Rod, Gun and Game: Fishing with Heroes event to honor Army soldiers
Lake Erie Barcelona Harbor Charter Capt. Fred Forsythe of Cast Away Charters received support from Erie County sportsmen groups, including Bison City Rod and Gun, East Aurora Fish and Game, West Falls Conservation Society, Erie County Federation of Sportsmen and Depew Lancaster Aerie 2692 Fraternal Order of Eagles.
Forsythe and his wife Darlene contacted the 10th Mountain Brigade Light Infantry Division at Camp Drum three years ago, and discovered that soldiers in combat injury rehabilitation were in various states of healing in nearby Watertown. Recovering soldiers were assigned to the 385th Warrior Transition Battalion. Of the 91 soldiers in the unit, 12 of them were well enough to make the fishing road trip.
Forsythe, a Lake Erie fishing expert, has worked very hard since then to assure meals, lodging and a weekend of fishing comfort for soldiers. The 12 participants hail from California, Texas, North Carolina and other states; some of them have prosthetic devices visible, where they had lost a limb to an improvised explosive device.
The soldiers talk about their battleground moments, allowing us to share in their emotions in the name of freedom. It is hoped that this fishing event helps with their healing.
Sergeant Shawn Tichnor from Brainerd, Minn. stepped on an IED while on patrol in South Afghanistan. He runs 4 miles a day and works out in the gym three times a week, with a metal leg. He said he will stay in the Army 20 – 25 years and make a career of it.
The non-commissioned officer in charge of the group, Staff Sergeant George Banaduc, traveled here with his wife Jessica. The couple are raising four daughters.
The fishing weekend is run from the Barcelona Harbor area. Participants fish for Lake Erie walleyes one day and Chautauqua Lake for muskies and bass the next day.
The Fishing With Heroes weekend ran from Friday – Sunday. The soldiers spent the weekend at the Theatre Hotel on Route 20 in Westfield, N.Y., 2 miles from Barcelona Harbor.
Friday night found the veterans at Blue Water Campground on Route 5 on Lake Erie, where owners Donna and Brian Hayes provided use of their dining hall, beach and picnic grounds. Soldiers feasted on an old-fashioned corn roast from Chautauqua Lake Musky Guide Larry Jones, a mouth-watering Lake Erie walleye fish fry by Don Knappenberger and a chicken roast.
The soldiers fished from 7 a.m. – 1 p.m. with six charter captains. They tallied 74 walleye that ranged from 15 inches to 9.2 pounds. Among the charters joining Forsythe were Capt. Jim Tunney, Capt. Don Walter, Master Capt. Jeff Whipple and others. The fish were suspended about 55 feet down in 65 – 100 feet of water, with sideplaners and downriggers’ catching most of the fish on stickbaits and spinner/worm rigs, with worms provided by Jack Strawbrich of Weeklies Wholesale Bait in Hamburg.
A dinner was held at Zebro’s Harbor House Restaurant on Saturday night. Forsythe presented $100 Penn fishing reel gifts from Pure Fishing, $75 Gander Mountain gift cards, Mustad Hooks and the Erie County Federation of Sportsmen. A rod and reel package and the big fish plaque went to 18-year U.S. Army veteran Sergeant Walter Pickering with a 9.2-pound walleye, while a rod and reel boobie prize for the smallest fish was a tie between Sergeant Scott Moreau and Specialist Alexander Maves, with 15-inch walleyes. A biggest walleye fun pool was held, and Jessica Banaduc took the honors with an 8.25-pound walleye.
The next day, Chautauqua Lake musky guide Larry Jones, a Vietnam war veteran, led the charge with six new charter guides, including Sam Schrecengost, Tom Marks, Capt. Bob Green, Capt. Ed Crag and others.
The focus was on catching bass and musky, but a heavy rain storm ended the fishing early.
Fred Forsythe can be contacted at 560-9216 or www.castawaycharters.net. These soldiers may never forget their experiences overseas, but they may also never forget this weekend in a place that their military service helped keep free.
Lake Erie sample show Asian carp
Six water samples taken from Lake Erie bays at Sandusky and north Maumee tested positive for the presence of Asian carp environmental DNA. The positive samples were among 417 taken from Lake Erie in August 2011 and more than 2,000 samples taken from the Great Lakes Basin since 2010.
The Lake Erie batch was recently analyzed and test results were confirmed by eDNA researchers this week. The six positive samples represent less than 1.5 percent of the Lake Erie samples. Reports show that four samples from Sandusky Bay, in Ohio waters, tested positive for bighead carp eDNA, while two samples from north Maumee Bay, in Michigan waters, were positive for silver carp eDNA.
In response to these findings, electroshocking and netting began last Friday in Sandusky Bay, with no evidence of Asian carp found. Additional testing and monitoring are planned by the Ohio and Michigan departments of natural resources, in conjunction with partner agencies. The findings indicate the presence of genetic material left behind by the species, such as scales, excrement or mucous, but not the establishment of Asian carp in Lake Erie. Positive eDNA tests are regarded by the scientific community as an indicator of the species’ recent presence, but positive results can occur whether the organism is alive or dead.
Asian carp pose a threat to the Great Lakes ecosystem and economy. Anglers should familiarize themselves with the identification of Asian carp, as the spread of juvenile Asian carp through the use of live bait buckets has been identified as a potential point of entry into Great Lakes waters.
A video demonstrating how to identify carp can be viewed on the USFWS YouTube channel, youtube/B49OWrCRs38. For more information, visit www.michigan.gov/asiancarp or www.wildohio.com.
West Nile virus is early
Laboratory results on a 6-year-old crow was found dead near Ithaca last week showed the bird tested positive for West Nile virus. According to Bob Garrison, this is early for crows to be dying of WNV. In past years, the peak of crow deaths was in August and September.
WNV is spread by mosquitoes, which breed in wet areas. People can be infected when bitten by the insects. Use mosquito repellent if you travel to Central New York.
July 21: NYS Archery Certification, Nicks Sporting Goods, 1211 Kenmore Ave. For more information, call 875-9218.
July 21: Southtowns Walleye Kids Fishing Derby, Tifft 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. For more information, call 875-4766.
July 23 and 28: NYS Trapper Certification Course, Elma Conservation, 600 Creek Road. For more information, call 681-5690.
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.
July 28: NYS Bowhunter Course, Southtowns Walleye Association, Hamburg. Pre-register by calling 627-0147.
July 30 and Aug. 3 – 4: Hunter education course, Wood & Brook Sportsmen’s Club, Alden: register at first class, which begins at 8 a.m.
Aug. 3 – 5: Northern Chautauqua County Conservation Fifth Annual Walleye Tournament, Dunkirk Harbor. For more information, call Zen Olaw at 640-2776 or email email@example.com.
Send information to firstname.lastname@example.org 10 days in advance.