Getting It In Gear – Episode 426

This was probably one of the most anticipated fall fishing trips of the season for us. It was an exotic journey, launching the Princecraft on Lake Nipigon, then travelling the big lake to find the mouth of the Sturgeon River. Once in the river, it was a gorgeous early morning boat ride upstream, through rays of morning sunlight, as we cut through the rising mist—truly a spectacular sight for a couple of excited anglers.


Once we arrived at our first fishing spot, we really had no idea what to expect. It was a slow-moving deep turn in the meandering Sturgeon.

“We fired our first casts,” says Pete, “and Ang suddenly whispers something like, ‘My god, there’s literally thousands of Whitefish right under our boat.’ As I looked down, somewhat skeptical, I could see he wasn’t telling a fish story; the river bend was virtually loaded with whities.”

As the boys fished this pool as they have never fished before, it became very evident: the fish weren’t interested in their offerings. Spinners, spoons, tiny cranks, worms… no matter what they tried, nada!

It can be tough to pull Ang and Pete from a thousand fish that they’re targeting. After an in-boat meeting, however, they decided to move upriver.


The next spot was a straight stretch with gorgeous wood entering the water along the shoreline. Trees and logs: snaggy but definitely worth checking out.

Almost instantly, Ang was pounded by a fish. “The problem was it was a big Speckled Trout,” says Angelo. “Not that I don’t like catching big specks, that’s for sure; it’s that they were in the river spawning and out of season.” With that, the boys made a quick release and were fishing again in no time.

Minutes later, Ang sets again. Another Speck. It’s definitely time to leave this spot. Although they could see Whitefish among the Trout, they didn’t want to disturb any more of the spawners—a good call.

Onward and upward to the start of the river, a waterfall area near a hydro plant. This is where the tides turned.


The similarity to this area and the previous downriver spots was the abundance of Whitefish. The difference? These ones could be caught!

We have to let you in on a funny story here. As the boys left the studio for this shoot they made an emergency “five minutes before closing” stop at the Oshawa SAIL store to grab some small spinners. Pete ran in, grabbed five or six different sizes and colours, and they closed the doors behind him. Now fast forward to the waterfall area that the boys were fishing and, you guessed it, only one of those spinners was working.

Pete opened the SAIL bag and said: “Ang, take your pick.” Angelo grabbed a smallish Mepps—probably a size one or two. Pete then grabbed the same lure, only in the next size down. Once the boys started fishing, Pete’s smaller spinner was working wonders while Ang’s… not so much.

Pete, feeling the searing stares of Ang, said: “Here, you use this one.”

They exchanged spinners and guess what? Nope, not what you’re thinking. Pete still kept catching fish while Ang… not so much.

Angelo, not being the man to lay down in submission, carefully studied everything: the speed Pete was reeling; the time from when the spinner hit the water to the start of the retrieve; the line size; everything.


After every option was exhausted, Angelo finally found the issue. Unbeknownst to either of the boys, Pete’s reel had a slightly slower gear ratio than Ang’s. So what looked like the same retrieve speed at the handle was actually a slightly slower speed.

Angelo slowed down his retrieve and bang: fish after fish into the boat.

That, folks, is what can happen in fishing: A subtle difference can dramatically change an entire day on the water.