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Randy Jones Salmon River Pulaski NY Fishing Guide Steelhead Drift Boat Fish Report

Discussion in 'Guides and Charters' started by Randy Jones, Jan 7, 2016.

  1. Randy Jones

    Randy Jones Fishing Addiction Affliction

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    The Syracuse Post-Standard -Salmon are suckers for fly fishers' wares - They'll hit on all types of flies right now.

    October 01, 2006
    By J. Michael Kelly
    Staff writer
    -
    Fly fishing for Pacific salmon in Lake Ontario tributaries isn't as difficult as it appears to non-practicioners. In fact, there are at least three effective ways to go about it you can chuck and duck, rely on a strike indicator or swing a few coneheads through your favorite riffle.

    And don't worry about that burst of jargon; translations are just a few sentences away.

    Keep in mind that the 10- to 30-pound chinook salmon and the smaller but equally feisty coho salmon that swim up the Salmon River and other Great Lakes feeder streams this time of year to spawn can be caught on many things. They are especially vulnerable to artificial flies made of real fur and feathers or synthetic materials such as tinsel and fake hair.

    "They'll hit all sorts of flies," said Fran Verdoliva, the former tributary fishing guide who is now the Department of Environmental Conservation's Salmon River program coordinator.

    Verdoliva is partial to neon-bright, weighted streamer flies, himself. But Mike DeTomaso, the manager of the White River fly fishing department at the Auburn Bass Pro Shops store, takes his share of salmon on small artificial nymphs and fingernail-size yarn puffs called glo bugs. And Pulaski guide Randy Jones generally uses simple flies, made of Estaz tinsel chenille, that closely resemble nothing in nature but seem to irritate salmon into hitting them.

    The three anglers employ different methods and tackle, as well as radically diverse fly patterns.

    Jones' bread-and-butter method is the running line. A running-line expert uses one or more split shot to quickly sink a fly in swift, deep water. Instead of a thick fly line that would retard the sinking rate, the method calls for a thin-diameter line that knifes through the water with minimal drag.

    The running-line method is sometimes referred to as "chuck and duck" because its aficionados have to watch out for the split-shot missiles they're slinging past their own ears.

    Jones contends the rig is perfect for the tumbling, white-water pools and pockets that are common throughout the Salmon River and often ringed tightly by anglers.

    "The quicker your fly gets to the strike zone, any species of fish, anywhere in the world, which is about a foot to two feet above the bottom, and the longer it stays there, the better your odds of catching some fish," said Jones.
    He hands his clients long rods, and instructs them to raise the sticks high immediately after completing a cast. The angler should then follow the line with rod tip held high.
    To facilitate a long drift and improve the odds of landing a hooked salmon, Jones employs either a standard 9-foot, 9- or 10-weight fly rod or a two-handed, 13-foot spey-style fly rod. His leaders usually have 2- to 4-foot-long tippets rated at 10-pound test.
    Jones also enjoys traditional fly fishing.

    DeTomaso likes spey rods, too, but he attaches a bright orange plastic foam bobber onto the butt segment of his tapered leader, and uses only one or two small split shot, either BBs or 3/0-size weights, to dangle the fly directly beneath the float, which is called a "strike indicator."

    With the marble-size indicators he uses, DeTomaso can recognize the most subtle interference with his drifting fly. Any sudden wiggle or wobble of the float may mean that the fly is merely stuck between two rocks, or it could be the start of an epic battle with a biting salmon.

    To put the fly in the spots where salmon rest, DeTomaso relies on a spey rod or a 9-foot-long fly rod and a floating, tapered fly line. Typically, only the lower half of his leader is allowed to sink during the drift; the leader butt and fly line are usually at the surface, making for a smooth pick-up and a quick repeat cast.

    "I get a more natural drift with a strike indicator and I also like the fact that I can use less weight than you do with the running line," DeTomaso said.

    Verdoliva has used both the indicator and running-line tactics to take salmon but now is more apt to employ a weighted fly, a sinker-less leader and a floating line, especially when he's fishing water of medium depths and speeds.

    Traditionally, salmon flies were weighted with wraps of lead or copper wire around their shanks, but Verdoliva now has boxes full of streamers which sport barbell-shaped "lead eyes" or tungsten cones "coneheads" secured just behind the eyes of the size 2 or 4 hooks. These flies sink quickly but are more streamlined and easier to cast than the lead-wrapped patterns of yore.

