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Fair sailing for bait store.

Byline: Mary Anne Magiera

COLUMN: Outdoors

So far, things are working out for a West Boylston resident who decided to turn his hangout into his workplace.

Ed Fair is the new owner of B & A Bait and Tackle Co. on the Wachusett Reservoir. He bought the business earlier this summer from Alex and Ben Attella, who have moved on to other things after completing college.

"I live right up the street from the bait shop and I spent a lot of time here," Fair said. "I like the tackle and fishing part, and when it came up for sale, I was asked whether I was interested."

Fair dipped into his savings and took a chance.

"It's been fun; I really enjoy meeting people," he said.

The 54-year-old father of four boys was taught to fish as a child by his dad, Ray, now 90.

"I grew up fishing at Hopkinton State Park, a short distance from our house," Fair recalled.

Fair said he expects to continue carrying a full line of bait and tackle and maintain the same business hours as the previous owners.

His only regret is that the new job is eating into his fishing time. However, after two months on the job, he managed to slip away last week for some striped bass fishing on Cape Cod. Fair and his companion left after the shop closed and returned before it opened the next morning.

However, they came home empty-handed.

Fortunately, his customers are doing a little better at the reservoir.

Live bait rules at Wachusett

Fair said shiners - large for lake trout and bass and small for trout - are scoring the best catches at the reservoir. The reservoir has been lowered to accommodate dam repairs in Clinton and has affected the usual fishing patterns at this time of year, according to Fair.

Small shiners and small crawlers are working on salmon and trout at the mouth of the Quinapoxet River off Thomas Street where cold water continues to be pumped into the river from the Quabbin Reservoir.

In recent days, Fair has weighed in some nice rainbow trout and a couple of white perch that cleared the minimum weights to earn bronze pins from the state. Ed Parmentier weighed in an 11-pound, 13-ounce lake trout, and several fishermen reported catching nice smallmouth and largemouth bass between the causeway bridge and the stone church in Thomas Basin.

Weed-less baits shine

Whitehall Reservoir has been a standout, turning out several four-pound largemouth bass despite the heat, according to Jeff LeClaire at Fin & Feather Sports in Upton Center.

"Weed-less is the way to go; local lakes are all imbedded with weeds at this time of year," LeClaire noted.

Topwater frogs have been top producers along with Senkos and Yum dingers - 4- to 5-inch plastics usually allowed to flutter through the water column weightless. LeClaire's customers are also doing well with six-inch snapback cyberflex lizards and 7-inch curly-tailed worms manufactured by Strike King and Terminator bait companies.

Hopedale Pond has recently produced a share of large bass for Upton area residents and Ashland Reservoir has already begun to give up some trout to fishermen trolling Thomas spoons and Mepps Comets in sizes one and two.

Buffumville Lake surprises

An often difficult place to fish, or, rather, to catch, Buffumville Lake surprised me on Tuesday. The anchor of an Army Corps of Engineer recreation area in Charlton, the 451-acre lake is home to some nice bass, and I managed to catch close to a dozen, more than the usual two or three. The smaller bass were tight to cover in shallow water, but the six or so two- to four-pounders I boated were chasing small bluegills at the edges of milfoil clumps near the deepest section of the lake. The majority fell for a whacky hooked four-inch Senko.

I was pretty proud of myself until yesterday when I talked to Dave Lemieux at D&G Sports in Leicester. Lemeiux hosts a Wednesday evening pickup bass fishing league that fished Buffumville last week.

"One of our guys broke the club record for three fish, weighing in at 13-pounds, 11-ounces," Lemieux said. "Eddy Tinder (of Worcester) boated a six-pound, 4-ounce bass."

The winning weight was pulled from the shallows of the north end of the lake, while Tinder's lunker took a jig dropped next to one of the many flooded trees in the south end of the lake.

Sargent Pond crappie

Lemieux recalled other nice catches recorded at his bait shop in recent days, including a one-pound, three-ounce crappie that earned a bronze pin from the state for Anthony Lombardozzi of Leicester.

"It was a beautiful crappie; the kid was real proud," Lemieux recalled. The 14-year-old caught the fish in Sargent Pond in Leicester; it was 13-3/4 inches long and 10-1/4 inches wide.

Connecticut River catfish

Although Ed Smith of Sportsmen's Cellar in Sturbridge noted that business is real slow this summer, some fish stood out - eight- and six-pound channel catfish from the Connecticut River and two five-pound brown trout from South Pond in Brookfield.

However, the catfish that got away, Smith said, "did something that's pretty rare." The cat hit a large shiner twice, but before the fisherman could get to the trolling rod, the fish yanked the rod from the holder and into the river, swimming away with it.

Fishing derby no-shows

Only one fish has been entered in the summer-long fishing derby at Ellis Marine in Leominster, an indicator of the fishing tempo in the area, according to Robyn Ellis, co-owner of the bait shop and marina.

"Fishing is a lot slower than last year," Ellis noted.

Singletary Military Shoot

The Singletary Rod & Gun Club will hold its annual Nostalgic Military Shoot Sunday at the club grounds on Sutton Avenue in Oxford.

The event is open to the public. Registration is at 9 a.m. and the competition begins at 10 a.m.

The shoot will include three events: a pre-1900 single shot rifle at 130 yards; a bolt action class at 230 years; and a World War II semi-automatic class at 230 yards. All events are bench rest and it is a 50-50 shoot.
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Title Annotation:SPORTS
Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:Aug 10, 2007
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