Thursday, July 2, 2009

West Side Browns

Capt. Gehrig and 1st Mate Chad, holding the one that didn't get away

Late last month Greg Gehrig, owner of K&G Sportfishing (800-346-6533), invited me to go for brown trout aboard his luxury liner, Top Gun. (I mean any 40- foot long, three-story yacht, with a head tall enough for me to fit without bumping my head—I’m 6’5”—is luxurious!) It’s the biggest tub I ever fished out of in Oswego County, and when I went up to the bridge to talk to the first mate, Greg’s son Chad, I noticed I was looking down on everyone else out there.

We left Wright’s Landing at daybreak, heading straight out of the harbor. About a half mile later, we turned left.

Capt. Gehrig loaded four rods with Michigan Stingers and ran the baits off downriggers between 35- to 50-feet deep; and flat-lined a couple Stingers on lead core, seven colors out. Our target was 56 degree water and we trolled at 1.9 to 2.1 mph.

Before long, Chad reported “pods” of bait below us, with trout along the edges. Fish were there but they had lock jaw.

For a few minutes, anyway. Then one of the rods sprang to action. Unfortunately, I was too busy picking the good Captain’s mind for nuggets of fishing wisdom—the man just won the Pro Division championship of the Lake Ontario Pro-Am Orleans County tournament--and I ain’t ever won a tournament, so I wanted to know how it’s done.

Talk about being able to talk and work at the same time: mid-sentence, the captain ran over to the rod right next to me, pulled it out of the holder, handed it to me and requested “Bring ‘em in.”

Well, I fought the thing for a few seconds, just long enough to start developing the story I was going to tell all my friends when I got home, when suddenly my fingers experienced the angler’s greatest anguish—limp line.

Fish one; Spider nothing!

We trolled around some more, locating bait pods left and right, with browns always nearby. However, the end of June was under the weather most of the time: rain, sun, cold, warmth…and everything in between. The fish were a little out of sorts, to say the least.

I kept asking the captain questions. He kept filling the blanks. I was learning a lot.

Up in the hawk’s nest, Chad watched a pod of bait wash over the screen and ordered: “Get ready.”

I no sooner riveted my eyes back to the rods when one started dancing the “Brown Trout Trot.” I grabbed it--all by myself this time--and the fight was on.

I knew it was a good fish because it took so long to bring in…or maybe it was because so much line was out.

At any rate, when we netted it, the thing was hefty and we estimated it at around 10 pounds.

Having gotten a load of notes, a good fish and photos, I was prepared to let the crew off the hook and go home for the day. They looked at me like I lost some the strands in my head, web or something, and set our course for deeper water hoping to nail me shots of a humongous laker or king.

But that’s for my next post.

When we set out that morning, Captain Greg predicted the day’s fishing before we even dropped a line:

“When the fishing’s easy, anyone can catch fish, including the young guys. But when it’s tough like it is now, us old timers come through.”

You know, he convinced me.

For more information go to or call 800-248-4386 and request an Oswego County Hunting & Fishing guide.

Chad in the "crow's nest": room with a view!

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