June 26, 2013 by MikeA 1000 Islands fishing vacation is one of the greatest ways to spend part of your summer. When I was a kid, my brother and I each had a fishing pole and together we'd drop or cast a line from my father's boat or the docks at Calumet Island Marina. The shallow water was clear enough to let us see maybe 5 or 6 feet down and spotting the type of fish to go after was fairly easy. Outside the harbor in deeper water, the St Lawrence was fairly low-visibility compared to today. The easiest fishing in the harbor was for the small ones that would take any bait we put on the hook. Ideally, we were looking for large or small mouth bass (something to eat) but always ended up with perch, sunfish, or the small rockbass. They'd all end up back in the water (in fact, I don't recall ever catching an actual "eating fish", though my father did fry some perch once - I suppose to show it could be done). Perch are bony little fish; lots of work to eat! I did latch onto a pike from the bow of our Steel King in the harbor, but alas, it was too small to keep. Another occasional find in the harbor was carp, but that wasn't a favorite. The "real fish" were found outside the harbor; for us, off Grindstone Island. The good ones were large mouth and small mouth bass, and we feasted on many of them over 10 years of summer visits. Once my father did bring in an eel. My young imagination wondered if it was electric and almost cautioned him not to grab it, but before I could say anything, he had removed the hook and sent it back to the cool river water. Occasionally, trolling was the order of the day. For that, I learned about a different kind of fishing pole, very stiff, with steel line. Muskies and Northern Pike were the targets and, though I found trolling to be a bit of a bore at that age, the thrills begin quickly when we hooked one. Even when I was freezing aboard a wooden flying-bridge Pacemaker one cold November west of Calumet Island, snow coming down, the prospect of seeing that fighting fish kept me in the game. In the end, it was just a cold day fishing, with no reward other than having been there. Good enough. If you are planning a 1000 Islands vacation this year, don't leave out fishing. You won't find a better place for it! For a start, take a peek at the information the Clayton Chamber of Commerce has on fishing the area. Got any 1000 Islands fishing vacation stories to share? Leave some feedback below!
May 24, 2013 by MikeEver wonder what's in a blog? The focus can change based on what's been posted over time. For example, a year ago, this was the word cloud I built from wordle.net based on the content associated with this site:Just recently, I produced another word cloud and got this result: It's pretty interesting, but what does it mean? When I started this blog, my intent was to highlight the Steel King boat I grew up on in the 1000 Islands during the 1960's on Calumet Island. It still is a main focus as I discover more about the heritage of this boat line from Grafton Boat Works. However, I realized as I started blogging that what made those days special was not only the Steel King, but Calumet Island and the 1000 Islands region I was so familiar with. The sights I saw, the sounds I heard, the fish, the waves, the wind, the weather, swimming, dreaming. So in the second wordle word cloud you can see large text representing that content shift; words like "islands", "American" and "Adonis" (the ABL tour boat), "Clayton", "Calumet". In the future when I run another word cloud I suspect it will be populated by even more terms that represent the beautiful 1000 Islands. That's what I miss. The boat was the way to be there and see it with my family as my brother and I grew up. The region is timeless. I'm not doing this blog for huge audiences or from an SEO (search engine optimization) perspective, but for the love of boating in the 1000 Islands. If you have any questions about the Clayton, Alex Bay area or Steel King boats I'd love to hear from you. Also feel free to follow me on Twitter (see the button at the top of the page or the Twitter Timeline on the sidebar). I hope you're having a great pre-summer and enjoying some of what the 1000 Islands area has to offer! Mike