I found Daniel Pittioni (pictured on the right above) on Instagram @d_pitts19. I then checked out his YouTube channel that he has with his fishing partners @fishingfanatics. I then did some binge watching. These guys know how to fish and have fun doing it. So, it is my pleasure to introduce everyone to this extremely talented and skilled Ontario angler.
How long have you bee fishing?
I have been fishing for 25 years now. I started at the age of 4. My father and his fishing buddy would bring me every Saturday morning. Those were the dreadful days waking up at 3:30am to go fishing.
I enjoyed it right from my very first time. They were big into Walleye fishing, and I had to learn how to Walleye fish. We would also fish for Bass and Pike.
My father’s buddy, Narciso Celante, taught me to drive a boat at a young age. It was with the handheld motors, and I just sat with him learning. As I got older we bought a family boat with a steering wheel and learned on the Tracker.
They both taught me how to fish for Walleye. As I grew older and gained more experience, I started to develop new techniques and understand where fish are located. They got me started out on the water and slowly I got the experience.
When did you start tournament fishing?
I started tournament fishing in 2016. I talked to my fishing partner, David Umpherson, about joining a tournaments back in 2015. We sold the family boat and went out and bought a brand new bass boat in the beginning of 2016.
What do you like about competitive fishing?
It’s very hard to describe the feeling when out on the water in a tournament. It is a big rush from the moment you launch your boat to prepping your rods and baits to blast off. I really enjoy how competition makes you a better angler under all that pressure. You have to think and push yourself.
I’ve played sports my whole life growing up, mostly hockey, so I’m used to competition. It’s really hard to describe to some people who don’t like tournaments but from day one that I joined, I really enjoyed it. And I don’t want to stop doing it.
What is one of your favorite lakes to tournament fish?
I’ve fished a lot of waters over the years from the Kawartha’s to up North to some U.S. waters. I really enjoyed Lake Erie tournament fishing this year. I was asked to join Keith Langley at the Canadian Tire open and we ended up finishing 22nd out of 80. Then my fishing partner asked me to do the National Contender and we finished 7th out of 38. We fished the Canadian side only in those tournaments. Lake Erie treated us well this year. It felt great to accomplish something on big waters.
How was your overall tournament fishing year this past season?
Our overall tournament experience this year was that we improved together as a team. Our first year we struggled to put Bass in the boat. The most fish we ever put in the boat last year was 3. In the 2017 season, the least we put in the boat was 4, and for majority of the lakes we had our 5 fish limit.
We had our chances at every event to put 5 in the boat but ended up losing some. We didn’t get any 0’s this year so that was a big improvement. It’s very discouraging and embarrassing getting 0’s while everyone has 5 fish in their livewell’s weighing in 20 pounds plus.
So the highlights of this season were that we improved; put 5 fish in the boat even on days when it was a grind; almost made the CSFL classics; and did a great job on Lake Erie. The National Contender on Lake Erie would be the biggest highlight finishing in 7th place.
What waters do you like to fish for fun?
We’re so busy with tournaments each year that our fun fishing consists of prefishing most of the time. Once tournaments are finished for us we usually keep hitting the same waters for next year and looking for spots.
This year we got to try out Lake Simcoe and was it ever great for us. I landed my personal best smallmouth weighing in at 5.9 pounds. Lake Simcoe is close to home with a lot of big smallmouth bass. It’s just fish after fish once you locate them. I had a good time out there this year and will end up doing it again. Maybe even doing a few tournaments out there if I have enough time.
What are your favorite methods when using X Zone baits?
My favourite methods when using X Zone baits is for sure the drop shot. You couldn’t find me drop shotting before using X Zone baits. It was a struggle to put that drop shot rod in my hand and commit to it.
I started committing to it in the middle of August. Caught a few fish and still ended up putting that rod down. My tournament partner David Umpherson kept encouraging me and getting me to use it until it was my go to rod.
The drop shot rod is the first thing I pick up now. Because I put a lot of time into using it, I’m now very confident when using it, especially rigged up with the X Zone Slammers and Woo Tungsten Invisashot 1/2 ounce weights. I use the X Zone Slammers when drop shotting for Bass, and I use the X Zone Swammers when fishing for Lake Trout ice fishing.
What do you like about the X Zone Slammers for bass?
When using the drop shot paired up with the X Zone Slammers, I find it to be successful because you leave the bait in the strike zone much longer. It’s a slower presentation. There are days the fish want easy meals and that’s what the drop shot is. It imitates a bait fish suspended off the bottom, and the Bass see that. The drop shot is a go-to technique, and I’m glad that I’ve learned it and excelled at it.
What other techniques and baits do you love to catch bass with?
