2011 Bass Pro Shops Northern Open #3 Oneida Lake - Syracuse, NY, Sep 22 - 24, 2011

Slop, shop, fish-fry stop

Valerie Hicks
Mark Hicks needs a few things from Bass Pro Shops.

It rained throughout Monday night, which is a major pain when you’re tent camping. I’ve been sleeping under the screened canopy. It’s almost like sleeping under the stars.

I love it, unless it rains. I thought the canopy would keep the rain off me. I was wrong. Two hours after lights out, I noticed that the top of my sleeping bag was soaked.

I retreated to the tent where Valerie was sleeping, dry and warm. The rest of my night was damp and fitful.

The rain stopped at daybreak. I needed some tackle, so I figured it would be a good morning to visit bass fishing’s Holy Grail, Bass Pro Shops.

When we got there, Valerie headed straight for the women’s clothing section. She gets that from her mother.

I didn’t need much. A few baits, hooks and weights. And, a culling beam. I’m the eternal optimist.

I got on the water at 1 o’clock. Val stays in camp to dry out gear that got drenched the night before. She also moved the tent to slightly higher ground.

I found a few more offshore spots that hold smallmouth bass, but I’m a long way from figuring out the Oneida Lake puzzle. I’d like to take Wednesday off to prepare tackle, but I need more time on the water.

When I came off the water in the evening, Valerie and I went to a walleye fry at the house where Jonathan VanDam is staying. He and three of his friends rented the place.

Their motley crew included JVD, Chris Noffsinger of Interlochen, Mich., Brian Schram from Detroit and Kyle Kempkers from Kalamazoo.

These guys had caught a slew of walleyes while bass fishing. Noffsinger fried the fillets to golden brown perfection. Bass pro Frank Scalish of Cleveland also showed up for the feast.

Besides the fish, there were potatoes and plenty of brown bottle refreshment. The evening was nonstop hilarity. We stuffed our bellies and stayed up too late.

I plan to be up early Wednesday and put in a hard half-day on the water.

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