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Rod, Gun and Game: Learn perch fishing tricks with expert Herb Schultz

THE FISH ARE BITING — Herb Schultz, fishing expert, taught his fellow fishers some tricks, during a recent outing.

SPRINGVILLE — In case you have not been paying attention, the Lake Erie perch bite is in peak form and may be the best perch fishing anglers have enjoyed in the last 20 years. Emerald shiners are the hot bait, with ample supplies at local bait shops and at the foot of West Ferry Street, for anglers dipping their own.

From Buffalo, anglers accessing the lake at the Buffalo Small Boat Harbor are catching perch off the windmills near the old steel plant, in 45 feet, with two-hook rigs fished right on the bottom. Similar rigs are working at Sturgeon Point, in 45-50 feet, straight out from the launch, and in 51-60 feet, 3-4 miles west of the launch. Look for the circle of boats to find the moving schools of tasty perch, but try not to crowd anglers already on-site, as boat noise from above can spook an entire school of fish to move to another area.

Late last week, I enjoyed a fun perch fishing trip to Sturgeon Point waters, at the invitation of master perch angler, Herb Shultz. Fishing with Johnny Held, Lenny Ingoldsby and Schultz, I’m not sure if the daylong conversation about the upcoming hunting season, the Lake Erie water quality, New York State SAFE Act issues or the great fishing was more fun.

Fishing only 3/4 mile out from the boat launch in 48 feet of water, we were alone for the first 30 minutes or so. As other anglers saw Schultz’s high-profile 22-foot fiberglass Starcraft fishing boat, he seemed to draw a crowd. In fact, in less than an hour, there were at least 20 boats within throwing distance, sparking some occasional boat-to-boat greetings, as active fish down below turned right off for our group of expert minnow dunkers.

The water was slightly stained from a combination of strong west winds and cooler air temperatures that provided the contributing momentum for lake physics to initiate the annual cool-weather lake turnover, which causes the bottom and top water layers to mix and turn cloudy.

While this phenomenon occurs three or four times before winter gets here, when it happens, the fish usually become disinterested in chow, but recent fish-catching activity shows this is not so with the yellow perch in our eastern end of Lake Erie.

Shultz asked regular fishing partner Ingoldsby, to weigh anchor in the big boat rig. This process is something to see. If you are in another boat, you really do not want to get too close to others, before dropping your anchor. Using a large, 15-inch orange ball float attached to a 3-foot long slip line and sliding hook rig, Shultz starts up and moves the boat forward in a 100-yard-wide circle around the dropped anchor, as the floating ball works its way down the anchor line to dislodge the anchor and float it upward toward the surface, to allow for an easy anchor pull into the boat.

Shultz learned this trick from professional Alaska anglers. He said, “I am always careful about not disturbing other anglers, but if they anchor too close to me, I can’t get my anchor out, using this special ‘old man’ anchor rig and I hope I don’t upset too many of them as we leave one area to head in or try another spot.”

We moved about 1 mile west to 50 feet of water, where no other boaters were anchored and, using his dash-mounted 4-inch Lowrance™ color screen sonar, Schultz grinned and said, “the fish are here guys, let’s drop anchor.” Ingoldsby quietly slid the anchor into the water and, using a special bow-slip knot arrangement, was able to anchor off the bow without leaving the back of the boat.

A few minutes later, we all had our lines in the water and the fish seemed to have a case of lockjaw. Held switched to a Ted Malota two-spinner perch rig with minnows, Ingoldsby switched to a custom in-line spinner two-hook crappie-style rig with colorful beads and Schultz switched to an all-monofilament two-hook rig. Over the next 30 minutes, only Schultz, with his all mono-rig, was catching any fish and the rest of us were solidly eyeing up the details of his hot rig.

Schultz offered each of us a custom rig like his, from a well-stocked perch fishing box, and only minutes later, we were all catching perch that had been spooked by wire rigs and spinner blades. “One more thing,” Schultz added. “I am tail-hooking the minnows in one place, not two, like we usually do, when fishing for perch.” This was an amazing discovery for some of us, that the fish would turn on and off with such a rig and minnow hook-up change, but such was the case.

Schultz’s special advice? “You gotta keep it simple. For perch, don’t get crazy with really light line and fancy rigs, you’ll just break them off and spook other fish.” He added, “Perch are fish that feed when they are hungry. They don’t care about anything else, except where that minnow is coming from. Just get it down there!”

To prove his point, Schultz told us he uses 50-pound leaders to make the rigs, then 20-pound test to tie the hook leaders on, because he said, “I don’t like to lose fish when my line snaps off, as I hoist them into the boat. It doesn’t happen anymore, with the heavier leader line.”

Schultz uses gold-plated Mustad hooks on a two-hook rig he ties himself, with a sliding-loop bottom hook.