    "I guess you could say they're fly fishing's version of a jig," said Verdoliva. If he has trouble getting one of his weighted flies to the bottom in a given spot, Verdoliva either pinches a small BB shot on his leader, which is usually tapered to about a 12-pound tippet, or puts a short, quick-sinking piece of line called a "shooting head" between his fly line and the leader butt.

    Reprinted with permission Oct. 2006 The Syracuse Post - Standard
     
  2. Lucky13

    Lucky13 1,000 Post Club

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    Thanks for posting this stuff in the faces of all the liners and lifters, Senor!
     
  3. Randy Jones

    Randy Jones Fishing Addiction Affliction

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    Monster Salmon pulls angler into Salmon River NY!!
    Reprinted with permission - Syracuse Gazette, 10/23/16 Pucker Brush Creek, N.Y. - Mike Silly- Outdoors Writer (AP)
    12144918_926644787418567_1765171141070627495_n.jpg
    Guide Randy Jones risks his own safety by attempting to lasso a client with net to keep him from being dragged into river by monster fish.
    ...
    In the above photo Wayland is tied into a monster Salmon that by size more resembled the Loch Ness monster than the usual autumn King. Wayland yelled, "Help Randy, I've got a monster on here and its pulling me into the river." (best to imagine this panicked cry done in a Scottish brogue) "I canna' hold 'er much longer Cap'n. HELP!"

    In my attempt to keep Wayland from being pulled into the river by this world record Salmon, with no thoughts for my own safety and well-being, I threw the net over his head. Unfortunately the fish was too strong and my guest too weak from the battle. Despite my best efforts to save him, all was lost when suddenly my net handle broke! In went Wayland into the deep, angry white water rapids. He did a perfect belly flop but still managed to hang onto the rod.

    As one eyewitness reported later, "Between the strong deep currents and this beast of a fish, all we could see was his rod tip sticking out of the water by a foot as it started downstream." Witnesses fishing further down reported that Wayland was able to briefly gain his feet for a short time and ski behind the demonic salmon. However, it appeared that after skiing over several large boulders he lost his footing on an old roe sack discarded by a bait fisherman and resumed his submerged journey.

    Last sightings reported seeing his baseball cap surrounded by little tiny bubbles headed at a high-rate of speed towards the open water of Lake Ontario.

    As a professional guide of the highest moral and ethical standards, I am extremely worried about this situation involving my former client.

    Therefore, if anyone finds a old gaffer in a water-logged ball cap zipping around the river or the Lake tight to a monster Salmon but still with his tip up, please email..... I would like to get my net back!

    Countless people have been guided by me and most have gone on to live normal lives.
    coolshark.gif


    For the rest..... of this AMAZING Fish Tale....... ;)


    Angler Survives Amazing Journey!

    Reprinted with permission from the Toronto Sun Times
    Toronto, Canada (AP) 10/24/16

    Michigan angler Wayland Swain described the perils of a horrific journey he recently made quite by accident. According to Swain, the journey began on the banks of the Salmon River in upstate New York.


    “My son and I went fishing with this lunatic, Randy “The Yankee Bungler” Jones, who claimed to be a fish guide for the Salmon River. We thought he was harmless. In fact, he has his picture plastered all over the Orvis catalog. It’s enough to make you ill.

    “I hooked into a leviathan of a fish, and was doing quite well until that fool of a guide snuck up behind me and put a net over my head. I admit Jones surprised me. It was the first time I think he’d moved all morning. Most of the time he just sat there surrounded by a growing pile of beer cans, saying, ‘Try casting over there’, as he’d pitch an empty into some spot in the river. Anyhow, I still held onto that fish, though, and was playing him quite well. I nearly had him ashore and was just preparing to haul him in. When that fool of a guide saw that, he broke the handle of the net off and used it to push me into the river.”

    At that point, Swain began the epic journey that will land him in the Guinness Book of Records, both for the longest distance traveled landing a fish, and for the largest fish taken on light tackle in freshwater.

    “I landed a smaller fish earlier, some twenty to thirty pounds, and Dim-wit the Wonder Guide took my picture holding it. It was so heavy, I couldn’t stand up straight for the photo, but held onto the creature anyway,”
    15.jpg
    Swain reported. “This smaller fish was apparently the progeny of the bigger fish that I later tied into. Apparently, it so angered the monster that she decided to take out her wrath on me.”

    Thus began Swains journey into history. After being pushed into the river by what Swain describes as a con artist of the lowest moral and ethical standards, the monster fish began a desperate flight for freedom. Heading down the treacherous rapids and rills of the rushing Salmon River, Swain was dragged along for a period. With heroic effort, he got to his feet and water-skied behind the monster fish for some considerable distance. He managed to jump several large boulders, only to lose his footing on an old roe sack discarded by a bait fisherman. Even then, he managed to keep the end of his rod elevated. As a result, the monster fish was unable to free herself from the line.

