Ace Charters Tournament Results

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Its been a while since I’ve had time to actually sit down and write about what’s been going on with the Ace Charters tournament team in 2014. I am very proud of my team and their performances this year while we have journeyed to the western end of Lake Ontario as well as Canada.

Our first stop was in Niagara county for what used to be called the Niagara pro am. We manage to box a twelve fish limit on day one and found ourselves just a few points out of first landing comfortably in second place. On day two, our luck did not hold out as well as we only managed eleven bites and boated seven out of those eleven. It did however, turn out to be a tougher day for everyone and we managed to hold on to second place in both  the classic and short box divisions. When it was all said and done, we were rewarded with over $5000.00 in winnings.

Our second stop during the very next week found us competing at The Oak Orchard Open some thirty miles east of Niagara. Our day one performance was outstanding as we managed to boat our ten fish limit with only twenty minutes to spare before quitting time.  We once again found ourselves in second place on day one. Our day two went a little bit better than day one in terms of boxing out more quickly, but we did fish till the very end and with the cull rules in this tournament in effect we upgraded with a nice lake trout. That upgrade sealed another second place finish for our Ace Charters team in as many weeks.

The third stop in as many weeks found us in Bluffer’s Park, Toronto, Canada fishing in the first of the King of Kings Titelines  tournament. We managed to boat only five of our eleven king bites during this one day event. To accentuate just how tough the bite was, we managed to finish  ninth out of sixty boats with only five fish of a six fish limit.

Last but not least, do to our outstanding performances, our team is now in first place for the Lake Ontario Lake Wide Cup. Point standings for this prestigious endeavor is determined by overall performances of the entered teams as the fish tournaments across the Lake. Wish us luck to continue to do well and bring home the Cup.

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Installing The Lowrance Gen 2 Touch with Marpa

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Lowrance Gen 2 Touch with Marpa


Capt.Jimmy Samia

  We just finished installing the Lowrance Gen 2 Touch with Marpa aboard the The “Ace” our beloved charter boat. What started out as just a simple replacement for my older inoperable LCA 5000 radar with the Lowrance 9200c turned out to be an adventure in modern day electronic installation and interfacing all being brought about by the inability to procure a rim 200 radar interface chord for my 9200c chartplotter from Lowrance.

Lowrance Gen 2 touch with Marpa

Gen 2 Touch Display

   After doing the research and seeing what was available while keeping within my price range, the Lowrance Gen 2 Touch along with the optional 3G broadband radar seemed like the way to go. Upon further reading and inspection of the features offered by the Gen 2,  it was discovered that this unit was compatible with  Marpa. So, what is Marpa? Marpa is an acronym that stands for “mini-automatic radar plotting aid”. Simply put, it is an aftermarket radar feature that allows you to track up to ten other boats in real time on your radar screen.

    My original intent was to keep my purchase under the $3000.00 mark for my radar which would have been just fine until I discovered Marpa and just what it would take to get it fully functional. Here’s the kick in the teeth. If you read the features’ list on the Lowrance Gen 2 Touch you will see that it is Marpa functional. What you won’t see is all the additional electronics and connector chords that are required to make it work and of course, at additional expense. Here’s what’s required to get the Marpa up and running.

Lowrance Gen 2 Touch with Marpa and NMEA 2000 Backbone

Nmea 2000 Starter kit

NMEA 2000 Kit needed to start the Backbone

  First and the most expensive additional item required is an electronic compass that updates at least 10 times per second. We ended up purchasing a RC 42 electronic compass manufactured by Simrad. See below…

RC 42 Compass from Simrad

A compass such as this one is required for Marpa functionality

Low and behold, Simrad,Lowrance, and B+G all belong to the parent company Navico. The next item needed was an interface box called an R110 which allows the 3G radar to create the calculations needed for the Marpa to function. Also needed are the adapter cords to allow the interfacing of the different items from the different companies so that they can all work together. There are Simnet chords, Lowrance ethernet cords, Simnet adapters,  nmea 2000 backbone which requires separate power, and “red” T-connectors that ,get this, are actually black in color.

  When it was all said and done, the additional expense to get the Marpa to function was an extra $1000.00 or so, none of which was explained or detailed in the product descriptions as being necessary for the Marpa to work. It seemed like once you got started down the Marpa road, it’s was like getting caught in a quagmire as your learn about all the additional items that you will need to purchase to get the Marpa up and running. You will learn about the NMEA 2000 backbone which requires a Lowrance starter kit that includes a power supply cable, a few patch chords, and end resistors that  have to go on both ends of the NMEA 2000 backbone in order for it to function. You will also discover that they have things set up so that you HAVE to buy additional cords and connectors that wouldn’t be necessary if they would just make a male to male patch cord in the first place.

