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Outdoors notebook: Local angler cashes in at Thousand Islands events

When area anglers think of Charter Captain Joe Fonzi of Thumbs Up Charters, catch references usually include, trout, salmon, walleye, perch and the occasional bass.

In a three-week series of Thousand Island-based fishing competitions, Fonzi went two for three in major bass contests. Fonzi wrote, “My trip started out disappointing with a bad first day at the FLW Costa series,” which allowed bass fishing in the St. Lawrence River and open waters of Lake Ontario.

“We had high winds five of the six days of the three competitions,” the Gasport resident said of days that often required traveling 150 miles to and from fishing sites at tourney bases.

It was in the Costa (Canadian Sport Fishing League at Kingston, Ont.) Open that Fonzi got in the money with a 65.5-pound total for three days to take third place.

Then, partnering with Larry Mazur in the 1000 Island Team Open, Fonzi found good fish at 22 to 45 feet with a drop-shot rig. The team brought in a three-day total of 71.1 pounds and finished second to pros Curtin Richardson and Brad Arnott.

Fonzi and Mazur, pro staffers for Ranger Boats and Cabela’s, took $12,000 for their second place; Fonzi totaled $9,000 from all competitions during that three-week stint. Both look forward to smoother waters on Lake Erie and Lake Ontario outings.

River Academy launch

Registrations are now open for Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper’s popular River Academy, a college-level course of weekly classes in stream science.

The academy is scheduled for 4:30-6:20 p.m. Wednesdays from Aug. 31 to Dec. 14. Classes provide project information on watershed and land management strategies with noted presenters from government agencies, community organizations, and private experts in aquatic habitat management.

The course is non-credit, but Erie Community College North Campus provides registration options. For complete details, visit

Airbow arguments

In January, Crosman Corporation in Bloomfield southwest of Rochester introduced a line of high-powered air rifles and a gas-operated shooting device that propels an arrow shaft. Neither gained legislative approval for use in this fall’s hunting seasons, but the airbow has been accepted as game-hunting gear in other states.

Crosman has established a site with a map indicating states where the airbow has been legalized and the seasons it can be used.

In late July, the Archery Trade Association took a position that the airbow is not a bow, citing “a lack of basic component of standard archery equipment,” and adding “… airbows do not appear to be treated as archery equipment by the Internal Revenue Service or the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.”

Airbows are pre-charged pneumatic devices that use 3,000 psi compressed air to fire eight arrows on a charge at 450-feet-per-second.

‘Sparky’ benefit

Charter captain Mark “Sparky” McGranahan endured pancreatic cancer, which required serious surgeries that resulted in no evidence of the disease five months after the procedure.

Recovery difficulties also include expenses, but his family and friends have planned a Benefit for Mark McGranahan set for Sept. 18 to “celebrate life, hope and miracles.”

The benefit goes from 2-7 p.m. at Third Warders Social Club, 147 12th Ave., North Tonawanda, featuring the River Dogs Band, corn hole tournament and other activities.

For reservation information, call 444-1816 or email:


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