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.

Family fishing and a thank you to Cabela’s

A snapshot of what every kid’s childhood should look like

FREMONT, OH – While fishing is often way too infrequent for my liking, I have immensely enjoyed the few times I have gotten out.  I’m happy to report plenty of fish have been caught (Largemouth Bass, Bluegill, Channel Catfish), but my real enjoyment has been having the entire family together.  With my youngest ‘baby’ recently turning three, it is just getting easier for all of us.  As patience and stamina continue to improve for the kids, combined with less separate packing, more fishing should be in my future.  This suits me just fine!

With so many life changes and focuses that happen with parenthood, it is always nice when anyone demonstrates appreciation of family and kids.  After realizing my son was sporting a Cabela’s hat and that some of the photos seemed to capture his love of fish so well, I tweeted an image to Cabela’s.  For a big organization, I thought it was an exceptional nice personal touch to respond back.  Well done Cabela’s, and now I have even more reasons to feel good spending money there!

I had to laugh when the trash to the left went floating by.  The only debate my 5 year old wanted to have was whether it was an Alligator or Crocodile.  While it actually was some weathered rancid looking bubble wrap, I just didn’t have it in me to break his spirit and imagination.  Honestly, the more I look at it, the more convincing it becomes.

A giant fish, stocker trout, & friends

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.

cwf01212017grasscarpA giant White Amur aka “Grass Carp”

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.

cwf01212017rainbowA small stocker Rainbow Trout

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.

cwf01212017kayakThe author’s reaction to someone else’s big trout!

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.

cwf01212017kenAmongst 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!

Family man making for a fail fishing blogger

NORTH RIDGEVILLE, OH –  There are numerous websites that offer ‘professional’ advice to bloggers.  While I question some of the expert advice or even laugh at how the ‘professionals’ will contradict themselves, there is one thing they all agree on – it is never a good thing to go silent and not have new content posting at frequent or somewhat regular intervals.  I don’t disagree, and accept this as a fact.  The quandary that this has always put me in is my philosophy on when to write a post, “If I don’t have an at least marginally interesting story to tell, I don’t post”.  This is why my little blog will never rank that high on Google or any of the sites that score anything with a web address, I simply don’t post enough and the algorithms hate this.  I view people’s time as important and simply cant fathom the idea to mindlessly spew content to appear more legitimate in the ‘fishing world’ at the expense of the content being worse.

cwf11202016kidsThe lovely culprits… err blessings… that reduce fishing frequency

With a philosophy that is already pretty conservative about when to post, it increasingly works against me if I am not even out fishing to have an opportunity for something to happen worthy of a post.  I often wonder in my Instagram feed if the anglers are exceptional or is it simply they can fish a lot.  It also doesn’t hurt if those same folks live in places with exceptionally good water with good fish in it (especially true for those fortunate souls living on or near Saltwater).

At least I will say I have a wonderful reason for my low fishing frequency and the subsequent result of less chance for a post worthy happening.  This would be my amazing family.  I truly am blessed and wouldn’t change a thing.  As it relates to fishing, more than one dad has reiterated to me how fast time will go and that it is completely normal to have what feels like huge gaps in time not doing your previous recreations when you have a baby/babies.  I have already noted how fast time is going as my oldest is 5 and my youngest is 2.  My son is already demonstrating the ability to enjoy fishing with me and my daughter isn’t far behind.  I love the meme I see that circulates saying “Some people find a fishing buddy, I raised mine”.  In my case, I hope it’s fishing “buddies”.

cwf11202016jillMy wife recently fishing, a beautiful sight I haven’t seen in years

As my life now has taken me to nearly school age and a later stage toddler, I recognize some of the most around the clock constant supervision and demands are behind me.  While I am wise to know parenting and involvement never ceases (nor would I want it to), I also am acutely aware I am gaining ground on the ability to get out fishing.  I know my fishing experiences will often remain pretty remedial as they will likely often have kid(s) in tow, but I hope there will still be people who enjoy watching and reading along.  Maybe what they see will remind them of their own memories or for the younger audience, to see what might be ahead for them.

cwf11202016bryceA small fish provides simple joy and intrigue

Fighting a fish at the ‘big water’, Lake Erie

I’ve made it this far without giving up on blogging, it makes no sense to give up on it now.  It may very well turn out that for a period of time this blog will only serve the purpose of being a keepsake that my kids might enjoy one day.  For those that stick around through this period of time, I will continue to try to entertain, inform, and stumble upon some nice fish now and then.

