Thursday, 19 December 2013

Team TFB's 2013 Season

 Well here we are at the end of another great year. Every year seems to get better and better. It didn't start off that way though. A bad showing at the Everstart on Okeechobee then a zero at Guntersville, it was not looking good. I knew I had to make some changes after Gunters. I was sick all the time and gaining weight and it was seriously effecting my game. So I decided to start off by looking after my health and getting into some kind of shape besides round. The next thing on my agenda was my tournament strategies. In the last 4 years I had gotten better but I kept feeling like I was doing something wrong or I was missing a piece of the puzzle. And as you all know that missing piece is different for all of us. So I decided that I was going to switch things around. Instead of getting a limit then going to look for a kicker I was going hog hunting all day long. No more dinks, if I got disparate  I could always find dinks. I would rather weigh in 2 fish for 10 lbs. than 5 for 12 lbs. That way at least I knew I was on a pattern and I had a shot at big fish. The second thing was the bait size. I have gone crazy big on everything, yes you catch less fish but what you do catch is great. This can be frustrating at times because you can go hours without a bite, but once you come to grips with the facts you settle down. What are the facts?, well fact 1 is you are only looking for 5 bites that's it just 5 fish. The second is yes my bait works, I believe in my baits so much that if I didn't get bite then there's no fish here. No questions, just move, that simple. This has been my strategy this year and it will be for now on. Go big or go home and brutally slow.

 This has gotten us numerous top tens, including second place and a The CSFL Regional Cup win. We have also won big fish several times this year. I say we because TFB is a team which includes anglers and our sponsors. Each member held their own and produced this year. Marc Mauricio and I had a 9th place finish on Gloucester Pool, Nelson Oliveira and I had a 2nd place on Scugog and Casey Ruttan and I won the Regional Cup just to name a few.

 Our sponsors have really pulled their weight as well. My St. Croix rods have been phenomenal. I never would have been able to pull my fish out of the slop with any other rod. My Evinrude has run like a bullet all season long without missing a beat. When I was flipping slop on those windy days my PowerPole kept me pinned in place and allowed me to work those big largemouth. Freedom Tackle has completely changed my game. There are so many possible ways to rig your bait with their products. And their new spinnerbaits are incredible. JB's Fishing Depot has kept me in stock with everything I have needed to stay on the water and keep fishing. You will not find a bigger and better selection of St. Croix Rods or Gary Yamamoto anywhere. I have also started using VIGOR Eyewear this year and I have to tell you I love them. So lite and they cut the glare right down so that you get great penetration. Via Rail and Sirius Satellite Radio have been fantastic and very supportive. CPI Pictures and Management has work hard all year long keeping me on track and working for my future  and the future of Team TFB. I can not say enough about Russell Peters. He has been so supportive and has followed us very closely to be as informed as possible to make constructive suggestions and input.

 I would like to thank all of my sponsors and my team mates for their help this year. You guys have been superb. I would also like to thank other people in my life that have helped me reach this point. People like Bob Izumi, Danny Dunn, Dave Mercer, Jack Summers and Steve Crowley, I would also like to thank the CSFL for all their hard work. They sacrifice their summer so I can play and for that I thank you.

 I have some big plans for 2014 and its all starting with the FLW on Okeechobee in 2 weeks so I better sign off for now.

 Take Care and Tight Lines everyone.

Thursday, 25 April 2013

At the Ramp

 Sitting here at the boat ramp behind the Best Western in Guntersville waiting for the fog to lift it dawns on me that I haven’t been home in weeks and I’m starting to feel like the Littlest Hobo! Life on the road and tour can be fun and exciting but is often hard and lonely. Moving from lake to lake and state to state giving myself a week to learn the lake and hammer out a pattern before the tournament. And I don’t always do it but I love the challenge! I love it all actually, the lakes, the people, and the weather. That’s right even the weather. I have fished in snow storms, freezing rain, small craft warnings, and tornados. It has all been fun, sort of.  I have met so many people and some of them have even become lifelong best friends. We have shared information and spots and some have even invited me into their homes to meet their families knowing I’m so far away from mine. Moments I will never forget.

 By now I have fished a lot of different tourneys, everything from shot gun starts, and yes they fired off a shot gun, to the FLW Tour to BASS and I love them all but I love fishing at home in Ontario the most.  Seeing all the familiar faces and that feeling of comfort that you have knowing the body of water you’re on. I don’t know what the summer would be without the Pollotta’s, Danny Dunn, or the Izumi’s just to mention a few. But I do this because I love fishing new water! Learning a new lake and figuring out the pattern is so rewarding and it is the best way to grow and become a better angler. But then again there is something to be said about trying out a new technic on water that you know holds fish.