   In any event, with the help of my good friends, Lynn Thompson Jr. and Sr., John Wise, and Scotty Richardson, the Lowrance Gen 2 touch with Marpa is now installed and functioning aboard the “Ace “. I will post  updates on its functionality as I get further into my charter fishing season.

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Lake Ontario Fishing Photos – Ace Charters

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Lake Ontario fishing photos for Ace Charters can be found at

 Lake Ontario fishing photos

I have since taken over the handling of my own website and have discovered a few mishaps that need correcting, my Lake Ontario fishing photos page being one of them. It seems that Google prefers titles to use hyphens instead of underscores. From what I have read, using underscores dictates that an exact phrase match must be used, while using hyphens allows partial or all of the keyword phrase to be used and is better for seo.

If you have a chance please check out our lake Ontario fishing photos page which is chuck full of pictures featuring our successful clients and their fish. We have several years of pictures including many of king salmon that are over thirty pounds using our proven methods year after year. As you can see as you peruse the fishing photos, we have a significant number of women and children that have captured some real trophies while charter fishing with us.

Lake Ontario Fishing Photos

Dr. Dave Trachlenbergs award winning Lake Ontario king salmon

Here at Ace Charters, we pride ourselves at being one of the best family friendly oriented fishing businesses on the Great Lakes. Many of our families return year after year to enjoy the world class fishery that Lake Ontario has to offer as evidenced by seeing some of the same familiar faces time after time in our Lake Ontario fishing photos.

We are also looking forward to another successful season on Lake Ontario chasing king salmon and other species such as Brown and Lake Trout, Steelhead, or even the occasional Atlantic. Our lake Ontario fishing photos page has numerous examples of these magnificent species and as always, we are always looking to add more through our clients’ success. You can check out our main website at or if you would like to see some of our methods on how we catch  these fish, you can check out fishing info and tips section.



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Using the Fishhawk X4D

Using the Fishhawk X4D on Lake Ontario

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Using the Fishhawk X4D


Capt.Jimmy Samia

  Using the Fishhawk X4D on our Lake Ontario fishing charters when trolling for trout and salmon has made my life as a charter boat captain just that much easier. The X4D is Fishhawk’s newest creation in the downspeed and temperature market for big water trolling. This newer unit is an upgrade from their previous X4 model and includes a pressure sensor that gives the actual depth of the probe in the water column based upon water pressure. Not taking anything for granted,we took the unit into a known depth of water, in fact several different depths, to verify its accuracy and found it to be most accurate.

Fishhawk X4D

Fishhawk X4D is a remarkable new unit.

    So how does one go about using the Fishhawk X4D to its fullest potential and even more importantly, to catch more fish? The answer is to fish in the preferred temperature of the target species that you are after. Fishawk includes a pamphlet along with the probe that gives the preferred temperatures of most of the Great Lakes fish species that trollers’ target. Once we know what species of fish that we want to target, the next step is to find the actual depth of that water temperature in the column that they prefer so that we can deploy our fishing lines there. This is the real beauty of using the Fishhawk X4D.

   Let’s say that we are targeting king salmon on this particular day. Using the pamphlet that comes with the unit, we find that the preferred temperature on the Great Lakes for king salmon is 44 degrees. The downrigger with the X4D is deployed into the water until the preferred temperature is shown on the display while trolling at the preferred speed. Using the X4D this way we can now look and see what the actual vertical depth of the 44 degree water is at speed. This information is very valuable. It takes all the guess work out of the equation.

    Lets say that the display is showing that the temperature is 80 feet in the column and our downrigger using the Fishhawk X4D  has 100 feet of cable out to get this reading. We now know where to send our other downriggers into the column based upon this information. On our charter boat The “Ace“, we typically will run our riggers ten feet apart so the spread would have one rigger at 90 feet, one rigger at 110 feet and of course the probe rigger at 100 feet. Because we know that the actual depth of our target temperature is 80 feet, we now also know where to put out our dipseys and what coppers or other long lines to choose.

   Using the Fishhawk X4D while running our Lake Ontario fishing charters has definitely made our jobs a lot more easier. Having the knowledge of the preferred temperatures of most of the Lake Ontario fish species as well as the actual depth of those temperatures at any given moment has definitely stacked the odds in our favor for having a successful day out on the water. This past season our Ace Charters clients were fortunate enough to boat 9 king salmon over thirty pounds fishing with this method. Do you think I’m a believer?

