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Posts Tagged ‘Fishing’

You have just landed the fish of a lifetime and you want more than just a picture to remember it by. Taxidermy is the first thing that comes to mind. You would love to see a mount of the fish on the wall.  The question is who do you take it to.  This is where it can get complicated.

If you already know someone who does taxidermy and you like the work they do then your choice is easy. However, if you are out of town or don’t know any taxidermists then you need to make a decision.  The first decision is do you want a skin mount or a reproduction. The big plus to the reproduction is with a few good pictures and measurements you can release or eat the fish and still put it on the wall.  Once that is decided now where do you go.

If you are fishing with a guide there is a good chance they will have someone they recommend. Personally I recommend people to Anglers Choice Fish Mounts as he does excellent work. I have not seen a fish he has done that didn’t look good.  His prices aren’t the cheapest but also not the most expensive and you get what you pay for. Actually sometimes you don’t get what you paid for and that will leave you with an ugly fish on the wall ruining the whole memory of the catch.  The last thing you want is to pay top dollar for a mount and be unhappy with it. This brings me to my next point.

If you aren’t with a guide ask your fishing friends or a local tackle shop for a recommendation. Many tackle shops are drop off locations for taxidermist.

Even if you have been recommended to someone look at their work first.  Make sure the fish they do look good. Everyone has different tastes when it comes to fish mounts. Make sure the work they do matches what you like. If possible go to the shop in person and look at the fish they have there.  DO NOT just agree to have your fish mounted with out seeing work first. I know of multiple people who have had fish mounted and were unhappy with the results. You want the fish to look like it did when it was caught.

Price is normally a concern when it comes to taxidermy. I am all about shopping around and comparing prices but only if you are happy with the quality of multiple peoples work. DO NOT compromise quality to save a couple bucks an inch.  Remember most likely you aren’t getting fish mounted that often and it is going to be hanging on your wall. You want to be proud to show it off to your friends.

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Everyone has different levels of experience and abilities.  There is no getting around that. When planning an outdoor adventure you need to remember this and be honest about it.  You also need to remember you might not be as good as you once were.  This is true for many aspects of your trip.

When you set up a trip with a guide they may ask you questions trying to judge your abilities. Based on the answers you give them they then plan out said trip.  This is why honesty is important.  Any good guide is going to have a plan b and probably a plan c. However, if you weren’t honest on the phone plan b and c might not be any better than the original plan.

This is especially important if your trip includes fishing back country out of the way waters and you have to hike to get to them.  You might have had no problem hiking for miles fishing in your younger or lighter years.  If those days have gone by and you don’t have time to get back into shape be honest. Tell your guide if you have trouble getting around or if you have knee problems.  Ask them if they can still put you on fish with out long walks to the water. If you don’t you may arrive and quickly find out you are not up for what the guide has planned.

This recently happened to me. I was told by a gentleman that him and his sons were used to hiking 3 to 6 miles in search of wild trout.  They wanted to fish somewhat remote areas where they wouldn’t see many people if any at all.  I was excited to book this trip as it is one of my favorites.  I started planning months before they trip and had 4 streams mapped out for the two days they would be fishing with me.  One of these streams required some bushwacking as there are no worn down trails and the other included a half mile walk from the truck followed by multiple waterfall climbs.  After fishing these two spots on day one I knew that my plans for day two were out the window and it was time to scramble and come up with a plan d.

The original stream for day two involved a few miles of step grade and big boulders.  This left me scratching my head as I needed easy walking wilderness fishing.  As you probably already know those don’t go together that often.  I scraped together a plan and we did our best on day 2 actually landing the biggest wild brook trout and wild brown trout of the weekend.  At the end of the day I was left feeling like two of my four guests weren’t happy with the results of the day.  I don’t like that feeling at all and of course went home and tried to figure out what I could have done different.

The answer was nothing. If had taken them any where that was easier walking it would have involved stocked fish and/or an urban environment.  Two things they didn’t want. In the end given correct knowledge of their ability I could have planned out the days a bit different as to not beat them up so much on the first day. I could have also explained ahead of time that I could put them on some big fish with easy walking on day two but we would be fishing in the middle of town. If they were honest with themselves that might have been alright with the idea.

Here is a list of some of things you should be upfront about when talking to your guide before the trip.

  1. What time you are willing to get out of bed. – Many guides want to be on the water before sun up.
  2. Your physical ability – Can you hike all day or would a boat be a better option.
  3. Your fishing ability – Don’t say you can cast an indicator rig 70 feet unless you can. This will come out very quickly.  A good guide will put you within your casting range of the fish.
  4. What you are expecting to catch. Make sure your expectations align with what the guide is planning to fish for. If you want 20 inch wild brook trout in a small stream it’s probably not going to happen.
  5. Any food allergies. Especially if the guide is providing food.

 

Just be honest with yourself and your guide. It will make for a much more enjoyable trip.

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I have been doing a lot of thinking lately about fishing and how I got started. I think back to the days spend rowing the wooden row boat in front of camp from sunrise until I heard the call that breakfast was ready or the days spent fishing for whatever would bite in the creek next to the house.  Those were simpler slower times.  I didn’t have a truck so I had to fish wherever I could walk or ride my bike to.

