Second Trip to Ontario Has a Pennsylvania Connection

by Ralph Martone
August 2005

We had been home for less than a week, when it was time to turn around and head back north on another musky fishing adventure.

This time the destination was one of our favorites, Pennsylvania Club in Georgian Bay, Ontario.

Denise and I were fortunate enough to be to be invited back to Pennsylvania Club again this year by member William Devido. This year's group was lead by father and son Don and Ken Bronder, along with their wives Florence and Cathy, all from Butler, Pennsylvania.

Accompanying Ken was son David and girlfriend, Jess Bascom, along with David's sister Nicole and husband Jason Robinson. In addition, family friends Mike and Sarah Vorel were a big part of the activities as Mike turned out to be the top fisherman of the week. Other guests included Ken Bronder's sister, Dianne and husband Mike Ward, as well as Jason's parents Ray and Kathy Robinson.

The trip to Pennsylvania Club starts the week's excitement. The 400-mile journey ends with 20 miles of winding back road reminiscent of many Lawrence County roads, except for numerous signs warning of black bear and moose crossings. Arriving at Moon River Marina completes the first leg of this journey. But spending a week on an island means a boat ride, and for guests of Pennsylvania Club the boat ride is a 45-minute trip through the maze of islands and channels that dot the eastern edge of Georgian Bay.

Georgian Bay and in particular, the Moon River area is known for its excellent fishing opportunities, including giant muskies. Many people believe the next Canadian and possibly even the next world-record musky will be taken from this area. Georgian Bay waters hold both large and smallmouth bass, walleye, known locally as pickerel, northern pike and big, big, muskellunge.

It was the latter that brought Denise and I back to Ontario. And while we did land several nice fish the real fisherman for the week was Mike Vorel. On Wednesday afternoon, Mike hooked into a large musky while trolling a black bucktail over weeds. The big fish made several valiant runs for deep water before Mike was able to bring it boat side and into his net.

The fish measured a whopping 50 inches and weight estimates put the fish in the 30 to 35 pound range.

Just to prove his skill as a musky hunter, Mike followed up with another big musky on Thursday. This fish stretched the measuring tape to 46 inches. After spending many long hours fishing, Mike's wife and first mate Sarah, was as happy as her husband over catching two monster muskies. Mike and Sarah took pictures of their trophies and released them to be caught another day.

Denise and I didn't connect on a big musky, but we did score big on many nice bass and several big northern pike. And like Mike and Sarah, we seldom keep the fish we catch, choosing instead to practice catch and release. We are happy to report that Pennsylvania Club supports catch and release by encouraging members to release all fish.

Founded in 1896 by eight gentlemen from New Castle, the club sits on the southwestern tip of Pennsylvania Island in the Massasauga Park region of Georgian Bay. The club's facilities consist of a main lodge and smaller three-bedroom cottage with attached cook's quarters. A boathouse complete with workshop and nearby dock space for nearly a dozen boats round out the Pennsylvania Club's facilities.

Of course, one of Pennsylvania Island's greatest assets is camp cook, Dorothy. A New Castle resident, Dorothy puts together enough food for a camp full of fishermen and women. No one goes hungry at the Pennsylvania Club.

After a great week as guests of the Pennsylvania Club, Denise and I left Canada with just one thought in our mind - next year.