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  • Writer's pictureNew Wave Fishing Academy

A Review of "120 Days" By Bill Hamblin

Updated: Oct 29, 2023


Similar to "Time On The Water" by Bill Gardner "120 Days" follows the author, Bill Hamblin, on his quest to catch a giant muskie in daily journal entry format; only this time the area of choice is Georgian Bay. Throughout the book Bill spends 120 Days on Georgian Bay in the season of 2015 to accomplish his goal.


As an author of many publications from Georgian Bay Histrory, To the Muskies hunter Almanac, Bill Hamblin has a way with words and vocabulary that is only outmatched by his drive to catch a giant muskie. Inspired by Bill Garners Time on The Water, 120 Days is a journal entry style read on the catches, misses, thoughts, and doubts that go along with fishing Georgian Bay. Bill enriches his own thoughts with references from literature, poetry, and other muskie nuts!


After 120 days Bill manages 26 skis, with all but 5 over 40" and 4 over 50". The longest fish Bill (and partners) manage is a 55.25" and the heaviest, which also ended up being the last fish of the year, at over 40 lbs. For a full list of catches, baits, and dates see the end of this article.


Some of the tips that Bill spells out for us in this book which we will be taking with us on our next muskie hunt include:

- Overhead casts foul less often than sidearm casts.

- Increasing speed, not decreasing speed, can trigger bites from followers (this means downsizing blades)

- When big pike are feeding so are muskie. If you catch a big pike get back to a spot you knew a muskie was at and chances are it will bite. (We have witnessed days like this but did not make the connection to head back to where the ski's were seen until now)

- The last very important tip that Bill notes is when he was stopped by the game warden and mentioned it is illegal to fish for muskie at all with a conservation license. Not catch and release only, not allowed to target (assuming this is in the event you do catch one that dies and need to keep it). Keep this in mind the next time you purchase a fishing license.


Looking at just the numbers this is quite the season and one that anyone would love to have. However, between the results lies some key details that all anglers should take seriously.


First and foremost, muskies are extremely tough to catch. At 26 Fish / 120 Days, this is only 1 fish every 4.5 days and thats with multiple days in a row on the same water to figure them out. Bills last fish was caught on October 4. Day 83. Almost 40 days of sharing the boat with respected guides and muskie catchers, not to mention his own skills & aptitude, yet was still not able to buy another fish. Bill also was fishing with a lot of local guides and known musky gurus during his adventure. Now, I don't say this with any disrespect by any means but to put muskie fishing on Georgian Bay into perspective for the average angler. The average weekend angler will only get 50-55 potential days on the water a season to target ski's and most will only get to fish half that (if they're lucky). On top of this they will only experience the water one day a week and this means behaviour / location can change a lot before you're back and fish can move on making it more difficult and increasing time between catches. At the catch rate of Bill (which is really a boat catch rate) this would mean only boating 4 ski's the entire season!


The highest frequency of catches was opening weekend (end of June - 5 in 1 week) and end of summer (9 in mid-August, 8 in mid-September). If anglers are looking to put fish in the boat these are the times they should be looking to get out on the water.


Current in early season is king. Not just a little current but whitewater current. It is assumed that this is due to attraction for large spawning species early in the year to moving water such as suckers & walleye (yellow pickerel) as well as the preferred spawning habitat of ski's being close to current. This makes for an intersection of prey & predator right when they need to feed the most. In this book it is notes a 47, 48, and 50.5 caught out of same spot in a day (by separate boats) with 2 more fish coming out of the spot in as many days after.


Some other ideas discussed by Bill that were interesting to consider are:

- The holdover effect: the biggest fish (50"+) tend to feed at night. The deep fish move shallow at night. Usually it is very late and sometimes they linger until the early morning in the shallows.

- Night Bite: especially hot late in fall; likely due to bait rising up into manageable zones or maybe its just the warmest part of the day. either way see it repeat on many occasions.

- Disappearing Act: after getting a fish to follow once it is common to not get more follows later that day. Returning to the fish in the coming days can get them in the boat as they haven't went far and are waiting for the prime time to feed.


Overall this was a decent read and had a lot of detail which can be studied in the future by the hardcore anglers that live, breath, and assess information to make connections that others don't see. If you are a new angler or new to muskie fishing I don't think this book is going to inspire you, give you any surefire methods to catch muskie, or lift your hopes up you can get one but if you already have the bug and are obsessed with the what if than it is a perfect read for you.


06Jun - Day 1

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Lower French

22Jun - 50.5" Whitewater, Walleye Suick 12"

23Jun - 45" Whitewater, Firetiger Suick 12"

25Jun - 44" Whitewater, Green/Pearl Jake 10"

26Jun - 49" Whitewater, Black/Orange Dadson Kong

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Bay of Islands

28Jun - 46" Classic Spot, Black/Orange Dadson Kong

13Aug - 43" Weed Flat, Neon Perch Suick 12"

13Aug - 41.5", Black Suick 12"

18Aug - Small, Outcast Lure Short Trolling Weed Edge

18Aug - 41", Classic Spot, Black/Orange Dadson Kong

18Aug - Small, Classic Spot, Black/Orange Dadson Kong

18Aug - Small, Classic Spot, Black/Orange Dadson Kong

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Moon

20Jul - 49.25" Finklers Bar, Black/Orange Dadson Kong

23Jul - 43" Finklers Bar

23Jul - 48.25" Woods Bay Rock Pile With Good Weeds, Black/Orange Dadson Kong

10Sep - 42.5", Night Bite, Dadson Kimbo Slice

10Sep - 49.5", Night Bite, Dadson Matrix

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McGregor Bay

20Aug - 55.25", Black/Orange Dadson Kong

22Aug - 45", Shallow Point Near 60 ft, Black/Orange Dadson Rawson

22Aug - 49.5", Suspended Off Point Over 30 ft, Black/Orange Dadson Rawson

04Oct - Top 5 Heaviest Fish He Ever Caught (Later in book says 40+ Lbs), Trolling Hose Flat Shad Cisco

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Severn Sound

17Sep - 43", Trolling, Spinnerbait

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Killarney

20Sep - Small, Dadson Black Mamba

21Sep - 50", Dadson Black Mamba

22Sep - 45", Dadson Black Mamba

23Sep - Small, Dadson Black Mamba

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Magnetawan

25Sep - Nice One, Weed Reef, Matrix


To experience a day of fishing with us be sure to check out our YouTube channel at the link below:


If you or someone you know is looking to get into fishing or you just want to become a more successful angler be sure to check out our "Zero To Hero Fishing Masterclass" for courses on everything fishing! The masterclass is built to help you learn how to find and catch fish like the pro's by providing all the information you need and a clear development path! Don't miss out check it out now at www.newwavefishingacademy.com/zero-to-hero


Have you ever wondered why lures don't come with instructions and wanted to know how to fish them? Look no further than our "How To Fish" series where you will learn what each bait is, how to use it, when and where it excels over other baits, our preferred setup to use it on, and the common mistakes anglers make when using it. www.newwavefishingacademy.com/how-to-fish

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