The past week, that phrase was shouted out time and time again by three German anglers seeking out adventure and story material for one of that country’s top fishing magazine, Am-Haken (translation: Hooked!). And it wasn’t just from one favorite fishing location. The outermost reaches of New York were featured – from the mighty waters of the Niagara to the St. Lawrence River in the North Country; from Oswego County and participation in a Pro-Am Salmon Team Tournament to Montauk Point on Long Island, there was a lot of driving … and fish catching. It was a whirlwind tour and they were pushing it to the limit as they motored around in a 33 foot Winnebago – a Minnie Winnie.
“The fishing we did this week in New York has been outstanding,” said Olaf Jochmann, editor with Am-Haken magazine. “We went to four different places over six days. It turned out to be the right mixture of scenic nature, awesome people, great hosts and the greatest fishing varieties in the world. The trip will make a great memory for our lives.”
Yes, the trip of a lifetime. This wasn’t just for pleasure though. Jochmann, with fellow journalist Jan Hrdlicka of Hamburg (Germany, not New York), will be documenting their fishing adventures through photographs and the printed word.
A third person on the trip was Thomas Kindel of King Tours, specializing in fishing and outdoor tours operating out of Bavaria near Munich. When the international arm of I Love NY reached out to its German contacts, they wanted key outdoor media to experience the state’s fantastic fishing. They also wanted to share these resources with other European anglers.
“From what I have seen, we have an excellent opportunity to market family packages,” said Kindel after he reeled in a 15-pound salmon aboard On the Rocks out of Wilson. Germany has more than 8 million residents. One in five of those residents have fished.
The hardest part, believe it or not, is convincing German anglers that the fishing is as good as it is.
“The fishing is very easy to access in New York and this makes it very special,” said Jochmann, an avid fisherman who really enjoys these types of angling opportunities around the world. “We fished a lot of different species in a short amount of time - smallmouth bass, king salmon, steelhead, musky, northern pike and silver bass. What makes it even more special is the size of the fish. We don’t see this in Europe. The size for some species here is three to five times bigger.”
“Starting out of Lewiston, the nature in Niagara Falls area has been outstanding. The river and the variety of fish are unrivaled. We fished on the lower river and caught a lot of smallmouth bass casting spinnerbaits. It was great fun, catching fish to 6 pounds with Capt. Frank Campbell and Niagara Region Charters. We fished for a morning on Lake Ontario out of Wilson and caught salmon and wonderful steelhead with Capt. Mike Johannes with On the Rocks Charters. What a great day and a half in Niagara.”
They continued their journey to St. Lawrence County to do some river fishing. The area already has an excellent reputation in Europe for carp fishing. However, they didn’t do so well with carp this time around. Still, in the short time there, they managed to catch northern pike, muskellunge and bass – both largemouth and smallmouth.
In Oswego, the threesome boarded Cannonball Runner with Capt. Ed Monette and fished two days as part of the three-day Oswego County Pro-Am Salmon Team Tournament and Big Fish Friday events. One day was cancelled due to the weather, but all in all they caught some impressive salmon and finished in the middle of the pack for the fishing competition. It was a great experience and they were able to see the passion that many of these anglers have in New York. It’s no different in Germany.
The final leg of the group’s angling adventure was on the tip of Long Island. Action started early with some surf casting at Gin Beach near Montauk Point. After a little lure tossing, they would be going out for an evening charter with My Joyce Charters and Capt. Ken Hejeucek chasing whatever was available. As luck would have it, they tore into some pretty awesome striped bass fishing, catching fish over 30 pounds. What a great way to end their trip – icing on the catching cake. They came away with some great stories and plenty of pictures.
Once again, the cries of “Grosser Fisch” could be heard coming from the Germans. Translation: Big Fish!
The trip was a successful one for sure and don’t be surprised if you hear more of that same fishing phrase on the waters across New York State. Think about it from an angling standpoint. We know what we have here in the Empire State. This is the proverbial tip of the iceberg when it comes to opportunity. Time limitations kept them from Lake Erie, Chautauqua Lake, the Finger Lakes, the Catskills, the Adirondacks and Lake Champlain to name but a few hotspots. We could go on and on. Sport fishing truly is an excellent marketing tool for tourism folks across the state. The sooner we recognize this, the sooner we will be able to share with anglers from around the world.