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Friday, June 28, 2019

Mijocama bass fishing trip 2019

For the 17th year in a row, we visited Mijocama outfitter for some early season bass fishing in Quebec's zone 10 (Outaouais region). Brought along 6 of my kids for this one, leaving my wife with a well deserved vacation, as my eldest daughter no longer lives at home.

Luckily for me, the 4 eldest boys can fend for themselves by now, as the two younger ones need more attention while spending 5 days in the woods on a remote lake. I paired the eldest boys with each other, renting them a couple of motor boats for improved efficiency.

As usual, my plan was to stick to fishing topwater lures on early mornings and late evenings with the younger ones, and spending the hot part of the day in the shade or in the lake with them. Thank God, the story played out wonderfully...

Day 1:

After arriving at the camp around noon, we got the boats, set up fishing gear, and unloaded out gear and food into our chalet. With the kids horsing around on shore after lunch, I decided to troll a bit, as it was way to early in the day and windy to attempt throwing any topwater lures. Didn't have to go far, first pass on a nearby spot landed this small pike, first fish of the trip.

Headed out for the first evening of topwater bass fishing with my two youngest kids later that evening. Plan was to cast a Pop R and let them take turns reeling in the fish, while letting Chaya practice her casting accuracy.

After landing her first sunfish of the trip on the Pop R, Zev was up for next fish. It took quite a while, but as it gets darker, the bigger bass start to feed. Sure enough, I hooked into a nice 2.5 lb largemouth bass, handed him the rod, and he did a good job hanging on and fighting the fish until I landed it for him. As you can see, the fish was hungry, and very well hooked.

As the bugs got unbearable for the younger ones, I headed in for the night about 1/2 hour later.

Day 2: 

Headed out alone bright and early, kids were all asleep after staying up late for a bonfire with fireworks, followed by scary movie. Got into a good topwater morning bite shortly after sunrise, landing back to back bass at 5:30 am, followed by a couple more before the kids woke up. Nothing over 15 inches or so, but being the first one out on a pristine lake during the morning solitude is priceless.

With Jimmy and his cabin having a good dozen children, my 2 younger kids spent much time playing there. To the point where they were having too much fun to come out fishing with me for the evening bite. 

Eli was overjoyed that his younger siblings weren't fishing, and he immediately decided to fish topwater lures on my boat. It has been a couple years since we fished together at Mijocama, and he'd been struggling to catch fish while out with his brothers, as they tend to prefer to take care of themselves first.

I gladly took him up, and decided to spend the evening focusing on topwater fishing techniques like accurate casting, reading the water, etc. Being in the front of the boat with the first cast at every potential spot, with a guide hat has well over 100 fishing days of experience on that given lake, has it's benefits.

After explaining it all to him over a good 15 to 20 minutes, I was quite surprised at his casting skill level. It didn't take long before Eli was into his first bass of the trip.

We spend the next hour or so hooking and missing smaller bass, and even a double header of aggressive sunfish throwing the same lure:

As the light starts to fade at sunset, the bass caught, start growing in size:

Forcing Eli to withstand some of the worst mosquito conditions we've encountered in years, and even some black flies which are normally long gone by late June, eventually paid off. Eli and I landed two solid bass (2.5 and 3 lbs) on back to back casts.

It was almost night when we finally reached our cabin.

Day 3:

Heavy rain overnight and into mid morning, we lost our chance at a morning bite, foregoing it for some well needed sleep. After Eli's success, I was surprised that my eldest son Ari wanted to come along with me that evening, as yet again, my two youngest decided to favor junk food and games over spending time with their dad casting while they fought off swarms of mosquitoes. 

It was the first time in 4 years that Ari was back to Mijocama with us. Prior to then his last 5 or 6 seasons were spent guiding my aging dad of blessed memory, while I tending to various groups of younger siblings over the years. So it was probably our first time fishing Giles lake together in a good 10 years or so.

As opposed to Eli, he decided to try his own topwater lures. After giving him the same rundown of my spots and technique, Ari started off by catching a large perch on his Rapala Skitter Pop.

As we hit my second spot, I struggled to maintain boat position in the wind with the trolling motor, long enough to give Ari a shot at hitting some spots. Ari hooked into the biggest bass I've ever seen hit a topwater lure on that given lake (Giles lake). The big bass put up a crazy fight, jumping 3 to 4 times, and making runs towards submerged trees. Ari fish fighting level, matched his accurate casting, and he managed to lane the big bass on his Rapala Skitter Pop.

One of those moments in a fisherman's life that makes him a proud dad.

The fish weighed in at 4.5 lbs, and it must have just spawned judging by it's tail. Ari measured the fish for some master angler program he plans to submit it to, a nice 21 inches.

With heavy winds still blowing by 8 PM. we struggled to find calm water. The winds finally started subsiding after 8:30 PM. Again, I pushed Ari to stay out through some tough bug swarms, and the move paid off with some more bass, including this big 3.75 lbs bass just before dark.

Day 4: 

Being our last full day of the trip, Eli was to head out with me for the morning bite. As he slept in, I ended up running into Ari on the water, as we was up bright and early, getting on the water before I did.

He ended up joining me again, and the move paid off nicely for him, landing another big topwater bass, this time on a Chug Bug.

With some mid morning rain stopping after lunch time, I headed out to toll for pike with one of the less skilled father and sons in the group. Knowing that casting lures accurately was out of the question, trolling provided a simpler solution. Eyal was sure happy he came along, landed his first ever pike, while trolling a Rapala Countdown:

That evening, I ended up with both Eli and Zev on my boat, plan was to cast out topwater lures and take turns letting Zev bring in some fish. Eli produced results again, they tag teamed this bass:

Eli manages to land more bass on his own:

As well as one of the smallest pike I've seen caught on a lure.

That being the last night out, Eli booked me again for the following morning.

Day 5:

After having the best topwater fishing (sizewise) we ever encountered at Mijocama, I decided to switch things up. My friend Jimmy had dialed into his best pike bite on the lake in many years, I hit his spot and pattern. Didn't take long, this one fell for a quickly retrieved spinnerbait around 6:30 AM. 

Ended up being my last catch of the trip. Funny enough how my first and last catches on a bass fishing trip both ended up being pike.

Being up at Mijocama with the largest group since we started going there in 2002, many of the other boats found good success as well.

Ari landed a pike and some bass:

Avi did OK on numbers, but sizes were below his average:

My nephew Ezzy landed a big bass in the 4 lbs range, while being guided by Avi.

As I previously mentioned, Jimmy got into some good pike fishing, and decided to forego the topwater bites in order to chase these toothy critters with a spinnerbait.

All in all, a truly fabulous trip, with near perfect weather, good times with many old and new friends, lots of quality family memories made, and great fishing. I enjoyed the solitude of morning bites remembering the times I fished the lake with by dad, and thanks to the multitude of our group, I was able to recite kaddish (mourners prayer) for him every morning, afternoon, and evening. Hoping for many more good ones in the future.

For those of you wanting to experience fishing some of the biggest bass in Quebec's Outaouais region, Mijocama is the place to be. For more info, see:

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