Bio CTF name: Buck Real name: George Buck Age: 62 Current City: New Fairfield, CT Hometown: Denville, NJ Family members: Wife, two daughters age 30, 28 Occupation: IBM retired
1. You've had a lot of different hunting and fishing adventures. Which is the most memorable hunting experience? Which is the most memorable fishing experience? That is a difficult question because I have been so fortunate to experience so much. I would say a hunting trip to Newfoundland for moose and woodland caribou was a hunting trip to remember. It was beautiful there and I experienced one of most glorious dawns of my life. We hiked in two miles from a remote lake in the dark and sat on a ridge waiting for dawn. When it broke, the valley below was fog shrouded with only the tops of the jack pine sticking through the fog. Very dramatic. When the fog lifted the valley was a golden hue and a patchwork of ponds, tundra and jack pine islands. We spotted two moose and made another two-mile hike to get around them and down-wind so we could cut them off and get a shot at the bull. We were successful and I took a large 14-point bull to go with a nice bull caribou I had taken earlier.
A memorable fishing trip was in 2000 a month after I retired. I went with two life-long friends to Alaska for king salmon and sockeye. We spent a week there and I had a personal best freshwater catch of a 54lb. king salmon and sockeye to 12lbs. We also did a few fly-ins for silver salmon and one halibut trip. This was a trip most of the site members would want to take and I was fortunate to do it twice now. I would recommend it to anyone.
2. What fish species haven't you caught that you would like to catch the most? There are a number of fish species I have not caught, mostly southern fish. One northern fish is a musky. I can't say I have actually tried for them but I have fished in enough waters that have musky to think I would have caught one by now but it just goes to prove that you only catch what you actually target. So if I want a musky I better make a direct effort for one. Southern fish like snook, tarpon and some of the off-shore species would be nice to add to my personal list. I have caught most of the inshore southern species like redfish, trout, pompano, etc., but never a tarpon or snook so I guess those two would be something I would target.
3. What is your favorite species to pursue in CT and your top 3 tips for catching a big one. A CT favorite species is tough since I like walleye, trout, and stripers. Let's take walleye since fewer people fish for them. Top three tips would be: 1. Know their habits -- walleye are a dawn and dusk fish. If you fish at those two times for one hour each you are optimizing your opportunity. 2. Know their food -- walleye will eat anything but can be very lazy so your bait must match what they are likely to eat with ease. On Squantz, that would be live alewife herring. On a non-herring lake like Gardner that may be any small natural bait like spottail shiners or juvenile perch. 3. Know their movements -- walleye will live anywhere in a water column or body of water that puts them in optimum water conditions near food. In a herring lake they may suspend in the thermocline feeding on herring balls that also occupy the same location. In a non-herring lake they may relate to bottom structure like boulders, humps, stumps, standing flooded timber in 20 - 30 feet of water off shoreline structure like points so that they can move easily in and out at dusk and dawn to feed in low-light conditions on unsuspecting juveniles and bait fish.
4. What are some of the mistakes you see young or novice anglers most often make? There are so many mistakes anyone can make it is hard to choose. I guess I would pick a combination of line control and presentation. That is an issue that applies to everyone from fly fishing to bait casting and saltwater. Let's take stream trout fishing. You want a natural presentation so the trout actually thinks it is something to eat and strikes. You read the water, make a quartering cast upstream with your fathead minnow, allowing it to sink to the correct depth and then you have to allow just the right amount of line so that the fathead makes a natural drift with no line drag but enough of a short leash so to speak to be able to take up slack for an immediate hook-set plus as the drift gets downstream you need to feed line to "walk the dog" working your fathead through other lies without line drag but maintaining striking capability. A lot harder than it sounds and if you are compromised by any glitch the trout will shy away from your offering. Done right you have a natural presentation and maintained line control and you have a 20-fish day. Done wrong with your line get caught by the currents pulling your bait all over the place and no trout is interested and the day is a skunk. It is really that basic for any kind of fishing.
5. What's the best meal you've eaten in a CT restaurant? There are a lot of good restaurants in my part of CT. A favorite of our family for special occasions is right in town, Ondines, a French restaurant and highly rated. Service is perfect, the menu is varied and the food has some of the highest ratings in the state. But I could add some nice restaurants in Ridgefield to the list too.
