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  1. My last report ended with the autumn fish run that makes pointe au baril a premium Ontario fishing location, personal bests were caught and some personal therapy was had. As the leaves fell and the nights got long, the trophies fishing team and I had an itch...an itch that can only be scratched in a few selected places around the world and as lucky Canadians we are indeed in one of those places...we longed for hard water. So once again without further adieu I present to you AKRISONERS (EH-KREE-ONE-ERS) semi annual year in review. As most of you can remember, December came with a bang, could you believe it? We're we going to be on the ice in southern Ontario before Christmas? The forecast told us yes..the transition from fishing on soft water with no snow in the cold, to fishing in a winter wonderland was about a week, our lake locked up...but then dread set in as Georgian bay started squalling like crazy, dumping over a foot of snow on our new fresh layer of ice...what we were left with was literally 6 inches of the worst ice I have ever seen. If you could even call it ice...but the boys and I were bound and determined to wet lines through a hole, so on came the lifejackets, the ropes and ice picks...we walked to the dock and hopped on, strolled out to the end of the dock and I attempted to punch a hole with my spud...yup it went right through as if the ice wasn't even there. We punched holes and sat on the dock, not marking a damn thing..I knew that we needed to be about 10 yards out from the dock...I said screw it...I tied off and got ready to fall through...shimmying at first in an army crawl, then slowly standing...I sunk a bit...but didn't go through! We were in business. Yes that ice was as bad as it looks, yes I was literally 50 yards from a heated winterized cottage. Where we walked proceeded to pack and freeze up the top layer of ice...we spent three days absolutely hammering pike, unfortunately no big girls came to play but the numbers were ridiculous. The funniest bit was when our tip ups went off, watching eachother gingerly make our way to the tip up while trying not to fall through the ice. Winter locked in the snow came down heavy...winter was shaping up to be the "traditional Canadian winter" that everyone thought we were going to get My family christmas was on boxing day so much to my buddy's jealousy i spent christmas morning 2016 by myself jigging pike in PAB with not a soul to be seen. Some time in January I exchanged messages with a nick from the forums, we agreed to exchange some spots. My fellow trophies teammate dave is absolutely crappie obsessed...i don't even know why, he doesn't eat a lot of fish but regardless he wanted to try get some crappie through the ice. Having never been able to solve the crappie equation in pointe au baril and in 12 years of fishing the area we had literally never even seen one never mind caught one. We made our way out, caught a few but the day was fairly slow...then our worst nightmare happened, the weather changed and the ridiculous mid winter warm spell settled in. The weather was so poor it basically ruined the ice everywhere. Luckily somehow pointe au baril managed to somewhat stay cold. Our ice held up, but family day was a ridiculous day of sitting out in 14 degree sunny weather getting a sun burn. We planned to try catch some pike and maybe a few pickerels if we were lucky. Set up camp and the unbelievable happened...I hear dave say "I'm on" it's a pickerel...sweet...but then dave screams OMG ITS A CRAPPIE! And proceeds to loose his bloody mind, I sprint out and we celebrate, the pointe au baril crappie skunk is over we are the master anglers after all lol! Dave even landed a couple more, I caught a few pike and pickerel. As the sun set it was time to pack up...I proceeded to make my way to each tip up we had set...as a rule I always ensure I set the hook when I release them from the rod...the final tip up I reel up the slack and set the hook and holy crap my drag starts screaming. it was a solid family day weekend. We wanted to test if it was just a fluke or whether or not this spot was as hot as it seemed... we went back and what do you know, almost immediately I hook into my first ever crappie what you dont see is that i proceeded to step on a ridge and absolutely bail hard smashing my knee about 2 seconds after this photo, never dropped the fish though! it may have only had shaken baby syndrome We proceeded to catch a few more throughout the day the spot was legit...it was time to plan a full solid day trying to snag these fish...plans were made and the following weekend was one for the books We ended up catching close to 30 crappies plus pickerels and pikes One thing for sure is that the pickerel are still spawning strong plenty of these little guys were kicking around As winter wore down...the itch to throw a cast grew stronger by the day, but what happened was astonishing. Our ice nearly completely thawed with a big rain storm, what were left with was a massive pile of slush with a water layer 4 inches thick...you couldn't even walk on the ice safely...but then the unthinkable happened, a set of -25 nights froze the lake completely solid...we literally ended up with the best ice I had ever seen in pointe