Mother Nature continues to impede anglers

The weather has not been cooperative for the offshore fishermen during the month of July.

With wind and temperatures and rainfall conditions that you would expect in September, you can only wonder what the month of August has in store for us.

Even the squirrels seem to be busier than normal, with a bumper crop of young ones evident in the City of Dunkirk and my neighborhood. Speaking of squirrels, the season opens on Sept. 1. And remember, Mepp’s Lure/Spinner Company purchases good, quality squirrel tails from fox, gray and black squirrels.

According to Kurt Mazurek, one of the spokesmen for Mepp’s Lures, “nothing works as well as squirrel tail hair!” For details, call 1-800-713-3474, or go to

Not very many fishermen have been able to get out for very long with the wind and heavy rainfall chasing many boaters off the lake. However, I did catch up with Craig Sleeman, captain of the Midnight Express, which was one of three teams that made the long haul to North East, Pa., to finish in the money last Saturday during the Sunset Bay Shootout.

Sleeman utilizes a Ranger 621 boat powered by a Mercury 205 H.P. outboard motor. The vertical “Christmas tree” rod holders first caught my eye and as I approached the boat at the Dunkirk Boat launch, I spied the owner. The boat was equipped with the shock absorber system seats, which helped the crew pound through the rough water conditions last Saturday.

The guys used a lot of in-line boards, as well as drop weights to get their presentations in the strike zone. Another piece of equipment that I noticed was missing were downriggers. Sleeman instead used an elevated rod holder in the back end of the boat to keep the rod tip out of the swells and used torpedo weights.

When it got really rough, they changed up to the heavier weights with great success. Another tip was they used a turtle-style big, round blade worm harness with the pink ribbon breast cancer awareness logo stamped on it. Another tip was they noticed which direction the fish seemed to be attacking the lures from going forward or attacking it from the rear. And if the rear presentation seemed to be “hot” they utilized worm harness blades with the back of the blades or dished side, painted instead of just copper or silver.

They also place an eye on the dished side of the blade. They reported catching 15 walleye on Saturday and weighed in the six-heaviest fish. Hope the information can help.

Hopefully the weather will cooperate with the Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club’s annual three-day Walleye Derby, which will be held from Friday through Sunday. The captains’ meeting will take place at the Con Club starting at 6 p.m. on Thursday. Look for daily coverage of this local tournament in the OBSERVER.

Skip Bianco at Hogan’s Hut reported that the musky fishing on Chautauqua Lake has been crazy lately with a number of anglers reporting multiple fish hook-ups per day. The water temperature was in the lower 70’s, where normally this time of year, it’s in the mid 80’s. Walleye appear to be reacting to a thermocline in the deeper areas of the lake and bass have been active at the south end of the lake, hitting chatter sticks and spinners.


The Busti Trap Club, located at 1181 Southwestern Drive, Jamestown, will present the BUSTI GRAND on Sunday, Aug, 10. The event will feature 125 targets with an auction starting at 9:30 a.m. and the shooting event starting at 10 a.m. For information, call 487-9539 or 814-489-3534, or log on

The Cattaraugus County Sportsmen’s Rendezvous, held at the Cattaraugus County Fairgrounds, in Little Valley, will be on Aug. 9-10. Hours are from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. Friday, 8 a.m. until 6 p.m., Saturday and 8 a.m. until 3 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is $5 per car, per day. This event will feature Conservation Displays, archery, black powder, trapping, fishing, guns, taxidermy dealers, Big Buck displays and live seminars, as well as the coon dog show, chicken barbecue, raffles, live demonstrations and the Mountain Man encampment. For more information, call 492-0432.

The Bear Lake Rod & Gun Club will host 3-D archery shoots 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.

There will be a Pistol Course on Aug. 16 at the Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club from 9:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. Note that the price for attending these courses is now set by the county, and is now $75. Pre-sign for the course by calling Gary at 366-3397.

The Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club will also host the following free courses: Firearms (gun) hunter training on Aug. 27-28 from 5 p.m. until 10 p.m. each day with two-day attendance mandatory.

Another gun course will be held Sept. 24-25 from 5-10 p.m., with two-day attendance mandatory.

A one-day archery course will be held at the Con Club on Saturday, Sept. 20, from 9 a.m. until 5:30 p.m., with a lunch break. Note: To register for all courses, you must register online at the DEC website.

If your club is hosting a shooting event or training course (turkey shoot, etc.), drop a line and I will be glad to place an announcement in the calendar. I also am available to take photos and hear your success stories by calling 366-1772 or 467-2079.

Gene Pauszek is an OBSERVER outdoors columnist. Send comments to