Sutton ON: Teaming up to fish their first tournament together, Greg Klatt of Fenelon Falls and Wil Wegman, of Bradford ON managed to figure out where the bigger perch were on Lake Simcoe - and even more importantly, how to catch them. They had 9.60 pounds for their heaviest 15 perch by the end of the day and won the first ever Trap Attack Tournament hosted outside of the United States.
Trap Attack Ice Fishing Tournaments are held throughout the northern US states for hard core winter panfish anglers. The popular series of tournaments has never left US soil … or ice before, however their inaugural ‘non-qualifying' event on March 12, 2006 saw them come to Canada. It was held out of Sibbald Point Provincial Park on Lake Simcoe - where ice conditions still ranged from 12 to 18 inches. "This lake was chosen because it is recognized throughout North America as a world class perch fishery - with both large numbers of good sized perch and plenty above average sized perch", said Canadian Super Trap Attack organizer Rocky Madsen. Almost half of the 30 odd teams were from such states as Michigan, New York and Ohio with the rest coming from southern Ontario.
The format of this event was significantly different than the Canadian ice Fishing Championships held a couple weekends before. This one is run very similar to bass tournaments held during the open water season. Anglers have their buckets checked then blast off at 8am on their snowmachines, ATV's or on foot and head to their favorite fishing spots within the generous boundary area. In this case, anglers could fish from Jackson's to Duclos Point and around Georgina Island. Everyone had to be in by 2pm; the team with the heaviest 15 perch would win; only one hole/rod at a time and team members had to stay within 30 paces of one another.
Wil (left) and Greg, with a couple of their winning perch.
Klatt and Wil Wegman took off in the pouring rain aboard Greg's covered Argo and made the long run to Georgina Island. The Argo (which floats) was great assurance when crossing pressure cracks and traveling overtop the puddles of water on top of the ice. When they arrived, it was only a couple of minutes after dropping down his fire tiger colored jigging Rapala that Wil, exclaimed " Ooh, there's a good one," and the action began. For the first hour or so the bites were almost constant. They used their Normark Fin Bor 3's to quickly and effortlessly drill thru the 15-18 inches of ice and made several holes so that yet they could hop-scotch around from hole to hole to hole looking for big perch.
Some of the teams preparing for take off in the morning.
They found the perch wanted a variety of presentations so the anglers used a variety of lures and baits. Greg experienced hot perch action on a Blue Fox Flash Spoon, a minnow rig and mini tube jigs tipped with maggots. He found that with the needle sharp Gamakatsu hooks he used on all three baits, that he could hook and land even the lightest biters. Wil used his jigging Rap, a chartreuse- orange HT Marmooska jig and a locally made one inch Bad Boyz lure rigged with a Berkley Power Nymph. He tipped all the baits with either live maggots or Berkley Gulp! maggots. Both anglers found perch wanted the baits vibrated with a nervous-like twitch and then held still. If this did not entice reluctant biters they would slowly bring the bait off bottom in six inch increments and begin the twitching all over again. Both anglers also closely monitored their sonar units to detect perch activity. "Normally perch are very close to bottom and that is where you present your bait most of the time", explained Wil. "However today many were up to a metre off bottom and with the Lowrance Ice Machine I was able to see those fish that otherwise would not have ended up as part of our 15 perch limit."
The duo found that as the day progressed the fishing became slower and slower and the fish more and more finicky - so they just drilled more and more holes looking for larger fish to replace the smaller ones which were kept in pails full of fresh lake water. Like any tournament, catch and release was mandated and the veteran bass tournament anglers even added some non-iodized salt in the water with the perch to help keep them frisky and lively for the weigh-in at 2:00pm.
When it was finally time to head in though they found that the fog had settled in so thick that it was hard to see 75 yards ahead. "Once you lost the shoreline of Georgina Island you had no way to know for sure you were heading right to the Park", explained Greg. With the hand held Lowrance Color I Finder GPS unit that has the Navionics map chip of Lake Simcoe we could juts follow the screen right to the park." Several other teams were not as fortunate, as they ended up coming in late and loosing their weight for the day.
Greg and Will took home a $1,634- first place cheque and were equally thrilled to win the first ever Canadian Super Trap Attack Tournament on their favorite lake - summer or winter.
Greg Klatt is a year round, multi-species fishing guide on lakes throughout the Kawarthas, Haliburton and on Lake Simcoe. He has two Ontario Bass Classic Champion Titles. To reach Greg, you can visit his website at: www.Profishntanglingservices.com
Canadian Trap Attack Results:
Greg Klatt and Will Wegman Team #18 (9.80) LBS
Jeff Zeisner and Bill Valberg Team # 21 (8.31) LBS
George Fries and Robert Podleski Team #6 (7.90) LBS
John Bacarella and Richard Maison Team #1 (7.71) LBS
Jeff Anderson and Gilles Lanthier Team #25 (7.44) LBS
Daniel Browder and Glenn Bivins Team #10 (6.72) LBS
John Delicata and Vlado Crljen Team #26 (6.70) LBS
Derek Garvey and Joe Pilatckie Team # 22 (6.21) LBS
Hubert Warren Hill Jr. and Chris Marr Team #11 (6.00) LBS
Bryan Farmer and Shawn Garlow Team #12 (5.29) LBS