6. What do you think is the least important piece of fishing gear people put too much emphasis on? Trying to identify the least important piece of gear is tough. Something that you use once or twice a year may be least important overall but if it produces a good catch once a year it still is important. I guess I will pick on something I don't use like scents. I know there are guys on the site who use scents all the time and swear by them so this is an unfair answer but I don't use them and I don't think it hurts my catch. I think lure size, type, color, fluorocarbon leaders, presentation, line control, retrieve speed and water depth fished are all more important and if done right will produce the catch you want without scents. But this is a personal choice issue and I would not argue with anyone who swears by them because ultimately, successful fishermen are confident fishermen. If you are confident in your approach you will succeed, maybe not for the reasons you think, but whatever you are doing is working.
7. If you were going to write an autobiography about your life, what part would you be the most embarrassed to have to include? What part would you be the proudest to include? I am actually pretty happy with my life and have few regrets. I could have done better in college. I went to a huge NJ regional high school and then on to Penn State which is also huge so you are kind of on your own in these environments and in college I got distracted by the social life in the fraternity so my school work in the middle two years suffered. But I did the ROTC route and they straightened me out and I had an excellent short career as an Army officer and then a wonderful 31-year career at IBM. I have been extremely fortunate to have married well beyond what I deserved and her genes provided super kids who are very successful so you can't be much more fortunate and lucky than me.
8. The CT DEP Commissioner Gina Gina McCarthy instituted the program "No Child Left Inside" to get more kids interested in the outdoors and fishing. What are some ideas you have for getting more kids interested in fishing? The "No Child Left Inside" program is a great idea. One of the shocking statistics I have seen recently is how much time kids spend inside now versus outside playing. I have always supported and been involved in kids fishing programs. I do the Bryan Kerchal Memorial fishing camp each August mostly as a "gopher" handling the Great Hollow skiffs, getting bait, tackle shop trips, etc. I was involved in Wesleyan's Fish-Tech Institute before that. Also our Town's fishing derby, my club's kids fishing derbies and so on. The simplest idea is for each fishermen or lady to take a child who normally would never fish, out fishing for a few hours to introduce them to the sport. Something that bites easily like bluegills. Of course, this goes on all the time with our site members based upon the posts I see and the site has a number of kids events so this is preaching to the choir. But I think an individual mentoring program allows each of us to give something back to the sport.
9. Do you have any interesting stories about encountering an anti-hunting person while in the field? I usually stay away from any areas where anti-hunting demonstrators may be encountered. I never do the special area hunts that attract those kind of people. I did have one situation in my town while hunting a private farm. I had shot a nice eight point that I dragged down to the field edge and due to its size I went home to pick up a boat trailer to transport it to a check station versus shoving it into the back of the jeep. Some local anit-hunting person saw me drive into the field from the upper bar gate and waited for me to come out. After locking the gate he blocked my path so I went around him and he started to follow. So I stopped and he stopped behind me. At that point I got a paper and pen, got out, went around my front and along the passenger side of the vehicle so I was out of the road and took down the license number and reported the incident to the police. When I wrote down the license number the guy left. He was a local well known to other hunters and the word got back to him that his actions were inappropriate behavior and there were no further incidents.
10. Tell us about some of the work you've done with the CT DEP. I like volunteering for various projects with the DEP. These folks are extremely interesting people to spend time with and you can learn a lot. I am not on the FAC, my time is spent with Inland Fisheries for the Western District. I am most interested in trout stocking and electroshocking. Trout stocking is tough work and now at 62 I am not in shape for carrying 50lb. nets of trout 200 yards through the woods to stock small brooks. So mostly I do stuff with the lakes like Ball Pond where I got a new town beach access approved and drill the holes in the ice for the early March stocking. Simple stuff like that. Electroshocking is very interesting. It is always surprising what comes up and it is not quite as strenuous so I still go when needed. I only go out if there is a short crew and the trip is jeopardized. I don't want to take a trip away from a paid seasonal employee or a student in one of the fishery courses. I am a last choice supplemental volunteer but I have had some great trips like the one where we electroshocked Candlewood specifically for walleye and on the last run across a primo sand bar off an exposed hump we brought up two 6-pounders to prove a viable walleye population exists in Candlewood and were staging for spawning activity.
