by Mark Daul
Outdoors in Niagara
Betting on horses can be a lot of fun and exciting, even though I spent most of my life rejecting the thought until recently.
A couple years ago friends of ours, John and Mary Broda, got us interested in watching the Kentucky Derby on TV. We set up a little pool with other patrons at the bar that day and everyone threw a buck out. Then each drew one horse's name out of a hat, and that was the name of both the horse and rider they had for the race. The person with the winning horse won the jackpot of whatever was in the hat. Everyone got excited and up went the TV volume as they were rooting for their horse.
Two weeks later found us doing the same thing for the Preakness Stakes that is run out of Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore. Then the final race in the Triple Crown, called the Belmont Stakes in Elmont, New York. All were thrilling.
Off to OTB to try our hand at a trifecta where you pick the horses on a single race by betting who is going to come in first, second, and third, and in that order. I should have stayed home.
The only way to hit a trifecta is like Christine Kroening of Ransomville did. She chartered a boat from well-known local charter captain Mike Johannes, who fishes Lake Ontario and the Niagara River. This day they were fishing between Wilson Harbor and the Somerset plant. That's her in the picture holding a 20-pound king salmon up for the camera. She chartered Johannes' boat, and went with her inseparable partner Bradley along with Brad's brother Mark and nephew Eric, who were visiting from California.
Kroening said this fish gave her such a battle just getting it to the boat, that it took everything out of her. She said it stripped about 800 feet of line off her reel and she had to sit down on a cooler the whole time while reeling that monster in. Brad was there to wipe her brow from time to time, as it was 82 degrees that day out on the water. When Johannes finally netted the fish, she remarked, "My arms were all noodles, and (I) couldn't even hold the fish up" for the picture.
After the excitement she regained her strength and returned to fishing.
On landing that one, she added, "I was thrilled, exhausted, elated, and proud, just awesome. I will never, ever, forget my experience. Awesome!"
But this wasn't the biggest fish Kroening ever caught in her life. When she was in her late teens, her dad had a boat called the "Lazy R" where she nailed a 22-pound king salmon that took the better part of an hour to land.
On that charter, there were three different species of fish caught. One was the salmon you see, and the others were a German brown trout and a steelhead trout. How can you beat that! Being proud of his passengers/fishermen, the captain labeled it a "trifecta," making the catching of three different fish in one trip a "fishing trifecta."
That's more exciting than trying to pick three different horses to win a race.
Johannes, who charters out of Wilson this time of year, is a well experienced charter captain who fished with his father Don at an early age. When his dad passed, Johannes kept the charter business going. His father named the family charter boat "On the Rocks." Now, it is called "On the Rocks II," so if you see that boat out and about in the lake or in the river you can bet there are fish on board.
I know I may sound like a broken record when I preach at the end of my columns about taking in the "outdoors." Getting out for fishing, hunting or even traipsing through the woods and fields, it's all there for you, and you don't even have to have money in the bank. Take the elation Christine expressed when she got out catching fish when she said, "I was thrilled, exhausted, elated, and proud, just awesome. I will never, ever, forget my experience ... awesome."
•I received an email from local Steven Stumpf, who took a picture in July of a Pandorus Sphinx moth that I wrote about a couple weeks ago. The camo-colored moth was seen on a wall at the old Summit Park mall in Wheatfield. Stumpf said the pic was taken at 8 a.m.
•Garlic season is here. If you want good fresh garlic get moving now. You will see it at farm markets, roadside stands, supermarkets, or if you were smart last fall, you would have planted some and now have all you want. One word of caution; beware of the "cheapest" garlic, you often see. There is imported garlic that mainly comes from the Asian countries that is not good full flavored garlic. Garlic has a history of preventing mosquito bites and from other biting insects, and I swear they know the difference between good farmers' market garlic and the imported stuff.
•Does anyone have any information on the fire in Youngstown that burned a "considerable" portion of the village in 1863? I was sent a photo showing what is supposed to be from that fire. The only thing I can find is a story that appeared in the New York Times in 1863 with the headline stating: "Fire in Youngstown, N.Y., Published April 21 1863" From there it was a short read: "A considerable portion of this village was burned this morning, including Barton's Hotel, Corner's Hotel, and the adjacent buildings" In the photo I was sent, the fire looked like it was really raging and quite large. Oh, where is Art King, Gerry Condren and Don Ames? I would appreciate any information.
So Smart sez: Fish are cold-blooded critters that only live under water, and convert oxygen from the water with their gills. They have been around for 500 million years.