A big catfish amongst bait stealing gobies

cwf09042016gobyBAY VILLAGE, OH – It was a beautiful day to head out into Lake Erie from Huntington Beach.  I was happy to get some time fishing from the kayak and didn’t really care what I caught, I just wanted to catch fish.  I set up one rod with a bottom bouncer and worm harness as I drifted and the other rod was for casting.  I had a few moments of excitement when I had a strike on the tube jig I was throwing, but it was very short lived.  The 3-4 strikes all came off shortly into the fight.  Curious as to what it might have been, but I guess that’s fishing for you at times.

My bottom bouncer rig remained quiet throughout the day, other than a single Sheephead, and a number of Round Gobies.  I’ve determined my next trip I will dropshot the gobies as bait themselves, I used to do this at the pier in Port Clinton with some success.  The highlight of my day came when my rod I was casting was sitting in the rod holder.  While I was busy removing a goby from the other line, I felt the kayak shake and saw something had clearly taken the Berkley Gulp! Minnow that was just drifting in the current.  The rod was doubled over and the fish gave me one of the best fights I’ve had on the kayak to date.  While I still am searching for my first Smallmouth Bass or Walleye from the kayak, I was plenty happy with the big Channel Catfish.

cwf09042016catfishThe biggest catfish I’ve caught from the kayak

2016 North Ridgeville Corn Festival, Fishing Derby

CWF08132016derbyNORTH RIDGEVILLE, OH – The Annual Corn Festival for 2016 was plagued with rain and poor weather.  We were fortunate though, that Saturday morning’s kid’s fishing derby had near perfect weather, maybe even the best half day of the entire weekend.  I guess it’s just proof that God loves fisherman!  In all seriousness, I was pleased with the forecast and happy that Bryce woke up eager to go to the event.  The derby was organized by the North Ridgeville Fishing Club, some of the nicest folks you can meet.  My son and I have attended other events they have been affiliated with, and always have had a great time.  Today would be no exception.  I will say attendance was down for this event, I think likely due to impending late day weather, and a lot of people were cheated of a great day of making memories.

CWF08132016derby4Bryce stopped for a picture with Mike, who got no rest from my son all day

There was not a new stocking of fish for the event, and overall, the fishing was slow.  We did have enough Bluegill biting to keep us occupied and provided some fun.  We also were catching some crayfish which entertained Bryce more than fish.  My son ‘adopted’ a couple of volunteers, Mike and Karen, who got little rest as he would yell for them to come over regardless of whether we had a new catch.  They were good sports about it, and Bryce soaked up the attention.

CWF08132016derby5A Snapping Turtle that we somehow landed on 6# test line

The highlight of our rod and reel action was what I thought was going to be a nice heavy fish.  Bryce was manning the rod and it had a considerable bend, much bigger than the Bluegill we were catching.  As he reeled it in, it came into view and I could tell it was a Snapping Turtle.  I used the metal rod holder to hoist it onto shore to get a few pictures, before letting it head back into the water.  It was Bryce’s first turtle catch and quite the surprise!

CWF08132016derby6Bryce wins a fishing pole!

CWF08132016derby2One happy and very proud kid

When the whistle sounded ending the event, Bryce had caught the most fish in his age group.  This earned him a cool new blue Zebco fishing rod.  The only thing that had his attention more than the crayfish, was this new prize.  He was super excited and made sure everyone heard all of his fishing stories from the day.  He needs to work on being humble, but that’s a tough concept at 4 years old.

CWF08132016derby3All I can say about this group photo is, “yep, that’s my son”

There were plenty of group photos where Bryce posed appropriately, but the photo above cracks me up.  Like a conquering hero, this is how he wanted to hold his new rod.  Amongst his 4 year old peers, I do somehow think he convinced them the rod was even more awesome – because of how he held it.  My next big catch, I think I’m going to strike this pose with the rod, after the release.

