Saturday was a busy day for outdoorsmen

Saturday was one of those days where there was just not enough hours in the day, because there were so many great events taking place.

For starters, opening day of black bass opened up state wide and the fishermen were out in force.

Members of the Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club, Chautauqua County Sports Fishery Advisory Board and the Chautauqua County Sportsmen Federation were on hand to take youngsters fishing at Memorial Park starting at 8 a.m. The kids started showing up slowly, but steady, and by 9 a.m., there were several dozen hopefuls armed with zebco’s and night crawlers, just looking for a fight. With a huge bass that is!

Unfortunately the bass in that area have been worked over pretty hard by the locals taking advantage of the early lunker bass season, as well as the out-of-towners who noticed that up against the breakwall is a honey hole.

Nevertheless, all the kids who signed up and tried their luck were treated to a “lucky fish necklace” compliments of Dave Barus, better known as the outdoor writer “Forest Fisher.” Barus informed me that the necklaces were from the estate of his old fishing partner Norby Antonack, who passed away a few years ago.

If you remember, Antonack was the older fisherman who was fishing out of Barcelona during a tournament and had a medical problem while on board the boat. He was unconscious, and while the captain raced for shore and assistance, the boat hit a big wave and the jolt revived Antonack. His first question when he came to was, “Did we win?” We miss you Norby, and the kids thank you for the gifts.

The Westfield Recreation annual Cast & Fish event, which was held at the beautiful Westfield Fish & Game Club, also took place on Saturday with 34 youngsters participating. The kids and their guardians all had a great time with enough donated prizes assuring that all the kids received a prize. I’ll have a list of winners and sponsors later.

The weather, and turnout was great for the second annual Great Lakes Experience that was also held Saturday at Dunkirk’s Memorial Park. This free event featured numerous exhibits with an outdoors-minded theme that thrilled and educated the young and old alike.

An event of this magnitude took lots of planning, cooperation and work, as well as financial donations to be a success. There were exhibits from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Division and the Department of Environmental Conservation that included invasive species, like lamprey, a fish tank with native species, fish mounts of the various carp that are jeopardizing the Great Lakes, and more.

Youngsters were amused to visit the primate exhibit from the Buffalo Zoo, as well as the reptile exhibit and live creatures presented by the Audobon Society and the Birds of Prey. There were hands-on exhibits from the Monday Night Fly Tyers, and archery compliments of Bear Lake Rod & Gun Club and the pellet gun booth.

The trappers had their informative exhibit, as well as the Sportsmen Federation, and SCOPE, to name a few. And what would a festival be without the smells and tastes of food like curly fries, kettle corn and waffles. Thanks to everybody who helped make this happen and I hope everyone will be back next year.

The Southtowns Walleye Association also had their awards banquet Saturday and you had to be in attendance to win a prize in the “Chicken Coop” blind drawing. Not enough hours in the day!

Once again a testament to the quality of walleye fishing in Lake Erie, first and second place fish were over 12 pounds. There were several 11-pounders and 45th place out of 200 was 10 pounds even. That is amazing.

Mark Hering, fishing on Friday, June 13, with Lon St. Louis and Dale Dreitwiesek, in choppy, rainy conditions, caught the grand prize walleye, which weighed in at 12.24 pounds. He used a Hi-Tech worm harness, colored Blue Dolphin, presented on a dipsey diver with wire line, on a 3-1/2 setting, 100 feet back, fishing west of Barcelona harbor in 70 feet of water. Trolling speed was 1.72 mph. That “hawg” took 15 minutes that, “seemed like two days” to land and stayed deep the whole time, until it came to the net. More stories later!

Calendar:

The Bear Lake Rod & Gun Club will host 3-D archery shoots today, July 13, Aug. 24 and Sept. 14. They will also host a 200-yard gun shoot on Sept. 21. New members are welcome and the club’s monthly meetings are on the first Sunday of the month at 4 p.m. They start the meeting off with a hot meal, so come hungry.

The Lakeshore Longbeards, our local chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation will be holding a meeting on Tuesday, June 24, at 7 p.m., at Liberty Vineyards, which is located on Route 20, in Sheridan. The agenda will focus on the Youth Day event called JAKES Day, which will be held on Saturday, July 19 at the Westfield Fish & Game Club located on Ogden Road in Westfield. The meeting is open to the public.

The Cassadaga Lakes Association will be holding its 21st annual Lew Mead Youth Fishing Tournament on Saturday, June 28, at the DEC boat launch on Dale Drive, Cassadaga from 7 until 11:30 a.m. The contest is free and open to youths 16 years of age and under. Sign up at the site before fishing.

Gene Pauszek is an OBSERVER outdoors columnist. Send comments to sports@observertoday.com.