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Lucky Enuff Sodus Pro Am Recap

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I was Lucky Enuff to have my 13yr old Justin and his best friend Jordan join me to fish the open division in the Sodus Pro Am. It would just be the three of us, which required an awful lot of work on my end, but I will forever cherish the memories we made and good times we had.

I put the RV and the boat at Fairhaven Beach State Park, figuring the boys would have a great time camping and hanging at the beach while not fishing. Thursday was a blow off day, so that worked out kinda good and they just cut loose and did what 13yr olds do while I prepared for our weekend assult on the fish.

Friday... I let the boys sleep in, and we headed out from Fairhaven around 10am. I knew we had very limited search time, so I headed NW deeper and set up in 350 fow about half way between Fairhaven and Sodus. We trolled NNW and zig zagged our way west. This is the second tournament I fished with the boys this year. We fished the Atommik Challenge about a month prior and I learned a lot from that experience on how I needed to make adjustments having an all Kid team. I wanted to keep it simple, so we ran 3 wires and two riggers until the lake settled down. Then I added a copper rod to our spread. We had a slow pick once I realized the fish had a preference for blue flies, and we ended the day with 7 fish, but only two mature bites. Once the day was done, I noticed on my plotter most of the bites were in the 620 to 630 range, so I had my starting point on Saturday. My best set up was the 79 rigger with a Blue Halo pro troll and a Big Weenie Brand Blue Weenie fly. Next best was a Show Time Spinnie with a Big Weenie Broke Back Jack fly.

Saturday.... 4 am wake up call and to my surprise both boys jumped up out of bed and were ready to go! The three of us launched out of Fairhaven and made the 12 mile run NW to our eastern most waypoints in 630 fow and set up. I started out with 3 wire dipsey's, two riggers and a 600 copper. My setup was all Flasher Fly because I wanted to stay away from the steelhead the best I could. We needed three big fish and with juniors on the rods steelies can cause chaos, not to mention eat up valuable time. I had everything spread out, with the copper being my deepest rig. I can't really say where I parked everything because I move my rigs all over until I find active fish.

We trolled a NW and SW line for about an hour without a touch and then WHAM, a rigger gets slammed and Justin lands a 20 lb king to start the day. No sooner we get it out of the net and back up to speed, our 600 copper starts screaming! It ripped out a lot of backer so we all three took turns working the fish to the boat. Whoever wasn't on the rod, would help move rods and prepare to net the fish. About 20 minutes later, we scooped up our biggest King of Saturday at 23+ lbs and we were all very happy :) That king ate a Blue Weenie fly on a Blue Halo spinney. With kids on the boat and no other adult to help out, I slowed down to about 1 to 1.3 while they fought big fish. It helps the kids handle the fish, plus it kills the action on the other lures so we don't double up. Not what I would normally do during a tournament, but I find the kids can't control the big kings and two on often results in zero making it to the boat when you are fishing out of a boat with an 8 ft beam.

Jordan was in charge of the Copper, so he lets the 600 back out, sets the drag and puts it in the rod holder. They boys wanted one more big one, so they decided to pay the fish gods and flipped a quater in the water. No sooner the quater hits the water, the 600 copper starts smoking line and the kids were like...holy crap & OMG....did you see that dad? Justin grabbed it and held on until the fish was done being pissed off, then he worked it in and a little while later a 22lb king hits the deck and we have met our goal of a 60+ lb box :clap: Good thing, cause we would go on to land three more fish, but nothing over 12lbs. We ended at 10:30 with 6 fish for the day. Most of our fish came just a little east of Sodus in 630 fow.

At weigh in, the boys found they had a very respectable box at 95.52 and placed 2nd....only 1lb out of first. We also noticed had we fished the Pro division, we would have been second in the Trophy division and 10th in the classic with the fish we caught, even though we stopped at 10:30. That made them extra proud of their day.



Sunday..... We started Sunday out a little earlier, with a 3:45 wake up. That extra time was lost when I am greeted by a Raccoon that got into the boat. It couldn't get out, and my attempt of chasing it all around the boat with a net ended in failure, though it probably would go viral on You Tube had their been video. It eventually disappears and is never seen again, though I expected to be greeted by it hissing at me and jumping on my face every time I went into the cuddy.

We head out with intent of setting up again in 630 fow, but it was a rough run and I make a mistake and set up over 200 fow. We had fish, but couldn't move a rod so I troll N. Once we get to 350 we get an 8 lb Steelie and a small king. Not what I am looking for so we never turn and I head deep, which seemed to take forever! My spread was similar to the day before, but I start changing up things. I ran all different colors, paddle sized, leader lengths, depths, you name it. Finally, I decide steelhead will have to do and put down my first Warrior spoon on a 90 rigger. By now I am over 740 fow and within 2 minutes that rigger takes a shot and I grabbed the rod while the fish burns out 650 ft of mono before stopping. Once it stops, I hand the rod to Justin and start to clear rods...knowing this was a big fish and we needed it bad. Jordan and I clear every rod and we land the fish on the side of the boat, trying to keep it out of the prop wash and getting pissed. Just barley hooked on the edge of its mouth by one barb, we get our first decent fish in the boat at around 9am and it weighs 27.5 lbs :yes: The mood with the boys really changes and dad realizes these fish may want spoons.

