8/14-8/15 Aboard Hard Knox

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keithm87
Posts: 626
Joined: Sun Apr 05, 2015 5:28 pm
Species: Trout and Salmon
Location: Central VT

8/14-8/15 Aboard Hard Knox

Post by keithm87 »

Day 1
As a birthday present to myself and my buddy steve, we chartered Hard Knox for a 2 day adventure on the big lake. We had been hearing reports of great fishing all summer out there and were excited to get on some kings. But as always happens in my life, nature had other plans for us. We arrived in Oswego monday night and the forecast for tuesday was for light winds and scattered thunderstorms, with waves 1 foot or less. Eric and I chatted and we would be launching at 5am. I awoke to a text from him at 4am saying it was pouring and blowing hard, and that we should sleep till 6 and reassess. 6am rolled around and the wind had let up a little and the rain had died down. I said to eric I am ok getting tossed around a little and getting wet, after all the fish are already wet.
We got to the dock and loaded the boat up, and headed out from the harbor. I drew short straw and was the lucky person to be facing backwards going into the waves, which for my first time on big water was not pleasant. Eric had told us at the dock that the kings were spread out and most were being caught in the 400-600fow range, but that he had found some active browns in shallow the night before, so we would start with that. He got gear set and we had our first release. Based I grabbed the rod and pulled in a nice 4-5 lb brown. We trolled in that area landing and missing several more releases, but the weather kept fighting us. It would pour for a few minutes and let up and then pour again. Out deep we could see some big boats, but the storms out there looked sketchy, including funnel clouds forming. At around 11am we had a release, and i was up, it felt different from the other releases, in that I couldnt just crank it to the boat. It had some heft, feeling almost like the big lakers on champlain, but when we got it to the boat, it was an 8lb golden colored brown trout. One of the prettiest browns I have seen. We kept at it and picked up 2 small (SMALL) kings and some more browns, and then the weather seemed to let off. the forecast showed a 4-5 hour break in storms and stable wind (stable at what was already 12-15kts from the north) We decided it would be a good time to eat lunch, clean what we had caught and try to get some intel at the docks.
We ate lunch and cleaned our fish, and chatted with one of the big boats, they had landed 4 kings on a 6 hour charter most our in 600, but one in 150-200. With the sky bright we headed back out, this time we were going to chase the kings and hoped to get out deep. We headed out of the harbor, and the waves had built a little on our lunch. We started to cruise out, the ride was quite rough with 3 footers with some mixed in 5's. We got out to 250, and I was feeling a little uncomfortable with the conditions, and proposed that we try for some kings in that area as we were seeing some marks, and the other boat had gotten a nice one in 150. We set up gear, and as we were doing that heard a rumble of thunder. Looked off to the east and there was some really dark clouds over the nuke plant. On the radar it looked like a doozy, but it was moving slow, but full of lightning. with that coming we decided to troll towards the harbor which was about 2.5 miles away. As we trolled the storm put on what from anywhere but a boat would have been a great lightning show.We got to the harbor as the storm was closing in having hidden the nuke plant in rain and fog. Our tally for the day was 8 fish landed, and another half dozenish releases that were missed.
Steve and I headed back to the hotel, and then out to the restaurant Bar that we had found the night before (3.50 capt and cokes? What!!!) Hit the hay early in preparation for day 2, with a forecast of partly sunny and light winds early building to strong west winds in the afternoon, we were optimistic we would get out for kings before it blew too hard.

Day 2 will be coming soon.
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Gecha (Gerry)
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Re: 8/14-8/15 Aboard Hard Knox

Post by Gecha (Gerry) »

Nice read. Looking forward for day 2.
Gecha (Gerry North of the Border)

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keithm87
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Re: 8/14-8/15 Aboard Hard Knox

Post by keithm87 »

