CATFISH CREEK 2008
5:00 am – I was up early this morning, not really knowing why. To say I was anxious would be an understatement. I finished my packing and then devoted the next hour to my wife Karen. You see, today is our anniversary and I don’t want to miss anything. We sit together on the back porch sipping coffee and enjoying each others company…
9:00 am – I am finally on the road, heading for northeast Pa. where I will meet Howard and Nancy. From there we will head to our favorite “Perkins” where we will meet up with Ed and Carol for some brunch, BS mostly! The weather is pleasant and the traffic is light as I weave my way through the Alleghany Mountains. But what I didn’t realize was that up a head I would drive into a colossal traffic jam caused by construction. My brunch would soon turn into a lunch!
1:00 pm – Ed, Carol, Howard, Nancy and I sat a long table telling jokes, laughing and even catching up with things that have happened in our lives since we last met. It was a time of good fellowship. Nancy and Carol looked great…Howard and Ed looked the same! This was the first time that Nancy and Carol have met, and it has been over a year since the three of us guys have been together at the same time.
4:00 pm – I have arrived at Ed and Carols home. Ed and I finish prepping his boat, making sure all the thingy dingies are in their correct place. We load my stuff into Ed’s truck; I believe we are ready! The three of us go out for dinner tonight, enjoying a tasty meal at a local country restaurant. The rest of the evening is spent watching the Olympics. By eleven o’clock we are ready for the sack!
6:15 am - I awake to the light coming through the big windows in the recreation room. It is some what hazy, but the sun is making a big splash in the eastern sky. I hear the sounds of crows and see rabbits in the yard…its coffee time!
7:00 am – Ed and I head off to the country restaurant we were at last night for breakfast with Stan, Paul and Paul’s wife. We discuss our plans for traveling, tell jokes and generally poke fun at each other…And so it starts!
11:00 am – Ed and I are finally on the road. With boat in tow, Ed guides his truck onto 81 north, heading for Lake Ontario! After about an hour and a half on the road, we catch up with Stan and Paul at a rest area in New York.
2:00 pm - We arrive at Catfish Creek Camps, check in, unpack and put the boat in her slip. We take notice to all the other boats, they are all in there slips. Several of the captains are busying themselves with gear checking. The water has a nasty chop and the sky is uncertain. No one has been out yet today because of the waves being too high. So we decided to go shop for some needed items and stop by Mexico public launch and see what the bay looks like. While we were there Ed asks the gate keeper if anyone has gone out. The answer was yes, five charters had already gone out and the sixth boat had just pulled in before us. The view here is a good one of the bay. And although there are white caps, the size of the wave is not as big as we were led to believe.
5:30 pm – Subs are for supper as we continue to wait for the waves to lie down. No one from this camp has gone out yet. We finally decide to give it a try. If the waves are too bad we can always turn around and face the,” I told you so”.
6:30 pm – Off we go, to the amazement of the other folks at this camp. None the less, they wish us luck as Ed backs his boat out of her slip. It was very rough as we went thru the inlet. And as we went out thru Mexico Bay, I was not so sure we were doing the right thing! But I have great confidence in Ed’s ability to handle his boat, and good common sense. He would not willingly put us in harms way. Once we arrived in Lake Ontario proper, Ed asks each of us how we feel about the condition of the water, and if we should put lines in. I must say, I was leery until Ed turned his boat in the direction we would be trolling. We trolled until dark with only one “hit”. But hey, at least we got the lines wet and were able to discern the condition of the thermal cline. Truly we would have our work cut out for us tomorrow. As Ed turns his boat back towards the inlet, we become aware of how the waves are laying down some. It will be early to bed tonight as tomorrow promises to be a big day.
4:00 am – Rise and shine boys! We are up and excited about the morning bite. It has been a year since any of us has fished for salmon, so you can imagine the excitement level is high! As hot cups of a great brew are enjoyed by us all, Ed prepares breakfast and Stan makes sandwiches for the boat. Our goal is to be out of the slip by first light.
