Steve Bennett lives just outside of Watkins Glen in the Finger Lakes Region of New York State. An avid fisherman, Steve is a sales rep for a wholesale tire company based out of Elmira, allowing him to travel through the Adirondacks often enough to pursue his favorite pastime: fishing.
I love fishing in the Adirondacks for a lot of reasons, but one of the biggest is the natural beauty of the mountains and lakes. If you time it right, you can find yourself surrounded by beauty and serenity without another person in sight.
My favorite place in the Adirondacks is Putnam Pond in the Pharaoh Lakes Wilderness Area. I fish a variety of waterways, from small lakes to ponds, without traveling too far into the wilderness. My favorite spots are only about five miles off the main road, just far enough away that I can't hear the traffic, but close enough to civilization in case I need supplies.
As far as freshwater fishing goes, my favorite catch is Largemouth Bass. I've been fishing for 25 years for a lot of different species of fish, but Bass are something I've developed a passion for catching. I feel like I learn something new about Largemouth Bass every time I fish, they can change their patterns based on the direction of the wind, or a change in barometric pressure.
On a recent trip to Putnam Pond, I had perfect weather, good fishing, and the whole lake to myself. While great weather and biting fish aren't a constant in my fishing trips, my go-to tackle and kayak choices are. For fishing in the Adirondacks I use a 7-foot medium rod with either a spin cast or bait cast – or both! For bait, I use soft plastics and a topwater frog for a couple of reasons, mostly because many of the bass lakes in the Adirondacks are quite weedy and, depending on what time of year you go, the water can be chilly. When the weeds are thick, I use a Texas Rig on a plastic worm to keep it free of weeds. And of course, when the water is cold, soft plastics like worms can be very effective.
The last piece of tackle I use is my kayak, which may sound strange, but it's integral to the way I fish and experience the Adirondack Region's many lakes and ponds. I love kayak fishing in the Adirondacks, it's stealthy and intimate. I try to fish smaller waterways, so it's nice to glide quietly without making loud noises or leaving pollution behind. Plus, when you fish from a kayak, you're a lot less likely to scare away the wildlife. I've seen a deer crossing a lake, and listened to the beautiful sounds of a loon calling just feet away from my kayak.
Currently, I use a Gulf 120 xe Angler from Elie. It's comfortable and offers some great fishing features: it tracks very well and is incredibly stable – an absolute must when reeling in a big catch. It also has plenty of storage and carrying capacity for longer Adirondack fishing trips.
My biggest piece of advice for anglers just starting out in the Adirondacks is: Be Patient! The fish are in there, just paddle quietly and keep casting. I prefer to fish early morning and early evening. If you fish mid-day, buy or build a stake-out pole as it can get pretty windy up in the mountains.