MARBLEHEAD, OH – As part of a family mini vacation to the familiar stomping grounds around Ohio’s central coastline, I thought I would take the opportunity to try Bryce’s ‘sea legs’ out. As much fishing as Bryce and I have done together, it’s never been from a boat. The fishing trip was somewhat short notice as I had randomly gotten an ad in my Facebook feed from Rock Harbor Cottages & Reef Bobber Charters that seemed perfect. It was offering a couple hours of evening fishing for a very reasonable rate. What better way to see how prone Bryce would be to sea-sickness?!, no huge investment if he was miserable, yet plenty of time for some fun if it went well.
I’m not even going to attempt to build suspense (okay maybe just a little because their was a big fish), everything exceeded all expectations! Weather was amazing, Bryce wasn’t sick at all, the fish were biting, and Captain Brad was fantastic. For a bit of a novelty type trip that wasn’t high dollar, I was amazed how hard the captain worked – some casting instruction for my son, would do a long cast and let him reel in, worked hard for his own hook ups and hand the rod to him, set the boat up multiple times for new drifts. All I can say is that I was impressed. I helped Bryce too, but admittedly haven’t been able to fish much, so I enjoyed that the Captain’s efforts allowed me to do a bit of fishing too. I had expected to need to be ‘hands on’ with Bryce the whole time.
I’ve fished with professional anglers that have explained the editing process often used when they record fishing shows. I mean do you really think every time they do a show the best fish is magically caught in the last 5 minutes before the episode ends?! Well our trip really followed that format without any editing… we ended on a couple very high notes. As we all were satisfied that we had achieved our goal to simply go out and catch fish, whatever was biting regardless of species – we would be treated to a giant fish hookup. Bryce was already tired from bringing in many fish and this one would take everything out of him. After 5 minutes of gaining ground and then hearing the drag scream – he asked for some daddy help. I was happy to oblige as I really wanted to see what it was. I also will say I didn’t do any better than him at controlling the fish, but simply had the stamina to wear it down. When I was able to finally get it close enough to see, we all were I awe of the giant catfish. Captain Brad did an expert net job once I finally managed to get the feisty monster to come head first towards the boat. He also took some great photos for us. At 30″, I don’t recall ever catching a Channel Catfish any bigger and certainly none more memorable!
After the big fish, we were pretty much ready to head back to dock. In yet a another unexpected blessing, I felt the tug of a fish and a completely different feeling fight. I was kind of glad Bryce was tired so I got to bring in the decent sized Walleye. A cool toothy fish was a great end to the night and Bryce wasn’t too tired to steal some glory with a picture with it.
I know this post isn’t about filling a cooler full or tasty Walleye or Perch… or even targeting the amazing sport fishery of Smallmouth Bass that Lake Erie offers. This really was a more personal post regarding a father getting to see his son catch fish on the beloved big pond and hopefully shaping memories of a great childhood. I hope one day he will have more days fishing on the lake that he could ever count or recall – but would know the first time.
My daughter had well established before the trip that she was not interested in going on a boat yet. At 4, just a little scared despite loving the water. I was thrilled that she was willing to get on the boat at pick up, a good first step. It also gave me the chance to get all of us in a picture.