11. What are some of the misconceptions the regular Joe angler has about the CT DEP? I think the biggest misconception is that too many "regular Joe anglers" think the DEP does not understand the issues. This question should be viewed in two venues. The DEP as a whole does have problems with inter-agency squabbles and miscommunication. The lower Housy dredging issue is a good example of this. They were not in touch with each other or with us as the public. But, in general, the units, like Inland Fisheries, do understand the issues, concerns and problems. They often are caught in the middle between what they would like to do for us, what budgets they have, and what the elected state reps and senators will allow by law. It is hard for them to make a lot of what they want to do work well. For instance, in addition to what I mentioned above in my volunteer work, I also initiate ideas such as two new TMAs for the Western District. One would be a new stretch of a currently non-stocked trout stream and the other would be a significant extension of an existing TMA further downstream into non-stocked trout water currently under no management plan. The process just isn't as simple as the DEP Director saying "great idea, lets do it". It's not that autonomous and unless you work within this environment it is hard for us to understand these parameters. But the process has started and within a few years I expect to see each new TMA happen because Inland Fisheries has a vision too and they were already on a similar plan for both waters.
12. What's your favorite comedic movie? I am not a movie goer. For a laugh, I liked "Its a Mad, Mad, Mad World." How old is that one? That would give everyone a laugh I suppose.
13. Describe how a fellow CTF member may have turned you on to a new kind of fishing, or a good tip you may have learned from this person. This is a great question. Though most of my posts have to do with reports and other topics of interest from a selfish standpoint the value of the site to me is the valuable info I get when I have a question and the interesting people I have had the opportunity to fish with. Take saltwater as an example. I have fished saltwater all my life and had a place and lobster boat in Montauk all through the 70s. So I do ok with the inshore bite. But when I learned about this T&W strategy I figured there is no sense in reinventing the wheel so I had the honor of joining Tackleman for a T&W trip to learn from the pro himself. When porgy drifting became popular I knew I had to try it. I had drifted eels, cunners, bunker, mackeral, etc. but never porgies. So when Blaine had an opening I got a chance to get out and learn his techniques on the spot. Both of these opportunities came about due to this website and were tremendous productivity aids which made me a better fisherman. I have to mention I have fished with a dozen other guys from the site both salt and freshwater who also taught me important tips and techniques. Frankly, it is hard to go out with another accomplished sportsman or read their posts without learning something. This is the case on the hunting thread too for those of us who hunt. For example, each Fall we have a thread on deer hunting tips, always something new to think about.
14. What is your opinion on the paid, private CTF? The paid, private CTF like any issue, has pros and cons. I support it because I think you have a right, as the site owner, to take it to a higher level based upon your strategy. Unfortunately, we did lose some real quality posters who had great reports. Personally, I wish they would return. But I do feel more comfortable now being more detailed in my reporting. I never worried much about blowing out "my spot" because I don't own those spots and sharing is ok by me but I suppose it is reassuring now that a member who has made a higher level of commitment is now reading the info. The bottom line though is nothing much has changed for me. I can still get every question I have answered and the site is populated by extremely competent sportsmen in all areas of hunting and fishing providing timely and valuable info. For $15 bucks it is a real value.
15. What are the three most versatile lures an angler can have in his arsenal for freshwater and saltwater? The three most versatile lures? Let's start with saltwater because in a way it is easier. Excepting non-lure fish like flounder and blackfish, most everything else can be caught on a 2oz, white bucktail, a 6-oz. diamond jig and a medium sized Atoms popper in blue/white. You could swap a swimmer for an Atoms for night guys if you want. Those three lures will catch bass, blues, albies, fluke, porgies, sea bass and down south cobia, trout, redfish, etc. You cover most inshore water conditions and feeding activities. The plugs/swimmers handled surface action and shore casting. The diamond jig can be trolled, squidded, stem the tide and walk the dog through a rip, cast it for a sub-surface presentation in a blitz or bunker pod, and handle any depth of water, etc. The bucktail can be cast, drifted, jigged, snapped and run on any pole and on any line. Knowing how to fish these three lures effectively is mandatory for saltwater fishing.
Freshwater is different because trout and bass don't relate the same so we have to think generically with this question. A logical bass bait would be the black rubber worm. When I was a kid that is the only lure I owned for bass fishing but I never caught a trout on one so it is off the list. Thinking about what will catch a bass, trout, perch, walleye, pickeral, crappy, big bluegill, etc. I have to go with a spinner/spoon, a medium sized herring imitation crankbait and a small smoke grub plastic on a jig head. For a spinner it would be a CP Swing or Rooster Tail. I have caught all of these fish on one or the other at some time in my life. For the crankbait, it would be the Shad Rap. It is a versatile lure that can be fished many ways and will provoke strikes from all of these fish with the right line control and presentation. And finally the smoke grub. It imitates fatheads in a stream for trout or an oak leaf grub in a lake. It catches everything. All three of these freshwater lures will catch fish in saltwater too.
