Ontario has more and better walleye fishingopportunities than anywhere else on earth. Pick your favourite water from the Bay of Quinte and the Kawartha Lakesin southern Ontario, Lake Nipissing and the St. Mary's River in NortheasternOntario, the myriad opportunities across the North Shore of Lake Superior, especiallyaround Wawa and White River, clear over to Lac des Milles Lac, Eagle Lake, LacSeul, Rainy Lake and Lake of the Woods in the northwest.
If there was aWalleye Water Hall of Fame, every one of these lakes, rivers and reservoirswould be in it, along with Lake Erie, ofcourse.
Erie may be the smallest of the Great Lakes, but whenit comes to walleye fishing, the 9,940 square mile Mecca is king of the castle.
And no one knowsthis better than Greg Horoky, a veteran Lake Eriecharterboat captain with more than 30 years of experience under his belt. Horoky was also the first Canadian ever to wina Professional Walleye Trail (PWT) Tournament.
But, it is what the walleyewizard has done recently that is turning so many heads. He has transforming his boat - and yours - intoa classroom.
"You don't haveto be a rocket scientist to catch walleye in Lake Erie,"says Horoky, "yet I'm amazed, how many anglers, with well-equipped boats,pull into the docks having caught few or no fish.
"That's why, inaddition to offering charters, I've added a new service, teaching anglers intheir own boats. Either way, I want mycustomers to take home more than just fish. I want them to learn how to successfully fishfor walleye, whether they're on one of my charters or we unravel the secrets intheir vessel."
Having spent plentyof time over the years, researching magazine features with many of the topwalleye and bass tournament professionals, I can tell you that Horoky's idea isbrilliant. Simply because elite series anglershave spent so much time weeding out what works and what doesn't. So, you will typically learn more in one dayfishing with one of them than you will in five or ten years struggling on yourown.
Don't believeme? Listen to what Horoky says aboutsome of the things he teaches his guests.
"One of thefirst is how to use and fine-tune planer boards to spread out your baits. I use Off Shore Tackle's OR-12 models, whichcome in left and right hand models for each side of the boat. And I surprise most folks when I tell themthey don't have to spend a fortune on rods and reels? I use Diawa HLD-DR86M, eight-foot, six-inchtrolling rods and AccuDepth Line Counter reels that cost less than $100.00. Don't misunderstand me, good equipment isimportant, but it is the knowledge between your ears that helps you catch fish."
Such as how to usethe wind and waves to your advantage.
"I think mostwalleye anglers realize that a little wind can be a blessing," saysHoroky, "but what they don't know is how to use it to their advantage.
"I always trolldownwind, or down hill as I like to call it. It makes boat control so much easier at lowspeeds ... and I like "easy".
"Drift socks ortrolling bags are also essential devices that most walleye anglers overlook.Not only do they help slow down the boat, but they also let you to run yourkicker motor at a higher speed giving you better boat control and manoeuvrability. Remember, kicker motors are not designedto putt, putt, putt all day long at minimal speed."
Spending a day onthe water with a professional walleye instructor such as Horoky is likeskipping high school and going straight to college. That is why I wanted to get his take on runningmultiple rods and planer boards and understand how he switches them around whenhe hooks a fish. From everything I haveheard, he and his first mate, Tyler Shepley, have got it down to a science.
"Unfortunately,the art of making everything look simple is a very difficult task,"chuckles Horoky, who's on the big lake for eight months of the year.
"On Lake Erie, we're allowed two lines per angler, so whenwe're fishing with multiple boards off each side, we do nothing quickly.Everything is done slowly and deliberately, so we can clear the boards.
"For example,let's look at one side of the boat when we're using four rods and boards onthat side with the number one rod being the inside one, closest to the boat.
"First of all,I find that you're going to hook a walleye as well as possible when the rod isthe holder and you notice the strike, so there is nothing else you need todo. Now, let's say you get a fish on thefurthest outside number four rod.
"Once I see thehit, I'll pass the rod to you and then free spool the reel on the number threerod, allowing the lure to fall back clear of the number four rod's line.
"I'll pass thenumber three rod over the number four rod and put it in the holder that originallyheld the number four rod. Then, in the same fashion, I'll place the number tworod into the third holder and the number one rod into the second holder.Everything falls into place allowing you to fight the fish directly behind theboat, where there's lots of room.
"If you'venever done it before, try it with just two rods on each side first. Master it and then add a third rod. And soon. It becomes really easy when you getthe hang of it. Just remember to takeyour time, nothing has to happen quickly as long as you keep your rod tip upand pressure on the fish."
Listening to Horokyexplain how to catch walleye is like spending a day with Tiger Woods, perfectingyour golf game. Or with Wayne Gretzky learninghow to shoot a puck.
As friend and fellowoutdoor writer, Bill Thompson, told me, "I've spent many days with Greg,working on feature stories, and his walleye knowledge amazes me. Now that he has added this new instructional dimensionto his business, an angler can be fishing like a pro in no time. Better yet, you get to pick the classroom, ormore correctly, your boat or his. Eitherway, just remember to bring your cooler."
For more informationabout Lake Erie walleye fishing, you cancontact Horoky at 519-791-5390 or email firstname.lastname@example.org