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Ontario Fishing Network
Volume 5,  Issue 8 - August 2005

In this issue:

Our Fishing Video Site is up and running. If you have hi-speed internet access click here to see some great short fishing video clips.  We've added a few new UNDERWATER Videos

Auld Reekie Lodge - Whether you pamper yourself with our full meal plan and the ultimate in comfort in one of our 6 luxury suites, or stay in a fully equipped 4 star cottage where you can cook your own meals, at Auld Reekie Lodge we feel we've got everything you're looking for and more. Auld Reekie Lodge, as featured on the Canadian Sportsfishing Show, is a true escape in the beauty of Northern Ontario's wilderness

Shooting Star Camp - Fishing Northern Pike, Walleye, Smallmouth Bass and Lake Trout in Metagama, Northern Ontario in the Spanish River Country near Elliot Lake. Offering some of northeastern Ontario's finest hunting and fishing opportunities, rustic fully equipped log outpost camps located on the shores of the beautiful upper Spanish river and surrounding lakes.

Bearskin Lodge - Family holiday resort in Northern Ontario. Fully equipped waterfront log cabins with screened porches and private docks. Pristine wilderness lakes at the gateway to Killarney Provincial Park. Hiking in LaCloche Mountains. Swimming beach, boat and canoe rentals. Fishing for walleye, pike, large and smallmouth bass. Blueberry and mushroom picking. Nightly campfires.


Does Size Really Matter?
 By Justin Hoffman

No matter what kind of fish an angler targets, deciding on the appropriate size of bait or lure to toss can often be a difficult decision. Whether it is fishing for largemouth bass, walleye, musky, or even perch, the question always comes up: "What size lure should I use?"

Although there is no perfect answer, figuring out seasonal patterns, and the preferences of various species, can go a long way in aiding you in your quest for fishing success. Size in the fishing world certainly does matter, and that's good news for the intuitive angler.

The Predator/Prey Relationship
Keep in mind when deciding lure size that fish are opportunistic feeders. When hunger strikes, they will hunt down and attack any available prey. Be it big or small, a hungry fish will often bite off more than it can chew, creating some problems when it comes time to swallow and digest its meal. Although this may seem like a "kamikaze" approach, and it certainly isn't the norm, studies have shown that, for the most part, there is rhyme and reason to the appetite of fish. Generally, fish will chase down and eat prey up to a fourth of their body size. This is their preference, and if prey that fits this profile is available, they will stick to these guidelines. For instance, a 50-inch musky could easily consume a 12-1/2-inch whitefish, or a 20-inch smallmouth would have no trouble with a 5-inch perch. Remember, however, that these are just guidelines, and are in no way set in stone.

We must remember that we are dealing with an animal that has a brain the size of a pea, and will very often make up their own rules. For example, I've caught musky that have hit lures that were larger than their own body length, not to mention largemouth and walleyes that have been caught on huge musky plugs that dwarfed their bodies!

The reason for establishing a guideline to preferred size is to give you as an angler a starting point for basic lure size selection. Keeping your lures within these limits for the particular specie you are chasing will help in uncovering the first piece of the puzzle. For instance, if you were out looking for a 20-inch largemouth, a crankbait of around 5 inches would be the cut-off point during normal conditions. As you will read later, these rules can be stretched depending on the situations you encounter.

Match The Hatch
Another important consideration when determining lure size is to figure out what the forage species are in the particular water you are targeting. Matching the size and shape of this "natural" food will ensure that you're throwing baits that will appeal to your quarry. Here's an example of how this could work with largemouth bass. If the only available food options to the bass are perch and shad, a quick look around the shallow areas of the lake will enable you to see the average size of these baitfish. Match this size and shape up to your chosen lure, and you will find yourself in the "strike zone."

The Changing Seasons
The size of prey that a fish will search out can often be determined by the season. Spring and early summer are a time of renewal, and fish will generally feed on smaller prey. Most of this is due to cooler water temperatures, plus an influx of "young of the year" baitfish that are entering their first year of life. As the summer warms up, and baitfish continue to grow, the size of prey becomes larger. An easy way to remember this is, the warmer the water -- the larger the lure to throw. Digestion processes are aided when dealing with warmer water, as well -- meaning that the fish will need to eat more to replenish its food stores.
In order to conserve energy, many fish at this time of year will consume larger than average prey. This is a key concept to remember. As summer makes way for fall, larger lures are the rule, not the exception. Big plugs for musky, and oversized flipping jigs for bass, are definitely the go-to lures. Fish will be aggressively attacking bigger baits as they begin to store fat reserves for the upcoming cold-weather months, and the larger the bait you toss, the more attention it will garner.

Mouth-To-Mouth Comparisons
The last thing to look at is the mouth of the fish. It only makes sense that the larger the mouth, the larger the lure you can get away with using. This may seem a no-brainer, yet anglers often will group fish together in their appropriate families, oftentimes forgetting that various species have mouths that can differ greatly. For example, largemouth bass can handle lures and baits that are much larger in size in comparison to their cousin, the smallmouth bass. The same can be said about the crappie when put head-to-head against the sunfish. Think outside the particular families and concentrate on the exact species you are interested in pursuing. Remember: if they can't grasp hold of it, there's no way that the hooks will find a home.

Next time you are on the water, think carefully before tying on your favourite lure. Ask yourself: What is the season? What is the available prey? And of course, visualize the size of the mouth to see if the lure "fits the yap." Size does matter to a fish, and to an angler, that knowledge is worth its weight in gold.

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