Rod, Gun and Game: In fishing, simple is as simple does
As the days of summer are flowing by, anglers are listening for news of the latest bait, lure, rod, reel or gear or the next best trick to to use that will put more fish on their lines.
A few pretty uncomplicated fishermen recently taught me that we don’t always need the newest, fastest and hottest gear to catch the biggest fish. As I moved my 21-foot Sylvan Sportsman to a weed-surrounded dock at Chautauqua Lake a few weeks ago, my bow-mounted, battery-powered electric motor provided silent underwater thrust and new fishing opportunities.
Lisa Green, at the Happy Hooker Bait and Tackle Shop, told me that most of the locals use plastic worms and creature baits around the docks to catch mid-day bass resting in the cool shadows of the boat-holding structures.
My old friend Bob Green, a local guide on Chautauqua Lake, zeroed in on a preferred location to conduct effective dock-casting practices. He suggested using a Senko®-style, worm-hooked, weedless Texas style, with the hook point turned over and buried back into the body of the plastic bait, to avoid catching the docks or weeds.
I found different colored, 6-inch Senko-style worms and tied on a size 4/0 worm hook that provided extra casting weight and enabled the worm to sink quickly.
We fished the first 20 or so docks with care, watching our lines to avoid hooking anything on the docks or the moored boats. I had not fished this way in probably a decade.
There was no sound of a gas-powered trolling motor and no long lines with 200-foot deployments or rod holders for side-planers, downriggers and diving rig devices. While I love Great Lakes fishing, the quiet inland lake fishing offered a unique variance from the open water.
As we were sitting around with our lines in the water, a 12-foot-long wooden boat came around the corner, wooden oars and wooden oar locks allowing for quiet forward propulsion. The young angler, who was wearing a straw hat and dungarees, was heading for a big dock that we had already passed.
I said hello to the young man and received a nod in reply. The Amish angler had one 6-foot spinning rod in his boat. It was an older rod, with stainless steel guides and an older open-face spinning reel. I noticed he was pre-rigged with a Senko worm, but the worm was not rigged weedless. It was rigged “wacky style,” hooked through the middle of the worm with an exposed hook point.
I remembered the dense weeds around the location the angler was going to fish and watched to see what the fisherman would do. As he slowed his boat, the angler removed one sash window weight in the bow and slipped it in the water, with a clothesline anchor rope, followed by another sash weight anchor in the stern.
Next, he stood up and cast. I expected him to drop his bait alongside the dock moorings like we were doing, but he cast his wacky rig so hard into the surface of the water between the boat and the dock that the plastic worm skipped about 30 or 40 feet back up under the dock.
I realized the method offered superior stealth, silently falling into the depth below the darkest, shadowy portion of the dock. A moment later, the angler set the hook on a strike and lifted a 16-inch bass out of the water. The fish was kept alive for dinner on a clothesline stringer.
Three casts later, a 22-inch largemouth bass was added to his stringer. Here we were, in our modern fishing boat with all the bells and whistles, and there he was, making do with what he had and winning the battle of the docks. This angler was quiet, maintained boat position and offered perfect presentation, fooling some of the biggest bass in the lake.
A few moments later, we went on our way, humbled by the day’s experience, relearning how to fish, simple style, from an expert that was very good at it.
Over the next hour, we caught four bass and called it day. We had not switched the worm hook-up to the exposed wacky center-worm hook style, but we learned how to cast like the young Amish angler, with a “skip-cast,” allowing our weedless worm to bounce right into the central portion of the dock shadows and drop into the lair of the resting, dock bass.
We passed the Amish angler and waved to him again. He nodded, smiled and lifted his stringer to show us that he now had four fish. The fish we had caught were made possible by what we learned from this gentleman.
The “skip-cast” allows for a perfect dock presentation of a plastic worm or creature bait. I called Green to share our success story. Bob confirmed that some of the local clan were very good at fishing. He already knew about the skip-cast method we had watched.
The method will work anywhere largemouth bass live near docks. Taking a lesson from such an expert provided for yet another life lesson.
While we caught all largemouth bass, Green, who was out with a charter that afternoon, used drop-shot rigs to catch six smallmouth and some walleye in the deeper northern basin Chautauqua waters near the Mayville end.
To fish with expert guide Bob Green, call 655-7940. Visit Lisa Green at the Happy Hooker Bait Shop at 2415 West Lake Road, Ashville, or call 763-5815.
Gun owners victorious
The New York Legislature wrapped up its 2012 session about a week ago, with the micro-stamping mandate blocked for the fifth consecutive year. Despite an attempt to push Assembly Bill 1157B through the Assembly by an 85 – 60 vote on June 19, the Senate refused to move on this gun control scheme. New York finally eliminated its costly and ineffective CoBis system, the state ballistic imaging database. This program tapped taxpayers $4 million annually for roughly a decade without solving a single crime. Anti-gun groups will be back in Albany next year. Sportsmen and their telephone calls and emails to lawmakers continue to make a difference. The NRA and affiliated local, state and national organizations hope to increase support for Second Amendment rights in the New York Legislature after the 2012 elections. Rather than drive employers and jobs out of New York state, legislative efforts should focus on enforcing the scores of gun laws already on the books.
UN gun ban treaty
The Constitution’s supremacy clause said that treaties are the “law of the land” and cannot be overwritten by acts of Congress or state legislatures.
=If the Senate ratifies the UN Arms Trade Treaty that President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton intend to sign on July 27, the Second Amendment will be voided.
The UN Arms Trade Treaty seeks to set up an international agency that will control the availability of arms and ammunition around the world. This new, international body will have the authority to tell signing nations what they can and cannot sell within their own borders. In addition, the international body will have the authority to ban existing guns within countries.
July 19: Southtowns Walleye Association meeting, 7:30 p.m. Guest speaker; 5895 Southwestern Road in Hamburg.
July 19: Lake Ontario Trout and Salmon Association monthly meeting, 4487 Lake Ave., Route 78, Lockport, 7 p.m. Summer brown trout techniques with Captain Hank Condes. For more information, call 636-0519.
July 19 and 21: NYS Archery Certification, Nicks Sporting Goods, 1211 Kenmore Ave. For more information, call 875-9218.
July 21: Southtowns Walleye Kids Fishing Derby, Tifft Nature Preserve, Lake Kristy, 7:30 a.m. For more information, call Dennis Stobert, at 649-8202.
July 21: NYS Waterfowl ID Course, Erie County Conservation Society, Miller Ave., Holland. For more information, call 655-2328.
July 22: Lake Erie chapter of Federation of Fly Fishers, Kids Fly Fishing Course, Chestnut Ridge Park. Call 875-4766 for more information or to sign up.
July 23 and 28: NYS Archery Certification Course, Elma Conservation, 600 Creek Road. For more information, call 681-5690.
July 26: Erie County Federation of Sportsmen monthly meeting. Directors meeting, 6:30 p.m. General meeting, 7. Niagara River Station, 333 East River Road, Grand Island. For more information, call 597-4081.
July 28: Niagara River Anglers Association bass contest, 6 a.m. - 1 p.m., Lewiston Landing. For more information, call Steve Drabczyk at 807-6111.
Aug. 3 – 5: Northern Chautauqua County Conservation fifth annual Walleye Tournament, Dunkirk Harbor. Cash prizes and Calcutta’s; For more information, call Zen Olaw, at 640-2776 or email email@example.com.
Aug. 8 – 19: Erie County Fair. Visit the conservation building. For more information, visit www.ecfair.org.
Send information to firstname.lastname@example.org 10 days in advance.