Article from Cape Breton Post Ė January 30th, 2008

Trip to Silver Cross Fishing Lodge was a memorable angling experience

by DON MACLEAN
The Cape Breton Post

The recent spell of Arctic weather had me huddled next to the wood stove while I tied up a few flies for next season. While I tie I also like to reminisce about some of the more memorable fishing trips I made last season. One of the best was a trip I made on the mainland after smallmouth bass. I was invited by Blaine Ogden who operates Silver Cross Fishing Lodge on Mattatal Lake, near Truro. I have known Blaine for a number of years since I met him at a fishing guides course. Blaine has many friends on Cape Breton from the time he spent here during his days as a competitive dart player.

Blaine recently opened the fishing lodge and he was anxious for me to see it. The afternoon I arrived it was warm and sunny, not great fishing weather, but still a nice day to be on the water. We were planning on fishing until dark so we figured the fishing would pick up later in the day. Blaine showed me around the lodge which is a log cabin on the shore of the lake. It is a beautiful and well equipped facility.

Blaine was anxious to get me out bass fishing so we soon headed down to his dock. Iíve fished out of quite a few boats over the years but I have to say Blaineís was the most comfortable. He fishes out of a 22-foot pontoon boat, complete with swivel chairs, canopy, fish finder, CD and stereo. The boat is powered by an outboard motor but is also equipped with an electric trolling motor. It provides a very safe and stable platform from which to fish and would be a great way to take someone out fishing who is nervous around the water.

Since I get a lot of enjoyment from fly fishing I always like to take a few flics with the fly on new water. I had tied up a few bucktail and foam fly poppers which, I hoped, would tempt a bass or two.

Blaine soon had us over a good area and suggested I cast toward some floating weed beds. I always listen to my guide and I was soon rewarded with a small bass. I kept throwing the fly and soon hooked another, about the same size as the first.

In the meantime Blaine was fishing spinning gear rigged with a plastic worm and he was catching a lot bigger bass than I was.
Iíve fly fished for smallmouth bass before and always caught ones in the 8-10 inch range. I was anxious for some bigger fish so I picked up one of Blaineís rods which was rigged with a plastic worm and made a cast.

Next Week: My biggest bass.

Cape Breton native Don MacLean is a fisheries biologist and a resident of Pictou. He writes on sportfishing for a variety of publications



Article from Cape Breton Post Ė February 6th, 2008

Columnist landed the big one on trip to Silver Cross Fishing Lodge

DON MACLEAN
The Cape Breton Post

The afternoon was warm and sunny as I cast toward the floating weed bed. I let the plastic worm sink for a few seconds before retrieving it slowly. I made about two cranks of the reel handle when the rod doubled over under the weight of a nice bass. My fishing trip took place last summer when I fished with Blaine Ogden who operates Silver Cross Fishing Lodge on Mattatal Lake, near Truro. Blaine recently opened the fishing lodge and he was anxious for me to see it.

Most of my fishing is directed toward trout and salmon with the occasional trip after striped bass and shad when they are available. I am not a very skilled smallmouth bass angler and I was fortunate to have Blaine as a guide because there is a lot to know about fishing smallmouth bass.

While many people think fly fishing is difficult and hard to master, I think becoming a good smallmouth bass angler is equally challenging. If you enjoy playing around with a lot of different fishing equipment then this is the sport for you.

The variety of equipment required is mind boggling. Top water lures and crank baits are only two of the popular gear types but if you want to become a good bass angler you have to master fishing plastic.

The assortment of plastic baits such as worms, leeches and bait fish is amazing. The first ones were made from plastic but now there are bio-degradeble baits which also have a variety of scents in them.

Rigging these baits is usually done in two ways. The Carolina Rig is one method while the most popular is the Texas Rig which involves passing the hook through the plastic worm and then embedding the point back in the plastic. This makes the rig weedless and prevents it from hooking up when fishing heavy cover such as weed beds where bass like to hide.

Blaine had rigged me up with a dark green worm and knew from the strong pull that I had a nice bass on. I was able to get it close to the boat where Blaine netted the fish and did a quick weight before release, 2.5 pounds, not a giant as smallmouth go, but my biggest to date.

The current Nova Scotia record is 4.5 pounds for a fish caught in Halifax County back in 1990. Iíve eaten smallmouth bass before and, while they arenít bad, they canít match trout and salmon on the table. The flesh is white, like a perch.

We caught fish up until dark and then returned to the lodge for supper. Blaine is as good a chef as he is a guide so we finished off the day with a very nice meal. Some great memories to help pass those cold winter days.

Cape Breton native Don MacLean is a fisheries biologist and a resident of Pictou. He writes on sportfishing for a variety of publications