New York, New York

Most of us think about New York City when someone mentions New York. That’s the natural thing to do. But that’s not all there is to this wonderful state. Much of it is rural and isolated, a paradise for hunters and anglers.

I won’t go so far as to call the Oneida Lake region rural or isolated but I will go so far as to call it an angler’s paradise. That might come as a surprise to some of you because the bass that come out of this great body of water aren’t all that big. Let me assure you, however, that there’s more to Oneida Lake than black bass.

I’ve been out here today (Tuesday) throwing a variety of baits, and I’ve caught a variety of fish. There are pike and walleye galore as well as all manner of sunfish and panfish. Some of the walleye I’ve taken will rival those from the Great Lakes. They’re big and they’re gorgeous. I half wish I’d brought a fillet knife and a big cooler.

The ones that really stand out, though, are the sunfish. They’re as big as Frisbees — OK, maybe not quite that big — and colored like the saltwater fish you see on television. Their blue, green, red, pink and black hues all look like they have some kind of light shining through them from the back. The only fish I’ve ever seen that look like anything close to them are the little aquarium-like fish you see swimming around in Lake Okeechobee.

None of this has anything to do with the Open that starts on Thursday. The reason I mention it is that I believe that we should all take some time to fish lakes like Oneida. As much as I love bass fishing and competing in bass tournaments there are other species that we can appreciate, not as bass anglers, or just anglers, but as human beings.

I’m thinking the weights will be pretty good this week. I base that not on what I’ve been catching but more on the healthy nature of this fishery. I’m here to tell you this place is thriving. If you want to break up your bass fishing by catching a bunch of different kinds of fish all day long give it a try. You won’t regret it.

One thing you do want to be careful of is the wind. It’s been blowing hard all day. I actually had to go to my truck and get my big anchor out to make sure I could hold my boat in place should I have trouble. The last thing I need to do is to allow my Ranger to blow into a rock wall and bang against it for an hour while I wait for help. (Most of us carry two size anchors for just this kind of situation.)

Beyond that there isn’t much to say. As usual, the problem isn’t catching bass. There are plenty of them around. They’re biting pretty good, too. The problem is to find the big, tournament-winning ones.

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