Wil Wegman

Wil Wegman

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So the other day I decided to hold off fishing Lake Simcoe's Cooks Bay until later in the afternoon.  I wanted to see if the deepwater largemouth bite was better later in the day - because so far this September, it's been non existant.  As I turned off Hwy 11 at Churchill, I saw a man walking along the road, who quickly decided to stick out his thumb when he saw me and my boat.  Why, after at least 20 years of sadly passing by hitchikers, I instinctively pulled off the paved road onto the gravelly shoulder is beyond me.  We've all become far more atune to the high risks of both hitchiking and picking up random hitchikers.  Maybe it was because he looked so determined to get somewhere and that hitchiking was not his regular means of travel. Perhpas it was simply I was tired of not trusting my gut instincts ... who the heck knows, but I unlocked the passenger side door and he gingerly climbed in.

The man was a senior - not fully gray and you could tell he tried to maintain his appearance.  He immediately revealed his destination and why he found himself hitchiking, "I had to leave my boat up at the Barrie Marina and make my way back down here to my marina at Lefroy Harbor ... where abouts are you going?" I let him know my launch site was two marinas north in Belle Ewart and he knew it well. He would just appreciate at ride as close to the lake as possible before I turned and he'd be happy to walk the rest of the way to his marina.

We shook hands and made introductions then began chatting and making small talk ... well mostly it was "Jimmy" .doing the talking and i was happy to just listen. He was actually getting prepared for his trip back to Arizona where he lived when he wasn't back up here during the summer months. "I'm originally from Toronto but got tired of shovelling that stuff that kept filling my driveway all winter up here - and I just love it down there," he explained.  I'm pretty sure he said something along the lines of getting ready for his next cruise ship gig ... but I didn't press for details. 

When we reached the construction and road closure just before Lefroy we began to discuss the work that has been going on lately and he said I could just drop him off there while I headed north to my marina and he could walk the rest of the way to his.  I knew that was a couple more miles and it was plenty hot and humid out there. Meh ... I told him I'd just take the detour the other way and drop him off at his marina - no big deal.

We chatted some more ... he was asking about a few fishing tips he could provide his young nephew who spent a lot of time fishing Sparrow Lake.  He mentioned the exact location (the old Torpitt Lodge) there ... and I knew of it and the lake extremely well. "I've fished Sparrow Lake since the mid 80's Jimmy and used to run bass tournaments out of there." He asked specifically for a couple lure recommendations and I happily obliged, "Top water's like a Rapala Skitter Pop worked early morning or dusk, jerkbaits like the Rapala X Rap and a tube jig". 

As we pulled up to his marina I mentioned how long it's been since I've hitchhiked or have picked up a hitchhiker ... but that for some reason I felt compelled to stop and pick him up.  He chuckled and said he was more or less in the same boat ... not knowing an easier way to get back to his marina other than the long walk and when he saw me and my boat pull up he just stuck his thumb out without hesitation. Before he left reached into his wallet and gave me his business card. "If you're ever down in Arizona Wil, be sure to look me up... "You're all right brother!"  I gave him my business card as well ... not for my day time job but for my little amBASSador Angling Services. 

So, Jimmy went to his marina, me to mine ... and I fished the afternoon away without much to report ... Yah the fishing was very slow and the heat almost intolerable for this mid September day.

When I got home and relaxed later that night, I finally pulled out his card: ENTERTAINER JIMMY SNOWDEN" Recorded Under Jimmy Nite & the Nite Train. I googled that and came up with this 1969 performance of Jimmy and his band: Jimmy Nite and the Nite Train  Seems like Jimmy has been singing good old time music both here and in the US most of his life and still available for gigs at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  

I understand that sometimes 'getting there' is an qually important part of your fishing trip as the actual fishing ... but I have always thought of that more in terms of things like the canoe paddle in, the long bass boat ride in rough water or driving the ski-doo over make-shift trails to a hidden wilderness lake. Nope ... it can also be about a routine 20 minute drive from home to an everyday day lake that provides you with a fond memory for years to come. Yep, fishing is a whole lot more than just about the fishing!


The 2017 Sun City Swim in Orillia and my fundraising campaign "Wil Swims With the Fishes" is now complete and both were another great success thanks to so many volunteers,swimmers and supporters. All proceeds raised by the swimmers went directly to the  Child Advocay Centre of Simcoe/Muskoka to help them take care of abused kids. I'd especially like to thank those who contributed to my swim ... helping me raise $1,695 for the centre - more than any other swimmer. That distinction earned me a beautiful handcrafted Muskoka Chair.


With only 7 hours available to celebrate with rod and reel on Canada’s 145thBirthday, we headed across the lake not sure where we would begin to fish. With a lake the size of Simcoe, there are just so many options, yet so little time to try them.   My long-time friend and fellow Aurora Bassmaster Brian Ogden and I spent the first hour looking and casting ... casting and looking for the big beautiful smallmouth that we knew cruised the shallow flats.  Finally as we neared the point Brian hooked up. “There he is ... whoa,” as the three pounder cleared the air by at least three feet.

It didn’t take long before we both got into them and smallmouth after smallmouth cooperated nicely.  Although we tried several rigs, there was no doubt the drop shot out shone all others. There were several plastic baits that produced but the Strike Zone Slammers definitely had the fish’s attention that day. After we went thru the areas several times though, without hits, I switched to a short 4 inch Trigger X Flutter Worm in the baby bass color to nab a few more.

Productive Pattern ... details, details:


Issue 2, #2

Pike Fishing Lake Simcoe, June 10: It’s been a few years since I have taken a pike home to eat, so today my son Izaak and I decided we would have one for dinner that evening. Northern pike from Lake Simcoe and most other waters can be delicious – especially when those waters are still relatively cool. With air temperatures souring near the 30 Degree Celsius mark, it should have come as no surprise that water temps were also quite warm ... pushing 68 Fahrenheit when we got off the water around 1pm.


Issue 1, #1

Although we all need an occasional weekend of kicking back and just relaxing with friends or family ... for me it’s those action packed ones that get my juices flowing and are the most memorable. For those who know me, action packed fishing is tough to beat and fishing excursions occupy their fair share of the limited memory space allotted within what little brain matter I have left  ... But every once in awhile, there’s an exception. Take this past weekend for instance ... April 28 and 29 2012.

There was a time in my life when the 4th Saturday in April would mean only one thing ... “Opening of speckled trout season” and lots of fishing for me. For the last ten years however I haven’t made a cast on this day and yet it has meant something even more gratifying.  Fortunately for my sanity ... it still involves brook trout  but instead of me fishing for them it see’s young participants of the annual Huck Finn Kids Fishing Day event do all the fishing.  This past Saturday marked the 10th anniversary of the popular event – and it was great!