Sodus Bay 8/13
Guided Dan and his father in-law Morris for a 6 hour gar trip on Sodus Bay today. We couldn't have asked for better weather – absolutely gorgeous sunshine, not too hot and not too cool. We had been trying to schedule a gar trip for awhile and gave them a shot last year for an hour on Cayuga after a laker trip. We didn't have much success due to the conditions – one follow was it. Today we were "recovering" from a front and I felt it'd be worth rolling the dice so to speak.
We started at around 10:30 am with calm sunny conditions. Not much happened during the first hour, but before long we found a group of fish. The bite was pretty decent with Dan having most of the action. After a while, the wind came up (the onshore breeze that occurs nearly every day in the summer on the big lake) and things slowed down. But after a few hours the winds died and the fish started breaking again. Action heated up with a fish sometimes hitting or following on every cast.
I had to work today de-hooking and handling a lot of gar. Usually we land around 5 or 6 fish, sometimes 7 or 8. Today the guys landed at least 15 gar! That's a lot of dehooking/untangling. People think pike and pickerel can be nasty to hold – they likely haven't tried handling gar. They have sharp stuff all over and it's like holding a tube of muscle with interlocking armor-like scales. You get hit by them and you bleed a bit. Was it their scales, gill plate or teeth? I don't know. Their teeth are sharp and it's like getting whacked by a toothbrush with sharp pins for bristles. But they are a cool fish! The smaller ones we got today (maybe up to 36" or 38") aren't particularly strong fighters but they hit hard and jump often. They are cool to hold. Many people would probably avoid swimming in waterways filled with gar if they saw what they looked like.
We saw a few up to around 40" today, but no massive fish. We call the large ones "big Bentleys" named after a waitress I used to work with, but that's a story for the boat and not this report. No sign of any Bentleys today. Morris wound up landing a bigger fish towards the end of the day. Dan caught a chunky 15" largemouth on his first cast with a swimbait while I re-rigged up a rod. I'd bet the bassin' was good.
Leaving the lake was a little bit of a fiasco with some people who'd never pulled a boat out pulling a boat out. I try to be patient, but it can be hard. The people in front of us let us go ahead of them. They weren't in any rush, cause they were spending "the day on the lake." That's fine with me, but I wasn't up for spending "the day at the launch." The newbies managed to drag their skeg up the ramp before Dan was able to stop and inform them.
But our patience was rewarded. I headed over to Orbakers, which has been in business now for over 80 years! Had a fantastic burger, fries and chocolate malt. These burgers are done the old fashioned way and have a great roll and time-tested toppings served by cute girls. That's been a proven formula there since 1932, so why change? Guy Fieri would love this place. No $15 "grass fed" hipster burger here – just a burger done the way they were back in the 30s, 40s and 50s. Perfection!