lodges will certainly lead to greater success.

How to Find A Job
The task of finding lodges that are hiring is a relatively simple process. The hiring process usually begins in the New Year. This is a good time to start looking for lodges and applying to them.

A quick Google search for fishing lodges in your desired location (Northwestern Ontario for example) will provide you with plenty of results. Some have pages dedicated to employment, while others do not. If you find a lodge that appears desirable, send an email to the lodge indicating your interest and attach a resume. Also include a cover letter in your email. Cover letters should describe your passion for the outdoors and why you think you would be a good fit at the lodge. This is helpful when sending emails to lodges as a resume usually does not highlight your hobbies and love for being outdoors.
If seeking a dock staff or operations position, make sure to highlight any knowledge of trades you may have. These staff positions focus a lot on maintaining motors and some construction around the property and any mechanical, plumbing, or carpentry knowledge will make you stand out from the rest of the applicants.

The most important thing to remember is to be honest. Lodge owners are attempting to get a good understanding of the staff that they will be spending five or six months with. Staff will likely live in close quarters so allowing the owners to get a solid understanding of your personality will help them decide how you will fit in. They will attempt to hire staff that they believe will get along which in turn, makes your time at the lodge more enjoyable. They take their hiring process very seriously and the process will often include multiple interviews. Some interviews will be over the phone and if possible, in person. Lodge owners want to make sure the applicant understands what they are applying for and that they will be a good fit in the team. For me, the process of being hired at Island 10 took about a month and included multiple phone conversations, a reference check, and finally an in-person interview. It is important to not leave applications too late because by then many of the jobs will be filled.

Working at a fishing lodge is an adventure. It is not a job for everyone, but for those who are suited for it, it provides memories that will last a lifetime. It will take a lot of hard work and the days can be very long, but it’s all worth it knowing that you will be able to hit the water and fish once you are done. Whether you work at a remote lodge as dock attendant, or as a waiter at a lodge five minutes from the corner store, living in fisherman’s paradise is an extremely rewarding experience. The pay is just a bonus.

Walleye Fishing On Late Season Ice Ridges

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Walleye fishing, Ice Ridge

It’s no secret that Lake Winnipeg has some of the best ice action for huge walleye fishing in North America. I’m always looking for ways to better my odds on such a big lake.

Lake Winnipeg AKA BIG WINDY can be your best friend or your worst enemy. I remember venturing out on Big Windy crossing a little crack in the morning only to return later in the evening to find it has opened up and we couldn’t cross it. That’s not a good thing at the end of the day now having to find an alternative safe route back to shore. Or spend the night on the ice.

Other days you venture out only to find out that crack has turned into a ice ridge and you can’t cross it because it’s over 6 feet high. So you have no choice but to fish near the ice ridge or find a way around it. At first I would think to myself well at least I’m fishing and that’s better then nothing. But my groups would be setting hooks on walleye all day along the ridge.
It turns out that an ice ridge is a pretty good place to ice fish after all.

If you think about it there’s structure and oxygen and both are bait fish magnets. So now that you have minnows it’s only a matter of time before the walleye move in for the kill. So how do you fish an ice ridge? Well I like to fish deep water on Lake Winnipeg. Lake Winnipeg is a shallow lake so if you can find 16 feet that’s a good thing. So I would try to find an area any where from 13 to 16 feet deep along side of the ridge.

Now that I found the depth I was looking for I drill a lot of holes spread out over a large area. We call this grid fishing. My group would spread out to IONcover ice. When we have located the walleye we would all move to that area and fish. Grid fishing is a very effective way to find walleye. I use an Ion electric ice auger because it’s light and drills fast. On two battery’s I can drill over 50 holes.

On Big Windy you’re allowed two lines per angler so my 1st line will be what I call the dead stick. It’s an ice fishing rod that sits in a rod holder with a live or frozen minnow on a flasher jig about a foot from the bottom. If your using live minnows hook the minnow through the tail. Then use a Bait Button to hold the minnow on the jig as we fish barbless in Manitoba. I will work my 2nd line with a rattle bait or a flutter spoon. I would tip both with a minnow as well and once again use a Bait Button to hold the minnow on the hook.

I’m going to give you one last tip. When your reeling in a walleye stand up next to the hole. Make sure your line is in the center so you don’t hook the side of the hole. I’ve seen way to many huge walleye lost right at the hole.

So the next time your on fishing hard water, give an ice ridge a shot, you might be happy you did!

Danny Kleinsasser, Danny's Whoe Hog, Walleye Fishing

by Todd Longley of City Cats

Layer Up for Winter

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There’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing. It’s an edict we live by in the northern hemisphere. And thankfully, outdoor clothing has come a long way in helping us stay warm and dry while we pursue our passions.

5 Important Lessons for Bass Fishing Tournaments

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Small mouth bass at the Kenora Bass International

This year’s bass tournament consisted a series of circumstances that taught us some unforgettable lessons. While our initial intent was to simple report on the outcome of our 3 days of tournament bass fishing, we think there’s a lot we learned that we can share.

Kenora Bass International

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Anyone who tells you that a 3 day bass fishing tournament is all fun and games… is a liar!