Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Fun in the cabbage patch

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Cooler nights for the last couple of weeks have moved many of the deeper fish shallow for certain parts of the day.

One great option is to look for cabbage beds that grow in lakes and river with good-water quality.

Cabbage weeds can start growing in four metres of water and reach the surface or just below.

These weeds tend to hold huge schools of minnows, which means big walleye, bass and pike are moving back into these types of areas.

One of my favourite presentations when these fish are holding tight to this type of cover is to rip a Berkley Gulp minnow through the weed stocks.

You can rig it weedless or leave a little bit of hook showing, depending on the thickness of cover.

By not using any bait, you don't have to worry about losing it all the time on leaves and stems. Fish that are relating to this heavy cover are keying in on sound and profile more than smell.

When after pike, I love to get out early in the morning at this time of year and cast a topwater buzz bait over deep cabbage weeds.

Marauding pike move shallow first thing in the morning before the water warms up from the midday sun. Some of my absolute best pike days have come on this pattern. Never mind it is spectacular, heart-pounding action.

If that doesn't produce, I switch over to a red and white bunny pattern streamer fished on an eight-weight fly rod.

This presentation will usually trigger even the most lethargic pike as they gulp in this ultra-slow presentation.

I like to use a floating line with a 20-pound test fluorocarbon tippet. Small lead eyes on my fly provide the weight to sink the fly at a slow rate. It's this slow drop that really triggers the bite, combined with a twitch of the rod tip.

If all else fails on these pike, use a huge bobber rigged with a quick strike rig and large dead bait like a ciscoe or herring.

I love this technique when the wind is blowing hard and boat control becomes an issue. I will drop anchor outside the area to be fished, casting the bobber up into the fish zone, then letting the bait drift. Depth can be changed to adjust to the conditions, but pike do like the bait slightly above them so they get a better look at the offering.

Anglers Notes: Speaking of slip floats and bobbers, at this time of the year you will probably start to see fish surfacing, scooping insects on or near the surface.

A small set bobber with a #8 hook with graduated split-shot tipped with a bit of nightcrawler might get you into some goldeye or mooneye action as well. Walleye action on Lake Winnipeg has been decent from Gimli down to Matlock.

Anglers who are fishing out in the four to six metre are having some good success.

Bottom bouncer and spinners are a good choice as are medium diving crankbaits.

The bonus is you never know what you will catch. For launching a boat, Winnipeg Beach is a good choice. There are all kinds of options out there at this time of year; you are only limited by your imagination and time.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 10, 2013 C10

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