July 10th and 11th – Red Cross Report, July 12th Keuka Lake


Red Cross Derby Report July 10th and 11th : My buddy Mike and I fished Seneca Lake for the Red Cross Tourney. Most of my jigging trips on the N. end of Seneca Lake have produced lakers in the 10lb range, and my Cayuga trips haven’t, so I knew Seneca was the place to be. We had steady, yet unspectacular fishing during both days of the tourney. Last year I landed 40 fish in a day, this year it took us 2 days to land that many. The jigging is gaining popularity – I saw at least 6 boats jigging lakers during the derby this year. Last year I saw one boat apart from myself and they weren’t entered in the contest. We fished hard from around 5:30 am till 3 or 4 pm daily. No more 16 hour days for this guide! We only dropped one good fish. Depths varied – we had our best fishing in around 75′ to 85′ of water, but on occasion deeper water (out to 110′) produced very well for us. Chartreuse and white both worked well.

The one thing I really get psyched about during derby time is fishing my custom rods made for me by Mike Canavan. His jigging rods are the best I’ve tried – an absolute joy to use. I let my buddy Mike S. do a few drops with one of my custom rods and he hooked and landed a 30 1/2″ laker! Great fight and Mike was very impressed with the feel, hook setting and fighting abilities of the rod. Plus they are light as heck. My heavier Canavan stick also worked great and is a delight to work 1 1/2 oz. jigs with. The rods have great ergonomics, an ample butt section on both the handle and the rod; they are forgiving to fish hooked on “the chase” yet have enough fast action in the tip to work jigs without the jigs overwhelming the rod. Whether you like mono or braid, the rods perform great. Mike can be reached at flytier@hotmail.com

We had a great derby – I feel as a jigger we need to land around 40 fish to be able to get one over 31″ and that proved true. We landed nearly all the fish we hooked and fished hard. The big one I landed took time and fought great. All in all – no regrets here – we just didn’t get the big bites. My client Paul N. from 3 weeks ago managed a 12lb+ beauty and had the day one lead. His words to me were “I couldn’t have done it without you,” which was a nice endorsement. He’s a great fisherman and really has the technique dialed in. The derby is a good cause and the boat traffic is generally low for it – since it’s spread around on all the lakes. Results are available at www.reelingforrelief.org Congrats also go out to guide/friend Jon Evans who did a great job as usual on the smallmouths on Keuka Lake. www.fishingthefingerlakes.com is his website.

Keuka Lake 7/12: Guided Kyle and Rob for the full day starting at 5:30 am. That meant I had to wake up at 3 am after fishing Red Cross for 2 days and guiding a full slate last week, so I was asleep at 6:45 pm on Sunday. In some ways I was happy not to have to show up at the awards ceremony! In some ways that is…. 😉

The laker bite was terrific 1st thing in the AM at the Bluff. The guys landed 6 nice fish in around an hour. We released one and spent another 45 min or so trying to get one more. A couple were dropped and we went bass fishing. I showed the guys how to work soft jerkbaits, senkos (aka stickworms) tubes and dropshot rigs. The superflukes, senkos and dropshots produced fish. Superflukes did best with some really decent smallies landed to 20″ and 4.1 lbs. We released the big one, but the guys wanted to keep a few bass along with the lakers in order to feed their clan of 8 people, so we kept a few bass. Largemouths had crawfish in them; smallies alewives. Best smallie action for us was in around 30′ of water give or take. Largies ran a bit shallower. It felt great doing some bass guiding for a change. I started out as a bass fisherman, but my guiding has trended heavily towards lakers for obvious reasons – they are strong fighters, run big, aren’t not too hard to catch when you know how, they don’t change locations too rapidly, look cool and taste great. Other than that, they are terrible 😉 Fun trip!