16. Have you ever been involved in a life-threatening situation while boating, fishing or hunting? I have not had any kind of life threatening situation while hunting. Mistakes are so horrific that you become extremely cautious of everything you do. The biggest risk of things I do would be tree stand hunting for deer and winter duck hunting from a boat on open waters. I had one incident while climbing down on tree steps from a permanent stand when I slipped on a bottom rung and fell landing on a rock. Even that little distance disabled me in pain for a half hour. Fishing to me is much riskier because you are dealing with water and conditions that can be unpredictable. I have had three really close calls. Once in high school I took my motor boat down to Sandy Hook NJ and fished right at the hook. A bolt in the fly wheel worked loose and jammed the engine and I drifted into the surf and sunk. The CG pulled me out after I had swam to shore and walked to the CG station. They towed me over to Atlantic Highlands where I launched. I had two other close calls in Montauk. Once snapping parachutes under the light I got too close and got caught by a rogue set of waves. I raced seaward, went up the face and through the curl and was left totally airborne in a 26' lobster boat. Both passengers were flat on the floor and both rigs totally destroyed. After the same thing with the second wave I headed straight in and had Uihleins pull the boat for a damage inspection. The other was a storm. I was in a friend's boat, a 24' Grady, anchored on Great Eastern a productive hump a mile or so off the light house. The sky over Fishers Island was dark as a bat's a$$ and even the party boats were heading in. There were huge ground swells from an offshore storm pushing into an outgoing tide and now heavy rains and wind so Washington Shoal was going to be a nightmare. We pulled anchor and headed in. Just west of the refreshment stand it started as the wind driven outgoing met the huge incoming ground swells and the shallow Washington Shoal. I took over the wheel and took the Grady into the inside pass since the shoal breaks in heavy weather. At the inlet I had to kind of side slip into it to avoid wallowing and getting flipped. A very dicey situation. Some guys rode it out at Blackfish Rock and up by the oyster pond but we made the run and were lucky.
17. If a CT angler was looking to broaden his horizon and try a new kind of fishing within a few hours drive of CT, what would you recommend? I have said for a while now that CT is centered in a perfect place for versatile fishing. I think the number one thing I would recommend to broaden a fisherman's horizon would be steelhead and salmon fishing on the Great Lakes tribs, especially the steelhead. This is as close to west coast or Alaska fishing you are going to get within a days drive of Ct. Until you have fought a big steelhead in a broad heavy running river you have not lived. These are beautiful fish caught in a beautiful environment. Though the Salmon River in the eastern Ontario basin is the first choice of area anglers I do most of my steelhead fishing on the Lake Erie tribs during the deer hunting season when I am out in northern Pa. This is a must trip for those looking for a new experience.
18. Who were you heroes when growing up? Is there anyone you really admire today? Everyone has childhood heroes in sports and otherwise. I guess the first real hero was President Kennedy. I was in the fraternity living room at Penn State when I had heard he was shot. Later in life as we learned more about the Cuban missle crisis and the nuclear standoff it became apparant that Kennedy's decisions in those hours were the most important decisions any sitting president may have ever made. Among modern era people I admire I would offer President Reagan. He left no doubt among world leaders he was tough and meant business ending the Iranian hostage crisis and facilitating the dismantling of the Soviet Union, the Berlin Wall and the Warsaw Pact. He helped facilitate global democracy and trade. The leadership of these two Presidents may have had more influence on our lives than any two men alive in the past 50 years.
19. What's the best thing a young angler can do to ensure he never grows tired of the sport of fishing? The best thing a young angler can do to ensure he never grows tired of fishing is to have successful outings that include more than just catching fish. You must enjoy and appreciate the outdoors, the environment, the scenery and the overall experience. It should be an experience that has value whether fish are caught or not. A mentor should build self-esteem in the young angler and put them in a position to be successful with regards to the fishing aspect. Catching 20 bluegills is better than trying something more difficult in the early stages. Move gradually towards other fishing goals so successes can be enjoyed and emphasize the total experience.
20. What is the most rewarding thing about fishing to you? It really is no one thing, I just like to be outdoors. Scouting out a new stream, researching a different lake, running my electronics to find a hot spot are all just as satisfying as catching a fish. I like to learn new things and try different types of fishing. That is why being a versatile fisherman is appealing to me, it gives me variety and new experiences. I couldn't do just one thing every week. That said, once I have a technique down I want to succeed at it so at some point I want a good outing of quality fish with a reasonable amount of quantity, C&R the day's catch and come back next week and do it again.