The Saratoga Challenge on Saratoga Lake attracted 38 teams on July 9, and the it was a repeat win for Mike Croll of Troy and Heath Clayson of Ballston Lake. This time they weighed in a 5-fish limit totaling 14.29 pounds worth $855, and their 4.90-pound largemouth added $370. Not a bad payday for 3 hours of fishing.
Second place went to Jim Bubb of Clifton Park and Sean Noonan of Saratoga with 12.81 pounds of fish worth $514. (I taught him everything he knows; I wish.) Low to cash was the Saratoga team of John Villeneuve and Jim Smith with 11.77 pounds worth $342.
Two days later, also on Saratoga Lake, South Shore Marine held their bass fishing contest in the afternoon. And it poured. However, seven teams fished. The winners were the Saratoga team of Dave Munger and John Jennings with 14.06 pounds worth $275. They also had tournament lunker, a 3.48 pound largemouth worth $100. Second place was Jim Bubb (Clifton Park) and Mike Maynard (Schaghticoke) with 12.71 pounds. They received $100.
On July 9, I received an email that said: “Do you want to shoot some woodchucks? If so give me a call.”
It has been years since I did any woodchuck hunting and I picked up the phone immediately and made the call. I haven’t hunted “chucks” seriously since the '60s. The correspondent told me that he had a farm and apple orchard in Greenwich, and the animals were digging up his fields and all around his apple trees.
I accepted and told him I would contact him in a few days. The problem: All of my rifles were high-powered, so I was “forced” to buy a .22 caliber rifle. The “boss” just smiled when I told her, and I quickly jumped in my truck headed to Beecroft’s Shooters Supply in Schaghticoke.
I told Dave Beecroft what I was looking for, and it didn’t take long for me to pick an Interarm bolt-action, clip-fed .22 caliber Ruger with a 4x32 scope. At the range, it took 15 minutes to get three holes in an inch circle. I was ready.
The next afternoon when I arrived at the farm, he and I glassed quite a few woodchucks in the field and more in the orchard. Now knowing where they were, my plan was to get there early the next morning and get set up before they come out. It was a success, as I was able to put down three in the apple orchard and four in the field.
When I left that afternoon, I left the rifle and ammo with the farmer so he could use it until I could get back.
The next morning, he called and asked me if I was coming to shoot some more "chucks." He sounded excited, and I couldn't resist. When I got there, he handed me my gun, and with a smile took his own brand-new .22 rifle out of his truck before we went to "get some woodchucks."
And, we did.
One reminder: Do not shoot woodchucks in residential areas, just in rural/farm areas.
Uncle Mike Galcik of Schuylerville took his 12-year-old nephew Mikey Schwerd for a day of bass fishing on Cossayuna Lake -- and the fish were biting. Mike is a tournament angler and a state police officer, so he wouldn’t lie to me about what they were using and where they were biting. He said they were using green pumpkin Senko rubber worms fished wacky style. They fished dropoffs and deeper grass. This is the perfect technique for kids to use to catch not only bass but other fish too.
Mike also fished the Tri County Elite Bass Club this past Sunday at Ticonderoga on Lake Champlain and won it with 5 bass totaling 17.54 pounds worth $389. Tony Faraci (Lansingburgh) was second with 16.24 pounds and received $243. Bob Batchelder (Clifton Park) was third with 15.19 pounds and Brian Winchell (Warrensburg) $56 was fourth with 14.52 pounds. Big bass honors and $180 went to Lenny Phoenix (Ballston Spa) for his 4.71 pound largemouth.
Reach Ed Noonan at [email protected].