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Dropshotting Early Season Smallies

A prime example of a smallmouth bass living out at the “Ducks”. • Credit: Fish n Canada
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Dropshotting Early Season Smallies

Main Duck Island in Lake Ontario is part of Thousand Islands National Park

"Angelo discovered this area over 20 years ago and it’s still producing hawgs today," says Pete.



When Pete of Fish'n Canada was asked at a production meeting. "Next week is the first week of the bass season; where, when, and what bass species?" He instantly jumped in with "Lake Ontario... Main Duck Island... smallies!"

Angelo quickly concurred and gave Pete his blessing, knowing just how awesome the area is for smallmouth bass, especially early in the season.

With that, Pete looked at the upcoming weather, which will 100% dictate as to whether or not he (or anyone, for that matter), can travel out to the Ducks. Depending on where you launch will determine the length of time it takes to finally end up at Main Duck. From Kingston, it’s a long 20+ mile run; anything but calm seas makes this an almost impossible and very unsafe trek.

07 Dropshotting Smallies selfie
A rare cell phone “Selfie” that Pete snapped while fishing Main Duck Island. (Photo credit: Fish'n Canada)

Main Duck Island is owned by Parks Canada. Its only real use is either a stop-over for sailboats in the protected harbour, or for smallmouth bass fishing.

Migrating birds still use Main Duck Island, as well as a strong population of water snakes, which our cameraman found out quickly while getting shots from the shore! There are no squirrels, skunks or raccoons on the island; it’s a very desolate place.

There are, however, lots – and we mean lots – of smallmouth bass inhabiting the surrounding water of the island.

With a calm mid-week day, Pete set out on the long journey.

07 Dropshotting  Smallies SunsetThis is a welcoming sight on Lake Ontario; calm water and a glowing sun. (Photo credit: Fish'n Canada)

"The boat ride to the Ducks is pretty freaky, as you leave you can see the mainland behind you but as you look forward, it’s just an open expanse of water and sky," says Pete. “Nowadays, the GPS makes this trip a breeze as far as finding the island is concerned, but back in the day when Ang and I only had paper maps to deal with... man, that was a scary adventure!”

Our recently modified Princecraft is equipped with two Garmin 1020s. "Not only do you need the GPS mapping to get you too far away locations like the ducks,” says Pete, “but water temperatures are critical to staying on top of during the early part of bass season."

With the temperatures being a shade cooler out on the island than on the mainland, Pete knew the fish were in a perfect and catchable state.

"I started by pulling jerkbaits and spinnerbaits but couldn’t get much going," says Pete, "since I could see the odd fish cruising I switched to dragging a tube in front of them. That worked a bit, but definitely not what I was looking for."

"I moved to a drop-shot rig with a Yamamoto Senko and bam... that was the ticket!"

"From then on, I could almost call my fish. If I could see them, I had a great chance of catching them. You have to remember, the water on Lake Ontario is gin clear, so seeing these big black smallies cruising is pretty easy."

This was a very fun show for Pete to shoot, and a fantastic way to start his bass season.


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