Under a partly cloudy sky, I back the boat out of the slip at Crate’s Marina in Keswick, Ontario, and head out on Cook’s Bay in the southern part of Lake Simcoe. In the boat with me are Scott Gardner, Outdoor Canada’s associate editor, and Greg McLeod, show manager with Cottage Life, our sister magazine. Greg’s an avid angler who has been threatening to go fishing with OC for years and we’ve finally managed to make it happen. Our mission? To catch some of Simcoe’s legendary lunker bass and film the action with the loaner GoPro camera that's strapped to my head. And no, I don’t think it makes me look like a dork at all, thank you very much….
If it’s possible to have a love-hate relationship with a lake, I have one with Simcoe. While I’ve caught some of the biggest bass of my life here, I’ve also had more fishless days than I care to remember. Simcoe is big, heavily-fished and prone to erratic weather, but it’s also fun to explore and, when the conditions are right, gives up monster fish. For example, the big smallie at last year’s BPS Lake Simcoe Open was over eight pounds! Of course, finding them is the problem. And adding to the pressure this time around, I want to impress Greg by showing him all the hot spots I know. Then, of course, I want to out-fish him.
Once out of the marina, I plot Cook’s Bay Shoal into the GPS and push the throttle forward. As you can see on the video below, taken with my, ahem, head cam, it certainly doesn’t take long for the boat to get out of the hole and onto plane. We get from Crate’s to the Shoal in just minutes and the ride is very smooth and dry.
While Scott and I drop-shot with soft-plastics, Greg tries a few different presentations, including tubes, spinnerbaits and crankbaits. We circle the shoal a few times without luck so move on to Willow Rocks, another of our regular spots on Simcoe.
Gobies, or something small, nibble at our baits, which is proof that there’s life down there, but it’s certainly not the kind we’re looking for. Something a little larger finally bites my soft-pastic minnow and I reel up my first bass of the day. Unfortunately, it’s not the right species. Rather, it’s a hand-sized rock bass, which we photograph for the fun of it, and I plop it back in the water.
Here's quick view from the GoPro. Sorry about the wind noise, but I was using the skeleton door on the camera case so I could pick up some dialogue. The full case makes the camera completely waterproof, which is super cool, but sound gets muffled.