    A matter of an hour later, fish and man, now tied together by a thin line of 8X tippet, entered Lake Ontario. In an epic journey, they negotiated the length of the lake some nearly 300 kilometers (approximately 175 miles) in total distance. Nearly twenty-four hours later, they arrived at Mississauga, south of Toronto, worn out and exhausted. The incredible journey averaged nearly 10 kilometers per hour (7 miles per hour) if the shortest distance is taken. Swain’s hands were locked to the fishing pole and had to be pried off by Canadian rescue workers using the “Jaws of Life”. The condition is described in the scientific literature as “Angler’s Claw”.

    “The biggest problem was getting the net off and still keeping the tip of the rod elevated”, Swain noted. “I managed to cut away the netting from around my head with my belt knife” he reported. “The fish zigged just as a monster wave hit me and I lost the knife. I’m going to get that charlatan of a guide to replace it for me. It was an heirloom from the Case Factory, and is no longer made. Replacement is going to cost that fool of a guide nearly $2,000.00 (U.S.)”, Swain stated.

    Local Police Lieutenant Ed Quick commented, “After that heroic crossing of the lake tied to that monster fish, it was a wonder that he had the strength to land the beast. Twenty-four hours is a pretty long time to battle a fish.”

    The fish, all 307 centimeters (121 inches) or in excess of 3 meters (10 feet) of it was caught and released on the Canadian side of the Lake. The fish was reported to be tired, but apparently happy. Only estimates are available for the fish’s weight, as there was a concern about damage to the fish if she was removed from the water for the extended period required for an official weigh-in. These estimates, however, place the fish in the 180 to 200 pound class, clearly the largest of the salmon species ever taken.

    Said Swain from the car provided to drive back to Michigan, “It was an interesting experience, but not one that I’d want to repeat. If I ever see that Jones character again, I’m gonna get him. He’s gonna pay for that knife and for the time I lost out of my life in the company of that fish.

    Swain’s son declined to comment when contacted about the story, saying only, “It’s a shame that the fine sport of fly fishing has been reduced to the level of shady guides and blood-feuds. Sparse Grey Hackle and his peers surely would weep to see such a legacy these days.”

    Photo's - Nice Salmon and Steelhead for my "repeat client" Mr. Swain. Congrats!
    17.jpg 127.jpg
    (FYI - I jokingly wrote Monster Salmon story after our trip and then Wayland and his son jokingly wrote Angler survives amazing journey)

    R.I.P. Wayland, your story continues to bring a smile to all Salmon River anglers :)
     
    #43 Randy Jones, Oct 24, 2016
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2016
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  4. Randy Jones

    Randy Jones Fishing Addiction Affliction

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    A Holiday Salmon River 16 pound Steelhead Story
    For me, certain days stand out among other's. Sometimes its the big fish, numbers of fish or the camaraderie we share. Today was different, it was not about numbers or size, but mostly about dad sharing his love for the great outdoors with his son.
    conservation.jpg By Mike Cavanaugh. Mike works in DEC's Division of Public Affairs and Education.

    Thomas2.jpg

    Thomas looked a little puzzled as he picked the brightly wrapped package from under the tree; it wasn't heavy, it didn't rattle or anything. In fact, it felt like an empty box. A cruel trick to play on a 12-year old boy, but the sudden appearance of cameras as he unwrapped it meant that this would be something special. He was even more perplexed, however, when the box contained only a single fishing fly and a note that said January 5th.

    Fly Fishing in January?

    The drive up to the Salmon River was filled with questions.
    What kind of fish will we be after? What's a steelhead? How will we get to the river in all the snow? What's a drift boat? What if I get cold? Why are we going with a guide, Dad?

    The answer to the last question really shed light on all the others. My experience with winter steelhead fishing was limited, to say the least. A guide would help us be safe, comfortable and most of all, he'd share his knowledge on the river. After a quick dinner in Pulaski, we settled in.

    I had met Randy Jones at an outdoor show the previous spring while helping with the fly casting demonstrations near Randy's booth. After a few friendly exchanges about my technique, or lack thereof, we started talking about the Salmon River. This guy seemed to have a compatible personality, the right approach to fishing and a good attitude about protection of the resource and ethical behavior on the river-all important considerations that I wanted to share with my son. More importantly, he really seemed to enjoy what he did, a quality I've found to be contagious. I had wanted to get Thomas out during the winter run of steelhead, but had never ventured into the cold and ice to try. A chat with Randy made up my mind.

