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Bucketmouths On the Bayside

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Bucketmouths On the Bayside

Ryan Gold (left) and author Scott McGuigan show off a few of the finer fish they found in Southern Ontario’s Rondeau Bay.

Fishing for largemouth bass on Lake Erie

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The hamlet of Erieau is a well-known destination for Ontario anglers. A quick right turn out of the full-service marina puts you into Lake Erie’s abundant walleye, steelhead, smallmouth bass, and perch. Our itinerary, however, had us turning left out of the marina channel and heading into Rondeau Bay in search of largemouth bass.

My buddies and I were soon casting spinner baits inside the bay, hoping to pinpoint schooling largemouth. It wasn’t long before a nice three-pound bass nailed one of our presentations. Another quickly followed before we changed tactics and began plunking weedy areas in search of even bigger fish.

Rondeau Bay is relatively flat and shallow. The absence of sharp drop-offs and structure tend to keep the bass lurking in the thick, weedy areas that encompass most of the bay. Even local fishermen have to spend a bit of time re-learning the bay, as the thick weed mats change slightly from year to year. But it is the weeds that attract the minnows and baby perch that big bass feed on.

Rondeau Bay largemouth bass Rondeau Bay largemouth bass, also commonly known as a 'bucketmouth'. (Photo credit: Scott McGuigan)
beer making Buddies Alan Cattrysse and Ryan Gold got a lesson in beer making before getting a taste of Long Pond Lager at the Bayside Brew Pub in southern Ontario’s Rondeau Bay. (Photo credit: Scott McGuigan)
The town of Eireau The town of Eireau is located near the mouth of Lake Erie’s Rondeau Bay in southern Ontario. (Photo credit: Scott McGuigan)

After landing another five or six largemouth, our appetite for catching fish was giving way to serious hunger. We turned to the Bayside Brew Pub for the fix. The Bayside Brewing Co., on the shore of the bay in Erieau, is Chatham-Kent’s only microbrewery. Anglers can pull right up to their floating dock for a midday snack and libation. We enjoyed a pint of their delicious Long Pond Lager, ate some appetizers, and ordered pizza from their wood-fired oven.

Before long we were back on the bay, flipping for more "largies." Under the warm afternoon sun we boated some of our best fish of the day – one easily breaking the four-pound mark. We couldn’t have asked for a nicer day, and the fishing was never dull. We snapped a few photos for the scrapbook before closing the books on a great day of fishing.

In addition to Rondeau Bay and Lake Erie, on-shore angling opportunities exist around the marina and pier. Should fishing not appeal to the whole family, there is a public beach in Erieau located on the lake side. For overnight accommodations consider Erieau Motel & Marina or Bayview Bliss Cabins. Both are located on the bay side with docks to park your boat.

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