New personal best, Largemouth Bass

Every now and then a fisherman is rewarded for their efforts with a significant catch. This reward that we are constantly in search of, when found, makes up for the countless hours and sometimes awful conditions we endure seeking it. My reward came tonight via a 22″ Largemouth Bass, a bass greater in size than any I have ever encountered.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESMaybe my new Cleveland Metroparks T-Shirt is lucky!?

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESLooking confident and almost ‘smug’, doing cartwheels on the inside

While I don’t target bass a lot, this evening I tied on a spinner specifically going for them.  I had caught several and actually had considered the fishing a success.  Often, in my mind I will say “last cast” when I am done, tonight was wild in that I actually uttered the words “last cast” out loud.  Maybe because I had actually said it, it caused me to pay attention to the cast, more so than any of the night.  It was a long cast, that I attempted to retrieve running parallel to the shoreline, about 5 feet out.  I recalled that the water temperatures were cooling, and slowed my retrieve.  When the spinner was about 12 feet from me, the fish hit with a dull heavy thud.  Other than a huge wave forming, nothing broke the surface, and I had no idea it was a bass.  For a few moments, I thought there was a good chance I inadvertently snagged into a Grass Carp.  It just felt too heavy to be a bass and wasn’t fighting like one.  It didn’t rise at all and wanted to stay down.  As I continued to fight the fish to shore, it eventually made a small jump and I got a clear side view of the fish.  My brain then registered the fact that I was fighting the biggest Largemouth Bass of my life!  I tried my best to remain calm and stay focused, as I got the fish to the water’s edge.  Normally, I would be somewhat cautious lipping a fish knowing there was a spinner with a treble hook present – but for this fish, I didn’t care.  I was prepared to take all three points into my fingers if necessary.  As good fortune would have it, and the unusually huge mouth of the fish, there was plenty of room for the lure and my fingers.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESThe trophy bass fell for this Blue Fox, Super Vibrax, size 3, inline spinner

The lure was sitting in the bottom lip of the fish, and was removed quickly.  I did a quick photo on the tape measure, then snatched it up for a quick photo op with me.  As much as I wanted to admire the fish, I knew the right thing was getting it returned to the water.  Apparently, I did a good job being quick about everything as the fish barely was back in the water as it bolted out of my hands and swam away strong.  It was a fantastic fish and seeing it swim away was the perfect ending.  Maybe, we cross paths again!

Four days of bliss, an Instagram interpretation

It’s rare that I take time off from work, so this past week when I had four consecutive days off, I wanted to make the most of it.  My goal was to hit a combination of known places to hopefully ensure some catches, while also exploring new waters.  By week’s end, I was satisfied I had accomplished these goals.  The fishing was okay, with the highlight catch being a Bluegill that exceeded the “Fish Ohio’ mark.  Along with Bluegill, other species I encountered included Largemouth Bass, Pumpkinseed, Common Shiner, Yellow Bullhead, Rock Bass, and Round Goby (man those are annoying).

I did a fair amount of fly fishing, and I continue to gain confidence with this technique.  I do miss a good number of hookups, but I know practice and getting more experience is the best remedy for that.  Even missing some fish, I really was appreciating the scenery and simply enjoying the outdoors.  I reminded myself several times, it isn’t just about the fish.

Rather than my typical posing with fish, I thought I would attempt to be a bit more artistic with how I presented the content.  Below, is a selection of Instagram pictures from the week.  If you dig my favorite fishing hat in the first photo, It is from Good River.

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CWFIG10102014rocky

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The only complaint I have, is that the four days went by far too quickly.  I pray that as the days get colder and shorter, I still get out for a few more experiences like this.  All the fish pictured and caught this week were released.

Shell Cove Park

We’ve all been there, show up to a spot to have people say, “you should have been here yesterday” or “last week was great”.  Well in this case, you should have been here 350 million years ago… that is if you wanted to catch a 10 meter (nearly 33 feet) Dunkleosteus.

CWF10072014dunklieA model of Dunkleosteus Terrelli, that’s one bad fish!

Driving along Lake Road (Route 6) in Sheffield Lake, Ohio, you will find a lessor known destination called, Shell Cove Park (map).  It isn’t widely popular as it basically consists of a few benches with a view of Lake Erie.  Hard to compete for popularity when there must be a dozen or so lakefront parks within 5 miles that offer a combination of trails, picnic areas, beach and/or fishing access.  What is special about this park, is what you can learn from the Ohio Historical Marker and a kiosk at this location.  You can read below on the photos (click to enlarge), but it basically describes how Jay Terrell, sometime around 1867, found the fossil of what he called a “terrible fish” in the shale cliffs of Sheffield Lake.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESIn my book, one of the coolest Ohio Historical Markers

A kiosk with what I think is a humorous size comparison chart (just put human)

Being that I love all things fish related, and especially big toothy fish, I think it is fascinating and wickedly cool to have the fossils of this fish found here.  While for most people I wouldn’t recommend a long drive just to visit the park (add a lake view to my two photos above – and that’s the park), it is worth stopping if your route happens to take you by it.  It also is very easy to plan something that would take you by it, as it is on the northern most east/west road.  There are plenty of attractions either way from it!

Shell Cove Park, Ohio Destinations #1
This post is the first in a new Category called “Ohio Destinations”

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