Fishing

A Salmon and a Dancing Hula Girl

Sun, 21 September 2008

Yesterday was a beautiful September morning. I convinced my friend Scott to get up early and join me for some salmon fishing off the mouth of the Genesee river on Lake Ontario. While Scott drove the Fish Fry I worked on setting the lines. As I was choosing which fishing rods to use, I saw the rig I took from my grandfather’s basement earlier this summer after he passed away. Even though it had 15 year old line on it, I asked grandpa if he’d help me out this morning with some luck. I put onto that rod, the lure I affectionately call “the dancing hula girl“. It’s a green Spin Doctor with an Atomik Fly (like this guy used) trailing behind it. It is a weird rig that I’ve never caught a darn thing on. I put down a good variety of other spoons and had the lines set by 6:45am.

Scott and I were chatting and not paying attention, and I looked over his shoulder from the drivers seat at about 7:15. I said “Hey, Scott!!! That’s a fish, could you go grab that?!” So he jumped up and grabbed the rod. With the line zipping out, I cleared the rest of the downrigger lines, then I grabbed the camera and shot this quick video:


Scott Ingraham catching his first big salmon

The fish fought for about 15 minutes, and at one point was more than 200 feet off the back of the boat. It was good to see Scott start to fatigue a bit as he got his first taste of horsing in a big one. Finally we tired out the salmon more than Scott, and unlike last year, I actually had a big enough net to get the fish in the boat.

Scott’s Salmon
15 lb. King Salmon

Kris with salmon
Striking a pose with the catch of the day

It was awesome to find out that the fish came on grandpa’s rod, and the ‘Dancing Hula Girl’. Thanks gramps, that was pretty cool! Scott and I both had a big smile on our face the rest of the morning even though we never got another hit. I went home and cleaned our fish, then Tricia and I cooked it for dinner on the grill. Grilled salmon marinated in Santa Fe Marinade is mmm…mmm…good.

This was enough excitement to last me until next year. I think Scott was pretty pumped because when I dropped him off his vacuum packed fillets at church today (good charter captain I am) he still was sporting that grin. Thanks for a fun morning Scott!

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Thousand Islands Mini-Vacation

Wed, 30 July 2008

For our 10th anniversary weekend we headed off to Chippewa Bay in the 1000 Islands for a couple days of fun with our friends Marc and Janet and their kids, Mia and Lucas. On Sunday morning we hooked up our boat and left the house at 9:45. We took a really nice drive east on 104 through all of the eastern Lake Ontario fishing towns like Sodus, Pulaski, Oswego, and Mexico. We arrived at around 12:30pm at the public boat launch. There, we left our boat trailer locked up and drove the boat over to the cabin which was less than half a mile away.

Jesse’s Island
The cabin is at the end of a steep road to the water’s edge. On the land where we stayed was the owner’s cabin, and a guest cabin that the 8 of us stayed in. The cabin is on Jesse’s Island, which I would suppose is one of the 1,793 islands that make up the area.

Mia and Anna on Jesse’s Island
Mia and Anna on Jesse’s Island

Here Fishy Fishy
The 2 boats at the dock
I brought the Fish Fry, but the best “yacht” in the place was the pontoon boat
We took the boat out fishing while Marc’s family went on the 24 foot pontoon boat they had rented. We spent a good amount of time out on the water drift fishing with worms. We got tons of small perch. As we peered over to the fishin’ barge we saw Janet hook a nice 3.3 pound walleye, and a small Northern Pike. We knew who we were fishing with the rest of the trip for sure. The pontoon boat worked out much better to get the whole crowd of us to have fishing fun together.

Anna pets a Northern Pike
Anna pets the nice Northern pike lovingly.

Island Hopping
Perhaps the best part of going to the 1000 Islands is island hopping. There was a nice state park right by where we fished every day, so it gave us a chance to explore. The island had a few tent sites and a beautiful picnic shelter. Someday, it might be fun to camp there.
Cedar Island State Park
We parked the boat on shore and poked around the island.

