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Storm Warning II 2011 Spring Trip to Niagara

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The annual spring ritual of Niagar Bar King hunting took place this past weekend. We arrived in the Niagara region to reports of improving catches, but of catches made up of primarily immature Kings and some Coho. The "inside" waters we historically fish along the massive drop were turbulent with temps all over the place and inconsistent. However, our partners in crime for the past number of years over this weekend, a Lake Ontario United member - Richard was already on scene and was on fish, Immature Kings and Cohos up to 14 pounds. Their reports were similar to ports east, finding action in the 300 to 400 foot depth range, in the more stable offshore waters.

So upon our arrival Friday afternoon, we launched from Youngstown and headed to the area that Richard had told us was working. Once there, we spent an hour or so touring without moving a rod and trying to make rhyme and reason to his bite and finding some fish. As we trolled west towards the Canadian line, the starboard inside wire diver took a rip, then the port rigger followed by a big nasty scream on the outside port braid diver. Triple! A quick glance at the fish finder revealed we had discovered a nice temp break, banged out a really nice 19# out of the three on the outside port diver. Long story short, the next hour and a half of pounding that waypoint produced 12 rips, including another triple and a double, and a nice box of Kings with the 19# leading the way.


Friday night the NE winds blew and between the wind and the currents that flow all around the Niagara Bar, we found our waypoint and temp break absent. Commence search mode. Several hours of searching yielded a few immature fish, a few hook ups and drops, and a nice 17 pound King that came on a purple die hard free slider on our deep rigger. Reports were coming across the radio that they were doing a lot of fish in front of Wilson, the next port to our east, and we decided to pick and motor. A 1/2 run down, reset, only to find out the bite had slowed substantially and 2 hrs. of trolling in the waters we were told were "hot", didn't move a rod. We decided to troll back to port and picked a couple skippers and missed one wire rip. Back to port, a few cold ones, and re-group for Sunday.


Saturday night and Sunday morning yielded calm winds and a flat lake Sunday morning. We decided to revisit our Friday night are to see if we could find something set back up holding fish. We were pleasantly surprised to find a massive scum line that held nice “pea green†water inside of it. It was visible descending from the north and make a right turn and headed east as it became visible in front of us. It wasn’t long after we watched Richard cross the boundary of the line and enter the green water north of us that he came on the radio: “double!†It didn’t take us long to switch from a “stitch†pattern on the east-west southern edge of the line to make a due north heading. Shortly after crossing the line we were hooked up on a rigger bite. To make a long story short, we ended up producing 19 hits that morning. The size of the Kings seemed to get bigger as the day progressed, however, our hook up to box ratio dropped substantially as the dime bright aggressors had their way with us as the morning progressed. At one point we dropped 2 out of 3 on one triple and 3 out of 3 on another. Big, angry, spastic Springers that were jumping, tail walking and doing all kinds of “stupid†things that spring Kings do. One particular bite had a wire diver out past 700 feet before coming unbuttoned. We never got a chance to gain an inch on that fish before he “long distance releasedâ€. We managed to boat 10 of the 19 with an 18 pounder and a 19 pounder highlighting the day.


Undaunted by losing some high quality fish on Sunday, we returned to the Sunday spot on Monday morning. We were greeted in the lake by glass conditions, but a heavy, thick fog. We set up just south of our first way point and proceeded north. Shortly after crossing the way point the starboard wire comes to life with a thump off the side of the boat and the sweet song of an awakened Tekota. It became apparent very quickly that this was a good fish. I stood over Capt. Jimmy’s shoulder and watched the counter pass 375, 400, 450, 500; commence program wrecking! Over half an hour later this 23 ½ pound beast was netted. Good start!


We then proceeded to miss the next 3 fish on free slider hits as we traversed a north / south pass across our two most productive way points until we clipped the streak by boating a 13 pounder. As we commiserated about not having repeat performance of Sunday, I happened to notice the port rigger bounce from the release and then dive back towards the depths; rigger! Rigger! Rigger! It was clear that this was another really good fish as the rod maintained its heavy arc and the drag was being torched by another brute. Clear the lines – again! After a long battle where the fish made several extended runs, he became visible behind the boat, the tell tale shark fin emerged from the icy depths and our expectations were confirmed. What a tank! As the big King neared the back of the boat, it made a last ditch attempt to free itself with an attempt at a tail walk, the scope of the fish that we tussling with was now abundantly clear. As per usual, as the fish came to the net, the fish made a turn, and the free slider became lodged in net, rendering it virtually useless! In the blink of an eye, Jimmy carefully pulled the net and big King dangling on the wrong side of it to the transom, reached down and meat hooked it under the gill with the agility of an osprey’s talons and heaved it onto the floor of the Storm; then the happy dance began…


A 25 pound 10 ounce King now rested on the floor of the Storm, a true trophy now destined for the wall!

The morning concluded with another smallish King and a dropped wire diver rip and free slider King that put on a show racing around behind the boat before coming unbuttoned.

Another great trip to the bar!

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