Kevin’s Kawarthas Fall Bass Bonanza

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Kevin with a Kawartha's Largemouth Bass

There’s something satisfying about having one of your fishing buddies cancel on a canoe trip last minute, then you end up catching more monster bass than one could ever imagine on that same trip. Every time I hooked into a trophy largemouth or feisty smallmouth, I’d point the video camera at the catch, call out his name, and taunt him unmercifully. It was absolutely glorious.

Check the video out here:

The trip was planned for early fall. The idea was to canoe and portage into a central lake set in Ontario’s Kawartha Highlands Provincial Park and then bushwhack into some side hidden lakes/ponds to try our angling luck.

My main fishing buddy, Ashley, had to cancel due to extra hours given to him at his factory job. But my other canoe mate, Tim, could still make it. And the best part about Tim is that he doesn’t fish. He prefers to just paddle me around while I cast out from the bow. Perfect!

The leaves were just starting to change, the nights cold and the days warm, and the bass were fattening up before the real cold weather hit. Weed beds were wilting away along the shoreline, creating low oxygen levels where the bass usually hung out during the summer months. That meant the largemouth were found deeper in the bays and smallmouth were hunkering further out from shoals. It also meant the fish were slower to strike. Instead of attacking a popper or floating frog, they’d grab a scented jig tail and slowly swim away with it. You wouldn’t feel the bite. You’d just see your line move across the surface of the water. By waiting a few seconds and then giving your rod an unhurried but steady tug – fish on!

During the three days, two nights, camped out in the Kawartha Highlands, we paddled and portaged through half-a-dozen back lakes; some I knew about and some I hadn’t visited until this trip. I caught well over 20 fish a day – and most weighing in at the 2-5 lb. range. Some were even bigger.

A Kawartha largemouth breaking the surface
Angel enjoying the back lake largemouth action

Ashley’s Kawartha Bass Redemption

The next weekend I headed out with my fishing buddy, Ashley, that couldn’t make the past canoe camping trip. It was just a day outing in the Kawarthas, and he did manage to catch a few good smallmouth bass. He called it redemption day – he caught the majority of the fish while I paddled him around. However, I continued to taunt him. Every time he reeled a fish in I’d loudly state how it wasn’t even close to the size of the monsters I was reeling in during his absence the week before.

See video here

Kevin Callan

Kevin (aka The Happy Camper) is the author of 18 books; his latest being Once Around Algonquin: An Epic Canoe Journey. He is an award winning writer and a keynote speaker at outdoor events across North America. Kevin is also a regular guest on several television morning shows – including The Outdoor Journal. He has won several film awards and was listed as one of the top 100 modern-day explorers by the Canadian Geographical Society. He was also made Patron Paddler for Paddle Canada.

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