Cleveland Metroparks, Wallace Lake Fishing Derby

BEREA, OH – With my wife out of town for work, I had a little assistance from the Cleveland Metroparks (www.clevelandmetroparks.com) with keeping the kids entertained today.  In what has become an annual tradition, we participated in a kids fishing derby at Wallace Lake.  These are very well organized, a lot of fun, and create some wonderful memories.  Staff and volunteers are always eager to assist in any way to help participants have a good time.  It never ceases to amaze me how Cleveland Metroparks Aquatic Biologist Mike Durkalec amidst all the logistics and chaos of the day – can give so many different kids some personal attention.  Pretty amazing.

Along with the tradition of going to these events, is my inexplicable tradition of not being able to help put my kids on fish during the event.  I really can’t explain it, but it reminds me to never consider tournament fishing.  If there is any degree of competition or I am ‘on the clock’ of an event, I do bad.  Thankfully, my kids are forgiving and there is enough going on that they still have a blast.  Maybe I need a big button that says “MEDIA” that I can wear, and claim my poor efforts are due to the distraction of covering the event.

I love the photos posted above.  The shot of my son and daughter with their arms around each other getting along, both smiling naturally (not the usual cheesy Bryce insists on) is captured very rarely.  I also loved seeing them admire some of the catches that make their way into the tank.  This is a very popular attraction for all the kids, not just mine.  I thought the huge 19.5″ bass was exceptionally kind to frame itself so nicely in my daughter’s photo.  That fish, was actually caught by a young girl similar in age to Alexis… surely others were dealing with the same thoughts I was of being excited for her while just a tad bit jealous!  What a catch!

Being in the Cleveland Metroparks never limits you to a specific a single type of wildlife.  We saw many neat creatures, critters, and animals of all types and sizes.  Of note, Great Blue Herons, Orioles, Egrets, turtles, and a toad.  My kids did not leave the event sad or disappointed they didn’t catch fish, instead I was treated to conversations throughout the day regarding everything they did see and do, and especially the toad.

Despite somewhat cool weather and overall tough fishing for most, attendance was pretty impressive.  This photo taken a few minutes before the morning session awards, shows only a small sampling of the population around the event area and doesn’t account for the numbers that  continued to fish.  I am glad so many people, with those kids, make it out.

I live about 20 minutes from Wallace Lake, this photo was 5 minutes after we left.  Needless to say, they were spent.  I love knowing they played that hard.

Pond fishing success

A good sized pond Largemouth Bass

NORTH RIDGEVILLE, OH – Every now and then pond fishing can yield a real nice fish.  I have access to a few and it had been some time since one of the better fish had been caught.  With my recent ability to get out fishing a little more, the ‘icing on the cake’ so to speak was getting a nice fish.  While not a complete monster, it was big enough to quicken the pulse, and keep fish energy high!

My friend Nate, who is an exceptional fisherman, made a very good point recently to me about how if I take my spinning gear and my fly gear – I wont really get better or develop as a fly fisherman.  I know he is 100% accurate as I have found this to be true.  While I really need to perfect my skills in tributaries, I still think even on ponds and lakes I should apply this.  I know this will produce fewer catches at least early on – and I need to accept this as a necessity to get more fly proficient.  Leaving my trusted gear behind, I did one trip with just the 4 wt. fly rod.  I used a minnow pattern to catch some fair sized Bluegill and considered the effort successful.  Only one small bass was caught on the fly but at least there was upside in that the smaller Bluegill didn’t have mouths big enough to get hooked.  This served to cull the smaller fish without ever having to land and handle them… a definite bonus.  I need to commit to more trips with only fly gear in tow.

Midland Painted Turtle

More exciting for my kids then any of the fish recently caught, was a Midland Painted Turtle that I was able to grab and let them admire for a few minutes.  My ‘dad status’ has been legendary after this feat and there are numerous discussions around them wanting a pet turtle.

Easter fishing with the family

My son and cousin Andrew thrilled with mommy’s catch

MEDINA, OH – Easter found the family at an uncle and aunt’s house for some great food and fun which of course included fishing.  You just can’t live on a lake with the sun shining on a fine spring day and not fish.  I did do some fishing myself, but found myself having more fun watching and taking pictures of others.  I also spent some time helping the kids fish which is always a good time.  Who doesn’t love seeing the excitement on a child’s face when they catch a fish?!

With the family getting out together, and the kids becoming marginally able to entertain themselves for brief moments of time – My wife has been able to make a few casts.  I love seeing my wife fish.  It reminds me of the time before kids when she was able to actually do something even anything for herself for two seconds.  She is the perfect mom who sacrifices everything personal for her family, including myself, that require constant demands from her.  All of that perfection of a person, with beauty beyond measure, has me feeling extremely blessed this Easter.  Easily my best catch ever.

My gorgeous wife with one of her many bass

The ‘apple doesn’t fall far from the tree’ does it?

Even my daughter wanted to be around the fishing action.  She channeled her inner Izaak Walton and opted for a long tree branch as her fishing rod.  She didn’t weave horse hair for fishing line though, just swished the rod in the water to help stir up the fish.

Even the best of days must come to an end, but the memories from this day are far from over.