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How to Fish Copper Line on Lake Ontario

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Fish Copper Line on Lake Ontario


Capt. Jimmy Samia

   We fish copper line on Lake Ontario virtually on a daily basis when targeting king salmon and sometimes when targeting brown trout as well. It can be one of the most deadliest Lake Ontario fishing charter techniques when it comes to putting fish in the boat, especially on those tough days. In this post I will discuss how we choose what to deploy in copper set-ups in terms of lengths to match the desired temperature depths.

Fish copper line to catch kings!

Fish copper line to catch kings like this.

In a previous post titled “How to Catch Thirty Pound Lake Ontario King Salmon“, I mentioned that over ninety percent of the time, I am fishing in temperature when chasing king salmon. I monitor that temperature location in the water column with a FishHawk X4D down speed and temperature unit constantly. The nice thing about the X4D system is that it gives me the actual depth in the water column of where my preferred temperature is. Once I know this, I can accurately choose what length copper line to fish with.

On my charter boat The “Ace“, we fish copper line made available to us by Atomik  trolling flies, exclusively. It is .037 in diameter and has a breaking strength of 45 lbs. We purchase it from Atomik in bulk spools of 3500 ft. which saves us considerably in cost per foot of the copper line. Atomik also has spools of pre-measured copper line lengths for those of you who prefer it that way to put on your own reels.

Atomik’s copper line is very uniform and day after day use has proven that it has an effective sink rate of 22 ft. of depth for every 100 ft. of copper line let out at our typical salmon trolling speed when pulling attractors and flies. To fish copper line in the temperature zone that we are targeting, a little simple math must be employed. A typical example to fish copper line knowing the actual depth of the temperature would go like this. Target temperature depth is at 90 ft. in the column. Using the 22 ft per 100 ft. formula for sink rate we can determine that we will need approximately 400 ft. of copper to get that deep in the water column. 90 ft. divided by 22 ft. equals about 4… 100 ft. sections or 400 ft. of copper which should be traveling in about the 88 ft. range.  If we wanted to target down 100 ft. in the column, we would fish copper line in a 450 ft. section; (4 x 22 ft. plus 11 ft. for the 50 ft. section) would put us down around 99 ft. in the column.

Having sections of copper in different lengths available on the boat on different reels with different pre-fabricated lengths would allow you the flexibility to choose the right amount of copper to match the desired depth. On our charter boat, we have lengths from 100 ft.  all the way up to 750 ft. in 50 ft. increments with most of the lengths having two reels. This allows us to accurately fish copper line on more than one set-up at a time which increases bites when the coppers are hot. You can go to our main website and check out the Info and tips section to read up more on the intricacies involved to fish copper line.

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How to Catch Thirty Pound Lake Ontario King Salmon

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Catch thirty pound Lake Ontario king salmon


Capt. Jimmy Samia

So how do you catch thirty pound Lake Ontario king salmon on a regular basis day after day? The answer quite simply is that you can’t! That’s right. You can’t, but there are bunch of things that you can do to increase your odds of doing so. In my previous post, “The year of the Thirty Pounders”, it was pointed out that there was no one specific thing that would catch thirty pound Lake Ontario king salmon day after day.

The biggest thing that defines my style of fishing for my Lake Ontario fishing charters is fishing in temperature and for me, 90% of the time, that will be 44 degrees. It is a very rare occasion that i will not have items running in 44* water when I am out to catch thirty pound Lake Ontario king salmon. That is a big statement to make, but if there is one key to upping the odds to catch thirty pound Lake Ontario king salmon, this may well be it. Not all rods will be deployed in 44* degree water. There will be items fished above and below the 44* mark as well. When fishing for mature salmon, it is not uncommon to catch thirty pound Lake Ontario king salmon down in the ice. We have taken huge kings in water as cold as 39.5* which by the way, is the temperature at which water is its most densest.We call these fish “coming out of the ice”!   We have also taken mature kings on the higher rods in the spread in much warmer water, sometimes as warm as in the sixties. Looking back, the number one overall presentation item for putting huge kings in the boat would have to be an attractor fly combo made up of either e-chips and spinnies with an Atomik fly. The best apparatus by far for running attractor flies was the dipsey divers. The second best item this past season used to catch thirty pound Lake Ontario king salmon was cut bait run behind an attractor with the best method of deployment being downriggers.

Girls catch thirty pound Lake Ontario king salmon

A great date to take a girl on.

This past season, the copper set ups were not as good as in years past for producing the monster fish for us. This is not typical, as in past years and historically, copper wires have been my number one producer of thirty pound kings. The coppers produced many  kings, just not the behemoths. We ran both attractor and flies as well as cut bait on our coppers. This past season was our best ever to catch thirty pound Lake Ontario king salmon. Talking with some of the other charter captains and mates in Oswego, the general consensus was that there were quite a few larger fish around than in past seasons. If you would like to check out more on how we like to fish on our charter boat, you can read more at in our info and tips section.

