As of late, I’ve come to appreciate a good cigar now and then, and have found that an occasional cigar out on the water can make a day of kayak fishing even better, regardless of whether the fish are biting. This is especially so while fishing in my home waters here in the Finger Lakes. While Western New York has some great fishing, one of the things I’ve found lacking is a source of premium cigars. That is, until I stumbled upon the Santiago Cigar Factory in Rochester, NY.
Master roller,, Amadeo Bonillo, finishing some fine cigars at the Santiago Cigar Factory in Rochester, NY
That’s right, a genuine hand rolled cigar factory nestled at 335 East street, where I had the great pleasure to meet the owner, Gary Liotta, and got to watch master roller Amadeo Bonilla putting the finishing touches on some fine cigars he had just rolled and pressed. Gary was extremely friendly and informative. Far from being an aficionado, I’m a relative newcomer to the enjoyment of cigars, but generally prefer full-bodied cigars and believe I can appreciate a quality smoke. Gary suggested that I try the Santiago Maduro Fuerte, and it did not disappoint. More than that, it was simply the best cigar I had ever had. I enjoyed the cigar in the factory’s smoking lounge while chatting with Gary, his staff, and other patrons. I found the Maduro Fuerte to be full bodied, complex, and yet lacking the harshness of other full bodied maduro cigars that I’ve had. It is obvious that much time and care was invested in creating the perfect blend of tobaccos to create this masterpiece. I look forward to enjoying this cigar on the water along with other fine cigars that the Santiago Cigar Factory has to offer.
The Rochester and Finger Lakes Region has a growing wine and micro-brewing industry and I believe that the Santiago Cigar Factory is an outstanding accompaniment. I will be sure to report on my observations once I have the chance to try their master rolled cigars out on the water!
Water temps are much cooler this year but the air temps warmed up close to 80 degrees last Friday the 13th, so I went fishing for a couple of hours on my favorite nearby Finger Lake as a low pressure thunderstorm rolled through. I was targeting bass, but after getting drenched in the rain and only catching a couple of pickerel I started paddling back to the launch.
Exceptionally cold and wet Spring weather created an opportunity to catch some late season lake trout near the surface by shallow trolling.
It was still gently raining and I got a hunch. I threw out a Rapala Deep Runner and began to troll. Thirty seconds later, my rod bowed. I was in the middle of the lake over 80 fow, so I knew I had a fish. I took my time fighting it to tire it out because I didn’t have a net with me. I had my drag set fairly light, so it took out some line a few times. When I got it to the kayak, I was happy to see that it was a 26 inch Lake Trout.
Rapala Rattlin’ Deep Runner Glass Fat Rap Gfr-5 Purple
The next day in similar weather conditions, I was able to repeat the performance by catching an even larger 27 inch long lake trout using the same method. It is quite late in the season to catch a lake trout this close to the surface of the water. The water temps are about a month behind normal for this lake and the rain and overcast conditions must have brought them up closer to the surface. The stealthy nature of my kayak probably helped in catching these shy fish as well.
All it takes is a kayak, and a little intestinal fortitude.
Even after the clock change this weekend, Western New York mornings can be a bit brisk. When I arrived at our launch spot Sunday morning, the air temperature was a vulgar 31 degrees. Water temperatures are still in the low 50s however, so there’s no issue in launching. We didn’t even see an ice film at the shoreline.
We drifted and paddled roughly 3 miles, taking off the water around 2 PM. We had several large trout on at 40 foot depths, and I managed to land a pickerel on my first cast of the day. Even the pickerel were cold though, and although he was 16 inches, I didn’t even know he was on until he was at the boat. It felt like I was dragging a leaf on the end of the line.
A Typical Fall Finger Lakes Morning
Overall, we caught 5 fish between the 3 of us, including a VERY nice small mouth bass towards 1 PM. The fish tipped in at roughly 4 or 5 pounds by our estimates.
Slow and low wins in the fall. A 4+ pound Finger Lakes Small Mouth
So patience, warm clothes, and a little extra coffee in the morning can make any Fall morning a fishing morning in the Finger Lakes region. Just remember as water temperatures drop, you need to be sure to wear your PFD, paddle with a friend, and stay close to each other. And bring your camera. You never know when your next lunker is going to show up.
Paul's Malibu Xtreme