Cayuga Lake out of Long Point 7/28 AM + Otisco Lake 7/28 PM
My busiest month thus far in 11 years of guiding continues. Normally I wouldn't schedule so many trips in July, but due to the slow fishing and bad weather in April and June I decided I would put the proverbial "pedal to the metal." A lot of guides don't have the option to book the number of trips they want, but I truly do feel blessed to have such a great clientele that seems to keep growing in numbers. The great fishing we've experienced here lately certainly doesn't hurt either.
7/28 AM Cayuga: Did a 1/2 day starting at 6:30 am with Pat and his wife Susan. They have a place up the lake and we've done a couple trips on this lake over the past year. The first was a fun and productive pickerel/bass trip; the most recent was a very tough (aka no fish) day with Pat and his friend/neighbor Frank this past spring. Today was redemption. The jigging bite for lakers continues to excel and we had around 16 fish today including a 28" wild beauty. We may have had a momentary hookup from a non-laker too. I'm hearing reports of some nice rainbows around which is awesome. DEC is now doing their Cayuga Lake laketrout assessment, so if you see floats around, make sure you stay away from the nets. Let's hope no goof winds up trolling too closely and tangling up in the nets. Curiousity killed the cat and it can mess up the nets.
7/28 PM Otisco: I had some 1/2 day PM openings and figured they'd wind up on Cayuga, but when Dan called me and said he wanted to do a Tiger Musky trip on Otisco Lake, I decided it wouldn't be a problem. I was fortunate enough to have time to get home, take a nap and make some coffee and off I went.
Otisco Lake can be weird in the summer. Go during the week in the AM (apart from Fridays) and you might see 2 or 3 other boats. In the PM it gets crowded due to the camps south of the causeway. Weekends in the summer here are very busy after 11 am or so.
I met Dan and Bill at 2:30 pm and showed them the gear we'd be using. Light, but bonafide musky baitcasting gear. If I guide muskies I like to have my clients really fish them like muskies. It sounds silly but here's the point – we use musky tackle. A lot of Tigers can be and are caught with bass gear on Otisco Lake and it works very well. And I wasted a fair amount of time here throwing some giant baits for muskies over the years. They often hit small stuff here, but I make my folks throw musky lures on baitcasting tackle. We do the "L"s or figure 8s every cast. That to me is what musky fishing is all about. Big gear and anticipation. You need fortitude, perseverence and focus. The two biggest muskies I've encountered – a 50"er on Waneta Lake I caught and a 46" Tiger that my client Lynn caught (on Otisco last fall) came while targeting muskies and both came on the last cast or two of the day. On both occasions the "co-angler" had basically given up and was putting their gear away. You never know when the fish of a lifetime will hit and it can hit just as likely on the last cast as the first.
With that in mind we set out and both Dan and his brother Bill did a good job casting the baitcasters. In short order they were making the casts they needed to do. The figure 8 takes a little practice to master, but once mastered (most often after an hour or two) it becomes natural. We have had a fair share of Tigers hit on the Figure 8 on Otisco Lake, so it is important to do.
The lake looked good and Bill wound up having some luck. He had a fish around 24" to 25" hit a bucktail and he got excited and tried swinging it onboard, which isn't a good idea! Not good for the musky (we don't want them banging around the boat beating themselves up) and not good for the angler. But as luck would have it, a little bit later on a Sebile Magic Swimmer Bill hooked up a beautiful Tiger over 33" long that fought good and jumped nicely near the boat. It was a thick bodied fish and we got some great pics. The lake looked good and it appears to be another great Tiger year out there.