Myrtle Beach, S.C., vacation fishing

MYRTLE BEACH, SC – Anyone who knows me or follows this blog is aware of how much of a proud Ohioan I am.  There is a lot to love here, and when it comes to fishing freshwater – being near Lake Erie is about as good as it gets.  That being said, the handful of times I have gotten to fish saltwater, always seem to humble me and provide experiences that leave me envious of those that can fish it regularly.  This past week was no exception, as I had the opportunity to venture out in the Atlantic Ocean on a 1/2 day charter with Captain John (Reel Action Fishing Charters).

Don’t worry Bryce, you’ll go next time

I love the above photo, albeit it also breaks my heart.  My son was looking back at me while being lead away, as the weather was just a little too suspect for him to make the trip.  Mom is pretty protective and Bryce simply hasn’t had enough experience on a boat to know how he would handle it if things got choppy or we got a downpour.  With a very unpredictable forecast, it was the right decision at the time.  I must admit I may not forgive myself until we get back and he can go.

“I will love you this much if you put me back”

Along with Captain John’s kid-friendly approach that won me over as a dad, I also appreciated his honest no-nonsense appraisal of fishing this time of year and what to expect.  He let me know it was a bit early for some of the more typical sport fishing that occurs in the area.  He offered me options of more sure likelihood catching or hard fishing that could yield the end result of being empty handed for the effort.  In the end, we agreed to try for a short bit of fishing the Oyster beds for Redfish and then heading out in the ocean for Black Sea Bass and Spiny Dogfish.  Knowing dogfish are in the shark family, and I had never caught one, had me plenty excited.

As it would turn out, the Oyster beds did not yield any fish but I did catch the above Blue Crab on rod & reel.  It was not expected and something kind of cool to see for someone from Ohio.  I had to laugh as it made me think of the Dude Perfect video of Fishing Stereotypes (specifically at 2:24).

A cool bonus sight on the way out to fish the big water

Black Sea Bass

Spiny Dogfish

After a short while of motoring to the reef, we set up to fish again.  I no more than felt my weight hit the bottom and instantly had a bite.  True to his word and expertise, Captain John immediately had me on fish.  Countless Black Sea Bass were caught, varying in size, never more than a minute apart between fish.  As predicted, this action soon triggered the attention of the main targeted species for the day.  It didn’t take long until I felt a much heavier fish that fought well and occasionally could peel some drag.  Sure enough, the Spiny Dogfish.  After some instruction on how to safely handle them, I was enjoying quite a few photo ops with the species.  These ‘mini-sharks’ if you will, were getting caught after about every 5th or 6th bass.

A very happy author adding a new species to the life list

It was pretty cool to see the dogfish occasionally follow a bass that was hooked all the way to the surface.  I also had a few dogfish follow a hooked dogfish to the surface.  I actually have footage of this happening and hope to add a video to this post sometime soon.  The trip was awesome as I love catching something new and the fact that this species was decently sized and ‘shark like’ made for another saltwater experience I will never forget.

I can not wait to get back, and most assuredly will fish with Captain John again!

Bassmaster Elite Series, Fantasy Fishing

LAKE MARTIN, AL – “Play Bassmaster Elite Series Fantasy Fishing”, they said… “it will be fun!”, they said.  So yeah, evaluating my first tournament I guess it was a lot of fun if I don’t care about my actual result.  Of course in all actuality it was a lot of fun, borderline complete blast.  It made my engagement with the tourney a whole different experience than just looking at the leaderboards and waiting for it to be broadcast on television.  I found myself glued to the BASStrakk feed on Twitter, praying to see any of the names from my handpicked team.  While I envisioned myself becoming the Robert Kraft or George Steinbrenner of Fantasy Fishing ownership, the reality is that I put quite the jinx on a set of accomplished anglers.  For those familiar with the movie Office Space, I can hear the complete roster of anglers in Lumbergh’s voice saying, “uhm… yea… so if you could just not pick me, that’d be great”.  Sadly, some will be drafted to team CoolWaterFish.

For those unfamiliar with format, you select one angler from predefined groups A through E.  You score points based on each of your anglers overall place in the tourney.  All anglers fish the first two days, top 51 fish Day 3, top 12 fish Day 4.  I had 2 anglers fishing Day 3 (Matt Lee, 32nd and Chris Lane, 49th) and none on Day 4.  As a percentage, I was only 22.6% which means the vast majority of fantasy owners outperformed me.

So what was my methodology with choosing my team?  Well, I had many ideas and I decided to go with anglers from the same state as the event.  I applied the fact that I tend to do my best fishing on water I have fished the most.  My thought process is that these anglers would have likely fished Lake Martin more frequently as they made their way up through the ranks to the Elite Series.  I also thought residing in the state, if they still recreationally fished or did guiding, it might have them there more.  In the end, I think the entire field being the top professionals in the world, any local advantage was mitigated.  I will definitely use different methodology next event.

Feel free to leave a comment where you finished for the event, as for me 20,641st.  Ugh!~

Entering the new year with a plan

NORTH RIDGEVILLE, OH – Outside of growing one year older, I love the new year and the hope it gives to doing anything and everything better than the previous year.  For 2018, rather than simply relying on “hope”, I am approaching the year with a more formalized plan.  I’ve noticed that with career and family, amplified by the fact the kids are young, the day to day chaos causes missed opportunities for recreation.  As my wife and I have already been using the calendar more, blocking off dates, writing in specific places to explore, and even booking trips… this year feels different, and better!

It’s probably worth noting I’ve taken this whole ‘planned approach’ beyond just as it applies to creating more fishing opportunities and quality time with the family.  Ultimately, I believe it will make the blog have more new content and be a better read.