Last summer I got invited by Mike Elam, a fellow fish committee member of the New York State Conservation Council (NYSCC) to go fishing. We would be fishing on Lake Alice, a small lake created by the dam of the Oak Orchard Creek at Watersport New York. Mike lives in a home on the lake so we would be literally fishing out of his front yard!
As I parked in Mike’s driveway, I noticed that he had 2 Aluminum fishing boats ready to go. Now here’s where the story gets interesting. He has an attached garage so when I went into the garage, I was immediately surrounded by probably 100 fishing poles of all types. I thought I had a lot of equipment but this was a mini fishing store. I was invited into the house and noticed that every window ledge was full of old fishing reels, Garcia Mitchell’s, Pflueger’s, Shakespeare’s etc. The living room had beautiful fish mounts of cold and warm water species, salmon, trout walleye etc. Old Fishing lures were also placed or hung in various places throughout the living and dining room. The real treat was going into the bathroom which had posters advertising Brooks Reefers, Lazy Ike’s etc. on the walls. The toilet paper dispenser was actually a level wind reel!! I was told that that Mikes real mother lode of fishing equipment was located in the cellar. I found out that Mike was the son of one of the owners of the original Hatch and Elam boat livery on Oak Orchard Creek and he really was born surrounded by fishing equipment.
I consider myself a decent fisherman, but Mike out fished me that day catching 3 fish to my one. He is an expert using jigs and catches all species of fish with them from bluegills to large Northern Pike, walleyes and steelhead. I now call him a “jigmaster”. He recently caught a Northern Pike over 40” while fishing for perch. By the way he considers Northern Pike excellent table fare. Mike takes people fishing all the time including many elderly people that he must help get in his boat. He also takes out a few children that are challenged. He has driven to several of our ECFSC fishing clinics and had a great rubber and plastic bait display as one of our learning stations. Come and say hello to him at one of our upcoming fishing clinics!!!