au baril and it was the middle of march! What also happened for the first time in my life was that we were left with a lake that was perfectly flooded, hard and smooth...forget fishing it was time to skate on my 100 acre hockey rink I found some spare time to finish up a 4 sitting tattoo project, my pike and was finally full complete, I couldn't be more happy with the results The itch to cast was growing stronger and the ice didn't seem to have any ideas of going away...we started thinking about finally doing something we had talked for years about doing. I started checking out the logistics...and holy was it feasible...it was time to go to Alabama Planning on towing the boat down some work on the trailer was needed, change the wheel bearings, pretty err up, swap a tail light, minor details...so I thought...as someone commented in my trailer bearing debacle thread, no good deed goes unpunished...while hammering in my new races for the bearings with the proper race punch tool, I take a swing to watch my entire hub crack in half and shatter...and to make matters worse after phone calls and hour long drives to parry sound and back...my hub was going to need to be ordered from the states and we were outta time. The whole trip was basically toast...we went for a fish, broke some ice at least that was going to calm me down a bit, and as luck would have it we even found some more crappies holding near their winter pattern but this time on the Ultra lights...good times I was at least in an ok mood. My friend mike steps up makes a pile of calls and found us a boat...we were back in business 4 days before we were scheduled to leave. Gear is packed, we hop in the ram and begin our drive south at 2am, destination guntersville. The further we drive south I swear to god we feel like we are going back in time a little bit A stop at dicks sporting goods in Nashville tells us two things...Canadians get ripped off by the fishing industry and we just are ok with it ($11 spools of 300yard power pro, 2 for $10 live target swim baits, $3 original chatterbaits i could go on) The best part about Nashville though for those who haven't been are the many plentiful sights...and the accent just makes it that much more incredible. We reluctantly continued on our way all agreeing that we could easily end up married there over a weekend hahaha. A bit weary having been on the road for 14 hours straight, we had no idea what to expect as we proceeded to northern Alabama...the drive through the Midwest/rust belt had not been very eventful to say the least but all of sudden the world around us changed...we wondered if we had pulled a dumb and dumber and drove east into the Appalachians instead of south...southern Tennessee and Alabama were incredibly mountainous? And absolutely ridiculously gorgeous??? Us Canadian boys were confused but pleased...look at this bloody place! Pulling into guntersville state park we were greeted by some of the friendliest folks you could imagine, it was late, we were late but they were just ridiculously accommodating and welcoming. Southern hospitality was a theme, it's the real deal every person we met in Alabama was helpful, friendly, welcoming and just plain nice. We set up camp, tied up our rods, crushed a couple pops and hit the bed as images of 10lb toads danced through our heads I woke up to a rumble, a megaphone and some more loud roars that only a highly tuned 2 stroke could make. Weary we crawled from our tents, the sun not quite up, we looked to the lake to see what looked like ants floating about. I took a stroll closer to see what we knew. Basscat was having their annual owners invitational. I don't know if I will see as many high end bass boats for the rest of my entire life. Luckily guntersville is a big lake. The pressure wasn't too bad after all. Breakfast in us we headed to the town creek fishing center where we met a gentleman hailing from Minnesota who claimed he was so happy to finally hear someone talk like us again, he then proceeded to note every time I said eh and tease me about it, we shared some laughs. The guys told us some ideas for fishing and we were on our way. Pulling up to our first spot I had to unsheath my new custom top water rod made by DUnamis rods with a new reel, I had been waiting to throw a cast with that combo since January! Within 4 casts I hooked up...a 1lber but none the less we figured a good sign let the fishing commence. What proceeded for the next two hours was a punishing tough bite some nibbles but not what we expected. The scenery was good though I even caught mike looking into the bird man's eyes...such is the result (ask me about the bird man game, it's a good one) We then finally located some bass Where I then proceeded to notice something struggling in the shoreline brush...it was a bird and it was in distress. Realizing it was a commorant I pondered whether or not to save it, but then I saw the fishing line wrapped around its wing and I decided nothing deserves to die like that and as a fisherman I took responsibility for it. The neatest part about this was that once the bird realized I was trying to help it, it literally calmed down and just let me do what I needed to do. I was even able to loosen the grip on its neck while i cut away the line. We then proceeded to pick off a