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Thirty Pound Lake Ontario King Salmon

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The Year of the Thirty Pounders On Lake Ontario


Capt. Jimmy Samia

            This past season, 2013, was the year for thirty pound Lake Ontario king salmon and  was the best ever for Ace Charters’ anglers while charter fishing Lake Ontario with us. Our clients successfully battled and landed nine king salmon that tipped the scales at thirty pounds or better with the biggest near 34lbs. All of these fish were weighed on our Boga Grip which is surprisingly accurate. It is the same weighing apparatus that we use while tournament fishing and determining the weights of the fish we catch. All the fish in the pictures included in this Lake Ontario fishing report were weighed on this scale.

Patterns for Catching King Salmon Over Thirty Pounds.

Looking back on this past fishing season, I was reflecting on how these better than thirty pound Lake Ontario king salmon were caught, looking for the common denominator that got these fish to bite. Remarkably, other than fishing on Lake Ontario, there really wasn’t any one factor that stood out. The fish were caught on a variety of different set-ups including rigger rods, dipsey divers, and coppers. If I had to give a nod to the set-up that caught the most, it would have to be the rigger rods. The other most popular part of the equation was attractors and Atomik trolling flies.

There was no one particular attractor style or color that stood out in catching these fish. Some were caught on Pro troll e-chips and others were caught on Spindoctor attractors. The fish that were caught while using flies were all caught on Atomiks but with different colors and bead patterns. A few of them were also caught on either meat or spoons, too! There just wasn’t “just put this lure down and you’ll catch all the thirty pounders you want” kind of lure or apparatus to catch these fish.

Even the speeds that these fish were caught at while trolling were not all the same. Some fish were caught trolling slowly and others were taken while trolling faster. Looking back, I can say this. Most of the thirties were caught during the month of August out of the port of Oswego, NY. Yet, there were a few also caught in July. Even the age class and gender of the successful anglers who bagged these trophy fish were all different ranging from 8 yrs old and up including girls and guys.

Stay tuned as I will be writing more on this subject as I think about this and give it some more thought and as always, you can read more about our fishing techniques at

              Check out these photos of  thirty pound Lake Ontario King Salmon

Thirty plus pound king salmon

Youngsters with Lake Ontario King over 30lbs.

Even the youngsters got in on the Tyee action!

A true trophy Lake Ontario king salmonOur biggest fish of the season in 2013

A better than Thirty pound lake ontario king salmon

Another great king salmon

Jane from Iowa landed this beauty.

The girls beat the guys.

Trophy King salmon

A great date to take a girl on.

Oswego,NY king salmon

Dave from Maine caught this monster with his dad.


Thirty plus lb king against smaller kings

The bigger kings really stand out.

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Is Lake Champlain Becoming the Next Lake Ontario?

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  A few years ago I had the pleasure of meeting Eric LaMontagne at a Sportsman show in Connecticut.  We were both operating our separate booths but did have the time to talk quite a bit about the state of our respective lakes, mine being Lake Ontario and of course his being Lake Champlain. The subject of Lamprey eels dominated the brunt of our conversation as both of our respective waters have been dealing with them for quite some time.

   Recently, while preparing an article for my website, it dawned on me that the Lamprey eels were not the only invasive species that both our Lakes share. Invasive species such as zebra mussels and alewives have been greatly publicized and are present in both lakes. After doing a bit of research it seems that some of the invasives that we have in Lake Ontario are knocking on the door steps of Lake Champlain.  Specifically, they include Quagga mussels, Round Gobies, Fishhook Waterfleas, and Spiny Waterfleas.

From a recreational standpoint, I would like to shed some light on how this can and does affect fishing for trout and salmon in Lake Ontario and how it can subsequently affect the Lake Champlain fishery if that body of water was to become inhabited by these invasives.

Quagga mussels are another variety of mussels like the zebra that inhabit more of the benthic or deeper layers of the water column In Lake Ontario. They are known to inhabit depths of over 400 ft. or more. They pick up where the Zebra mussels leave off on the floor of Lake Ontario. They are very prolific in reproducing and can populate a lake bottom in a very short period of time. Although the overall long term affects are still not known, it is known that Quagga mussels as filter feeders compete for phytoplankton which the native zooplankton feed on. This can greatly upset the food chain. They are also known, as a byproduct of their filter feeding, to reduce oxygen levels in the water and to release toxins into the food chain which can biologically magnify.  From a fishing standpoint, they can foul hooks when lures come in contact with them requiring the lures to be brought in and cleaned. Experience has shown that fish will not attack a lure that is fowled with quagga or zebra mussels so it would be prudent to check fishing lines every time they bump bottom.

