Chautauqua Lake, NY – 26 Walleye FUN, Rod-in-Hand Fishing…Memorial Day Treat

Frank Shoenacker gets the net for another one of our 26 walleye caught in daylight the Friday before Memorial Day.

  • Simple Fishing, Simple Fun, NEW METHOD
  • Peaceful Fishing Fun with Time to Share Conversation
  • Braided Line, Fluorocarbon Leaders, Sharp Hooks 

By Forrest Fisher

My fishing friend, Captain Frank Shoenacker (Infinity Charters), gets the net for another one of our 26 walleye caught in 3-4 hours of daylight fishing on Chautauqua Lake the Friday before Memorial Day.  Forrest Fisher photo

“There’s one!” Frank shared, “Can you get the net Forrest.” It was actually, to be more correct, “another one.” 

We started at 7 in the morning on the Friday before Memorial Day, the sun had not yet made it over the eastern hill at Bemus Point.  Through about 10:30AM, we landed 26 walleye. Not joking.  My fishing buddy and friend, Captain Frank Shoenacker (pronounced “sha-na-kir), enjoys fishing for walleye with rod in hand.  “It’s real fishing,” he says.

When he’s not guiding for fun with guys like me to catch walleye to 6 pounds, he likes to work on his rigs, experiment with new baits, learn from other experts – like at the seminar series at the Niagara Outdoor Show every year, and also share what he knows too.

Our catch included a good number of throwbacks that were 1/8″ under the 15″ minimum, but being honest, I filled my limit fishing with fish to 24 inches long while spending a peaceful morning of conversation with this incredible fishing expert and friend. Secrets abound, some of them you need to find out from Frank himself, but think about it, 26 walleye. An amazing morning!

The future for great walleye fishing at Chautauqua lake looks really good if the 14-7/8″ fish landed are any indication. Minimum size limit is 15″, 5 fish bag per day. Forrest Fisher Photo

I felt like I was fishing in a throwback time. You remember those old days when going fishing meant leaving the rest of the world behind and just hoping to find some fish that would bite? That’s how it is was with Frank. We’ve been fishin’ friends for a few years now because we share a passion for the fun and legacy of catching walleye in Chautauqua Lake (and Lake Erie), especially with rod in hand. 

We leave the fancy toys, riggers, boards and all that behind when it comes to early season walleye fishing. I like to cast toward evening and into the night, but Frank prefers to catch fish in daytime hours (who doesn’t?) and shares his secret tactics with those folks that use his guiding services for charter fishing on Chautauqua Lake, Lake Erie and Lake Ontario.

Frank says, “For the newbie fishing folks to enjoy the day and really have fun, I have learned the lesson that keeping it simple gets that done. Customers go home happy and with fish for the table if they want to keep ‘em.” When I saw how simple his tactics were, how savvy and coy they were at the same time, I was not just impressed, I was blown away. 

An 8HP, Four-Stroke trolling motor and wind sock combo allow total, fish-catching, boat control with the Shoenacker method. Forrest Fisher Photo

As we moved from spot to spot collecting three or four walleye from each fishing zone, we shared conversation with 9 other boats out there vying for a fish-catching moment. In all, there was only one fish among them! Surprising to me? Yes! We were killing ‘em. Why? Stealth. Proper colors. Proper presentation. Fishing were the fish were (perhaps the biggest reason).

Cut weeds, floating weeds, short emerging weeds, all were also present in the water, but no algae or moss. Seeing the weeds, you might agree, trolling is not an option. At least not an option that most folks might take. For Frank, it’s the one situation he likes the best. “No boat traffic this way,” he says with a smile. 

He likes to use a modified troll using his 8HP/four-stroke engine with a drift bag to make the type of motion control possible that he wants for his 17-foot Lund fishing boat. Very slow forward motion in particular places, almost negligible motion…but there is motion, fish-catching motion. 

Frank understands this motion thing quite well and can explain it. He puts the presentation on the fish where they are and then tantalizingly appeals to their sense of scent, visual attraction, lure motion and hunger using small baits. The scent of live nightcrawlers on his assortment of artificial worms in combination with vivid colors, stealth bead rigs and a unique catch-no-weeds arrangement, makes Frank rig effective on Chautauqua Lake. Quite amazing really.