    That night, I dreamt of dancing steelhead and the excited smiles of a boy who is growing up too quickly. We hopped out of bed in the pre-dawn darkness to find 4 inches of fresh snow and a temperature of about 20 degrees. Promptly at 6 AM, Randy, with his drift boat in tow, pulled up. We got Thomas outfitted with some 5 mm Neoprene waders, korkers (safety spikes for the slippery bottom) and grabbed a bite to eat on our way to the drift boat launch in Altmar, just downstream from the DEC's Salmon River Hatchery.

    Before launching the boat, Randy and I talked about my objectives for the day. I told Randy that this was Thomas's trip and, with that in mind, to devote most of his attention to making sure my son learned a bit of technique, and how to be a courteous and ethical angler. While catching a fish was important, a good day on the water was the goal.
    ThomasMike1.jpg
    We fished for a while in the fly-only area upstream of the Altmar bridge, using a fly rod. My third cast-WHAM! A silver rocket took the fly and gave me the fight of my life-for all of about 30 seconds, that is, 'til I got too aggressive and it broke the tippet. Oh well! Under our guide's tutelage, Thomas was doing much better; getting the hang of casting to the right spot, feeling the drift and cooperating with the handful of other anglers in the pool. After 45 minutes, Randy decided it was time to move downstream a bit.
    Tom1.jpg
    Riding in the big drift boat was quite an experience for both of us. Randy steered and poled us around some rocks; we bumped over others. The fresh snow, combined with the steam rising off the river and the bright gray of January overcast made it a surreal picture. Other anglers shivered in their waders as we drifted past and warmed our hands in the red glow of the propane heater on the boat. While drifting Randy spoke to Thomas about his experiences fishing the Salmon River and his love of fishing.
    ThomasMike2.jpg
    We drifted for a few minutes and landed at a hole just upstream from the popular trestle pool. We got out of the boat and waded into the icy water (thank goodness for our insulated Neoprene waders). There were a few other anglers and some real promising water. The promise was kept within a few minutes as Thomas hooked into a large and very energetic steelhead. I put down my rod, picked up the camera and enjoyed watching my son get dragged around 100 yards of Salmon River real estate, with Randy running close behind! The big fish was netted and Thomas got a close look at a 16-pound silver beauty. High-fives all around, a picture or two from the proud dad, and the fish was released unharmed to hopefully brighten the day of another angler.

    As we drifted and fished for the rest of the day, we learned about the river, we visited with other anglers, we talked about the steelhead we were seeing, we had a lot of laughs and , oh, by the way, Thomas caught another fish or two. Randy felt bad that the "old man" hadn't caught any fish, but I assured him it didn't matter. After all, that wasn't the objective of the trip. Just look at that smile!
    ThomasMike3.jpg The Salmon River, where memories are made.
     
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  5. Randy Jones

    Randy Jones Fishing Addiction Affliction

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    Our Tide
    Jay.jpg

    As I sat enjoying lunch with a group of Orvis Saltwater Fly-Fishing students during our 2‑1/2 day school on Cape Cod, I was asked "What was your best day on the water?” After 20 years of guiding in Vermont, on Cape Cod and the Salmon River in New York, many best days flashed across my mind.

    Visions of steelhead on the Salmon River catapulting like a rocket ship skyward, somersaulting like a juggler's baton then tail walking all the way to Lake Ontario filled my memories. Or maybe it was the evening, alone, standing in the foam of crashing waves on Nauset Beach, Cape Cod. The fog engulfing me, making me feel as if I was not of this earth as my ears would not stop the sound of my drag racing towards the open ocean. When finally at my feet lay a beautiful 40-inch striper on a fly, released to produce more offspring for my children's pleasure. Or was it sight fishing on the flats off Chatham, in 2 1/2 feet of crystal clear water, seeing hundreds of keeper bass in a tide.

    I realized that my answer would not come easily or fast and most eyes at the table were on me. As I searched deep for my best fish story, it suddenly hit me. It wasn't my fish, my day or even my story that gave me the most rewarding experience!

    The story that began to unfold was one that no one expected to hear. It was a story about guiding two fly fishermen on a raw, windy overcast day on the salt.

    On this tide, it was the most enjoyable, challenging and exciting day of my life. I was helping someone rise above the limitations of a progressive, degenerative disease and letting his soul and mind shine through. Peripheral neuropathy is a nerve disorder brought about by a benign paraproteinemia, which has caused muscle weakness, intention tremors and severe wasting in his hands. Without this control, basic tasks involving walking, writing, grasping and handling documents or other items necessary in a work environment have become impossible.