Most days were spent fishing the creek by the house.  These days I live on the other side of that same creek but rarely fish it. To tell the truth fishing the creek took a big down turn when I got my drivers license. There was no longer a reason to fish that little creek. I could drive to bigger “better” waters.  Never mind the fact that I had caught bass, pike, fall fish, chubs, suckers, bullhead, rockbass, and steelhead from that creek. Now I could drive and I was going to fish other places.

One place I spent a lot of time even before I could drive was Mexico Point. We fished from the break walls mostly. That was except the nights my friends and I camped out in the yard so we could sneak out and ride our bikes down there to fish at night. Yup we snuck out to go fishing and there wasn’t even any beer involved. I am not sure why we thought the fishing was going to be better at night. We never really caught much. I do remember catching a large eel one night though. Man that thing put up a fight.

Today I took a drive to Mexico Point to look for some perch but mostly to enjoy this warm afternoon before tomorrow’s cold gets here. I remembered spending hours out on the break wall casting lures into the lake and dropping curly tail grubs down in between the rocks. I am going to slow things down a bit this summer and go do exactly that a few days. We always caught fish back then so there is no reason why I wouldn’t now.

I am also going to spend more time on my creek. I know the fish are there.  I see them when I walk along it yet I am always rushing off to fish some place else.  I only have an hour and it’s a half hour drive but away I go. That is going to change this year. If I have a hour to fish I can spend 55 minutes of it on the creek rather than 30 some place else.  I am looking forward to teaching my oldest son to fish too. The creek is a perfect spot for kids.

I feel the world has become so fast pace that we don’t even escape it on our fishing adventures most of the time. I know I don’t at least. It’s always rush to the spot, fish later than I should, and rush back home.  People need to slow down and get back to where they started once in awhile. This summer that is exactly what I am going to do. Don’t get me wrong I have a whole list of new places to try and new people to fish with. However, at least a few days are going to be spent on the waters I fished as a kid and at least one day a week will be right on my own property.

Do yourself a favor. Slow down a few days this summer and relax fishing for sunfish, creek chubs, or whatever it was that got you started. 20170301_161036

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It was a cool fall morning when we launched the boats in the dark.  This was my first time rowing down the river in the dark and to say I was nervous would be an understatement. I wasn’t going to let me first ever customers know that though. I was lucky enough to have a veteran guide let me follow him down river.  We were the first ones in the river so we had our choice of spots.

At 5:15 am we dropped anchor at tail of the School House Pool. We only had about a hour and a half to sit in the dark and wait for legal fishing hours.  We hadn’t been sitting there 5 minutes when one of my guests cracked his first beer.  They had brought a 30 pack with them so this had me concerned.  I started rigging up the plug rods we would put out at daylight. Once the plug rods were set I made sure our bottom bouncing rods were ready then I drank my coffee while they drank their beer.

When I put out the plug rods at day light there were at least 6 empty beer cans in the bottom of the boat and fish all around us. I was praying we would hit a few fish on the plugs and get them to the net first thing. That was not the case. We had 3 hard hits that doubled the rod over but never hooked up. At that time you couldn’t run bead chains unless you had a special lures permit and being new I didn’t have one.

Now it was plenty light out and we could see the fish constantly moving through the current around us. You could also now see at least 10 empty beer cans in the front of the boat. I pulled in the plug rods and hand them the bottom bouncers. I am not going to lie and tell you we were trying to get the fish to bite. We were trying to line them just like almost everyone else on the river at that time.  I explained to them how to cast just up stream of the fish so as not to spook them and then drift the line back into them. They kept casting right at the fish. I would tell them to cast ahead of the fish and they would cast way upstream and get snagged. I retied and they cast directly at the fish again. I was in trouble and I knew it. After about 2 hours of this and a few more beers the fish were gone and it was time to pull anchor.

When we dropped anchor again there were about 50 in the current right along side the boat. I though we were safe because it was a bit deeper water so they could get away with casting a little too far upstream. They were having trouble seeing the fish so their casts were even farther off target. It seemed no matter what I told them they did the opposite. It wasn’t long before another guide came through saw the fish and purposely splashed his oars through the hole sending them fleeing. I was not happy and never forgot this moment. I didn’t say a word as I was the new guy on the river and I had customers with me. I let them cast for a few more minutes while I regrouped and made a plan. I knew something had to change if I was going to get these guys at least one fish.

We made a big move down stream where I could pull plugs in some deeper water. I knew this was our only chance as they were never going to get one casting.  We fished through the first hole with out a strike. There were a few shots from a liquor bottle taken though. As I was setting rods in the second hole I noticed there were at least 20 empty beer cans in the bottom of the boat. I could tell the guys were far from sober. The second hole was money or at least it should have been. I watched the right rod double over and saw the fish thrashing on the surface. As I yelled “right rod right rod right rod” I rowed upstream as hard as I could to keep the line tight. Of course both guys tried to grab the left rod. By the time they got to the right rod the fish got slack line and came off.