The motor was running, though I couldn’t hear it. As Frank reached for a Tim Horton’s Timbit he looked over his shoulder at me and said, “It’s so good to be out here just fishing for fun today, ya know?” He tossed his line out about 40 feet behind the boat and told me to follow suit. He had the right side, I had the left looking back toward the transom. We caught one freshwater clam before moving to the next spot. “Lots of spots to fish,” Frank shared with a grin.

In similar depth water, we repeated the cast-out routine using his 7’ high tensile strength graphite St. Croix rods and Daiwa reels filled with 10-pound test Seaguar 832 braid and terminated with a fluorocarbon leader to the lure. You could feel every pebble, every bottom sensation and every nibble, tap-tap and anything else that contacted the lure. The rig provides the perfect rod-in-hand experience for every angler.

Rod feel is important when fishing simple. This St. Croix “Eyecon” rod works well. Forrest Fisher photo

Over the next two hours, we landed dozens of walleye, but we also hooked or caught other fish species too, including musky.

I raised my rod tip, there it was, one tap and a slight movement left, dragged the rod forward and wham, the fish slammed the lure, just like Frank said they would. This guy likes to share fun, that’s all I can say about this trip.

“Get the Net” was a frequent expression that morning. The net is important to keep big fish from falling of and to keep little fish getting injured. Forrest Fisher Photo

Frank catches walleye using a method with lures that he alone has perfected. Since I’ve been doing this for 60 years I can say that.  The results are amazing on even a short day of fishing. Imagine 26 walleye, a 4-foot musky and so many other fish from a lake 17 miles long that thousands of anglers fish each year.

It pays to have some secrets, right? If you’re looking to share in this fun, look him up, Google Chautauqua Lake, Captain Frank Shoenacker (585-406-5764), Infinity Charters (www.tourchautauqua.com/Go-Fishing/Charters-And-Guides/Infinity-Charters-LLC.aspx?mid=15798&c=76) for simple fishing, rod in hand. 

I enjoyed hearing that one expression we used so often, “Get the net!”

A most relaxing day!

Unforgettable.

Thanks Captain Frank.

St. Croix Starts Spinning Glass

Park Falls, WI (March 1, 2018) — America’s most maniacal rod engineers have struck again, answering the call for a spinning version of the immensely popular Legend Glass.

St. Croix’s Legend Glass rod series took home top freshwater rod honors at ICAST 2016 for blending classic fiberglass feel to modern, IPC® tooling technology and a body made of 100-percent, linear S-Glass material. For nearly two years, anglers have raved about the lightweight, sensitive feel of Legend Glass while St. Croix’s Wisconsin manufacturing facility kicked into overdrive to supply a feverish demand.

Crankbait anglers from coast-to-coast are fawning over Legend Glass, and as the spring fishing season gets underway, the new 7’ 2” medium-power, moderate action spinning model (LGS72MM) enters the fray as the number one contender to take midsized and small baits deeper, keeping them in the strike zone longer. The newest Legend Glass model is the perfect partner for windy days, or to deliver small and midsize baits to fish in multiple depth ranges.

“When you grip a Legend Glass rod, you immediately note its weight — uncharacteristically light for a glass rod,” says St. Croix Rods Promotions Manager Rich Belanger. “And once you set the hook, the rod protects lighter lines from hard running bass. And what really strikes you is the rod’s balance, forgiveness, and that familiar St. Croix feel-factor.”

“Legend Glass spinning is going to be a game changer for folks that throw light crankbaits on light line, especially the thin profile baits that like to tumble when cast on rods that are too stiff,” says St. Croix’s Dan Johnston. “The blank bends down enough to protect very light fluorocarbon line with a light crankbait, which is something anglers have been looking for a while.”

“That linear S-Glass on the IPC mandrel made Legend Glass arguably the best fiberglass bass rod ever put on the market,” Johnston adds. “The fact that we just put it on a spinning rod is really exciting. It’s cool to be able to finally throw thin-profile lightweight cranks on light line.”

Click on Picture for the new Legend Glass Story.

Now featuring five situation-specific models, St. Croix Legend Glass rods employ Fuji® K Series Concept Tangle Free guides with Alconite rings and polished frames — ideal for all line types. Fuji® DPS reel seat with frosted silver hoods harmonize with super grade split-grip cork handles and Kigan hook-keepers. All Legend Glass rods boast 15-year transferable warranties backed by St. Croix Superstar Service. Retail for the new spinning version is $260.