 Last night both my wife and my mom wished me luck for this morning. They always do, I try to explain to them that it’s not about luck. It’s about working the problem and finding the pattern. But I don’t think they understand, they picture me in some back bay, water like glass, sitting back in a chair, cigar hanging out of my mouth, totally at peace like some scene from on golden pond or something. But it’s not like that at all. From blast off to weight in its non-stop high stress and high anxiety. A million things to do and think about in seconds.  They call my boat number and I stand on the gas! You get pinned to your seat and your blind till the bow comes down. Trim up, jack-plate up, watch the rpm and look for holes in the traffic for you to move into and pass. You shoot out of the river, creek, or bay and head for big open water, and then your worse fears have come to pass. The weather man was wrong and the wind came early. You think are those 3 or 5 footers and by then you hit the first one and nope their 6’s and the boat slams down like a crystal vase hitting a ceramic floor. Water comes over the bow, you hit the pump switch, look behind to make sure when you lay off the throttle you don’t get run over. Trim down, plate down, and throttle back. Now do I run? Are my fish going to be there? Am I good enough to get them? Am I good enough to make this run? This has to be one of the most honest moments in your life. The answer has to come from your gut, not your head, you can’t trust your head it’s full of ego and emotion, it has to be your gut. Most of the time I settle down for the long slow drive to my water, but every now and then my gut tells me to fish the river, lol. So I do. I know I won’t have the winning bag but I have 70 tournaments to fish this year and don’t want to lose the boat this early in the season. Weight in a limit, get on stage, thank the sponsors, pay the bills, and live to fish another day. That’s a lot to think about before stuff the next wave. I’m addicted to it, a tournament junkie you might say, so I say thanks and promise to be safe and tell them that I’ll see them soon. What else can I say?

Well the fog is lifting and the boats are starting to move up for blast off so I’ll say see you all soon and tight lines. Mike.                 

Sunday, 18 November 2012


 It's almost done, the year I mean. I get asked a lot why I don't fish more in November and December and the answer is simple. I don't like too and I don't have too. My tournament season starts in January actually next year it starts this December 31st and it ends around the first week of November. I'm beat and the crazy thing is I can't rest. There's so much to do around the house after 10 months of doing nothing. I owe it to my wife and kids to spend the time I have getting the house and the yards back in order for the next year. This year was a basement reno. We finished the basement so the kids would have a play room and I could finally move the office of TFB off my dinning table and into an area in the basement. It's important to me to have my "homework" as I call it done. That way when I'm on the water my head is clear and there are no calls from home with lists of stuff that's broken or needs replacing. A clear head so important out there, especially when you can't find them.

 So get your homework done and you won't have an issue when you tell her your going fishing.

 Take Care and Tight Lines.

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

CSFL Chippawa

Ok, ok I said that I was staying away from big water for the rest of the year cause of what happened at the Everstart 1000 Island event, but the thought of my year already being done and its only September just depressed me. I got a call from my good friend Andy Pallotta of the CSFL asking me if I was fishing the southwestern tour of the CSFL, I said I was honestly thinking about it. Then talking to Casey Ruttan he expressed great interested in doing it. I think it was a "hell yeah!" And with a call from one of my best friends Danny Dunn saying he was going that sealed it. I figured we would be fishing deep dropshoting smallies in big waves. So that's what we did for the 2 days of practise and caught very little. Come Saturday morning I was figuring we would weight in a small limit every day and hope we would get enough points for next years Classic. Talking to Casey in the morning before blast off we came up with the idea that we would try something completely different because everything we were doing wasn't working. So shallow we will go! Where I don't know. lol! We will leave the Chippawa river and hit lake Erie and as soon as I see something I like we'll stop and fish. We were 1 mile out in the lake when I pull hard right on the north shore stopped and started fishing. We moved up to 4" and I started whipping my watermelon red and black senko around. I figured if nothing else this thing always catches fish. We weren't there 5 minutes when I caught the first smallie and started seeing all kinds of smallies swim around the boat, from 2 to 6 pounders. But the wouldn't bite, the close ones never do too spooked I guess but it was hard not to chase them so we did, lol. As we moved to a little deeper water, like 6 to 8" we started dropshoting them using Xzone slammers. We spent the whole day moving along this break on the gps going deeper then shallow throwing senko's and dropshoting picking up fish as we went along. Day one which was a wildcard event we ended up with 5 smallies for 14.25 lbs, which I was happy with cause of such a bad practise. I figured if we could do this again tomorrow we could get some good points and then work on Lake St. Clair in 2 weeks.

