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November 2015

Chautauqua: Hard To Spell, Easy To Fish!

musky-fishingTo improve the quality of bass fishing on Cassadaga, DEC implemented a slot limit that requires anglers to release all bass between 12 and 15 inches long and encourages them to remove the overabundant smaller bass. The benefits of this regulation are paying off. Last season, during a three-hour stretch, two anglers caught two largemouth bass that each weighed over five pounds, and several others that weighed between three and five pounds.

Access to Cassadaga Lakes is easy. From the Dunkirk exit off Interstate 90, head south on Route 60 until you enter the town of Cassadaga. The lake is just west of Route 60, with several signs leading you right to the lake. There are two boat ramps; a state ramp and a marine ramp at Lake’s End Marina.

Chautauqua Lake

Chautauqua Lake is truly a diamond in the rough. Historically known for its excellent musky fishing, Chautauqua …

Fishing The Baja: Booyah!

fishing-the-bajaTwenty years ago, Baja California, the 800-mile strip of land that extends down Mexico’s northwest coast like a pinkie finger, was not much more than barren desert wedged between the Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Cortes. Today Los Cabos, at its southern end, has been transformed into a resort area that may draw more private planes on winter weekends than even Palm Beach–and the parade on the tarmac will most certainly be more entertaining, as Los Cabos’s regulars include Bill Gates, Cindy Crawford and Barbra Streisand.

Los Cabos (“the capes”) refers to a twenty-mile stretch extending south from San Jose del Cabo, a historic Spanish colonial town, to Cabo San Lucas, the fishing village-turned-vacation capital (complete with a Hard Rock Cafe) at Baja’s tip. The area has always had a glorious climate (with an average temperature of 75 degrees and 350 days of sunshine a year) and a ruggedly …

When “Crappie” Is Good

crappieCrappie fishing; continuously changing, with no “typical fishing day.” In fact, when it comes to crappie fishing, you can count on one thing–that for every generalization you make, the opposite frequently applies. For instance, crappie are often caught through the ice, but the best fishing is in the spring, from ice-out to midsummer. While early morning and evening are prime fishing times, crappie will bite throughout the day. I usually fish with white or silver lures, but sometimes only black will do. Depending on the time of the day and year, crappie can be found in one foot of water or the deepest part of the lake.

Known by a variety of names, from calico and strawberry bass to papermouth, the correct pronunciation of this fish is “crop-ee”. Classified as a warmwater fish species, crappie occur in almost all types of water including lakes, ponds, streams, rivers and impoundments. They …

Oystering Rocks!

oystering-rocksIt’s almost balmy the morning we set out in search of “half shells”–oysters, that is. The engine of our 24-foot boat purrs as we move out into northwest Florida’s Apalachicola Bay. The water runs wide beyond the bow, streaking a few bluish shallows tufted with tiny whitecaps and lit by Florida Panhandle sunshine. When our captain, Fred Register, finally curs the engine at Sylvia’s Bar (oyster bar, of course), we hear the soft cadence of clacking “tongs.” The bar bobs with boats and a few dozen other oystermen and -women who’ve come to “tong” the bottom in earnest. They send official oystering greetings our way. Register tells them he’s got first-timers onboard. He says it with a measure of exhilaration, as if he can barely wait to watch us pull oysters from the water.

The 30-year-old captain comes by his oyster addiction honestly: He’s a third-generation Eastpointer (a few oyster …