Just a few years ago, I was asked to go along on a fishing trip with Dave and Aaron Syler. Our destination was a remote, widened-out section of the west branch of the Montreal River in the Iron Bridge, Sudbury, Ontario, area.
The camp is a seven-mile boat jaunt against the current from ramp to wilderness dock. Everything you use for a week is hauled in your fishing craft, including food. There is no electricity, telephone or maid service. Wild blueberries provide the landscaping around the cottages in this strictly fishing scenario.
For the first couple of days our group of six caught northern pike, perch and walleyes and an occasional bass. I told father Syler the water looked like smallmouth and when we started earlier and fished later, sure enough, the Sylers were introduced to smallie catching. I will never forget the look on both Aaron and David’s faces when 3-pounders smashed into a surface bait. The last part of our trip consisted of getting up at daylight and going after meat fish during the bright part of the day, then back after smallmouth at twilight.
Every year since that trip all the Penassi pictures have beeen like the ones here and the bass and the excitement stories get bigger and better each visit. Dave reported several over 16 inches this time and it has been turned into a bass tournament instead of fish for the lessers.
I am convinced many a bass fisherman passes up the fightingest, most sporting catch of them all by fishing at the wrong time of day, with the wrong tackle and not knowing the difference between large- and smallmouth or black bass. I have watched several fishers over the years tie into their first smallie and the reaction is always the same — “Wow!”
Paul Oakes is a retired fisherman.