 Laying in bed that night I thought about the fish we saw and what we did wrong. Tomorrow I will not chase the fish I see no matter how big they are and just concentrate on those fish cruising around  far out in front of the boat. I'll long bomb my senko out as far as I could get it. It worked and we culled the whole day. At the end of the day I was hoping for 17 lbs and Casey was think closer to 18. Well we were both shocked with 5 smallies for 19.65 lbs and 3rd place.

 My Evinrude ran fantastic all week long and the Ranger handled perfectly. The bite was so soft that there is no way I would have felt those fish without my St. Croix Legend Tournament Drop Shot/ Finesse rod. We weighted in 3 fish and caught so many on Xzone Slammers it was incredible. I would like to thank JB's Fishing Depot for keeping me supplied with Slammers and Senko's, they always have a good stock of both. My partner for this event was Casey Ruttan, a great stick and a solid angler. He was able to adapt to whatever was happening and act without me having to ask. I would have not been able to pull these fish without him. And of course none of this would be possible with out the funny man Russell Peters. I would also like to thank Bay Marine for keeping me on the water, Sirius Satellite Radio, Evinrude, JB's Fishing Depot, Xzone Baits, everyone at CPI Pictures & Management for all you do, and St. Croix Rods.

 Well I'm off to prepare for Lake St. Clair, I've never been there before so I have a lot of homework to do. Take care and tight lines everyone.


Sunday, 19 August 2012

FLW Everstart 1000 Islands

 Wow what an event! First I had to fight my way to this tournament. My Ranger has had steering issues for the last month. I haven't been able to locate the problem so it has put a damper on where and how I run to my water. I was at my mechanic's till 4 pm on Wednesday, I called Ron and told him I was on my way but was going to be late. Made it just as the meeting started. So the next morning I hit the water with no pre-fish and not knowing if my steering was fixed. My only choice was to run to my Canadian Open water near Kingston. It isn't far just 14 miles away on the north side of Wolf island in the Bateau Channel. But when I hit the gas at blast off and my Etec ripped to the right I knew my motor wasn't fixed and had gotten worst. So what to do? Do I run anyway or play it safe and hang around Clayton fishing the boat slips and docks? Well I know there's fish at my spot and the Lord hates a coward so we ran. Fighting the boat to my water I was beat! And I was right my fish were there but they wouldn't bite, what a long day and then the trip back to Clayton wasn't very fun.

 Day 2 was building to be a day from hell. High winds and thunderstorms, everyone at the hotel was talking about it. Where to go? Run out to Lake Ontario or stay in the river. I didn't know what to do, and now with the weather adding to my boat control issue the smart thing to do is to call it and keep the boat on the trailer. I'm not that smart, lol! I quickly changed my 3 blade prop to my 4 blade hoping to get some traction and headed for the ramp. Now where to go? I only have a few spots besides the Bateau channel and they will not protect me from the weather coming which was there by blast off. So off we go back across the river to Canada with the thought of slowing it down and a colour change might get a bite or five. At 2pm I had 4 fish that were not very promising but was better that a scratch. Our trip back to Clayton was going to be tough so I gave us 45 mins to do that 10 min run. When I made then turn out to the gap at Quebec Head to make my run I thought the world was coming to an end, LOL! 4 to 6 foot waves coming off the lake with rouges coming from every direction cause of the wind gusts. I tacked my way back with out incident till just outside Clayton when I stuffed the first of several waves. Wasn't too bad I thought and I could see flat water less than a mile away in Clayton Bay. Then we stuffed another, and another and then a big one! I got that sliding backwards sinking feeling that turns your stomach. I looked back and saw my Evinrude disappearing, water was running off the back deck, the pumps were on and my Etec was pinned and not giving up. My non-boater ran up to the front deck to try and bring it down to pull the stern out of the water. Slowly she climbed out of the water and we pulled out of it. By then my timing was off and we stuffed another one. Keeping the bow up and my Evinrude pinned we pulled out and was able to make it to the calm water of Clayton. I have been in bigger water with bigger waves and I have never had to fight so hard to make it back. Between the weather and my boat not steering right I happy to be back and safe. I have to say I love my Ranger and my Evinrude, once again the saved my life. I will never have anything else!

 A special thanks to St. Croix Rods, I caught all my fish on a Rage dropshot rod using a Xzone Slammer Road Kill Perch, which was purchased at JB's Fishing Depot. And of course none of this would be possible with out the funniest man alive Russell Peters.       