5:30 am – As we are heading out the inlet, I notice the expressions on everyone’s face. Shear determination and excitement! The bay and lake have lain down considerably, and the sunrise is spectacular! Ed starts our troll with just two lines out. And as it gets lighter he puts down the center rigger. This one we will switch spoons in an effort to discover what, if any, will work for us. The first two riggers are located to each side of the boat, using flashers, flies and meat (herring) head rigs. After about an hour of hunting, FISH ON! Paul is up first and he wrestles in a nice 25 pounder.
The skunk has been chased out of the boat! As you can imagine, there was much back slapping! Ed has set the direction of our troll in an East to West and West to East direction. Ed notes that the thermal cline is all messed up. The warm water from the North was pushed here by the storms from over the weekend. But it doesn’t take long before Stanley hollers, FISH ON! And Ed reels in a nice 25 pounder!
Noon – The bite has slowed so we pull in all lines and head in for some dinner. Grilled steak and Carol’s potato made for a yummy meal! A trip to the ice cream shop and a small nap are also on the agenda for this afternoon.
4:00 pm – Back out for the evening bite, we experience three knock-offs and put one in the box. My first salmon for the year!
As eight thirty rolled up on us, we brought in all lines and headed for the inlet. The sunset this evening is terrific, which served to remind me of all the beautiful sun sets I have seen over the last few years…
10:00 pm – This tired puppy is down for the count!
4:00 am – The alarm screams a “good morning”. Ed knocks me over on the way to the kitchen to turn on the coffee maker! Ed makes another great breakfast and the rest of us busy ourselves with making sandwiches for the boat.
5:30 am – We gather up the bucket, sandwiches, drinks and ice as we head out the door to the dock. Motors are warming up and gear is stowed. Several other boats are preparing as we are. Two are already heading out the channel. Once again Ed backs his boat out of her slip. He turns her nose toward the inlet for a day of high expectations. As we head out the inlet and into the bay we all turn our heads to the East, marveling at the beauty of the sun coming up over the mountain tops.
6:30 am – The first fish is in the boat and three more will follow before we head in for dinner
….Our goal for today is to put six salmon in the boat.
Noon – Paul provides a great meal of home made lasagna, hot sausage and meatballs. Yum! We spend the rest of the afternoon fixing gear that we will use for the evening bite, and of course a nap…
5:30 pm – We head out the inlet and proceed in a direction that we haven’t been to before…Nada! Nobody home. So Ed turned his boat in the same direction as earlier today.
7:30 pm – FISH ON! Paul is up and he has his hands full. For the next ten minutes he does battle
and finally manages to bring the salmon to within netting distance. I spear the fish perfectly…The leading edge of the net slams into the leader, in front of the hooks. FISH OFF! My action causes the leader to break…I feel bad about this. I know better.
I decide that when my turn comes up again, I will pass it to Paul…And I will take the net again. Little did I know that Paul wouldn’t get another shot before he would leave for home. And that I would not be allowed to even look at the net again!
8:30 pm – Ed’s boat is back in her slip and covered for the night. Back at the cottage we worked on the thingy dingy, making it ready for tomorrow. Hot showers and early to bed for some badly needed rest.
4:00 am – Rise and shine! As we go through our “normal” routine, the BS is flowing. It is noted that Paul will go out with us for the morning bite but must head for home when we return. His replacement, Mike, will arrive sometime around six tonight.
5:30 am – As we head out the inlet I notice what is the start of a beautiful sunrise. The sun is not quite over the mountain tops as Ed drops all lines and we troll to the area where we had such good luck yesterday. I take notice to a breeze which is putting a light chop on the water…The sky is sure pretty!
Noon – Ed directs his boat back into her slip. To say we are perplexed is an understatement. The skunk is riding in the boat this morning! Ed grills up another terrific steak dinner, and we all dig in hungrily. After dinner and clean up, Paul prepares to leave. We say our good byes and privately I hope I have the opportunity to meet him again.
