Donald ‘Doc’ Stacknick Jr. of Dalton and crew returned from Lake Ontario last weekend with a King Salmon that was no fish tale.
The 30 pound 6 ounce Chinook salmon actually netted the Gray Fox crew $10,000 in prize winnings in the 2020 Lake Ontario Counties Trout and Salmon Derby which ended in upstate New York July 26.
They won the big bucks for catching the biggest salmon over a month-long period with their prize catch coming July18 trolling over 120 feet of water off of Fair Haven in Cayuga County, about 40 miles northwest of Syracuse. He was fishing at the time with best friend Cody Scott and Cody’s dad Reese Scott, both of Nicholson, on the Gray Fox, a 24-foot Pen Yan.
Stacknick caught the fish using a Pro Troll PC8 flasher that was a chartreuse Mountain Dew color and cut bait.
He recalled Monday that a month ago he wasn’t even contemplating an extended summer vacation, after a fishing trip to Canada with Cody and a group of friends was postponed due to COVID.
And then came those magic words from his life-long friend, Cody: “Hey, dad and I are planning a fishing trip up north. Why don’t you join us?”
That was all he needed to hear.
Doc and Cody have known each other since kindergarten, played football together at Lackawanna Trail High School and both studied at Keystone college, and so it didn’t take much thought for Stacknick to get his affairs in order, and make sure it would be okay with his employer, Misericordia University, to take vacation time at that time.
Stacknick, 33, said that his passion for fishing came from his dad Doc Stacknick Sr., grandfather Clem Stacknick Sr., stepdad Bob Carpenter and fishing trips to Canada with his uncles since the time he was just a toddler.
“Those were great times,” Stacknick said. “But so was last month. It really helps to be out there with people who know what they’re doing, and want you in on the fun.”
He added, “I am beyond grateful for the opportunity to fish on the Gray Fox with Cody and Reese. I can’t thank them enough for an awesome week on the lake.”
His advice to others: “Get up early, grind it out, fish with a very knowledgeable crew, and some luck goes a long way.”
Would he do it again? “Oh, heck ya,” Stacknick said. “I would love to go back for the fall tournament.”
The LOC Fall Fishing Derby kicks off Aug. 21 and lasts until Sept. 7. That tourney features a total of $67,400 in cash prizes, along with a $25,000 cash prize for the largest salmon.
“That would really look nice in my checking account,” he laughed. “But the biggest reward would come from just being back out there with my buddies.”