There are days when I’m out on Ontario’s Lake Simcoe that I fantasize about pulling some imaginary plug and draining the darn lake to find the bass. Yes, Simcoe can be an extremely tough fishery. But the reason I keeping returning is that she can also be extremely generous. Friday was just one of those occasions—and good thing for that, too, since I had some special guests aboard the Outdoor Canada boat. And who would that be? Mark Melnyk, the host of the World Fishing Network’s Reel Fishy Jobs, and Tom McMurray, Rapala Canada’s Advertising and Creative Director.

I’ve fished with Tom before (together with bass pro Derek Strub, on Lake Ontario), but never with Mark. Tom’s pretty easy-going, and like me, just happy to be out on the water. It didn’t take long to learn the same goes with Mark. All of which was a good thing, because, well, because we were fishing Lake Simcoe. And as noted, sometimes on Lake Simcoe you had better just be happy to be out on the water.

We started the morning by zipping out of Crate’s Marina on Cook’s Bay, and out to the main lake past Fox Island to Ninth Shoal. Mark picked up a decent smallie in short order (see above photo), so I figured we were in business. But no. We heroically beat the water for a couple of hours, covering the entire shoal before moving on. Next, we hit Willow Rocks, then Jackson’s Point and several points in between. Oh sure, we caught fish: perch, pumpkinseeds and freakishly large round gobies. But no bass.

The wind was southwest all morning, then early in the afternoon the rain rolled in. (Mark's cool new signature series of photochromic Sundog sunglasses worked a treat, incidentally, with the disappearance of the sun. Very nice shades.) An hour after donning our raingear, we decided to scoot back to Cook’s Bay, trying to get to the other side of the front. Well, that failed. It was raining just as hard down in the bay. However, the wind dropped off completely, so patrolling Roche’s Point with the electric was no problem. And boy, did we patrol the structure, for the most part drop-shotting.

Again, Mark struck gold first, this time pegging a hefty largemouth. From there, things exploded. Within minutes we’d each landed fish, and by the time we called it a day when the weather switched over to a chilly northeastern wind (and yet more rain), we’d caught and released more than 20 big largemouth and smallmouth bass, along with two incidental pike (and two bite-offs). As Mark remarked halfway through the action: “I’m having a really, really good time right now.”

And as for me? Let’s just say I’m glad I didn’t pull the plug.

A fish is a fish: Rapala Canada's Tom McMurray picked up the biggest pumpkinseed of the day




Late largemouth: We got into these guys near the end of the day, at Roche's Point. You can see the northeasterly rolling in


Simcoe smallie: My big fish of the day, which I conservatively peg at five pounds