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Saiff endorses Waddington’s Ultimate Fishing Town quest


WADDINGTON - Bill J. Saiff Jr. hosted “Rod & Reel,” a nationally televised fishing program on PBS, for 23 years, a gig that afforded him the opportunity to fish all over the U.S. and Canada.

“I’m 74 years old, so I’ve been fishing for around 65 years,” he said, adding that he’s also been a charter boat captain for approximately 40 years.

“I love fishing in Waddington,” he said. “But I must be honest, I haven’t had the opportunity to fish up there in a long time. I’ve been pretty busy with the charter.”

While he hasn’t been able to visit the “Carp Capital of the World” in quite some time, Mr. Saiff said he has some fond memories of fishing in Waddington.

Mr. Saiff recalled entering a fishing tournament there.

“People didn’t think it was fair,” he said. “If I won, it was because I was on TV, but if I lost people would say, ‘Well he doesn’t know anything.’”

More often than not, Mr. Saiff said he would fish for walleye or smallmouth bass, but he also found success fishing in Waddington for other types of fish, as well.

“I used to fish for walleye up there. It was good fishing for walleye and small mouth,” he said, adding he’s also fished in Waddington for muskies and northern pike.

“The stuff that river has to offer is as good as anywhere in the world,” Mr. Saiff said. “Other places might have bigger species, but we’ve got everything, and it’s pretty damn good fishing.”

While the television show often took him away from Northern New York, he said he never lost track of where some of the best fishing in the world was.

“I used to always say at the end of the show, ‘When I leave New York state, I leave the best fishing behind,” he said.

Waddington is currently making a repeat attempt to be named the nation’s Ultimate Fishing Town. As early as Monday, the held a 6,000 lead over their closest competitor, Olcott, N.Y. However, as voting has progressed this week, Olcott has trimmed that lead to less than 5,000 votes. Waddington finished second in the contest last year.

Should Waddington win the title, they will receive a $25,000 grant for fishing related causes, and a half-hour special filmed by the contest’s sponsor WFN (World Fishing Network) that would air on television later this year, potentially bringing thousands of anglers to St. Lawrence County.

This year’s contest also includes a secondary prize of $5,000 that will go to the top vote-getting community with a military-themed program mentioned in the nomination. According to Waddington’s nomination, should they win this prize, their $5,000 will go to aid The Wounded Warrior Project, an organization that has been bringing wounded soldiers from Fort Drum to Waddington to participate in fishing tournaments and events hosted there.

To cast your vote for Waddington and the Wounded Warriors, please visit,

People may vote once every six hours with voting blocks running from midnight to 6 a.m., 6 a.m. to noon, noon to 6 p.m. and 6 p.m. to midnight.

While last year’s contest included a first and second round, this year there is no second round. Voting ends at 6 p.m. on May 31, with the leading votegetter at that time winning the contest.

Mr. Saiff said that not being on television anymore has given him the opportunity to dedicate more time to Saiff Charters, a Henderson Harbor business that he owns and operates with his son, Bill Saiff III. The family also owns and operates the Westview Lodge and Marina in Henderson Harbor.

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