Author Topic: 2015 Bass Opener  (Read 2448 times)

Offline John Whyte

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2015 Bass Opener
« on: June 29, 2015, 07:25:41 am »
For the past 13 years I have fished the bass opener on Lake Simcoe and for years before that on Georgian Bay. For two decades it has been the ďbest day of the yearĒ and typically met with anxious hours of preparation. But this year family commitments was to keep me off the water.

Its 5:45, the latest I have slept in months. Iím disoriented and feel like I have forgot something or like there was a life changing event about to happen. The night before my family event was cancelled and Iím still not panicking to get ready. For the past so many years I have fished the Casey Cup tournament on Simcoe. Today I was doing nothing. The phone rings and it is Bob Formosa. ďIím in Barrie and Iíll be there is 30 minutes, we are going to Parry SoundĒ Me ďI canít go to Parry Sound I just got out of bedĒ. Bob ďI think itís against the law to miss bass openerĒ Ten minutes later Bob is in my driveway and Iím getting rods together. 

By 8:00 we are on the water and heading out of the Sound. We are approaching the train trestle no wake zone to the South Channel and some clown with a Stanley Boat full of building supplies comes through full tilt and creates a huge wake through the narrow passage. The bow of Bobís bass boat comes crashing down and all of the electronics quit. It has been a long time since we havenít had a GPS on GBay. But other than not having a sonar we know the waters like the back of our hands so we continue. We had no idea where we wanted to go because as good as the bass fishery is, that neck of the water is typically spent looking for big pike in the spring.

We pull into a bay and start catching small bass while looking for big pike. Big GBay pike like it cool and typically are moving out of the bays at this time of year. We thought we might catch some stragglers. I wasnít to be so we headed further out in the bay. We went to a shallow dirty top shoal that normally produces some big bass. When I say dirty top I mean broken rock, gravel, big rocks and some amber signs of life. Georgian Bay has an endless supply of picture perfect smooth top shoals with aquarium looking water around them. They are beautiful but not fertile. Any structure can hold fish and big predators for ambush or sunning in the warm sun. But the shoals that produce most of the fish are the dirty shoals that can produce life in the warm sun. This is where the food web starts and everything goes to feed. 

We started casting jerk baits and spinnerbaits and after 20 minutes there was still no sign of bass. This was odd because the conditions were perfect. Bob says ďit isnít happening hereĒ and one last cast and wham! The reason there was no bass was because the other species we were looking for was up feeding.

We leave and head to another area further out and in the maze of rocks and shoals we start picking up some nice bass in the 5 pound class. Georgian Bay bass are crazy. Not like Simcoe smallies that are too fat to and just drag you around. Gbay bass are aerial and every ounce of flesh is power. Whoever originally said smallmouth pound for pound are the strongest fresh water fish must have been fishing on Gbay.

A dozen nice fish later I plant some rubber on a shoal and a rocket rips through the surface. I boat a nice 4 pound rainbow. Now we only need a musky and a walleye to complete the species list.

The plan was to be back in Orillia by 5:00 so at 4:45 we finally call it a day and head back to the Sound. This was the best bass opener I have had in years since the time when Georgian Bay was my home waters. I guess it always will be.

After getting back 3 hours late I was too exhausted to tie lines for the CSFL Couchiching tournament the next day. The forecast for the next day was crappy, turning to even more crappy, and finally getting worse in the late afternoon. High winds and relentless rain and cold to boot. What more could you ask for! At 4:00 a.m. I roll out of bed and  head out to the boat to tie lines in the rain.  I get a text from James Gignac my partner asking if I was sure I wanted to do this. I said yes and at 6:00 I rail the boat out of the boathouse and take the 15 minute ride in the rain to the Port of Orillia. By 6:30 Iím soaked.

At 7:00 we blast off with a game plan and as we head across the lake at 50 MPH the rain was stinging our face and the cold water was already running down my neck. On days like this some expect a tough bite. But the water is warm and the weather system as shitty as it was had been here for 3 days so consistency is all that is required for a good bite. We start by picking up a few smaller fish and by 9:00 have a limit of largemouth. Then we start to catch some better smallmouth and end up culling our whole limit with smallies. Then James hits a really nice largemouth in about one foot of water so we stay on that program and cull most of our fish with better largemouth.

We are starting to put together a nice bag of fish and just need a kicker to start to get in the hunt for a win. I cast near shore, feel a tick and set the hook and up comes a huge mouth to the surface. The fish dives and I could tell it was very big and just as I say to James ďdid you see the size of that thingĒ the line goes limp. How deflating. To top it off 15 minutes later I do it all over again. James was working us into contention and Iím doing everything I can to avoid success. Finally I cast and feel the line load and up comes a Simcoe size smallie. We are now starting to catch some nice smallies and culling our whole bag of largemouth.

