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Believe it or not Downtown Toronto is one of my favorite places to fish for largemouth bass. I love it because the average size of fish is big (6lb 4oz is my best in Toronto) and it’s close to my apartment so I can fish and still go out at night after a bad day of fishing lol ! I have been fishing Toronto Island and the harbor for over 20 years now. Over the past 20 some odd years I have learned a few things about what these largemouth like and what to look for.
The type of cover that I have consistently caught bass from is weed lines close to sand, trees, vines overhanging sand and man-made structures (docks, bridges, etc.).
Here is how I like to fish each of these areas. As for the weed lines breaking into sand, Pop ‘R’s, Spooks and more recently Zoom Horny Toads have been producing very well in these areas, even on sunny days. Always have a returning bait ready for a fish that might blow up and miss your bait. I can’t remember how many times I’ve cast a follow up bait like a tube or a crazy rigged Senko and caught the fish that had just missed my top water. The rod I like for topwater hard baits is a 7′m St.Croix Tournament Legend baitcasting rod spooled with 17lb Berkley XT. As for the toad, I rig it on a 3/0 wide gap worm hook on 7′mh St. Croix Tournament Legend rod with 50lb Powerpro.
For trees I like to skip weightless Texas rigged Senko’s and Texas rigged tubes (weight inside). Jumping over allows me to stay well back from very shallow trees and be thrown in without scaring the beasts that might live there. For this technique I like the 6′8″ mxf St. Croix Avid or a 6′6″ mh Avid spinning rod rigged with 14lb fireline and 30lb Powerpro when it gets the cover it gets really heavy. For tubes and Senko’s, the more subtle colored baits have produced best like smoke colors, watermelons and browns.
Around vines hanging over sand, I like to hit a 9/16 oz jig. I like the jig here because even if it crosses a vine path it can still burst through and penetrate to the bottom where a Senko can get caught and tear vines to try and get the bait out, this really alarms the fish, NO GOOD! I like to use a 7′6″mh St. Croix Tournament Legend bait casting rod rigged with 65lb Powerpro for this application. In terms of colors, all black jigs work with black bits, black and blue jigs and all the subtle watermelons, mud and browns. But if I had to pick one for Toronto, it would be the 9/16 green pumpkin with black flake made by Lightning Series Lures (http://lightningserieslures.com). It’s the nicest color for Toronto in my opinion.
Around man-made structures, I vary my presentations according to depths and currents. When fishing deep docks and boats, I like a 9/16 oz jig because I can easily cover a wide range of depths with this bait when swimming it along a deep dock, boat or piling. I also like to use 25lb fluorocarbon in this situation because in this deep clear water the fish can have a long time to inspect for flaws in the presentation. On shallower docks, I might opt to skip the Senko’s and tubes. In terms of bridge pilings, shaking head worms and dropshotting Strike Zone Tournament Baits (http://strikezonetournamentbaits.com) such as the Slammer and Dart Worm have produced extremely well. I just cast each of these presets at the poles and slowly drag them around each structure, this works exceptionally well when there is power. For the shaky head I use a 7′m spinning rod rigged with 10lb fluorocarbon and for dropshot I use a 6′9 St. Croix Tournament Legend dropshot spinning rod also rigged with 10lb flurocarbon. The weight for the shaky head that I use is 1/16 oz in shallows and 1/8 oz in deeper areas with light current. For drop shot I use a 1/0 fly hook and a 1/4 oz drop shot weight.
Recently I have caught a few fish almost in the middle of nowhere. I hooked them out in the deep harbor. This really opened my eyes and made me realize that pods of suspended largemouth exist. I haven’t really figured these out yet. I stumbled upon them one day while floating around and casting a surface frog over 25 feet of water. I was just casting because I was waiting for my friend to get oil for the boat, I didn’t really expect to get bitten. But guess what, one blew up on the bait and I ended up landing a 3lber. I quickly threw a crazy Senko over the area and picked up two more fish around the same size. And there have been other times when I have seen small schools just swimming along over the “deep nothingness” and have not been able to catch them.
I guess the moral of the story is that even though I have been fishing this area for over 20 years I still have my work cut out for me and you can never stop learning. Just when you think you have it figured out, Mother Nature throws you a curveball. Once I figure out this new pattern I will let you know, it might take a while lol!
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