MLLORYTOWN, Ontario – Although there was no escaping the recent heat wave that swept the East Coast, a trip to the 1000 Islands Region of the St. Lawrence River provided relief for a group of local anglers in the form of plenty of smallmouth bass.
Fishing out of Caiger's 1000 Islands Resort, there was no need to endure the strong midday sun and the oppressive humidity. Pre-breakfast and post-supper action was enough to satisfy the most avid anglers in the group and gave wives a realistic chance of out-fishing their husbands.
Tamaqua businessman Tom Banditelli, a co-owner had recently returned from the resort and reported some of the best smallmouth action in years. That has been the case lately, with more anglers practicing catch and release and the condition of the St. Lawrence improving.
Each outing of 2-3 hours produced catches of 22-36 bass per boat for the three, two-angler teams – impressing even local professional bass tournament angler and fishing guide Doug Amos, who operates 1000 Islands Fishing Guide Service. As all of the anglers have fished with Amos, who has his clients practice catch-and-release fishing, knowing where to look for summer bass – and how to entice them into biting – was not difficult.
With surface temperatures holding between 76-82 degrees in the morning and evening, the bass were in predictable locations along docks, reeds and other cover that provided comfort from the water temperatures. In the morning, bass could be found in these locations before moving off into deeper water – and the anglers moved off to the pool at Caiger's – during the heat of the day.
In the evening, as the air temperature began to fall with the setting sun, the bass action would heat up as low-light conditions brought them back from the deep water to the shallows. While dock fishing was less productive in the evening on this trip, catching bass in shoreline cover and exposed weeds growing out of shallow water was so productive it was like fishing at a pay-to-fish pond.
What was most encouraging is that many of the bass caught and released showed signs that it was not their first time being caught. It was almost as if the fish knew the drill: return to the shallow cover provided by the vegetation, hit a YUM Dinger worm or YUM Tube, pose for a photograph and return to the water.
Best of all, it little mattered if one fished the front of the boat or the back of the boat when it came to catching bass. Actually, fishing the back was better because there was no responsibility to run the trolling motor.
Typical of previous summer trips to Caiger's, the smallmouth were schooled, which made for some interesting action when two anglers were fighting a fish at the same time and trying to stay out of each other's way in the boat. This led to some stories about the "one that got away" when big fish found their way into cover and escaped when one angler had to play their catch to let their partner land their bass.
While the bass were plentiful, the one-and-only productive was to catch them in such heavy cover was rigging weedless and fishing softbaits. Most strikes came within seconds after the worm hit the water and began to sink from its own weight.
Although natural bait was plentiful, it was amazing how the bass were attracted to the scented YUM products. Darker colors worked best in both the morning and evening, with worms and tubes being preferred over grubs and crayfish-shaped imitations.
Summer can be one of the best times of the year to target smallmouth, and this summer, one of the best places to target them is on the 1000 Islands Region of the St. Lawrence.
For information on bass fishing at Caiger's 1000 Island Resort, call Tom Banditelli at 570-668-5066 or Caiger's at 613-659-2266. For information on guided fishing trips on the St. Lawrence River with professional guide Doug Amos, access the 1000 Islands Fishing Guide Service website at www.fishing1000islands.com/doug.