Mason and Anna Go Down the Tubes
On Monday afternoon the weather was kind of crummy and we had been fishing all morning. Rather than sit inside, I thought we could try a water activity. Heck, we were going to get wet anyway. I had purchased an inexpensive tube and tow rope from Dick’s to bring with us on the off chance that I might entice one of the kids to hop in the water and get dragged around by the boat. Sure enough, Anna was game for the adventure, but Mason wasn’t feeling well.

We took out the pontoon boat, hooked up the tube, and I hopped in for a trial run. Anna saw me getting dragged around having a good time, but was a little concerned when I flipped off the tube after doing some tricks. Nonetheless, she hopped into the tube giving me explicit instructions not to go fast or do tricks to flip us off. Well, I had Marc start off really slow. After a while we sped up a bit more, and Anna was having a blast! We talked the whole time together about how much fun we were having. Then I had Marc goose the throttle a bit more so we could get the tube on plane and get my legs out of the water. That’s when Anna had enough. She started to scream like she does on a kiddie coaster, “This is a nightmare!, This is a nightmare!”. I just thought that was priceless. So, we slowed down and congratulated Anna on her first tube ride. (The pictures are still on Marc’s camera). It was awesome!

Mia and Lucas both had their first turn on the tube as well (with Marc and Janet riding along). They both had a blast in their first experiences too. We went in after the first round of tubing to pick up Mason and Tricia. Luckily Mason was feeling better and he wanted to give tubing a whirl. Tricia was the first to take him out. She had the boat up to full speed, and had Mason outside of the wakes! He loved it. Then it was my turn to go out with the boy. I got even more aggressive with it at full speed, and he just never wanted to quit. Nothing beats the smiles that the whole crew had on their faces.

Mason and Tricia Tubing
Tricia takes Mason on his first tube ride

Kris and Mason tubing together
Kris and Mason go outside of the wakes

Tourist Fun
We also had a chance to check out a few spots in the tourist mecca of Alexandria Bay. My favorite, of course is the 1000 Islands Bait Store, the ultimate fishing shop. My kids really liked our scavenger hunt at Mazeland. Mazeland is a labyrinth of bushes that you try to find your way through. You go through it looking for letters that make up the word of the day. If you get the word of the day right, the kids get a prize, and the adults were entered into a drawing for one too. Mason enjoyed the life sized chess board in downtown Alex Bay. When we got back from the trip all he wanted to do was learn to play chess. That is one of his new favorite things.

Krolczyk family at Cedar Island
The Krolczyk clan in their favorite part of the world

Thanks to Marc, Janet and the kids for sharing their yearly family vacation with us. It was a lot of fun.

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Cabonga Reservoir Fishing 2008: Family, Fun, and Foibles

Fri, 20 June 2008

Kris Netting Fish Cabonga
Kris nets nice walleye for Uncle Neal

From June 9-13, 2008 I spent a week making a trek up to Canada with my uncles, my cousin, and some family friends to Cabonga Reservoir, for some great walleye and pike fishing. More importantly though, it became a great way for us to unwind and connect in a positive way after spending the previous weekend doing something very hard for our family. I always provide the entertainment for the group with my knack for idiocy. This year was no exception.

Kris’s 2008 Cabonga Fish Story
It was prime time fishing in the evening, ’round about 7pm. I was in a boat with Phil and Duane. We had just found out the secret to the best fishing lure from the local Indian guides. We trolled Thin Fins so fast that the boat was putting up wake and we were nailing the fish. Alas, as is typical after buying a new lure, I got it well snagged on the bottom after only about 10 minutes using it. Duane offered to use a Snag-away to release my lure from the bottom. He monkeyed with the contraption for 5 minutes unsuccessfully.

