Fishing with Mercer was trying, but fun

During all my travels over the past few years, I’ve been fortunate to cross paths and become friends with one of Canada’s most entertaining TV fishing show hosts, Dave Mercer from “Facts of Fishing.”
Mercer quickly has become one of the most successful and popular anglers in Canada because of his fishing skills and one-of-a-kind personality.
Dave is, in real life, just as he appears on his TV program—funny and full of energy all the time.
At a sport show in Toronto this past winter, Dave asked me about the opportunity to come up to Sunset Country to shoot a few shows in June. I thought, “What a great idea.”
The weather usually is good in June—and so goes the fishing. Beyond that, I take a lot of pleasure in sharing my knowledge of Sunset Country with people foreign to this region and showing them all the awesome stuff there is to offer.
Well, Dave came up earlier this month, along with two camera operators, and we fished for four days. Unfortunately, the weather did its part to ensure nothing was going to be easy.
For four days straight, it rained, was windy, and cold. I think I dressed warmer in the boat throughout this trip than I did for the last two weeks of ice-fishing in April.
But as challenging as the weather was, we still managed to catch some fish, though we had to work hard for everything.
So what did Dave Mercer catch during his visit to Sunset Country? Well, I did my best to show him as much of the region as I could in a short amount of time.
While we did manage to catch some smallmouths on Lake of the Woods, the main focus was on walleyes. Lake of the Woods kicked out some big numbers of fish, but we had a tough time on the size.
The goal was to catch everything on artificial baits, which we did, but the tough weather made this a little bit more challenging.
Following a day on “Woods,” we headed north to try and rally up some more walleyes. Lac Seul-arguably the best walleye lake in the world—was the destination.
Neither of us had ever been on this water before, so we enlisted the help of a guide, Jamie Harrington from Dryden, to give us a hand.
Lac Seul did not disappoint as Dave was able to catch good numbers of walleyes dragging a jig tipped with a variety of plastic tails.
The final day was spent on Eagle Lake. Neither of us had fished here before, but Dave invited me to get in front of the camera with him to attempt to show viewers how we would go about attacking a new lake for walleyes.
While the fishing was not fast and furious, we used a variety of Rapala crankbaits to cover lots of water and locate as many fish as we could.
It took us a little while to nail down a pattern, but we were able to catch walleyes in four-eight feet of water in some large weedbeds in the morning, then we caught fish on windblown points in the afternoon.
It was fun to go to a new body of water and figure out the fish on our own. By the end of the day, we could consider it a success.
As tough as the weather was, we still managed to catch plenty of fish. Mercer was sympathetic with the conditions and explained he’s been to many of the finest fisheries in the world, from way up north in the Arctic to South America, and has experienced much tougher situations.
“That’s fishing, nothing is guaranteed,” he said.
Mercer has promised he’ll be back to Sunset Country—and Rainy Lake is on his radar on the next trip.
The giant smallmouths, walleye, and pike in Rainy will make good stars for his TV program in the future!

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