Day 2:
After a restless night that included checking the forecast every half hour and looking at buoy data we arose for a 5:30 launch. Outside we could see stars and the wind was calm at ground level. We arrived at the harbor to dead calm, but could see the flags on the top of a building were standing. We got settled into the boat and got ready to leave the dock. As we were pulling away another boat was coming in... off at 5:45 that they would be returning. They explained that it was already 3+ footers outside the harbor and it wasn’t worth it. Not believing them as it didn’t seem to make sense we headed toward the opening of the harbor. Turned out they were not lying, what was listed on buoy data as .7 foot waves at 4 seconds with 7 mph wind was really 3-5 footers with a 10+ Wind from the northwest. That sealed our fate, and we decided it was far too rough to try to get to the deep water for Kings. Instead we tried to focus on browns. We set in the same area as the day before, and before the second rod was set we had a fish on. Steve landed that brown, and Eric fought to get gear in the water. The conditions were terrible, and controlling the boat was almost impossible.
We stayed out for just over an hour, before calling it quits, 4 releases and 1 fish landed. Back at the dock we cleaned the fish, and Eric asked if we were heading back to vt that day. He had a plan, head from there up to Henderson and try to get away from the wind which was forecast to change to from southwest. I was skeptical of that idea as a west wind would just have an extra 30 miles of open water to build, but we decided to give it a try.
Fast forward an hour drive and 15 minutes of prep, and we are in the water in Henderson harbor, we go through the cut, and are met with waves. To my surprise they were smaller than the ones in Oswego, and we headed toward the deeper water by the point. The further we went the rougher it got, but we got most of the way and set up gear in 140fow trolling into east. It was a rough ride, and we were not marking anything major. I started to get discouraged about it. After about 2 hours of nothing we pulled in all the gear, with the idea to switch to a brown program. We found a small king on one rod and 2 others were weeded up, but with the waves checking gear regularly would have been an immense challenge.
We set out brown gear and moved in a bit shallower, running in 55 fow with the temp break at 35. We had gear from 35-45. We hit a spot where Eric thought we may find fish, and had a rod fire. I grabbed the rod and started bringing the fish in. It was a brown and it wanted to go to the port side. In my boat I am used to letting the fish go where it wants to I let it do it’s thing, with thoughts we could net it on the side, but with the waves and stuff that wasn’t an option, so I had to give it slack and try to work it around the rigger cables and the other rigger line. We got it to the back of the boat, and as soon as the net was under it the other port rod fired. I grabbed it and set the hook and reach back with it to hand it to Steve. He grabbed it, or so I thought, until he screams “Keith what the hell did you do” and I looked over as the rod went into the water. I tried to grab it but could t reach, and making matters worse the net had a fish and a hook tangled in it. Through some miricle the line counter on the rod caught on the rigger cable and the rod was dragging behind the boat. Thinking quick I hit the up on the rigger, Steve worked the wheel and as the rigger came up the rod stayed attached Eric grabbed it when it finally broke the surface and the fish was still on. Unfortunately after all that chaos Steve couldn’t close the deal and the fish got off.
We fished that area for the rest of the day, picking up 4 more fish (2 nice browns, a small brown, and a perch). At about 2:00 we were making a turn and a rigger fires. It had been my turn, but I had missed several releases in a row, so decided to take a seat and let steve at it. He immediately said this one is big. He fought the fish for a few seconds then swore as he thought he lost it, but the fish had farted for the boat, he got the slack taken up and the fish started to take drag. This happened several time, and then the fish found the one line that we had not yet cleared and wrapped around it. Chaos ensued and tragically the fish left with the lure breaking of a brand new 25lb blue label flouro leader. Steve was devestated as was Eric as they knew it was a good fish.

At 4 we called it a day and headed for Vermont. Racing thunderstorms the whole way which we beat (I got lucky and drove from St. Albans to east Montpelier in one non stop though so that was fun)
I went to Ontario with dreams of catching the biggest fish of my life (currently at 12lb northern) and while we did not accomplish that, the effort Eric put in to get us on the fish was truly amazing. There is no other charter captain on ontario, or any other lake for that matter who would do what he did Wednesday to get us some fish. While his boat is small by the standards of the Ontario charter fleet, and the trip is a little more hands on than other charters, it really is the true fishing experience that I wanted to get. I went with hopes to get an idea of what the lake had to offer, and learn about techniques, and Eric was great with advice, spots, and his boat was outperforming some of the boats much bigger. His prices are pretty great too!
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tmcaul
Posts: 161
Joined: Mon Dec 19, 2016 10:26 am
Species: salmonids
Location: Charlotte

Re: 8/14-8/15 Aboard Hard Knox

Post by tmcaul »

Re Day 1:

Nice browns. But the sky in that last picture looks very, very ugly.

Hope you have a better weather day tomorrow.

Tom
Tom
"Tyee, Too"
18' Lund

Gecha (Gerry)
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Re: 8/14-8/15 Aboard Hard Knox

Post by Gecha (Gerry) »

Great read Keith. Incredible moments to share for a long time.
Gecha (Gerry North of the Border)

Crestliner1850
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Joined: Sun Jun 05, 2016 9:47 pm
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Re: 8/14-8/15 Aboard Hard Knox

Post by Crestliner1850 »

Very cool report Keith. You didn't get the kings this time but you landed very nice browns.

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hard knox
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Re: 8/14-8/15 Aboard Hard Knox

Post by hard knox »

Thanks Keith for taking the time to put up this great post! It was awesome having you guys on board. The conditions were tough, but we did have fun! I appreciate that you took the time to note how hard I work to put my clients on the fish. It is always my hope that my clients leave satisfied with their trip and feel they learned as much as they could while enjoying the experience. Hope to see you back on board next season!

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