As the sun began to rise, I looked out at the enormous expanse of water that lay before me and I could hardly wait to start my day fishing on Lake Ontario.
Darryl, Mike Seymour, Ron Kolodziej and myself stood on the docks at Henchen Marina in Henderson Harbor, New York awaiting the arrival of the boats from Saiff Fishing Charters.
Meeting again with Mike whom we had fished with in years past and exchanging greetings with Ron who I had meet just the week before at an OWAA conference, it felt a little like old home week. The two boats pulled up to the dock and we were joined by our host Bill Saiff III and Captain Johnny (aka: Rooster).
It had been decided that Darryl and I would fish this day with Johnny, and Ron and Mike would hop aboard the Rod and Reel, Jr. to fish with Bill. Our destination on this first of two days of fishing would be to an area of the lake known to locals as the shipping lane.
The well-equipped fishing boats got us to our destination safely and quickly. In no time at all, the downriggers were set and we were fishing.
In Search Of Lakers
With the exception of the high line all the others were rigged with cowbells. These are a line of willow leaf-shaped spinner blades that vary in size from about 6 inches to 3 inches in length. Behind the cowbells was something Captain Johnny referred to as a peanut. About the size of a quarter, it amazed me that something as large as an Ontario lake trout would bother or even notice this odd shaped, colorful little lure. The high line, on the other hand, was simply rigged with a black and silver Northern King salmon spoon. As Captain Johnny expertly maneuvered the boat from the helm, captains' mate George tended the lines at the back of the boat.
In short order, the number two rigger went off and we had our first fish of the day on the end of the line. I was up first and with the help of George, my first of many lakers came to the net and was boated.
We ended up landing better than a dozen lakers each. We decided to release most of the fish we caught, but did keep two large ones measuring more than 30 inches each. And we also kept a few small fish for our evening shore dinner.
As the afternoon wore on, we were preparing the boat for our trip back to the dock and that's when that high line finally popped off. And as luck would have it, it was my turn at the back of the boat. By the way this fish behaved, Captain Johnny knew right away that this fish had to be a brown trout and a good one. After taking several long runs the brown was finally on board and on the scale. This impressive beauty would tip the scale at 13 pounds and earned me a fair share of kudos over supper that evening.
It really was a trip I will never forget!