Playing hit or miss with the weather patterns makes for an interesting summer. Get set for a fun-filled weekend this Saturday and Sunday.
If you have a youngster under the age of 16, sign them up for JAKES Day, which will be held Saturday at the Westfield Fish & Game Club. You can still register the day of the event, but it is urged that you pre-register by calling Bob & Judi Turk (934-4538) so T- shirts and refreshments will be in ample supply. Activities will start around 10 a.m. with a number of hands-on stations available for the kids. The kids usually get divided into groups and tour each station for a pre-arranged amount of time. Look for archery, shooting stations (if the youngster chooses to participate) , one-on-one with an instructor, bluebird house building, fishing, and so much more. The Westfield Fish & Game Club is located on Ogden Road in Westfield. This event is open to all youngsters accompanied by an adult. There is a $10 fee to cover expenses.
The AMARA-CAN Walleye Tournament returns to Dunkirk this Saturday and Sunday. Two to four-person teams will depart from Dunkirk Harbor at pre-arranged times (7 a.m. and 8 a.m.) and fish for walleye. Each team is allowed to bring five walleye to the scales each day if they can. In this case, bigger (by weight) is better. There is also a time limit as each team must return by their deadline. Then, the next day, the start times switch and the deadline is shortened. This is a fun event. All too often teams that did great on Saturday will struggle the next day.
Coverage of this tournament will appear in the OBSERVER. Spectators are welcome at the weigh-in which will take place in the pavilion at Chadwick Bay Marina. Awards will be presented at the Clarion Hotel's outdoor pavilion. More on this event later. Note the free boat launch at the Dunkirk Pier will be available for contestants from 6 p.m. Friday until Sunday evening.
Some observations from the columnist: Now that I am retired from my full-time job at Carriage House, I finally have time to fish more often. During several offshore trips with friends, we targeted walleye in deep water ranging from 65 to 100 feet. Using deep water presentations like downriggers or leadcore line plus weights, we noticed a lot of junk collecting on the lines . This "stuff" is green in color and has the texture of toilet paper, and is a nuisance to clean off while trying to land a fish. It accumulates at the rod tip and impedes line retrieval.It is an organism that is an invasive species, sometimes called a sea flea. Nasty stuff.
The yellow perch bite also has been unusual lately. Using my electronics, I can usually locate schools of bait and/or fish. Saturday, I tried this tactic and traveled for miles, shallow and deep, without locating any significant markings. Deciding to join the pack by the perch grounds we inquired how the fish were biting and learned the fish would appear in spurts. Dropping anchor we hit seven quick fish, then nothing, then another flurry and so on. We ended up with 40 from 10:30 until 1:30. The fish do not bite hard. Rather, they mouth the live minnows. Lifting up the rod will usually reveal additional weight, prompting a hookset some 60 feet below.
Watching for a rod tip twitch has also been paying off and using three rods when the action is slow will also tend to attract and hold fish. Whenever possible we seine our own live minnows and bring lots of bait as they die off quickly this time of year, even with aerators. Caution: Wear sunscreen, hats, sunglasses and drink plenty of fluids.
On Saturday many of the fish we caught were full of small organisms called spiny water fleas, which they were feeding on. The fleas have little nutritional value for the fish, sort of like eating potato chips.
If you are hoping the crossbow bill will surface or survive, it is important to contact our senators and request they support Senate Bill S1699B. Call or write and let your legislators know if you are a current or former bowhunter or if you have any current or former archery/crossbow affiliation. Be sure to let them know that you support crossbow regulatory authority being given to the DEC. Rick McDermott is the rep for the New York Crossbow Coalition at www.nycrossbowcoalition.com.
The Southtowns Walleye Association is hosting their 21st Catch and Release Kids Fishing Derby on Saturday, July 21 at the Tifft Nature Preserve, located on Furman Boulevard, Buffalo. The event is free to all kids 15 years old and younger. Bring your own tackle. Sign-up starts at 7:30 a.m. with the weigh-in from 8 a.m. until 11 a.m. A picnic-style lunch, including free hot dogs and goodies, will be served from 11 a.m. until noon. Coffee, milk, donuts and juice will be served from 7:30 a.m. until 10 a.m. All kids receive a grab bag and winners will receive awards starting at noon. For more information, call Dennis at 861-5687 or Doug at 649-8202.
The Southtowns Walleye Assocation's monthly meeting will be held on Thursday, July 18 at 7:30 p.m. at their club house, 5895 Southwestern Boulevard, Hamburg.
Gene Pauszek is an OBSERVER outdoors columnist. Send comments to email@example.com.