BEREA, OH – Some days are just about perfect, today was one of them. If nothing more would have happened than getting to kayak fish on a 60 degree day near the end of January in northern Ohio – it would have been great. When you add a giant fish, catch and releasing more than a limit of the targeted species, and fishing amongst friends it is truly a special day.
A few years ago, I perfected some tactics to catch Grass Carp at a lake in Medina and the pond in my back yard. The highlight was a huge fish caught by throwing some green leafy plants on the surface, and mixing in a leaf that had a single hook in it. That fish was never documented. In one of those ‘what was I thinking?!’ moments (this particular excuse applies to several memorable fish) I had decided it was necessary to clean the fish off before snapping a few photos. It’s probably not necessary to fill in the blanks, but yes, right out of my hands the fish swam away. I was pretty dejected to say the least. It was my hope whether targeting or inadvertent, that I would encounter the same class fish at some point. Most importantly, that the new story would end with a photo. As you see above, on this day that happened and a bit of fishing redemption was mine. I use the term “a bit” because the other fish took my offering in the mouth and was a catch in the purest sense. Today’s fish ended up snagged after I kept casting where I saw a big fin breach the water. While legal in Ohio for this species, it will never measure up to the first fish due to this.
Almost lost in my mind completely over the big fish, was that the targeted species was stocker Rainbow Trout. The trout were placed in early December and it was apparent a good number remained. While not fast and furious, I did get my 3 fish limit and continued to catch & release another 3 or 4. A few fish came on the non-glorious (but always productive) Powerbait and the others on a Panther Martin inline spinner. All of the trout I caught were rather small, and all Rainbows. The Cleveland Metroparks do a great job of mixing in some bigger trout, some Golden, and a few others species of trout with most, if not all stockings. I have never caught any of the ‘bonus’ fish despite a substantial effort in the number of times I’ve been out.
The photo above captures me reacting to someone else catching one of those ‘bonus’ fish I can’t seem to get. I hope it shows my sportsmanship or a lot about my personality to see my joy over someone else getting a nice catch. The unseasonably warm weather brought out a good number of kayak anglers, and this fortunate angler landed a very sizeable Rainbow.
Amongst the kayak anglers on the lake, was at least one face that looked familiar to me. It turns out it was Ken Morris, a Pro Staffer for a few brands and definitely a well respected person in the kayak and fishing community. I had first seen Ken in a Facebook Group we both belong to, CLE Kayak Angers, and it was nice to formally meet. He has a wealth of knowledge and one of those people that freely offers his expertise and insight. I hope to do some planned fishing trips with him in the future. Ken mentioned the River Bassin Tournament Trail, a paddle-powered catch, photo, and release fishing tournament series. It looks really outstanding and I wanted to give it some exposure on my blog. Check it out!