There was only one spot left to try plugging before the boat launch. It was now or never and I was far from optimistic. I put the lures out again and started working them in the current. We were almost to the tail of the pool when the middle rod slammed down into the bow of the boat. I pulled hard on the oars and yelled “middle rod get it and reel”. I told them in the beginning you don’t have to set the hook, the fish will do it for you, just keep the line tight.  When he grabbed the rod out of the holder not only did he set the hook like Bill Dance but he dropped the rod right back down giving the fish the slack it needed. The fish was gone and so was all hope of saving the day.

Back at the lodge they told a bit different story to the owner who they had booked the trip through. They were not happy to pay all that money and not catch a fish. I was given the chance to tell my side  of the story when I stopped in later that evening. I learned a lot in that first trip. First and foremost I needed a special lure permit. Second there would be a limit on how much alcohol was allowed on my boat from there on out. This was when I decided if someone is just looking to catch a buzz they can hire someone else.

 

 

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It was how it all started I think. I’m not sure if I actually went fishing or not but from what I can remember it was the start of this crazy obsession. I know it sounds crazy that I don’t know if I went fishing but claim it was the day I got hooked on fishing. 

I do know I was no older than 5 years old. At the age of 5 my parents bought the house I lived in most of my childhood and we hadn’t moved yet.  That means it was possibly the summer I turned five but no later. 

It was a beautiful summer day some time in the morning or maybe it was afternoon. It was 30 years ago cut me some slack. My grandfather, Papa, had pulled up infront of the house with his boat in tow. The boat was a beautiful white and blue Conroy cuddy cabin. At 19 foot it was huge to a young child. Realistically it was on the smaller side for fishing Lake Ontario but that didn’t matter to me. 

Unfortunately I don’t really know if I went fishing that summer day. For all I know he might have picked my dad up and I might have stayed home. I highly doubt that. I wish I remembered going out on the water. Although it doesn’t matter because I will always remember that day as the day it all started. I blame and thank Papa for causing my fishing obsession. 

I spent many days on the water throughout my childhood on that boat most of them with Papa and as I got older many of them with friends. I will always cherish that time. Last year I was given the chance to buy that very boat and there was no way I was going to say no. It needs some cleaning and tuning but next summer I will be taking my wife and sons out on Lake Ontario and I can’t wait. Of course Papa will be invited on the first trip out. 

I have to say a big thank you to Papa for my fishing addiction. With out it who knows what I would have done. I might have become addicted to something else and ruined my life. I might have invested the 100’s of thousands of dollars in have spent on fishing and been rich.  What would I do with all that money? There is no way it could make me as happy as fishing and guiding does. My fishing addiction has made me rich in other ways…better ways. 

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There is nothing worse that waking up early after staying up late preparing for a fishing trip only to find the wind blowing way to hard to get out on the water.  If you fish Lake Ontario, Oneida Lake, or any similar water there is no doubt you have had one of these mornings.  This has happened to me the last two days. The wind and rain have been to intense to get out on the water.

I normally take advantage of these days by getting work done around the house.  After all a happy wife is a happy life.  Some days I just can’t get the fishing bug out of my head though. These days I like to spend tying flies, putting new line on my reels, or writing about fishing.  There is also the most expensive blow off day activity buying new gear. I try to stay away from this last one even though it is the most fun.

What do you do on blow off days?

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Today was my first ever day fishing open water on Oneida Lake New York. Yes there are a few bodies of water in the Central New York area that I have not fished. Until today this was one of them. I have fished it through the ice a couple times but never open water.

I have been getting reports of the Walleye fishing on Oneida Lake being hit or miss. Some days guys have been crushing them and then getting nothing in the same spot the next.

Today I was fishing with my friend Mike Tankersly aboard his Lund boat. Mike fishes Oneida Lake regularly so I was excited to be out with him. We launched out of Oneida Shores boat launch. It was my first time at the launch and I was very impressed. I would recommend using it.

It turned out today was one of the miss days, although we did have some action. Shortly after we started fishing Mike caught a perch around 8 inches. Many places I fish this would be a keeper but anyone who has fished Oneida Lake for perch knows that this is a small one there. It wasn’t long after that I felt a hit on my black and purple buck tail jig. It was a nice walleye about 18 inches or so. As we continued our drift we noticed the boats around us where moving to other spots and not drifting back through the area we where in. We fished for a bit longer and then decided to do the same.

At our next spot Mike caught another perch, this one even smaller then the first. We both caught big small mouth bass. Another fish that Oneida Lake is know for.  I also managed to hook up with and land 2 pickerel. One of which was the smallest I have ever caught. I didn’t measure it as I wanted to get it right back in the water but I am guessing it went about 10 inches.

We only had a few hours to fish this morning so we quickly went and unsuccessfully tried one other spot before it started to rain and we decided to call it a day about a half hour earlier than planned. Overall I was happy with my first trip to Oneida Lake walleye fishing. After all my one walleye would be enough for dinner for my wife and I. Mike said next time would be better though so I can’t wait to get back out there and try it again.

 

 

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