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2016 Healing Waters Salmon Slam

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Great work Nick, Teresa, the volunteers, and donors!  Thank you Arney's.  Great event.  Never gets old getting a vet their first King.  Look forward to next year!  Now go take a nap.

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Great weekend, thanks to Nick and Theresa and the rest of the Sodus crew.  Couldnt have asked for better hospitality for us out-of-towners.  Already looking forward to next year.

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I officially recommend this derby. Look forward to next year.

Very friendly and comfortable derby. For a great cause. I look forward to seeing a bunch of new people next year.

Mark this one on your calendar. Contact Nick, (ruff rider).

Great food, great company!! post-148809-14700613633131_thumb.jpg

Sent from my SM-N900V using Lake Ontario United mobile app

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Wow, what a weekend! First, let me thank all of the Captains from both Sodus and Hughes who volunteered their time and boats to take our wounded and disabled Veterans fishing. As well, thank you to our many sponsors that take this event to the next level.

I was called on a last minute work trip last week and had to fly down to NC on Wednesday and then straight to Syracuse on Thursday. The lovely Mrs Ruff Rider and Ruff (Theresa and Tavion) picked me up and off we went! Thursday night was spent tracking down last minute sponsor donations, shirts orders, and BFF payments as well as finishing stuffing the Captain and Veteran welcome bags. We also found some time to begin setting up Arney's event area with some of the tents, banners, tables, etc. It was a beautiful evening.

Big Fish Friday

The forecast was for rough seas, but at 430am it was pretty calm. We received the last of our BFF entries in the morning, making it 25 boats and $625 raised for the event and $625 for the pot (thank you everyone!). We left the dock at 530 and headed out to start fishing. Theresa hadn't woken up yet, so I figured I would take it slow through the chute and onto the lake and let her sleep.

The lake wasn't too bad, maybe 2fters, but I gave it a bit too much gas and heard from below "I.... GUESS.... IT.... IS.... TIME... TO... WAKE... UP?" Oops, sorry hun! We setup in 100fow and started trolling with the screen lit up with hooks. I don't think we were setup for more than 5 minutes when my phone started to ring and ding from sponsors, volunteers, and participants of the tourney and I don't think it stopped until this morning. So to say we weren't too concentrated on fishing is an understatement. Luckily.... the fish understood our plight and left us alone the entire morning to take care of tourney business Throughout the early morning, the wind continued to build pretty rapidly, until it was gusting at a steady 20mph from the North. Theresa hadn't put her patch on the night before per Captain's orders and was paying the price. I think it was around 10am when I looked out the back and saw a monster wave coming for us... it was one of those that you see a few sets back and you're looking more UP at it than straight at it... all I could think was "well this is gonna suck". Sure enough it slammed into us tripling our speed and popping each rod I had set. I took that as the lake telling me, get back to shore and take care of this tourney! I listened and we headed back in to a nice breakfast at Nick's Diner.

At 12pm we started weighing fish in for BFF and there were a lot of big fish coming to the scales. Team Finders Keepers took the pot with a 27.32lb bruiser! Congrats guys!

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Friday night....

We headed to Dockers restaurant at Oak Park Marina for our Salmon Slam dinner with the Captains, Volunteers, and Veterans. The turnout was great with 77 people in attendance. We mingled, joked, and talked a bit of pre tournament trash talk (which would come back to bite me). The Veterans were assigned boats and introduced to their teams for the next day, which I thought worked well this year. The food was great and the company was better. Those that stayed to the end got to partake in a bit of ad hoc karaoke was well.

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Edited by Ruff Rider

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Saturday - Salmon Slam

The wind had died down Friday evening, giving many of us hope that the forecast was wrong. At 1AM, I woke up to the sound of the wind roaring, our scoreboard blowing over, and chairs flying... the next three hours were spent tossing and turning figuring out options for the event.

4am... I crawled out of bed and out of the boat and was greeted with a strong East wind. I checked the forecast and radar and saw a huge storm over Western NY headed our way... my heart sank. Wind and lightning. I said a little prayer and started picking chairs up.

A few minutes later, the wind slowed... Captains and Volunteers started showed up early to offer help in getting ready... my spirits were raised and the Salmon Slam began!

