On a recent B.A.S.S. club tournament on Fanshawe Lake I had one of those outings where everything seemed to work out – resulting in both a win and big fish cheques. I had fished a tournament on this lake earlier in the month to a fourth place finish with a couple of lost fish likely costing us a cheque. From this outing I had a pretty good idea on the patterns I was going to use for the next event as well as primary and a couple of secondary areas to fish. One big advantage I had on this lake with its electric only and up to 9.9 HP restrictions is that with my small boat I was able to use my 5 HP kicker motor to beat everyone to my primary spot. Normally, it’s the opposite situation for me with most guys in the club having engines ranging from 90 and 115 HP all the way to 250 HP and easily beating me to known spots on other lakes.
Fanshawe is a small reservoir lake on the Thames River. For the most part it’s shoreline fishing, rocks along the dam walls, a number of points, a few small bays, a ledge or two where a road used to run across the river. Weed growth is light and the few laydowns along the shores generally hold a fish or two. My initial pattern was to work shoreline structure with unweighted Gary Yamamoto Senkos whacky rigged on 2/0 Gamakatsu Finesse Wide Gap hooks and 8 lb test P-Line Fluoroclear line with this resulting in two smallies in the live well. My secondary pattern was to work a Berkley Gulp Alive 5 inch leech on a drop shot in the deeper areas next to the shoreline, however this pattern did not produce anything during the time I used it (20-30 minutes).
The eureka moment came when we noticed large schools of baitfish (minnows) tucked up against the shore in a laydown and offshore in a small cove. Upon seeing these I switched up the drop shot rig from the leech to a Berkley Gulp Alive Minnow (emerald shiner) which looked to match the hatch almost perfectly in both colour and size. Over the next hour this setup produced 5 largemouth (culling out the two smallmouth) including big fish of the tournament (2.81 lbs). After thoroughly working through this area we moved on to a couple of secondary spots which produced a few more fish but none large enough to cull out the ones feeding on the schools of baitfish. No matter, the ones I had were more than enough.
Can’t wait until the next one on Wildwood. I’ll need to put some time in on the water to figure them out there and have a plan B, C, and D (and E, F, G and H if possible) in place which could be a tall order. I’ll be back to being the slow boat on the water for this one so I’ll need as many options as possible as it’s a good chance my preferred spots will be taken by the time I get there.