Sodus Bay 7/10


Did a full day guide trip out on Sodus Bay with Mike and his son (11 years old) Bryce. These guys have booked me since my first season and it’s always fun taking them out fishing because they are so enthusiastic. We went over a bunch of largemouth bass techniques, trying to cover the water column from top to bottom. I started them out around 6:45am using different topwater lures. We got out a little bit late for a hot topwater bite but they managed to catch a few fish including a double (using Zoom Buzz frogs and a Chugbug). They gradually worked deeper water until we went to the often copied, never quite duplicated Yamamoto Senkos. That’s when the fishing got really good and both Mike and Bryce caught a nice bunch (around 7 or 8) of decent largemouths running about 1 1/4 to around 2lbs. We spotted one nice bowfin cruising the shallow labyrinth of weedgrowth. We also saw plenty of gar. We set up for gar using spinning rods and the fishing was exciting, but kind of sporadic. Occasionally Mike would get follows from a couple nice fish at a time, then nothing for awhile. We saw a school of around 100 fish. Anyways, more high sun would have helped. The guys each landed their first gar and it was a thrill. People in certain parts of the country despise these fish (at worse), and take them for granted (at best), but they are cool looking fish that hit in a savage way. We had a lot of fun with them and that to me is what fishing is all about. They offer a unique angling experience. We wound up the trip a little early due to my having a few truck issues. It was pretty good timing because a good T-storm materialized as we were pulling the boat out.

I often get asked questions like “What’s it like – living the dream of guiding?” and things like that. “It is what it is” – to quote a new cliche’. Sometimes I’m filling up my tank at a gas station and someone says – ‘…must be nice not having to work today’. I bite my tongue! Guiding is great and sometimes it’s hard to believe I can make a living taking people fishing, but there is a flipside to it. Here’s a good example:

Over the past week my truck starting running a little bit hotter than usual. It’s been very gradual. I have a full slate of guide trips coming up this week and I was looking forward to getting Mike out. The truck seemed fine when I drove it around town but it started getting dangerously hot the night before our trip. I test drove it that evening and it seemed OK. I felt I could get away with doing the trip and then find a shop on the way back to get it checked out. As I drove the 60 miles to Sodus my heat gauge started spiking up. I didn’t think I’d make it but I did. Barely. As I got my boat set up I looked in my plastic envelope where I keep my important stuff and found no plug! I had a spare, but that was gone too. Fortunately the “Bay Bridge Sportshop” had a few that fit. Then I put on my new depthfinder and found it wouldn’t turn on! Great! I spent my one day off installing it and it seemed like such a no-brainer I never bothered turning it on. So I was lucky to get to the ramp without overheating, lucky to get a plug and had no depthfinder. Nice start.

The fishing to me is the easiest part of the guiding – that usually takes care of itself. After the trip was over Mike was kind enough to offer to follow me home (he lives around 15 miles away.) Sure enough the truck ran really hot. But no sign of overheating. I called a nearby shop earlier and found the mechanic was too busy to look at the truck. Then I pulled into a Ford dealership. They were also too busy, but the adjoining Dodge dealership guys took a look at the truck. They couldn’t do anything either. So it was off to Auburn’s Expert Tire. Sure enough, my truck overheated about 14 miles from Auburn. Mike was awesome and stuck around as I got things sorted out. We hooked my boat up to his truck and he dropped it off at my apartment. After getting an outrageous towing quote (I have towing insurance but in 95-degree heat after waking up around 3:30 am and getting 4 hours of sleep I wasn’t sensible enough to go with it!) I decided to start up my truck again and baby it over to Auburn.

I got about 1 mile away from Expert Tire when the truck conked out. I felt I most certainly damaged the engine and felt like a complete idiot for not taking the tow when I could get it. But I was as overheated as my truck. After some great people helped me push my truck out of the road (Yes, I was THAT guy!) I got towed over to Expert.

The mechanics at Expert Tire are great. Two of them – Shawn and Norm do most of the work on my truck. No place is perfect, and sometimes I have to wait awhile – but they almost ALWAYS can get me in with short notice and they fix what needs to be fixed – nothing more. And they do it at a reasonable price-especially compared to the overpriced “Cornell gouging” Ithaca shops. Well they were busy as heck with only the two aforementioned mechanics working. So I sat and cooled off for 3 hours and Norm finally looked at my truck just before 7pm. I was very lucky to not have blown a head gasket. That would have meant “new truck”. He would need to order parts (a thermostat) and that would have to wait until the next day. So I wound up spending the night in Auburn at the “Inn at the Fingerlakes”. I tried getting hold of my client for today’s trip and had no luck. Great – now I’m going to have two people showing up at the Dean’s launch at 6 am with a guide who’s a “no-show”! I tried again and again leaving a phone message – but no call back. Long story short – they were having phone/battery problems and finally got my messages as they were halfway to Dean’s at 5:45 am. The weather wasn’t great, so we moved the trip to tomorrow.

I woke up the next morning after getting up automatically at 4 am and spent all morning at Expert Tire. When I finally got home I worked on my depthfinder. Then ran errands. So that’s a little bit of the flipside to guiding fulltime. Stuff happens and I need to take care of it.

There are a few businesses around that are sympathetic to my business and I feel it’s worth mentioning them:

Expert Tire in Auburn (315-253-4406): The only place I know that I can call up almost anytime early in the day and get in on THAT day. They generally do a very good job and have repaired things that other shops messed up. Their top mechanics are excellent at diagnosing problems and they can do bearings very quickly too. Plus they are close to Owasco, Skaneateles and the north end of Cayuga Lake.

Fletcher’s Trailer Sales (607-387-5838): Bill aka “Fletch” is around 8 miles away from me. He is great with anything trailer related. He’s busy and for good reason – he’s very competent and a great guy to work with. He takes care of any trailer problems I have – lights, bearings, wiring – etc…

Barrett Marine (315-789-6605): These guys are in Waterloo and have been in business forever. They know what they are doing and are fantastic with wiring, bearing and boat-related stuff. They are an official Motorguide Trolling motor repair place and I’m there quite often. Super guys and extremely competent. Busy too – it can be tough getting in there, but well worth it.

Silver Lake Marine (585-237-5185): Scott and the crew at Silver Lake are like my Yamaha motor’s version of Expert Tire. If I need something done on my motor, they don’t make me drop off my rig for 2 weeks. I bring it the boat, drop it off, drive up to Rochester for a bite to eat, shopping etc… and when I’m done, the boat/motor is done and DONERIGHT! They’ve bailed me out a few times and Scott is an amazing mechanic. They aren’t cheap, but they are the best I know of and well worth it. I’ll buy my next boat from them in all likelihood. They are located right off Silver Lake near Letchworth State Park. It’s a good drive for me, but I’ll do it gladly.