Now, I was getting frustrated. I was wasting valuable fishing time with this snag. I told my boat mates I would snap the line. What was really going through my head was “I’ve got one more shot to save my lure if I yank REALLY hard on the rod”. So that’s what I did. Suddenly I heard a twayayayanggggg….noise, and then a sploosh! It took me too long to realize that the top part of my Ugly Stik rod, that was always loose to begin with had just flung 50 yards behind me. Since I was the driver of the boat, I quickly grabbed the tiller, flung it into reverse and went after the tip of my rod. Of course they don’t float, but I wasn’t bright enough to think this through. Instead I proceeded to gun the engine and take on water into the back of the boat. At this point Phil and Duane calmly suggested that I step away from the tiller until I cool down a bit. They also stayed pretty quiet for a while as I grumbled about losing half of a good rod to the fishing gods. All I can say to everyone in attendance is, “You’re Welcome! Tip me at the bar, I’ll be here all week.”

Uncle Neal’s Rock Split Incident
My fish story only barely beat out Uncle Neal for Best in Show. His entry was more ballet than my slapstick, but still high quality nonetheless. The boats had split up for the afternoon, and my boat was 100 yards from where we saw Uncle Neal’s boat approaching some large boulders. I knew that they were stopping by these large rocks to have a snack and rest. When I looked over my shoulder to see them dock at the rock, all I saw was a splash, and what I thought was Uncle Neal going into the water. I cried “Man down!” to my boat mates, and we quickly went over to see what happened. When we arrived, there was Neal with one soaked pant leg all the way up to his butt. Apparently he had tried to prevent the boat from making too hard of a landing at the rock. He put one foot on the boat bow, and put his other out to fend off the boat from the rock. When the boat lost its forward momentum it quickly left Neal with a “Split Decision”. The boat moved away from the rock and he had to make a quick call to jump back to the boat, onto the rock, or into the water. He chose the boat, but he lost his balance and dunked his leg in the water.

It’s always those great stories that makes the trip so fun. There was plenty of great walleye fishing too. In fact, the last night the fish were hitting from 5pm all the way through 8:30. It was one of those perfect nights. Warm, calm, quiet, and the fish were in a frenzy. Our stringers were full by 7:45 and we spent the rest of the night upgrading our tonnage to only the bigger walleye.

I enjoyed the trip immensely, and the time off is always good for a recharge. Here’s some more photos from the 2008 Cabonga Fishing Trip.

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First Salmon Catch off the ‘Fish Fry’

Sun, 23 September 2007

Finally! The monkey is officially off my back. I have been hitting the salmon fishing hard off the mouth of the Genesee for much of late summer and early fall. Every time I’ve gone out, I’ve gotten closer and closer to getting a salmon. There were a couple of other occasions where I’ve been skunked, or blown off the lake. The other day we had a screamer shake a lure free right off the end of the pier after a 25 minute fight.

So, this morning was awesome when my Dad and I got into a hard fighting Coho right around 6:50am. The sun wasn’t even above the horizon yet. We got her on a black spoon with a green glow in the dark ladder-back. She fought for about 10 minutes. I had the net (which I bought for our Canada trip last year) poised. Now I know how big salmon can be, but I really thought the new net was big enough and deep enough. I swiped at the fish once, and she got out of the net. She took a quick dive, and then Dad horsed it back to the boat. I took a second swipe and missed again. I really do know how to handle a net, but it quickly became clear that this net is NOT big enough for Salmon fishing. Finally, on the third try, after I was sure my dad would push me over the side if I didn’t land the fish, I got her in.

We were psyched! It has been since probably 1990 since we’ve gotten a salmon. This one was only 11 lb 3oz, not very big by salmon standards – but exactly what we were hoping for. We put the lines in the water for another 3 hours, and there wasn’t even another hit. We were very thankful for the one fish that hit and we landed.

It was fun to come home with something other than an empty cooler, and show his grandkids why we spend time sitting on the water drinkineg coffee and eating donuts.

Dad and Kris Salmon Catch

This is the first salmon that I’ve caught from the ol’ boat since I acquired it. I hope it is a sign of more to come.

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Labor Day Family Fishing Expedition

Tue, 04 September 2007

For Labor Day 2007 Tricia and I woke the kids early for a fishing trip out on big Lake Ontario. No other wife than the best one in the world would be willing to sacrifice her beauty sleep for the sight of a Rochester sunrise, and the chance at a big nasty fish. Anna was surprisingly chipper for 5:00AM, but Mason was GRUMPY. My only saving grace was to allow him to be the ‘light man’ by strapping LED lights to his hat and promising he could help bait the hooks.