Another technique that I found I had a lot of success with was the wacky worm. Very simple technique. Hook a plastic worm through the centre of the stick bait weightless and cast it out.
Just be patient and let it sink a bit. Just lift your rod tip up then reel in the slack line. Continue that process until you reach the boat and repeat.
Find weedlines, rock and weed mix, and you will hook into some Bass for sure. The wacky worm is another slow presentation that fish cannot resist. They see it as an injured bait, and an easy meal. Slower days this is another great technique to use. The wacky worm will catch both Smallmouth and Largemouth Bass
I’ve had some success on the jerkbait early this season as well. Cast it out, reel in and jerk, and dead pause. The longer the pause the better. Your line will just tighten up, and you will feel a thump. That is another great feeling, when your line just suddenly stops.
If you are not fishing for bass, what other species do you love fishing for?
This season we concentrated mainly on Bass. We did the odd outing for Pike to switch it up and when we noticed the weather was bad on Lake Erie. Usually I fish for Walleye on Sparrow Lake as well, but didn’t target them this year.
There are a lot of great lakes for Pike. Sparrow Lake, Lake St. John, Gloucester Pool, and Dalrymple are great for Pike with non-stop action. Haven’t fished Georgian Bay but hear a lot of good stories of Pike coming from there. I’ve also had success in the past on Lake Simcoe down in Cooks Bay.
What are your future goals in fishing?
My main future goal in fishing is to make it as a pro. I know it will take time, and I will take my time to make it there hopefully one day. It’s harder in Canada to do it, but it can be done.
For right now, I will be entering into tournaments such as CSFL, maybe try out FLW Canada, and the Lake Erie tournaments such as The Canadian Tire Open and The National Contender. I hope to get noticed and move on from there. It’s only my second season in tournaments and looking for many more.
For our YouTube channel, it would be great to get our followers count up and our videos’ watched count up. We are just having a blast at what we do and really enjoy it. I hope our videos educate people that want to learn more about fishing and help them to catch more fish.
I mean we’re still learning too as we go. Even if we can reach out to other tournament anglers, or give out good advice and helpful tips and tricks that would be an accomplishment too. I mean there are so many things we put into our video’s such as protecting your rod and reels by using The Rod Glove, and boat servicing at Xtreme Marine with Dwayne and Tony.
It’s not only about baits we use or catching fish. It’s also about the struggles we’ve been through in locating fish, catching fish, not doing so well on a pre fish or tournament, or the weather playing a factor. Lots of anglers don’t like to show the down times in the fishing world, but guess what…it happens. We’re just showing it happens to everyone of all skill levels. And yes even the “pro’s” do fail.
Who are your sponsors and how do they help you be a more successful angler?
My sponsors are : Skoll Gear, Woo Tungsten, Team Xtreme Marine, X Zone Lures and The Rod Glove.
All of these sponsors help me out in all different ways. Skoll Gear helps me stay cool or warm on the water depending on the weather outside. If it’s hot outside, they have lightweight spf long sleeve breathable shirts to protect you from the UV rays of the sun, along with hats and gloves. For the colder times they have hoodies and toques to keep you warm. We have also fished with the owners of Skoll Gear. Shelley Langley and Keith Langley are absolutely great people, and we’re glad to be a part of this team. They’ve made us feel like family. With Skoll Gear products, it keeps us on the lake longer and protected so we can fish longer and go out and find those fish without getting sunburnt or cold.
Woo Tungsten supplies us with our tungsten weight, flipping and pitching weights and drop shot weights. Without them we would be using lead weights which are heavier. Woo Tungsten has the Invisashot that helps us catch more fish because the fish can’t see the weight and are not spooked.
Team Xtreme Marine supplies me with all my boat needs such as oil, winterizing, installing electronics, and overall very knowledgeable guys. They are also very honest. Your boat is safe when it’s at their shop. These guys are truly great, and I will not service my boat anywhere else.
X Zone Lures supplies us with our soft plastic baits. The fish love these baits and can’t resist the real life like baitfish. X Zone Lures are hand poured and the baits don’t rip easy. You can catch multiple fish on the same bait. Very soft and the fish won’t spit it.
The Rod Glove supplies us with rod and reel protection. Without the protection you run a higher chance of broken rods, and broken rods mean you can’t fish. With an inexpensive investment it is worthwhile to buy them and protect your rods. What good are you if you show up to a tournament and your rods are broken? As quick as your day started, it just ended. I know my rods are expensive, and The Rod Glove does the trick and protects them.
I love meeting and talking to anglers. Daniel is a great example of the reasons why. So much talent, knowledge and skill to learn from. Thank you Daniel. Will be cheering you on in your 2018 tournaments. Keep up the great work!