4:30 pm – Once again we head out the inlet, this time for the evening bite. We make a decision to head for the Salmon River area.
Ed sets his troll for the 90’ to 110’ depth contour. We fished until dark...The skunk is still in the boat! It has been an entire day without fish, leaving us uncertain as to what will be our next hunt. When we arrive back at camp, we discover that Mike has arrived and until 10:00 pm there is a great deal of discussion about tomorrow…
4:00 am – The alarm screams an unwelcomed good morning! I struggle to the kitchen where I am greeted by the smell of freshly brewed coffee. We pack our sandwiches and mechanically eat our light breakfast. The pace we are keeping is starting to take its toll on our enthusiasm. We troll all morning, until noon, without any luck. The skunk is still along for the ride…
1:00 pm – As we sit around and try come up with a plan for the afternoon bite, Stanley prepares a good ham steak dinner. We review and discuss what has worked for us so far, and how successful the other boats have been. Ed has finally come up with a new plan which we all hope will kick the skunk out of the boat. We grow weary of this conversation and decide its nappy time!
4:30 pm – Ed takes his boat out through the inlet and starts his hunt for the 60’ contour line and there we set up for our troll. At this point Ed puts me at the wheel and he puts two lines out. He tells me to hold the line at 62’. Slowly we head out of Mexico Bay, drifting out to 63’, 65’, and 68’ of water. At this point we have come around the point and are coming up on the nuke plant…FISH ON! We hook up and boat our first salmon in two days! Mike is up for this one and expertly reels in his fish.
Once the fish has been netted and put safely away, I put the boat back on the 68’ contour. After about a quarter mile, FISH ON! I can’t help but notice the smile, look of contentment on Ed’s face as he brings in his fish…I turn the boat around for the reverse troll, gliding in and out of the 68’ to 70’ contour…FISH ON! I am up for this one and immediately the fish rips off 100’ of line, woo wee! The fish is fighting so hard that Ed must pull in all lines and attempt to maneuver the boat in a way that allows us to get the fish in…And just that quick the hook rips free of the fish’s mouth!
9:00 pm – Ed slides his boat into her slip. It has been an exciting evening bite and the adrenalin is flowing! Mike and Stanley take the fish to the cleaning station while Ed and I cover his boat and carry our gear back to the cottage. Before lights out, we discuss how we will start our day tomorrow.
10:00 pm – Exhausted, we drag our behinds to bed for a much needed rest.
4:00 am – We get up to the music of the alarm, looking for rain. The weatherman last night had said there would be rain for today. But so far the sky is clear.
5:30 am – Ed backs his boat out of her slip and points the bow towards the inlet. As soon as we enter the bay we become aware of a wind from the south east and rollers from the west. We have decided to try a repeat of our troll from yesterday…Nada! The rollers are getting a little bit bigger so we head out to 140’ – 150’ of water. We troll for a couple of hours and decide to call it for the morning bite.
10:30 am – Ed’s boat is back in her slip and our gear is back at the cottage. We decide to head out for some gas for the boat and of course, do a little shopping of our own! When we arrive back at camp we have a light lunch and then its nappy time…I hate when that happens!
5:00 pm – Mike makes grilled pork chops and potatoes on the grill for supper…Yummy! As we sit around the table feeding our faces, we decide to give it another try this evening. It is clouding up and we are not sure how long we will be able to stay out.
6:00 pm – As Ed takes his boat out the inlet, we all are hoping for a few hours of fishing before the storm arrives. We lasted about one hour before we heard the first round of thunder…And that’s all it took! We quickly brought in our gear and headed back to camp. Once back in the slip, Ed’s boat is secured and covered. Sooo, if ya can’t fish ya might have to go for some ice cream!
10:00 pm – Night night for this boy!
