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Submitted by:  Robert Stopper, Lyons

Arriving at the Lyons New York Dock on the Erie Canal on June 12, 2012 was not part of the original plan. No way! A year ago when brothers Gerry and Dennis Holson pulled anchor and sailed “Unchained” from their homeport of Sabula, Iowa, they headed down the Mississippi with the intention of “Doing the Loop”! Life was good. They piloted their 34 foot, 1978 Thompson Trawler south, through Ohio, Kentucky, the Tenn -Tom Canal, Mobile, Alabama, Florida, and then headed north up the ICW, only to be caught in Troy, NY during last year’s devastating Hurricane Irene and canal closing. They wintered their boat in Troy.

Now they are completing “The Loop” headed back to Iowa via the Erie Canal. They spent two days in Lyons this past week, and according to Gerry, “This place is what boating people want – truly a paradise - free showers, free dockage, free rest rooms, historical buildings, good chatter box cafes, an authentic hardware store, and helpful friendly citizens. The lady at the hardware store loaned us her car free of charge, a place called Schleedes rebuilt our generator carburetor, and the local market had wonderful selections of meat and other liquid essentials”!

Bucktail Wayne with famous jigs
For this portion of the “Loop” journey, Gerry and Dennis are accompanied by Wayne and Marva Auchstetter. Fishermen in this area of the state may recognize Wayne by his trade-name and logo– Bucktail Wayne, the world famous Mississippi angler and jig maker. Bucktail Wayne is famous for his hand tied custom buck tailed Walleye jigs, jigs frequently used by ice fishermen on Oneida lake and Lake Erie. Bucktail even had a little table set up on the boat to tie jigs during boring moments!

As “Unchained” pulled away from the Lyons dock, it looked simply like a big boat, but it was a boat making history: a boat plying the Erie Canal for the first time, a boat completing the Great Loop, and a boat carrying an unassuming guy quietly manufacturing world famous Bucktail Jigs! Oh yes, Bucktail Wayne did give this writer one of those famous jigs!


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