few more fish but then the slow period continued. It was now the afternoon and we didn't have a fish over 4lbs. Where the heck were the 10lbers?! We moved spots, right into a promising bay behind a tournament boat, and proceeded to land some more bass even though the tournament guys caught nothing. But that concluded our day of catching. We didn't know what to make of it. We went in, grabbed some food, and headed out for the evening bite where we proceeded to get skunked fishing some of the best looking timber and glass calm conditions you've ever seen. I felt like I was in a video game, the structure was so good and conditions so perfect but only the odd gar would blow our baits up, never landing any. A bit rattled we went McDonald's, impressed some of the local ladies we got a lot of looks laughed our butts off when dave said about one local "she puts the gunt in guntersville" and headed to bed The next day we tried some more local techniques in prime areas tried ripping lipless cranks over grass, drop shotting deep holes anything! Hooked up with a few lost a few more..and wouldn't you know it, our damn trip was over! Parked the boat and sure enough the heat gave out and a massive storm system rolled in. Sure enough tornado warnings started popping up to the north and south of us, We battened down the hatches and headed into town for some barbecue. The storm hit and we was a doozy. I've only seen rain like that a few times before. Some impressive downbursts as well did a bit of damage in the park. We were in for a soggy night, especially because my tent in it's old age had lost the majority of its waterproofing. I woke up basically floating on my small air mattresses in my tent lol 3 Canadian boys soaked, and defeated by Alabama, but not really the laughs and ability to wear shorts and t shirts bass fishing in April made it worth it! Home we headed, there were pike to catch and catch we did as the season opened up here I even managed to nab a couple of brookies on the fly in a local stream that shall not be named a first for me Soon enough one of the happiest days of the year arrived the kawarthas bass opener, and for it my good friend's dad was hosting a small family tournament. My team lobster partner jake was providing the boat. The locals all had their standard plan but I was thinking outside the box, we had other ideas to chase quality fish over quantity. We headed out the Friday before opener and scouted our spots and sure enough we were seeing fish still on the beds lounging up shallow, our game plan was to run to pigeon and find big smallies and then find green kickers in the last hour and a half. We headed out and I immediately landed a brown one...good omen? I then had blow ups on my next two casts...this was gonna be easy...or so I thought. we then proceeded to get skunked for the next two hours. Those bedded fish were gone?! when we decided to pitch some near by grass. The chatterbait Yanked our second fish out of the grass but we were already 3 hours in i called an audible and we started pitching docks on a rocky shoreline...my partner now almost 4 hours into a 7 hour tournament without a bite! When he gets a hit and it buries him and we almost lose it in the ensuing battle. We land it celebrate Jakes pb 4.9lb smallie and continue on our way picking off another fish We are now at 4 fish but we've got an hour and a half left. We head back to buckhorn and start aggressively hammering shorelines and bays with 10 minutes left the chatterbait gets slammed we've go the kicker we were looking for another 4lb largie. We get to the docks and the guys start telling us about how they began culling an hour in...uh oh? We didn't cull at all lol. Didnt matter we had two fish worthy of the big fish trophy and won the total weight by 4lbs Trophy reads that we are the master baiters then some big storms rolled through that brought those tornadoes to barrie and ended the evening bite The following week I took a week off of work to fish the g bay opener. I'll just let the photos do the talking. I broke 5lbs for the first time on opening day The guys headed home for the first 4 days of the work week while i stayed up north just me and my dog..perhaps better than the fishing was just hanging out enjoying the quiet beauty. dave caught the cottages first gar and we found some stacked up largies that had us hit a second 20lb bag in a week. The new helix got installed too, autochart live is fun! the dock fly fishing for pike was on fire too, its a great way to practice casting and catching! my first pike on the fly and one of many more The guys came back and we spent another few beauty evenings slapping smallies 10 years ago my neighbors used to tell me stories about how in the 80's you could park a boat at our boat house and we would laugh about the concept with Georgian Bay reaching all time low water levels...the rebound has found me spending the last two weekends I have been up there fixing docks to bring them back up to today's water levels...this has also meant I havent been fishing!! ughhh The totally unthinkable My next planned adventure has me going to Barry's bay and some more tournaments in the near future...I can't believe summer is half over? Till next time, thanks for reading
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