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Thursday, May 22, 2008

Aurora Bassmasters - Keswick

The season’s first big fishing tournament is going to be catch-and-release ... sort of.

A pike tournament, held by the Aurora Bassmasters, will be held Saturday in Keswick with the pike caught there being released later on in Fairy Lake in Newmarket.

With the help of the Ministry of Natural Resource’s community fish and wildlife improvement program, volunteers and ministry staff will select a cross-section of pike that will be put into an aerated transfer tank and moved to Fairy Lake.

In the past, pike from Lake Simcoe used to be able to swim as far as the Holland River.

However, due to dams and obstructions over the years, they aren’t able to do so on their own these days.

In their new home as top predator, the pike will help balance the fish community.

Unlike other Aurora Bassmasters tournaments, this will be an open event, meaning all anglers, not just members of the club, are eligible to compete.

Anglers will begin at Pasadena Marina at 534 Lake Dr. S. The tournament starts at 6 a.m. with registration at the marina.

Cost is $110 per team, which includes $10 for the big fish pot and $10 for launch.

Paybacks will be 80 per cent of entry fees.

Anglers fish from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. and will bring in the heaviest three pike they catch per two-person team.

Heaviest limit wins.

Fully functioning livewells and all the standard boating safety requirements are in effect. No live bait is permitted and standard tournament rules apply.

Other tournaments

The last tournament of the year is still a long way off, but you can note the Bass Pro Shops Lake Simcoe Open will take place out of Sibbald Point Provincial Park Oct. 25.

This tournament holds the all-time Canadian record for the heaviest five bass ever weighed in during a one-day tournament at 29.90 lbs and is sure to be another success in 2008.

Catching Early Season Pike In Simcoe:

Regardless of whether you are fishing competitively or recreationally for northern pike, early spring pike action can be some of the finest you will experience.

It can, however, also be tough.

And, similar to other fishing ventures at this time of year, weather is the deciding factor.

Generally speaking, warming trends with a steady or rising barometer can be fabulous, so spring pike love stable weather conditions.

Although they do feed during the winter, they don’t during the strenuous spawning period which has just finished.

So, given the opportunity, they will be eager to voraciously search for and capture your baits.

Spring is the best time of year in Simcoe to work surface and subsurface lures such as the Rapala Husky Jerk or big X Rap’s.

Newly emerging weed growth can be difficult to find, especially with late winter ice outs and cool springs such as we have had so far, but if you find some fresh, green aquatic plant growth, you can often find the big hungry northern not too far off.

If action near the surface subsides, throwing bright flashy Terminator Spinnerbaits can be deadly ... and with this model made from titanium, they won’t get all bent out of shape once engulfed by a thrashing pike.

As is often the case on the day of your fishing excursion, the weather suddenly turns cold and blustery or even one of those dreaded blue bird days after the front.
Knowing that fishing could be tough from the onset will help you prepare mentally for what could be a long day on the water.
After fishing pike tournaments for at about 20 years, I have had my share of cold fronts to fish through and these spring northerns can be negatively affected big time.
However, you can use this to your advantage if you slow down your presentations and possibly even revert to throwing jigs tipped with various plastics.

Another secret I am willing to reveal is watch the temperature gauge on your sonar units.

Look for the warmest water you can find, preferably with the presence of new weed growth.

In early spring, under cold front conditions, finding areas where the temperature is only a few degrees warmer, can make all the difference in the world.

And while others are bemoaning their misfortune in colder waters you will finesse your way to some pike.

For more information on the pike tournament or transfer contact the club’s tournament director Tom Tsatskas at or visit


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