4:00 am – When we wake, you can hear the sound of the wind rustling through the trees. So while we wait on enough light to see what the water looks like, we have our morning coffee and breakfast. This schedule is getting hard to maintain. Mid afternoon naps are becoming a necessity rather than a luxury. As the sky lightens it becomes apparent that fishing will be delayed due to the over night storms. It is much cooler today with thick stormy clouds. Even the charter boats are not going out. So we take inventory of our supplies and head out to the grocery store, tackle shops and of course the ice cream parlor! I hate when that happens!
3:45 pm – It is still windy and the waves are still breaking at about 3 ½ feet, as we head out the inlet. Many boats are still in their slips and their crew’s wave and wish us luck. I do believe they think we will turn back when we see how rough the water is at the mouth of the inlet. But Ed is a wise and seasoned captain, and he guides his boat out of the inlet into a semi rough bay. It is rougher than Tuesday but still manageable for Ed. We find the 90’ contour and set a troll to the West. We maintained this direction for about three miles. Reversing, heading to the East…FISH ON! I land a nice 22 pounder.
As we continued our troll the wind subsided somewhat and the waves started to flatten out.
8:30 pm – Ed slides his boat into her slip and Stanley and Mike go off to clean the fish while Ed and I secure the boat. When we are all back at our cottage, we discuss today’s hunt and where we should start tomorrow.
10:15 pm – Bed time for some tired fishermen…It is amazing how rough water tires you out!
4:00 am – I awake surprisingly refreshed and turn on the coffee maker. The camp is slow to rise and makes a great breakfast while Stanley and I make sandwiches for the boat.
6:00 am – The water has a little chop to it as we go out through the inlet.
Ed sets his troll at the 60’ contour and turns his boat to the West. After about three miles Ed turns his boat to the East and allows a slow drift into deeper water. Ed maintains this type of troll for several hours.
11:00 am – FISH ON! Mike lands a nice King! We make three more passes before heading in for dinner and a rest.
1:00 pm – Mike makes a great Kielbasa dinner! Afterwards, while doing the clean-up, we discuss the morning hunt and what we might do for the evening bite. And of course a nappy is in order!
5:30 pm – As we head out through the inlet for the evening bite, I find myself thinking about how this will be Mike’s last time this year.
It has been great fishing with him and I am glad to have had the opportunity to vacation with him…I hope I will get an opportunity to wet a line with him again! Ed dropped our lines and started our troll just outside Mexico Bay. We worked all directions and varied our depth of presentation as well as water depth. As we were heading in a north direction with the setting sun on our left, Stanley shouts out a welcomed “FISH ON!” And Stanley lands a nice King salmon in 150’ of water, the largest for this trip so far! We fish until dark with no further luck. Back at camp we sit around passing the BS!
10:15 pm – My bed is a welcomed friend!
4:00 am – The alarm screams an unwelcome, “wake up!” After a hearty breakfast we say our good byes to Mike and then headed to the boat for our last ride out the inlet.
6:00 am – Ed sets his troll with two rigs down, starting at the 70’ contour line and heads to deeper water. We have become perplexed as to why the bite has slowed so…
11:00 am – Ed decides to put out his steel wire with flies, meat rig and a dipsey. Mind you now, this line goes out 210’ so that the meat rig will get to 70’. Ten minutes later, FISH ON! Ed is up and the fish is on the wire line. Ed battles his King for about 25 minutes, and Stanley helps him net a 26 pounder…Woo wee! The line is back in the water in short order and it will be a couple of hours before it is touched again…
2:45 pm – FISH ON! I am up and it takes me about 20 minutes to bring in a 25 pound King on the wire rig. The fish had pulled of an additional 200’ of wire before I was able to turn him. Man, that’s a lot of cranking! Both of these fish were a battle which required bringing in all lines and chasing the fish with the boat…
3:30 pm – We bring in our gear and head back to home port, tired and worn out
…After dinner we pulled Ed’s boat out of the water and prepared to pack. Tomorrow we will sleep in, finish packing and head for home. This is my second year for salmon fishing and even if we didn’t do as well as we would have liked, it was still great being out on this pond with friends. See ya round the fishing hole!
LM since 2005 Bushwacker Deputy Sherif