FEATURES:

  • Integrated Poly Curve® (IPC®) tooling technology
  • Super premium, 100% linear S-Glass
  • Fuji® K-Series tangle-free guides with Alconite® Rings and Corrosion Control™ (CC™) matte finish frames
  • Fuji® DPS reel seat with frosted silver hoods
  • Split-grip/super-grade cork handle
  • Kigan hook-keeper
  • Two coats of Flex-Coat slow cure finish
  • 15-year transferrable warranty backed by St. Croix Superstar Service
  • Designed and handcrafted in Park Falls, U.S.A.

About St. Croix Rod:  Now in its 70th year, Park Falls, Wisconsin based St. Croix Rod remains a family-owned and managed manufacturer of high-performance fishing rods with a heritage of USA manufacturing. Utilizing proprietary technologies, St. Croix controls every step of the rod-making process, from conception and design to manufacturing and inspection, in two company-owned facilities. The company offers a complete line of premium, American-made fly, spinning and casting rods under their Legend Elite®, Legend® Xtreme, Legend Tournament®, Avid Series®, Premier®, Wild River®, Tidemaster®, Imperial® and other trademarks through a global distribution network of full-service fishing tackle dealers. The company’s mid-priced Triumph®, Mojo Bass/Musky/Inshore/Surf, Eyecon® and Rio Santo series rods are designed and engineered in Park Falls, Wisconsin and built in a new, state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Fresnillo, Mexico. Founded in 1948 to manufacture jointed bamboo fishing poles for a Minneapolis hardware store chain, St. Croix has grown to become the largest manufacturer of fishing rods in North America.

Get Walleye Savvy Quick – ST. CROIX Walleye EYECON® FISHING ROD SERIES

  • PRODUCT REPORT:
  • Eyecon® ECS-70LF, 7ft., Lite-Power, Fast-Action, SCII Graphite
  • When a Fishing Rod Icon creates a Walleye Fishing Eyecon®
The St. Croix Eyecon® WALLEYE SERIES of fishing rods are sensitive, powerful and affordable.  

By David Gray
Part of the fun in the sport of fishing is the never-ending search for new equipment that works and fishes better. Last April, a friend introduced me to a new rod, the Eyecon ECS-70LF from St. Croix. The rod had such a “great feel,” I talked him into letting me borrow it for a couple of months so I could try it out.
The Eyecon ECS-70LF is one of the most impressive rods I have used in a long time. It says “Walleye Series” on the rod and it does a great job presenting finesse baits, but that is not all this rod does. The rod fishes well for walleye, crappie, bluegill, float fishing for smallmouth, and is great when spin fishing for trout. I used the 7-foot Eyecon with 3-pound line and 1/32 ounce jigs for trout and the rod was pure joy. Such are the numerous unadvertised advantages, since it can also handle medium-sized crankbaits with ease too.

Finesse fishing for walleye can be very successful with the right tools, beginning with the right fishing rod.  Forrest Fisher Photo

How a fishing rod casts, or more precisely, how the rod transfers energy to cast a lure, is where most rods fall short. It is one performance task to bring a large bass or walleye to the boat, but a very different performance task to achieve casting distance and accuracy. The Eyecon excels in both performance tasks.
My first use of the Eyecon was an eye-opener. When I picked it up, it made me stop to do a double-take on the rod, then the line and the lure. There was a captivating synergy in just picking the rig up to hold. Simple moments that are remembered like that mean good things. My first cast with the Eyecon surprised me. It went 10 feet farther than I was aiming. My second, third and fourth cast did the same. Every cast was 10 to 15 feet further than my aim point. The Eyecon is so efficient at transferring energy, it was casting farther than most similar action 7-foot spinning rods.
My experience with fishing rods is that when they can cast light lures well, they usually do not have super-sensitivity, but the Eyecon surprised me there. It is a very sensitive rod and lives up to its finesse label.
Every once in a while, a new product raises the performance bar and the Eyecon does exactly that. Everything that you want a fishing rod to do well this rod does extremely well.
The Eyecon ECS-70 LF is as a great buy in a 7-foot spinning rod. It delivers a higher level of fishing performance, helps you fish better and makes you a better fisherman. You gotta love fishing tools that allow you to achieve all that. I have one of my own Eyecon’s now. They sell for $120-$130 and come with a 5-year warranty backed by St. Croix Superstar Service.
If you need more info: http://stcroixrods.com/products/freshwater/eyecon/.