It began as a beautiful morning. Tricia captained the boat for the first time as we launched out of the Genesee river. She drove us out to 80 feet of water, and I set the lines. She even had time to snap this picture.
Captain Kris of the Good Ship Fish Fry

First mate Mason had his break immediately after I got set up.
Matey Mason takes a needed break from the fishing action

Second mate Anna was all smiles as she sang to the fish gods for some action. Here fishy,fishy,fishyyyyyyy…
Matey Anna sings for the fish gods

And then it started to get a little nasty. The wind kicked up within 10 minutes of the lines being in the water. I captained the good ship Fish Fry, and Tricia manned the lines. As any rookie would tell you, watching those lines bob up and down can sometime make you a bit uneasy. Within 10 minutes Tricia let me know she wasn’t feeling so good. She looked a little green, and believe me I wasn’t going to take a picture of it:) So I pulled up the lines as fast as I could and we motored in surfing the waves and getting plenty wet as the boat bashed water up and over the windshield. Luckily we made it into the river where it was a bit more calm. Sea sickness doesn’t go away quickly and Tricia was thrilled to kiss the docks when we got back. She was a real trooper. I really felt bad for putting her through that. Next time we’ll be prepared with some dramamine. Overall it was good to get out. No fish, but another great story to tell.

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Terrific Fishing Info for Lake Ontario near Rochester, NY

Mon, 27 August 2007

Lake Ontario United

Up-to-date local fishing information can be very difficult to come by. The best source of information in the mid-80’s were frequent checks of the VHF radio, a trip to a local tackle store, or hanging out by the ESLO derby weigh stations hoping to get a fish story.

With the internet I figured there would be a much easier way to avoid floating out in the big lake without a clue. Fishing for the big salmon is an art and a science. I thought for sure that all of the local charter captains would be hanging out online somewhere. To my surprise, it was nearly impossible to find any up-to-date information for the port of Rochester. It seemed many fishermen were posting information for the Salmon River, or Oak Orchard.

Then, FINALLY, I stumbled upon Lake Ontario United that is hopping with information from the Rochester, NY fishing scene. There are tons of charter captains and weekenders sharing fishing reports, lures and tactics. Of course you can see pictures of the big catch as well. It has everything I need to enjoy salmon fishing again like my dad and I did in the heyday of the ESLO derby. Now, I just need to get out on the water.

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Cabonga Lodge Fish Story

Wed, 28 June 2006

Last week I took a fishing trip with guys from my family including my dad, father-in-law, uncle Terry, uncle Neal and Duane. We drove to the Cabonga Reservoir in Quebec for 3 days of fishing. The catch of the week was this 13 pound Northern Pike. I’ve done a lot of fishing, but this was by far the most exciting catch of my life. We had gotten off of our boats and onto 2 large rocks. As I reeled in my first cast of a Little Cleo (the blue and white beauty in the upper right corner) and only 3 feet from pulling the lure from the water, this giant swirl suddenly peeled out 30 yards of line and bent my pole into the water. After raking on the fish for 10 minutes I got my first glimpse and I knew it was huge. A Northern does not like to see a net or a fisherman so away he went. We fought the fish for another 15 minutes, dancing around the rocks, praying that he wouldn’t saw through the line with his razor sharp teeth. I tired it out and Duane took one mighty swoop with the net. The beast was landed – barely. The net was not really big enough, and an extremely angry northern tore a nice hole right into it. A day after we had lost a stringer full of fish because of equipment failure, we took another 5 minutes just trying to get 2 stringer hooks into his mouth.

Anyways, words hardly do the experience justice, but the reward was taking in the record Northern so far this summer at Cabonga Lodge. As a matter of fact the previous night I had caught a 10.6 pounder which was the previous record. What a joy it was to beat my own record by over 2 lbs! There were many amazing experiences on this trip, not the least of which was spending it with my dad and father-in-law. I hope I can go again sometime.

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