Everyone signed in and we had a quick Captain's meeting. Then the Veterans left with their Captains and boats began pulling into the bay.

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The Coast Guard and Fire Department pulled up by boat, started their lights, and 30 boats were up on plane headed for the chute.

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The piers had local residents waving flags to wish our Veterans safe voyage!

The chute was INCREDIBLY rough and I was worried many of us would need to turn around, but Theresa called out " Look the lake looks flat!". It wasn't flat, but it wasn't terrible! Let's go fishing!

We got out to 100fow and started setting up.

Edited by Ruff Rider

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For a bit, there wasn't much chatter on the radio... just "where's temp" and "what ya seeing?"... then bam! The radio came alive with joyous voices of FISH ON!

Boat after boat announced catching fish and you could hear the glee in their voices, likely due to watching the wide eyes of their Veterans as big kings screamed out line!

I think Theresa and I tried just about every lure on the boat and went from 100 to 250fow and just couldn't buy a bite! Finally, I looked at our Vet Bill around 11am and said "get out of Dave's seat!" Dave was the Vet we brought out the previous four years that couldn't make it this year due to a surgery. Bill started cracking up and called Dave and gave him heck for cursing us. Dave said "put out my purple lure!". So we put out the bloody death board and fly he caught his fish on last year. It wasn't down 5 minutes and started screaming! I handed the rod to Bill and he started fighting the king... that was when the 95 rigger popped... DOUBLED!!!!

I grabbed the rigger rod and a big king launched out of the water like a steely and started going bezerk! I swapped rods with Bill and his new king started peeling out line! The other rod went into the rod holder to wait.

Bill did an awesome job on the rod and I netted his 21lb king! He was ecstatic and a bit tired... so I did what any good Captain would do... I handed him the second fish and said get to it soldier! Hahaha

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The second fish was smaller, but as he fought it he asked if I made any of my famous Ruff Rider Lamprey Pies. I told him I hadn't caught many this year, so no. Sure enough, his king comes in with a HUGE lamprey on it! Theresa said watching Bill and I dancing around the back of the boat yelping every time the lamprey came at us was hilarious! We put the fish on the cooler just as the bloody death started screaming again... really screaming! I handed it to Bill and it dumped the reel and then poof, gone. It was 12 at that point and we pulled to head in, picking up a shaker while pulling.

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We headed in to weigh in and an awesome BBQ by RFH's Hideaway Restaurant... seriously, some of the best chicken I have ever had!

We began weigh in and team Its A Fishal took grand prize salmon

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team Half Wired took first place salmon

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team Harry Bee took first place steely

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and team Tri-Lakes / Dipsy Draggin took first place brown

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Team Dipsy Draggin also put their Veteran on a 20lb laker, which took 10th place in the LOC!!! The Veteran was ecstatic and was talking about getting his monster mounted

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We handed out prizes and shared many stories from throughout the day, before wishing our Veterans farewell.

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Edited by Ruff Rider

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A note from Theresa and I to the Captains that volunteered at Sodus and Hughes this weekend:

We thank each of you for your sacrifice this weekend and taking a Veteran fishing. Do not under estimate the difference it makes. We had Veterans come shake our hands in tears, because of how grateful they were for the day you spent with them and talk to us about how many of the Veterans look forward to our event the entire year. We hope that this single day helps them focus on the future, instead of horrors of the past, and builds memories to focus on, during those rough days.

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A note from Theresa and I to the Captains that volunteered at Sodus and Hughes this weekend:

We thank each of you for your sacrifice this weekend and taking a Veteran fishing. Do not under estimate the difference it makes. We had Veterans come shake our hands in tears, because of how grateful they were for the day you spent with them and talk to us about how many of the Veterans look forward to our event the entire year. We hope that this single day helps them focus on the future, instead of horrors of the past, and builds memories to focus on, during those rough days.

It was our honor, Nick. Bless both of you for making it happen. Again in debt. Loved it. Enjoyed watching the veterans get out and enjoy themselves.

If I remember right a 70-something year old veteran said that was the first fish ever caught in his life. How can you beat that. We changed lives this weekend. This was a huge group effort on everyone's part. Completely awesome. Thank you

Sent from my SM-N900V using Lake Ontario United mobile app

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It was our honor, Nick. Bless both of you for making it happen. Again in debt. Loved it. Enjoyed watching the veterans get out and enjoy themselves.

