WAS SAM COOKE SINGING ABOUT THE FINGER LAKES?
"Change is gonna come" sang Sam Cooke, but did he foresee it in New York's Finger Lakes Region? Well, it sure is coming, and along with it is big time professional bass fishing. An area known for wineries and bucolic scenery, the Finger Lakes, specifically Cayuga Lake, will welcome the 80 top Major League Fishing anglers for Bass Pro Tour Stop #6. The region is no stranger to bass tournaments, but most are local, regional or club events. Thanks to zebra mussels and gobies, Cayuga now has an abundance of big bass, including the recently weighed state record smallmouth. August 6-11 some of the best in the business will try to replicate that feat with their own monster bags of bass. will hit
After a recent scouting trip, none other than KVD himself declared Cayuga a “really unique lake,” with “a northern shallow end with a lot of grass and a big population of largemouth,” and a “main lake and deeper rocky area where Zebra mussels have cleared things up, and where gobies serve as meals for a lot of 5-plus-pound smallmouth”. Van Dam estimates that you can add 2 pounds to the average weight of both the green and brown fish compared to 10 years ago. Cayuga Lake has nearly 43,000 surface acres with approximately 106 miles of shoreline. Van Dam believes anglers can score a win with either largemouth or smallmouth. He said he would not be surprised if a mixed bag took the event. Other than the grass in the north, and the clear, gobie-rich water in the south, Van Dam said. “The other big players will be shallow boat docks for largemouth, and deep rockpiles for smallmouth. “Find the right one, and you’ll find a concentration there”.
If you want to mix some non-fishing pleasure with your weigh-in watching and autograph seeking, the Finger Lakes region is one of the favorite destinations in the state of New York. You can taste your way around this award-winning wine country, sample the flavors of the region through their farm-to-table cuisine, or raise a glass at one of the microbreweries or craft distilleries throughout the region. In addition, there is a vast section of outdoor activities surrounded by the regions many lakes, waterfalls, hiking and biking trails. The summer and fall are the most popular times to visit the Finger Lakes. The summer being the most popular especially for lake activities and watersports. With over 100 wineries- many award-winners- in the region, wine tasting is one of the best things to do in the Finger Lakes NY. There some noteworthy wine trails including the Seneca Lake Wine Trail, Keuka Lake Wine Trail, and Cayuga Lake Wine Trail, if you need a starting point. These ‘wine trails’ only showcase a few member wineries, and there are award-winning wineries off the trails too. Not a xenophile? Well, one of the other “best Finger Lakes activities” is to sip suds at one or more of the over 75 craft breweries, two of the most notable being Two Goats Brewing in Watkins Glen, and Ithaca Beer Co., not surprisingly in the University town of Ithaca
If you’re a history buff you’re going to love the Finger Lakes. In Hammondsport you will find the Glenn H. Curtiss Museum, a transportation museum with a focus on the early aviation pioneer Glenn H. Curtiss. The 60,000 square foot facility has a collection of aircraft, vintage motorcycles, and automobiles. There’s also history tied to wine and the state of New York. Pleasant Valley Wine Company is the oldest winery in the region that was also operating during the prohibition thanks to the need for sacramental wine! You can also connect with Samuel Clemens, aka Mark Twain, who is believed to have written some of his literary classics in the region. His Study is at Elmira College. The region was also the birthplace of the Women’s Suffrage Movement in Seneca Falls, home to The Women’s Rights National Historical Park. In Auburn, you can visit Harriet Tubman’s Home, the Harriet Tubman National Historic Park, and significant sites marking the route and history of the Underground Railroad.
If natural history is more your jam, the region is riddled with waterfalls- including Ithaca area that boasts having 150 waterfalls within a 10-mile radius. The large number of falls is due to the geology of the area where there are gorges and glens EVERYWHERE. Some of the best falls can be found in Letchworth State Park, Watkins Glen State Park, Robert H. Treman State Park, and Buttermilk Falls State Park. Montour Falls, just outside of Watkins Glen is easy-to-see from your car. There are so many waterfalls that you really can’t see them all on one visit, which is why this is such a favorite thing to do in the Finger Lakes. Last but not least, I have to mention It would be foolish not to mention the LAKES! Whether you want to float on a boat all day, enjoy a romantic sunset cruise with wine, kayak, stand-up paddleboard, or lounge around by the
shoreline there is no shortage of lake activities to enjoy. At Keuka Lake, you can rent a pontoon boat for the day or week from Keuka Watersports. If you’re more into paddling, check out Keuka Kayak for kayak rentals. Keuka Lake State Park is a great place to picnic and lounge lakeside whether you want to picnic or enjoy some hikes. Seneca Lake offers the True Love Schooner for a romantic sunset sail with wine. Sandy Bottom Park in Honeoye has lovely trails with waterfront views. If you’re looking for more parks along the lakes, check out Consensus Lake Marine Park and Hemlock Lake Park. Whatever you do, don’t forget to wet a line and Live The Passion!