    Ray's day started with the expectation of float tubing in the salt, in an area we call the "Tub".
    South beach towards Monomoy.jpg There is no heavy surf or fast currents in this area but flat, calm water loaded with stripers and blues. We planned to float the entire length, about two miles with the incoming tide. Ray's disease would not allow him to stand on his own, so the day started with Ray in the tube with an anchor in place to stabilize him. It was difficult for Ray to fly cast into the wind so we started with the spinning rod. It wasn't long before Ray's rod arched back with a snap any angler would equate to "Fish On"!

    Soon afterwards, the wind started to blow a good 20-30 knots. The rain fell unnaturally sideways and even sitting in the float tube left Ray drenched with the chop as it breached his tube. This raw northwest wind negated any further advancement down the shoreline as it pushed us back against our tide.

    We then both had to work in sync to overcome the turn in the weather. At Ray's suggestion, I held the back of his shirt to provide him with a more solid platform to help him balance.
    Again, Ray instinctively rod set and leaned back as this ten pound bluefish searched for freedom while we both laughed together like two little kids sneaking a piece of grandma's chocolate cake before it had 'proper time' to cool.

    We had used the "Outermost Shuttle" in Chatham, to reach what seemed to us to be the end of the world. Solitude, beauty and this incredibly pristine environment were ours alone for this tide. We owned that beach.

    The shuttle captain showed up later in the day due to his concern about the weather to see if we wanted to come back early. What he witnessed were two grown men laughing uncontrollably with the tip of the rod pulsating up and down as if attached to a ball bouncing down the street. The launch captain said with grin "Well I guess that answers that question", as he sped off back to port, leaving us again, alone to our private world.

    At this point and time in the story I might add Ray's friend John Sobolewski was making spectacular 80 foot casts on his backcast due to the wind. John was catching a few but Ray and I both couldn't help ourselves in ribbing John a bit as Ray was way ahead in the number of fish landed.
    Any guide will tell you, we are teachers and our true satisfaction comes in a way that any teacher feels when their students do well on a test. When I guide I feel my client is fishing through me. As a partnership striving for the same goal.

    Today, more than ever I felt a part of Ray's hopes, desires and dreams. We shared laughter and the excitement in each other's voices. The look of total satisfaction and awe as we revived, released and watched a keeper swim away, savoring its beauty and gracefulness.

    As the afternoon progressed on, Ray conveyed to me that his real desire was to land one on a fly rod. John had purchased a Regal Saltwater fly reel from Europe that had a trigger to reel in the line. They made a leather wrist guard to strap the rod to his arm so that the cast could be made without holding directly onto the rod.

    Ray's challenging goal then became mine. As a team we positioned ourselves in an area where the wind was to our back and noticed fish breaking the surface feeding on sand lances just out of reach of us. Ray made a fine cast and as he retrieved the line by pulling the trigger, Ray's back arched. His rod bent and we both came close to hurling backwards into the water as his line suddenly snapped tight.

    I will never forget that beautiful fish and the victorious look in Ray's eyes as a smile lit his face.

    After telling Ray's story and looking at the pensive faces around me, I realized how very lucky I was to have shared a spectacular day on the water with this amazing man.

    thrutheseguideseyes.jpg
     
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  6. Pliskin

    Pliskin I'm still the F'n Ukrainian Staff Member

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    Hope business is going well for you RJ.
     
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  7. Linescreamer

    Linescreamer 1,000 Post Club

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    Great post and all true.

    When sites start shutting down threads, stifling opinions and banning people, the end is near.
     
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  8. twobob

    twobob instant karma

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    I think the same.
    In this case moving it to NHB was the right move.
    I suggested it early on.

    Locking down a thread when the two main posters, while others just do drive- bys, say do it.
    I have no problem.

    The locking of accounts is the death nell.
    Ask not for whom the bell tolls.
     
  9. Linescreamer

    Linescreamer 1,000 Post Club

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    You and I agree on more stuff then anyone will ever know. In addition, when people argue.....it's easy for unhappy voyeurs or trolls (in some cases) to take a stab at the site and/or it's members.
     
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  10. twobob

    twobob instant karma

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    " In addition, when people argue.....it's easy for unhappy voyeurs or trolls (in some cases) to take a stab at the site and/or it's members"


    While what was needed at the time is some humor.
    Take your drive-by but do it with some wit!
     

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