If I remember right a 70-something year old veteran said that was the first fish ever caught in his life. How can you beat that. We changed lives this weekend. This was a huge group effort on everyone's part. Completely awesome. Thank you

Sent from my SM-N900V using Lake Ontario United mobile app

That was probably Patrick. He made sure to stop by and tell me what a blast he had and he didn't do too bad for his first fish! He said he can't wait for next year!

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Nick, I don't consider this weekend a "sacrifice" in any way rather it is a privilege and a honor to have these vets on our boat. After participating for 5 years I am convinced that we get just as much out of it as the vets do, maybe even more. I am thankful that 5 years ago when you wanted to "give back" to these men who served our country you took the initiative to get this event going and have kept it growing each year. Theresa and you have made the sacrifice of your time along with the multitude of volunteers who followed your example.

I also want to thank Arney's for their hospitality and support, letting us take over the place for a couple of days each year, and to all the sponsors who give so freely. While the main purpose of the day is to recognize our vets and their service the tourney and prizes are enjoyed by all.

I'm like some of the vets and can't wait till next year to do it again.

Roy

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Also, we are putting in one more order for Salmon Slam Columbia shirts. If you would like one for $35, please contact me by Wednesday at 5pm!

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I almost sacrificed my lunch in those waves Friday!

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I almost sacrificed my lunch in those waves Friday!

If it makes you feel any better... I went to the Dr today because my back was sore this weekend and it wasn't going away... apparently I dislocated a rib... I think I have had enough rough water for one year!

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This year I had the privilege to welcome Tom onto my boat for his first time out salmon fishing. While he had never trolled before for salmon the man knew how to fish. He couldn't believe that we had a Coast Guard escort with a wild ride to the shoot and loved the reception of the spectators on the wall. He commented how different it is now compared to how he was received when he came home from war.

We ran west and set up around 100'. Tom was impressed that we could run dipsy rods flat like we do and I assured him that the rod would never fall out of the holder, more on this later. Our first hit came on the Salmon Slam combo, an Ito Fly and a Pro Troll flasher

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Got one in the box and the pressure is off. I had Tom start picking out what spoon he wanted to run and how deep to set it. Wasn't long and we had one on Tom's spoon, I told you he could fish

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I had made up a new leader for the Ito fly and put it back out for our 3rd one

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Picked up a shaker on another one of Tom's spoons and lost a brownie at the back of the boat. I was trolling west with the waves to make it easier on my crew and by now it was pretty bumpy out. While making the turn to head East Tom started shouting "you lost a rod!". The board tether line had grabbed a dipsy rod and pulled it right out of the holder and it was gone, ouch! Tom said maybe the rigger caught it, I'm thinking slim chance of that but when I pulled up the rigger there it was, yahoo! Now Tom really had a story to tell the rest of the guys.

Long ride back and we were running close on time so I had to push it a little. I worried about how Tom was going to handle the ride but he was like a kid in an amusement park and loved every minute. He says he can't wait to go again and will definitely come back next year. He's welcome on my boat anytime.

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You couldn't have worded that any better Mudflat, I'm amazed at how this moment for the VETS and of course the captains have come together and in this moment there is Nick and Theresa, giving up their time to organize this event. This hits home for me also, I don't miss a post on this thread. My father was a Korean War Vet. And always said its the forgotten war. He passed on 9 years ago and so the Korean War Vets gave him the most beautiful memorial!! Many folks said they never saw such a moving moment for a final farewell before. We spent many a great times together on LakeO'. The sponsorship is above and beyond, this includes everyone that donated, fishing paraphernalia, boats, gift cards for the captains, and people who donated their time and energy to make all this happen, plus the very greatfull Vets that gave their time and some much more so we Americans!!! can enjoy ourselves doing whatever one enjoys!! What a wonderful and greatfull organization!!!!post-150331-0-12500700-1470102740_thumb.jpg

Edited by pap

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That was probably Patrick. He made sure to stop by and tell me what a blast he had and he didn't do too bad for his first fish! He said he can't wait for next year!

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Patrick was the man! He did a solid job on the reel and you couldnt wipe the smile off his face when that first decent king hit the deck. I'll be pulling to have him on the BluTooth again next year

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