So, who are these two guys that won the AMARA-CAN this year, fishing with their wives as partners?
Jim Skoczylas and Jim Steel have been mentioned in this column for about two years now, mostly in connection with a product called Torpedo Divers, but where are they from was the question my supervisor asked.
Jim Skoczylas is from Sheldon, and Jim Steel is from Alexander. Both men are full-time correctional officers and both share a passion for the outdoors that they have managed to take to the next level, mixing business with pleasure.
OBSERVER Photo by Gene Pauszek
Pictured are members of Team Innovative Outdoors, the winners of last weekend’s AMARA-CAN Walleye Derby. They are, from left to right: Jim Steel and Diane Steel, along with Jim Skoczylas and Kim Skoczylas. The team was presented the trophy by City of Dunkirk Mayor Anthony J. Dolce, far right.
From my experience, Skoczylas is the more outspoken of the two and provided the following information. Both anglers have been fishing in various tournaments in smaller open style boats, and have had varied success in their attempts over the last 10 years. Last year, they decided to take a major step and both men obtained their U.S. Coast Guard Master Captain's license, so they could take others out fishing too. Skoczylas owns a 27-foot Baha and is the owner of Ultimate Adventures Sportfishing while Steel operates a 23-foot Grady White and operates Dream Catcher Sportfishing. Together, the anglers estimate they are on the water, in some capacity, over 100 days per year.
When both captains team up, they go under the name of Team Innovative Outdoors, which is also the name of their local fishing and hunting supply company they started up a few months ago. Their mission, "to bring the latest and greatest hunting and fishing products to WNY!"
The guys first introduced the Torpedo Divers last year during tournament time. Torpedoes are a trolling device that will deliver bait presentations to a desired depth, with less drag or resistance. They also have a line of snap swivels, trolling wire and roller tips. This year, they are introducing Traxtech, which is a full line of tracks, rod holders, and down rigger mounts and a new high-tech downrigger.
Together, the two Jim's make an impressive tournament team and the guys have even managed to incorporate their families into their business venture and passion for fishing. The anglers took their families fishing on Thursday before the AMARA-CAN and 10 year-old Ashley Stanley landed a 10-pound walleye.
This columnist has been around the walleye tournament circuit for awhile now and has seen a lot of talent rise and fall. These two guys, in my opinion, are headed in the right direction and should be around for a long time. For more information on their products email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you readers would like to take part in some exciting fishing, consider taking a chartered fishing trip. Lately, the fishing has been very good, with good numbers of walleye coming on-board as well as bonus brown, rainbow and lake trout. Any bait and tackle store has the contact information for accredited charter captains, and this year is proving to be a banner year for sport fishing. Catch the walleye fever, you'll get HOOKED!
National Wild Turkey Federation local chapter of the Lake Shore Long beards will host its annual Youth JAKES Day on July 21 at the Westfield Fish & Game Club. To signup or for more information call Bob and Judi Turk at 934-4538.
The Bear Lake Rod & Gun Club will host a Two-day Hunter Safety Training Course on July 20 from 5:30 until 10 p.m., returning July 21 from 8:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. This is a mandatory two-day class for certification. You must also pre-register at Cassadaga Shurfine from July 9-18. Class size is limited.
The Southtowns Walleye Association of WNY will host its Catch & Release Kids Fishing Derby on July 21 at the Tift Nature Preserve, Fuhrman Boulevard, in Buffalo, for children aged 15 years and younger. Signups are at 7:30 a.m., with the last weigh-in at 11 a.m. Free hot dogs and goodies from 11 a.m. until noon will be available, and coffee juice, milk and donuts from 7:30 to 10 a.m. Awards will be presented at noon and all participants are asked to bring their own fishing gear. Call 861-5687 or 649- 8202, for details.
The Lake Erie Chapter of the Federation of Fly Fishers will be having a Kids Fly Fishing course Sunday, July 22, starting at 9 a.m., at the Commissioner Cabin at Chestnut Ridge, in Orchard Park. The event is for ages 8-15, who are accompanied by an adult. The event will include fly tying, casting, entomology, inspecting the lake for insect life and testing casting skills, as well as fly fishing on the lake during the day. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife will also host a seminar. The event charge is $10 for the parent and child participant. Each additional child is $5. To sign up, call 675-4766 or 549-1977. Picnic cuisine and soda will be provided.
There will be a yellow perch fishing tournament at the North East Marina on Saturday, July 28. For details, go to www.nechamber.org or call (814) 725-4262.
Gene Pauszek is an OBSERVER outdoors columnist. Send comments to email@example.com.