Disclaimer: I am by no means a “fisherman.”
That being said, I’m going to tell you how to fish on Lake George, despite the fact that I have minimal knowledge of the sport, my fishing pole has been broken for about two years, and my tackle box has no more than ten items in it (and I probably only use 3 of those items consistently).
If you know me, then you’ll be surprised when I say that it isn’t just about having a cooler (or two) fully packed with your favorite adult beverages. While that is absolutely crucial, there are some other factors that come into play.
First, it’s important to know why you’re going out. Do you want to get loaded and sit in the sun or pull in a monster lake trout? Decide on your answer and then choose your fishing buddies wisely because it could be the difference between getting up before sunrise or taking a relaxing morning to nurse the Friday night hangover.
If you’re going out with a serious angler, I’ve found that it’s like golf (which I’m also terrible at); It doesn’t matter if you’re inexperienced, but you have to spend the next few hours together and the most important thing is to be good company and know the rules/etiquette that come with the territory (I learned this from Dom, Local’s other co-founder, who loses far fewer golf balls than I do). Like knowing when to pick up your ball and move on to the next hole, know when it’s time to pull your line in, sit back, and relax on the boat.
Don’t forget that: Relax, take a look around, and appreciate the lake. I mean, without it you wouldn’t be fishing in the first place. If it’s Lake George you’re fishin’ on, keep an eye out for bald eagles, dinosaur-sized snapping turtles, great blue heron, and maybe some deer along the shoreline. Take a look up at how Buck, Cat, Thomas, Sleeping Beauty, and other mountains frame the lake that was scraped out of the earth by a glacier tens of thousands of years ago.
Don’t stare for too long, though. Fish actively. You don’t want to have a fish on the line that swallows a hook because you weren’t paying close enough attention. There may be “plenty of fish in the sea,” but that’s no excuse to needlessly damage or kill one.
Lastly, don’t give up your fishing buddy’s spot, especially if you’re out with an avid fisherman. I was working in the shop one winter day when a woman came in talking about how her husband had just caught a massive northern pike while ice fishing. You would’ve thought this thing was a state record by how she was talking about it, and maybe it was. Who knows?
I didn’t think anything of it and said, “Oh, damn. Where did he catch it?”
She eyeballed me and asked if I was an ice fisherman. I laughed and assured her I wasn’t. Even then, all she said was, “In the northern Adirondacks.”
Get out there and enjoy the lake. And don't forget to pack that cooler.