If you want to know more about that trick “slider bottom hook,” look Schultz up at the next Southtowns Walleye meeting. Those are held every third Thursday of the month at 7 p.m. at 5895 Southwestern Boulevard in Hamburg.

Sheriff Howard awarded at SCOPE banquet

The room was filled for the exciting 48th annual banquet of the Western New York Shooters Committee on Public Education at Lucarelli’s, last Friday. More than 300 people were in attendance, including Legislative dignitaries, Assemblyman David DiPietro from East Aurora, New York state governor hopeful Carl Paladino, founder of the Second Amendment Foundation Alan Gottleib and president of SCOPE Steve Aldstadt.

The Shooter’s Committee on Political Education is a civil rights organization, focused on the protection and preservation regarding the right of firearms ownership as guaranteed by the Second Amendment of the Constitution.

While SCOPE’s role is focused primarily on the political process, it is an issues-oriented organization. It does not align itself with any political party, nor does it endorse any candidates for elected office.

SCOPE’s function is to counter assaults on the right of firearms ownership, such as is perceived by many with the New York SAFE Act.

SCOPE works to provide legislators and executives with timely and accurate information to support decision-making, educating a growing army of SCOPE members on the stance of candidates running for office and litigation, when necessary.

With regard to the NY SAFE Act, Aldstadt reminded attendees of voter facts. In New York, there are 15,100,000 eligible voters. During Gov. Cuomo’s last election, only 4,770,000 total votes were cast, with 2,911,616 going to Cuomo for the win. Aldstadt said, “There are 6,000,000 gun owners in New York state, or 3 million more gun owners than recent Cuomo voters.

DEC trout stocking

The Randolph Fish Hatchery is conducting their annual fall stocking of brood stock trout in Allegany and Cattaraugus counties. All breeder trout stocked are more than 2 years old and are stocked in waters where trout fishing is permitted year-round, including Birch Run Pond, with 50 14-inch brook trout; Allen Lake, with 100 14-inch brook trout and 100 20-inch brook trout; Case Lake, with 100 14-inch brook trout, 100 20-inch brook trout and 50 20-inch brown trout. Call the Randolph Hatchery Stocking Hotline at 358-4950 for regular updates.

King Salmon in Lake Ontario tributaries

Most of the Niagara County tributary streams and the Lower Niagara River are enjoying their usual hot autumn king salmon fishing period. Shore anglers casting Little Cleo spoons and similar lures are catching fish to 40 pounds, near Devils Hole State Park, though anglers must use caution while fishing this area, due to daily rising waters with power draws. At Burt Dam on Eighteenmile Creek near Olcott, hundreds of large king salmon can be seen below the dam, ready to spawn. Fish are being caught by anglers using egg skein and similar artificials, from the dam to well below the trestle, about 1/2 mile downstream.

Trout in Lake Erie tributaries

Recent rains have clouded the popular Lake Erie trout and steelhead streams. That will benefit anglers wading these streams, which were ultra-clear for a few weeks, before the early week rains. Cattaraugus Creek, Eighteenmile Creek, Canadaway Creek and Chautauqua Creek are all very popular fall steelhead streams for local anglers, with the Buffalo River system of waterways also attracting fair runs of steelhead, including at Buffalo Creek and Cayuga Creek. Popular baits include salmon egg imitations, Berkley power baits, minnow imitating lures, spinners and spoons, as well as an assortment of egg-imitating flies and streamers.

Outdoor calendar

Oct. 17: Southtowns Walleye Association monthly meeting, 5895 Southwestern Blvd., 7 p.m.Speaker Tom Owczarczak will discuss Alaska fishing. For more information, call 649-8202.

Oct. 17: Erie County SCOPE chapter monthly meeting, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 8113, The Chicken Coop, 299 Leydecker Road, West Seneca. Open to the public, 7 p.m. For more information, call 846-5448.

Oct. 17: Federation of Fly Fishers – WNY Chapter, Legion Post 735, 35 Legion Parkway, West Seneca, fly tying at 6 p.m., meeting at 7 p.m. For more information, call 675-4766.

Oct. 19-20: Niagara Frontier Gun Show, Newstead Firehall, 5691 Cummings Road, Akron. 9 a.m. start. For more information, visit www.nfgshows.com.

Oct. 21, 22, 24; NYS Hunter Safety Training, Niagara Gun Range, 3355 Niagara Falls Blvd., North Tonawanda. For more information, call 693- 4000.

Nov. 2: Evans Rod & Gun Sighting-In Day, $5 fee per gun, targets every 25 yards-100 yards, NRA Instructors and Ted Malota will be on hand, 864 Cain Road, Angola. For more information, call 549-0333.

Send outdoor information to Forrest Fisher Column, 10 days in advance, to nugdor@yahoo.com.


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