It never stopped raining all day. Iím soaked and freezing and as much as I wanted to get a kicker fish we finally head in. I say to James ď do you think we are much over 17 pounds?Ē James is managing the fish because I have a track record of tossing bigger fish than I have in the livewell. He says weíll have to wait for the scales. We check in and could hear Peter and Pat Marrocco and already in with over 18 pounds and even though we didnít think we had enough to win even on such a crappy day, we thought we might make the top 5. Everyone is weighing in ahead of us and I start to load the bag with fish. But now the fish are looking bigger. We are near the last to weigh-in and we could hear Brian Gardy and Brent cotton just weighed 20.20 followed by Eric Luzak and Tom Hardy with 22.25. Iím thinking wow nice bags for a day like this.

Eric and Tom are on the hot seat and Andy Pallotta starts to weigh our fish one by one. He is up to the 4th fish and we already have 16.85. Iím wondering where these fish came from. He puts the last big smallie in and the scales say 20.40, just about 3 pounds more than I thought we had. Normally Iím within a Ĺ pound but I guess my brain was waterlogged. That was good for 2nd so a nice surprize. Of course now those big lost fish come back to haunt you but everyone losses fish in tournaments.

It is amazing that 46 teams completed the tournament in that weather. Everyone looked like wet rats as the only thing generating any heat is everyone shaking. I drive my boat back to the boathouse. My face is red from rain hitting my face. I feel like I just had a wet sanded facial. Iím freezing and soaked inside and out. Iím so soar I can barely walk up to the house. What a great weekend!! One of the most memorable bass openings ever.


Position   Angler   Co-Angler   Weight   Big Fish   HP   Points   AC
1   Erik Luzak           Tom Hardy   22.25      250   200   46
2   John Whyte   James Gignac   20.4         225   199   45
3   Brian Gardy   Brent Cotton   20.2         225   198   44
4&5   Peter Marrocco   Pat Marrocco   18.4         250   197   43
4&5   Bill Todd   Brian Moore           18.4          250   197   43
6   Gary Miller   Jay Reiners   17.75   6   LM & OA   300   195   41
7   Rick Agar   Mike Agar   17.5   4.85   SM &BM100   90   194   40
8   Jamie Janzen   Jon Yancoulis   16.2         250   193   39
9   Steve Rowswell   Matt Campbell   16.15         115   192   38
10   Jordan MacIntyer   Corey Moreau   15.95         90   191   37
11   Justin Fung   Alan Mactangay   15.65         150   190   36
12   Bill Walker   Kal Vaisanen   14.8         200   189   35
13   Steve Clark   Dave Norgrove   14.6         250   188   34
14   Ryan Crowley   Jay Short   14.35         115   187   33
15   George Koufis   Scott Chantler   14.35         115   187   33
16   Jeff Emms   Matthew Carles   13.8         150   185   31
17   Jim Vlenizelakos   Joseph Zacchigna   13.65         275   184   30
18   Shawn Beers   Doug Burrows   13.2         90   183   29
19   Wayne Currah   Niel Harmer   12.9         115   182   28
20   Kirk Sullivan   Kevin Sullivan   12.65         250   181   27
21   Dan Risorto   Frank Perciasepe   12.4         250   180   26
22   Patrick Zajdel   Spencer Guffney   12.35         175   179   25
23   Ernest Matton   Richard Huffman   12.25         200   178   24
24   Henry Nguyen   Bert Martucci   12.2         150   177   23
25   Rob Guzzo   Mike Guzzo   12.1         75   176   22
26   Cole Vardy   Bill Vardy   11.85         225   175   21
27   Cole Chantler   Steve Chantler   11.5         250   174   20
28   Matt Pezzetta   David MacInnes   11.45         200   173   19
29   Paul Hall   Joe Turk   11.2         250   172   18
30   Rudy Manning   Gord Farwell   11.15         250   171   17
31   Chuck Allan   Paulo Filice   11.1         250   170   16
32   Shawn Zuriwski   Scott Blake   11.1         200   170   16
33   Mike Bowler   Dylan Spatz   10.25         90   168   14
34   Ryan Taylor   Hugh Woodward   9.75         200   167   13
35   Andrew Campbell   Brent Maw   9.65         115   166   12
36   Cearin Hester   Brian Norman   9.15         150   165   11
37   Mike Lafreniere   Derek Lafreniere   8.7         115   164   10
38   Paul Tsigaris   Craig Denobrega   7.3         115   163   9
39   Brian Hughes   Bert Balas   7.15         250   162   8
40   Aaron Andres   Patricia Seaton   6.85         225   161   7
41   Andy Soan   Mitch Raven   6.4         150   160   6
42   Joe Nobili           Michael Oppedisano   3.15         115   159   5
43   Mike Kewell   Tony Kewell   1.45         115   158   4
44   Rick Barton   Jake Barton            120      
45   Mike Brown   Nelson Oliveira            250      
46   Jason Godin   Anthony Burgess            150   
« Last Edit: June 29, 2015, 07:33:54 am by John Whyte »

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Offline Wasagabeach

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Re: 2015 Bass Opener
« Reply #1 on: June 29, 2015, 07:43:15 am »
Wow. Nice fish and great story!