Round Gobies were first reported in Lake Ontario around 1990. As an invasive species their impact is sort of bittersweet. They are voracious feeders and prolific reproducers which compete for forage with native species such as spiny water sculpens and log perch. They can out compete these native species for food and subsequently reduce their populations. The good news however, is that they have been documented to consume zebra mussels and control their population numbers. Gobies have also been found to be consumed by smallmouth bass, trout and salmon. The unknown potential problem is that because gobies feed so voraciously, especially on zebra mussels, they can biologically magnify toxins into the food chain. From a fishing standpoint they have been known to fowl hooks when they have come in contact with lures which have either bumped or have been run close to the bottom.

From a pure fishing standpoint quaggas and gobies are not significantly impacting the everyday act of fishing, at least in the physical aspect of it. But enter the waterfleas!!! The spiny and fishhook waterfleas have inhabited Lake Ontario for a few decades, with the spiny waterfleas showing up in the early eighties and the fishhook waterfleas in the late nineties. They compete for zooplankton along with other members of the aquatic environment. From a recreational fishing standpoint they can be a royal pain in the butt. Basically the only way that a fisherman can combat them is by using thick fishing line. In Lake Ontario we use 40 lb. test to keep the fleas off. An informational article on how we deal with the waterflea problem aboard my charter boat is available in our fishing info and tips section.     

I do not think that Lake Champlain fisherman would want to have to fish this way, especially when trolling for trout and landlocked salmon. So what as sportsmen can we do to stop the invasion?

There are many good organizations that are actively working to stop the invasion of these undesirable organisms. Some of these include:

As a fellow fisherman I would highly recommend everyone to check out these sites for more information on what is happening and what’s being done to help prevent the influx of invasive species into Lake Champlain. Organizations such as these are always looking for new members and financial support to help further their efforts. Lake Champlain is a jewel of a lake that deserves the support of all recreational fishermen as well as our government to keep her as pristine as humanly possible!

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Lake Ontario fishing observation

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I thought that  I would blog this  as an observation that may be of great help to my fellow fishermen. Several times in the last few weeks I have observed a common pattern exhibited by my Lake Ontario salmon quarry. The fish that are suspended over deeper water seem much more  willing to bite than the fish that are suspended over more shallower water. Let me explain.

On a typical morning I will head out in the dark with my eye kept diligently on my fishfinder looking for prospective targets, all be it, king salmon. When I happen to see what I am looking for I will shut down and proceed to to fish for them. These fish are usually suspended over shallower depths as they are the first fish that I see on my way out to deeper depths.Sometimes they bite, especially in the low light of early morning but on some mornings they just won’t. I have worked these fish by changing direction and speed in hopes of getting them to take my offerings.On more than one occasion I have wasted a lot of time doing this only to head out to deeper water in hopes of finding new targets. When I have headed out deeper the fish I have encountered have been much more willing to co-operate and bite.

This phenomenon of these deeper suspended fish being more willing to play has happened on more than one occasion, In fact, it has happened several times.It has happened so much so that I will no longer wait on the fish that I see in the shallower water.Yes I will make a pass or two on the first fish that I see but if they do not bite I have adjusted my strategy to immediatly move out to deeper water in hopes of finding more active fish.It has been working quite well as of late.

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Lake Ontario fishing continues to be strong.

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I’m looking back over the last several weeks and reflecting on just how good the Lake Ontario salmon fishing has been. On most days it has been stellar with some very huge salmon coming to the net. But, there seems to be a difference this year. The king salmon have been very particular on what they want to eat from day to day. There seems to be more days than not when the kings will only bite on meat offerings such as cut bait and whole bait. Yet, at other times they will absolutely turn their noses up at the meat and only bite flies or spoons. Why is this?

We have been talking about this on the docks among some of the top charter boat operators to come up with some kind of reasoning for this phenomenon. The general consensus seems to be that it has to do with water clarity and how deep the preferred temperature is in the water column. Could the zebra and quagga mussels be filtering out the water so much as to make the water that much clearer allowing light to penetrate deeper? Or could it be that the temperatures have been much higher or at least high enough in the water column where the fish can see better?

In any event we have been putting out a full smorgasbord of offerings to the fish to see what they prefer on a day to day basis and let the fish tell us what they want to eat that day. We then will load up up on the preferred offering to increase bites.

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