  Well I'm off to air out the boat and dry my equipment. Tight lines and take care everyone.

Sunday, 22 July 2012

2012 Kingston Canadian Open

 Wow what a tournament! I always have so much fun in Kingston. Let me first tell you how my pre-fish went. The weather wasn’t always cooperating so I had to launch the boat from a different place every day close to where ever I was planning to fish that day. My fish where exactly where I left them last year and I notice that some bigger fish had moved in including some smallmouth! My problem was that there’s so many fish there that I was going to be culling all day. But what was bothering me the most was all the giant pike that I was seeing. On average I was catching about 6 to 8 pike a day and 2 or 3 of them were over 40”.

 Come day 1 I was feeling great, I knew my fish were there and all I had to do was get through enough of them every day to bring in 20 lbs a day which I thought would cut me a check. But first I had one stop to make, and that was to some secluded cane I found in a foot of water that was holding a few big largies. Well with a cold front that moved in overnight we were only able to pull two keepers and a 3.55 out flipping. So off to my deep grass drop shotting for largies. That’s right I dropshot largemouth in 18 to 25 feet of water over grass beds. I did this all three days and slammed them. Besides catching the odd toothy critter it was none stop action! Oh yeah there’s a pike out there with $500.00 of equipment in its mouth! It grabbed my bait from the side of the boat and took off with my rod! Lol! Yes I can laugh now but not yesterday morning, I knew that if I couldn’t move past it I might as well put my boat on the trailer.

 Well at the end of it all I was pretty consistent weighting in 15 to 16 pounds every day and having a blast doing it. I look forward to this tournament every year; I love Kingston and its people. I have so much fun hanging out with all the other anglers and meeting so many new people and making friends. The CSFL works so hard and does such a great job of everything it run so smooth. I would also like to thank Shimano for all they do to make this event possible and run so smoothly. Their live release boats are a great asset to the tournament industry here in Canada. So I ended up in 34th fishing against the biggest names and the best sticks in Canada and I’m more than happy with that.  

 I would like to thank Russell Peters for his endless support, CPI Pictures and Management for everything they do with my career and the show. JB’s Fishing Depot, VIA Rail, Bay Marine, Xzone Baits, Sirius Satellite Radio. My St. Croix dropshot was great all the way till the pike stole it, and my BRP Evinrude never gave up in those giant swells bring me home safely every day.

 Tight lines everyone.

Monday, 9 July 2012

CSFL Georgian Bay & Gloucester Pool

 What a weekend! Prefished Thursday and Friday on both lakes found a ton of fish and shook off a ton more. Saturday was Georgian Bay, we had a 2 hour delay due to a tornado warning which never showed thank god but we did get a ton of rain. My fish were largemouth on a flat first thing in the morning. They come out there to feed for first light, They stay out there till about 10 am in 2 feet of water chasing bait fish, I have also caught the odd smallmouth there doing the same thing. It's a great place for me to do what I love to do the most which is throwing a swimbait. But with the rain and a big drop in temperature they weren't there so a flip'in we go. My partner for these events was Casey Ruttan, a great angler and a real funny guy. We flipped the rest of the day pulling fish out of clumps of weeds and managed to weight in 8.3 pounds for our 3 fish. I don't know why the bay has a 3 fish limit cause the lake is so health. Well the wind picked up in the afternoon so we gave enough time to make our way back safely. You always have to be careful when your dealing with weather on the Great Lakes. My Evinrude didn't miss a beat while I was working my way across the bay. I love my ETEC. We finished in 40th not great but it happens.

 Sunday was Gloucester Pool, I love this lake. I have had a spot on the pool for 3 years now and the fish have been there during practise but were never there tournament day leaving me high and dry to run and gun. Well they were there this time and we crushed them! Smallies in 25' to 50' of water. When we practised we were catch them dropshotting Xzone slammers but tournament morning they were all high just a foot down so we threw to the fish. Topwater smallies in 50' and it was crazy, we were culling by 9:30. As the day progressed the fish moved deeper and we moved with them. We went from topwater to jerkbait to dropshotting Xzone slammers. I tell you my St. Croix baitcasting dropshot rod it perfect in everyway. I was able to pull those big smallies up from the deep and never worrying about the rod giving to much slack or not giving enough for my 8 lbs fluro to hold. In the end we weighted in 15.15 lbs and came in 9th place. I had a great time, Casey fished hard and was a real pleasure to fish with. The CSFL did a great job as always keeping us safe on Saturday and making everything run smoothly.

 Well I have to go clean the boat and prep for a Renegade on the Ottawa river. Take care everyone and tight lines.