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> Low-Tech Fishing, The Good 'O Days
Posted: Aug 29, 2011 - 07:30 am

Smolt Trout

Group: Newbies
Posts: 126
Member No.: 405
Joined: February 25, 2011

While heading to a good fishing spot a few days ago we discovered another one.

A family of Inukshuks on a nearby shoreline offered a possible landmark for the prolific noted-by-chance bass habitat we happened upon. It was a huge, flat, hump of rock that rose out of an open and deeper spot of Lake Nipissing. In many ways, the rock shoal resembled the shape and size of a whale’s back. It held smallmouth bass that hit baits and lures hard—for everyone in our multi-generational boat.

I tried to mentally lock in where we were in the lake to be able to find this place again.

Perhaps I need not have bothered.

As I looked for topographical features more permanent than rock statues, my brother-in-law told me he had registered the location in his GPS unit. That struck me as great news and also made me feel some sense of loss.

I’ve long marveled at anglers with a gift for finding old productive fishing spots in more old-fashioned ways. I’m OK with directions on the water but any trip with a seasoned local driving the boat usually left me turned around and lost in short order—particularly on big lakes with plenty of islands.

But these old boat captains knew how far home base was and where they needed to be relative to such things as cliff faces, big lonely pine trees and deep spots in the middle of the lake to get fish. Some used compasses. A few employed maps—sometimes handcrafted by them. A few dropped floating markers to note good spots or hazards. None learned their waterways via GPS and many eschew such navigational assistance today now that it’s so readily available.

I think fish likely had a better chance when chasing them was less scientific. I believe in the axiom that 90 per cent of the fish are in 10 per cent of the water and I think I’ve spent more time in the fish-poor areas on the whole of my angling life.

But I’m not sure I want to get ultra high-tech in this pursuit. There’s something romantic about getting after fish by trying to read things such as weedlines as opposed to video displays of the immediate water column and what may be occupying it.

It’s great to get old-time directions to a spot, to successfully follow them and to get results. Building the narrative and knowledge of how to access a good spot and to share these have been part of fishing for years. I hope that continues even though plenty of anglers could simply log and share pinpointed GPS locations of fish holes.

One of my favourite places to fish is on a lake known well to my wife’s family, at a spot its anglers call the golden horns. For years, I tried to conjure why the place had this label. I finally asked about it. It turns out the handle relates to gold, spray-painted, antlers that were once mounted on the closest boathouse to that walleye weedbed. Never mind that the antlers came down years ago when the property switched hands. The name lives on. Beautiful.

Maybe the inefficiency of low-tech fish-locating methods was great for the fisheries being targeted. I know I’ve received and been stymied by many old-time suggestions of where to find fish. At times, that added to the enjoyment of the outing.

I think I’m going to call the new-to-me bass hole on Lake Nipissing ‘The whale back.’ Now, the key is to find it again without having to rely on my brother-in-law’s gadgetry.

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Posted: Sep 07, 2011 - 11:41 am

Adult Trout

Group: Members
Posts: 290
Member No.: 64
Joined: February 10, 2011

I remember as a child fisihing with my Grandfather... he knew where all the shoals were, and would line the bow of the boat with this point, and the stern with this cottage and would stay right on course. How times have changed.

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Posted: Sep 07, 2011 - 09:38 pm

World Record Trout
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Posts: 5172
Member No.: 98
Joined: February 11, 2011

Back then we seemed to have more time and relaxed while fishing. Today work takes a load of time getting there and back is almost a race and there are tons of people always around, including me. I can hardly wait to semi-retire and enjoy again.

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