I quickly pull my high wire, and put a spoon on and we continued our north/south troll over 740 fow. That wire rod had a Walker Kelly Green Deeper Diver on it and I set it at 250 on a #3 setting. I had two wires on that side of the boat, and my inside wire was also at 250, but on a 1 setting. The high spoon wire gets clobbered within 10 minutes and Jordan takes his turn. We actually didn't think this fish was real big, and we were caught off guard when it got behind the boat and I saw the tail. Justin and I scramble to move thins around, but it goes right into the other wire and under a rigger rod. Justin puts the boat in neutral, as the fish is all wrapped up in lines and we somehow get the net under it and put it in the boat....our little king weighed 23lbs! We now have two pigs and a 8 lb steelie. All our rods are tangled so I cut them all and re tie as fast as I can and we start to re-set. I go all in on the spoon program leaving only one flasher fly on a deep diver and meat on the copper. and we pick away at smaller fish until we start pulling lines. Again...the high wire with the same warrior spoon gets slammed and we land a 15lb king to complete our box :clap:

We head into Sodus with a box we are all very happy with. I made a couple big mistakes this day that almost cost us, but we persevered and the boys were on top of the world at weigh in and sooo proud of their box. The had tasted crushing defeat at the Atommik challenge when we finished near the bottom, so they savored every moment this weekend with dignity and respect to all their fellow fishermen.


After weigh in, the boys sat on top day two in first place with a 94.26 box and also got big fish at 27.5....missing the top spot in the youth loc salmon division by 2 ounces. Had we fished the pro division, we would have won the Trophy Box overall by over 5lbs and had top 5 in the classic with 4 hours more to fish. Anyone can do it....we were more lucky that we were good.

As you can see by all the teams that didn't weigh in, fishing was tough and we were very lucky to get the fish we did!


My son Justin is on the left, and Jordan is on the right. Don't let the look on his face in this pic fool you, he was all smiles all week and a young man I was proud to spend time with.


Our Hot flies were all Big Weenies, including Blue Weenie, Broke Back Jack, Dominator and the spook.

Our hot spoons were Warriors....here are pictures. The missing paint is from them taking so many big kings. Warrior paint actually holds up fantastic, but big azz chinooks will tear paint off any spoon come this time of year if they take it deep enough.



Sorry for the loooong report. This was my first time fishing the Pro Am Open. There are a few minor bugs that could be worked out, but all in all it was just fantastic and superbly run. The payout was great for the investment and I highly encourage families to get involved and enjoy the expierence together :yes:

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I only wish I could have been there to watch the racoon episode! "Here kitty kitty kitty" comes to mind :) Great job to you and the kids! They were very respectful to the other fisherman that didn't do so well... they didn't laugh at me even once! (I didn't give them a second chance on Sunday though). The hard part now is going to be the amount of pressure you're going to have on your shoulders for the next event... you know they aren't going to accept anything but first place!


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Good report and congrats man! Those kids are spoiled now... Good luck replicating that tourney experience again... LOL. I wish I had that opportunity when I was 13!

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What a great story Rod! This gets me very excited for the Sandy Creek Shootout this coming weekend, as I too am fishing with two 13 year old young men on the boat. I won't be the only big guy on the boat, as you were, but I know how the day goes when the work and strategy falls on your shoulders. Last year I had that experience, but not with kids. Just a 74 year old who was 3 sheets to the wind, and sick before we got done. I was whipped! Tom "tcon" and his son Dustin along with Dustin's friend Franz, will be going out with me and my friend Lois. Our plan is to get the boys into the exciting tournament atmosphere and let them be involved with the functions of tournament fishing on and off the boat. Minus the raccoon incident! :lol: I've had bats, birds on nests, chased a cat out before the boat left the drive, but not a raccoon :omg:

I hope I can get some luck and get the boys to place well in the day like you did for guys!

Thanks for the detailed report and mostly for the insightful details on fishing with the youngsters. Every part of your explanations for what you did with the boat with the kids on kings and the simplified spread makes great sence, and I intend to take that all out there with me. Very much appreciative of your candid input on the plan of attack, and it appears to have worked much better than just luck involved. The boys are lucky to have a knowledgeable skipper in you too Rod! Very well done crew! :yes:


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I would like to say something about the young men that participated in this tournament. I was at the weigh in each day and these young men handled themselves with dignity and pride. They were very polite and respectful to everyone they came in touch with. A big thumbs up Dad you have done a great job and have raised a wonderful young man

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Awesome report Rod and congrats again on taking 1st on Sunday. What a great experience for the kids. :yes::clap: Our team (BlueEye) finished 2nd that day and had a great time as we always do fishing the Pro Ams. We fished from 70 - 250 feet on a due north troll with the waves/wind to help control boat speed and cut the currents that were in shallower. Once we hit 250, we would pick up the set and motor back in stead of trying to fight it back - it was a fun "run-n-gun" day. We fished out of an 18' Starcraft. We ended up boating 10 fish in the couple hours we had and were very happy with our box. Sorry I didn't get a chance to meet you at the weigh in. Best lures for us were NK Mags in Green/Black with silver back and green dot spin doctors with white/green flies.


Congrats again on the win Rod! :yes:



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Rod, Congrats to Justin, Jordan and you! How fast these kids grow up and become young men. Its seems like yesterday your son was just a boy. One of my better memories fishing was with you guys a couple years ago in the fall derby. Congrats once again!

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Thanks guys!! I showed Justin all the kind words ...it made him very happy :yes:

We just got lucky that the bite slowed to a grind bite over the weekend and not a blood bath like it had been previously. We could have never hung with you guys had it been a king fest. We'll probably take it on the chin next time but that's OK too....long as we are fishing :yes:

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