Last Wednesday, my wife and I reluctantly returned home from our two months of Snow Birding in Florida. When we arrived, we quickly emptied the car and headed to see our grandchildren.
Early the next morning, I headed out to see what was happening in the Kaydeross Creek, Lake Lonely and the upper Hudson River. All were open, and there were anglers on all of them. It was a bit cold, but I was anxious and hooked up my boat and readied my tackle for a Friday fishing day.
However, the next morning, when I looked out the window and saw my boat and truck covered with snow, that changed everything. Should have stayed in Florida. Right now, the boat is still covered and on the trailer. Hopefully, I will be able to begin my crappy spring.
For me, it all usually begins on Saratoga Lake chasing those little crappie fish. Somewhere I read that over 12 million anglers spend nearly 123 million days each year chasing these fish.
Here are a few of the basics that work for me. In the early spring, they can be anywhere between 10 to 25 feet, and the old timers have told me to start around the docks and boathouses like those on Lake George and marinas. I found that drifting into these areas is the best approach. Start shallow and work your way out.
As for bait, I was taught to use live bait (small lively minnows), especially in the spring. All you need is an ultralight rod and spinning line no more than 6-pound test. Rig with a slip bobber, followed by a No. 4 split shot pinched on the line 6-8 inches above a No. 6 hook. Depending on the wind, you may need a slightly heavier split shot. Without a depth, finder you may have to try different depths until you find them.
I rely primarily on live bait to start, and depending on the results, I may have to try artificial lures. I prefer tiny tubes from 1/32 to 1/8 ounces. Now several years ago while fishing in Florida, I fished with a local that showed me what he called “doddling.” We used a 10-12-foot two-piece rod that you use live bait or lures in and out to the weed pockets. Due to fishing the weeds, 10 to 12 pound is recommended. Just remember, the Crappie has a very paper-soft mouth, so do not jerk, just lift. Good luck and enjoy eating these tasty little fish.
ATTENTION CROSSBOW HUNTER
If you are a crossbow hunter who wants to hunt deer with the regular bowhunters, now is the time to contact your legislators. This year is the beginning of a new two-year legislative cycle and, as you know, a change in control of the Senate. All bills from the previous have expired.
Now is the time for those of us who have had tell are representative we want the same hunting primitivities as the bow hunters. Let them know we too would like to enter the deer woods in our Northern and Southern Zones on the same days as them. As a crossbow hunter myself in the Southern Zone, on Oct. 1, I would like hunt with a crossbow, not 34 days later on Nov. 3.
Let’s make our representatives aware of what we want and should have. And for those of you who haven’t joined the Crossbow Coalition, who have been fighting for this from the beginning, should JOIN. Go to http://www.nycrossbowcoalition
KENYON SIMPSON INDUCTED
Kenyon Simpson of Bolton Landing was one of the eleven New Yorkers who recently was inducted into the New York State Outdoorsmen Hall of Fame. Kenyon is one of the grassroots instructors and members of the steering committee of NYS 4H Shooting Program. His work and influence have carried over into being a Hunter Education instructor for 40 years, a director and major instructor in the National Muzzleloader Rifle Association, and an award winner in many shooting programs. Congratulations Kenyon.
While sitting at a high-money poker game (five cents) in the Surf Side Estates in Florida club house in Beverly Beach where we were staying in Florida one evening, I was asked about my turkey hunting.
One of the questions asked was about what shotgun gauge(s) I used. I told them all of them, except a 410 gauge, but I also said that 30 minutes before sunup (legal shooting time) back in New York, I would be entering the Saratoga County turkey woods with a Henry Lever Action 410 shotgun. My choice was very easy when I went shopping and found the Henry 410 lever action. Not only be will the Henry used in the Spring but come Fall it will be my small game gun also. Check this little gun out at https://www.henryusa.com/shotg
NYS STRIPED BASS REPORT
The 2018 Hudson River Striped Bass Cooperative Angler Newsletter was recently released. It is rather lengthy, but very interesting. For the full report, go to file:///C:/Users/Ed%20Noonan/D
While I was catching Atlantic Intercoastal Flounders and a few alligators in Central Florida, my buddy Mike Auriemma of Amsterdam was in Southern Florida fishing 20 miles out in the Atlantic Ocean and pulling (battling) up a giant 9-foot Swordfish from 1,800 feet. He actually caught a second Swordfish that was smaller. Mike was fishing with his Florida friends Capt. Patrick Cochran’s 31-foot Sea Vee along with another Florida friend, AJ Mihelich. The big fish hit on a 20-inch eel with a purple and black skirt. Quite a big fish and fight.
Reach Gazette outdoors columnist Ed Noonan at [email protected].