CWF08132016derby8Bryce with Keriann (from the Corn Festival Committee), reviewing an ODNR fish booklet

It was a day well spent with my son, catching crayfish, fish, and even a turtle.  We won something, ate some good festival food, and made new friends.  A big thank you to the North Ridgeville Corn Festival Committee (Corn Festival Website) and the North Ridgeville Fishing Club (NRFC Website) for the great time!  If there is a fishing event on the schedule next year, we will be there!

Memorial Day on the Sandusky River

CWF05302016drumFather & son, with one of many large fish

FREMONT, OH – While the girls went shopping and played at home, the boys headed to the river.  As Bryce and I made the hour drive to the grandparent’s house, it was very special to be able to explain what Memorial Day was about.  He grasped the main components of the holiday, and was waving an American Flag at any vehicle we passed.  This day was destined to be awesome.

Arriving to the river, we eagerly got lines in the water.  One set up for still fishing with nothing more than a worm suspended under a bobber, and the other I went about casting lures.  It didn’t take long and I had a nice big Freshwater Drum hit my inline spinner.  While Bryce and I took turns between reeling in the fish and manning the net to get the fish landed, I heard a loud splash.  A fish had pulled the other rod into the water.  There wasn’t anything I could do about the lost rod, so we just did our photo session with the drum (pictured above) before sending it back to the water.

CWF05302016pumpkinA handsome Pumpkinseed was one of many species encountered

After the big drum we continued to catch fish, namely a few Bluegill, Largemouth Bass, and Channel Catfish.  I’m not sure who was more excited, father or son, to be catching so many fish and multi species variety.  As if we weren’t having enough fun, we started seeing the bobber surface from the rod that had gone into the water!  I grabbed a canoe, and kept paddling to where the bobber had come up, only to have it go back under and surface 10 to 20 feet away again.  Bryce thought this was very funny.  Finally, I got close enough to the bobber to slip the paddle under it and get ahold of the line.  The rod end of the line was unable to be budged, so I went ahead and pulled in the fish by hand.  No surprise that it was a rather large Channel Catfish.

CWF05302016catfishThe rod stealing catfish, Bryce’s face shows he didn’t trust the fish

I threw the fish in the canoe so Bryce could see it up close and do a couple pictures.  After the fish was released, I was shocked to see the bobber was out of sight again.  With no fish pulling it, I assumed it would stay at the surface and my plan was to swim out to it, follow the line to the rod and free the rod from whatever it was stuck on.  Even though the bobber was not visible, I swam out thinking I would still be able to feel the line or bobber under the surface.  After 30 minutes, I gave up, and decided to just leave it as another good fishing story.

Cleveland Metroparks, Children’s Fishing Derby

By random circumstance, I finally had a few moments to catch up on the Cleveland Metroparks fishing blog.  I was surprised to learn that right as I was reading, the annual Children’s Fishing Derby had just started at Wallace Lake in Berea that very morning.  While we were already an hour into the event, I hustled my son out the door.

Bryce and I are no strangers to these events as we have done several, but it was admittedly different to arrive late.  Most of the better, easier places to fish were taken, which left us casting under a tree with ominous branches that displayed numerous trophies of tackle they had claimed.  We didn’t let it discourage us, and went about our fishing.  About a half hour in, Bryce reeled in a small Bluegill.  After the catch, I noticed Bryce was more pre-occupied with the carnival type atmosphere of the registration area and decided to quit fishing.

CWF05222016bWith things like the above ‘museum on wheels’ with huge animal graphics on the sides, I could understand why Bryce wanted to explore more of the area away from the water.  It’s funny how sometimes we can learn from our children.  I was consumed with getting him catching fish and making up for lost time from being late, only to have him at peace and happy finding enjoyment in other activities besides catching fish.  It rubbed off on dad, and I was having fun too.

CWF05222016cIn the above photo, Jessica was very encouraging by giving out ‘high-fives’ for correctly identifying the fish species in the dioramas.  Bryce also helped us to discover the plexiglass worked as an effective sneeze-guard, who knew?!

CWF05222016gThe always popular aquarium with some of the day’s catches draws my son to it like tweens to a Justin Bieber concert.  Fortunately, most everyone was fishing which allowed him to dominate the front row view.  I admittedly always enjoy the aquarium myself, which seems to be a nice fixture to look forward to at the events.  I do wish we would have been able to contribute a catch to it.

CWF05222016eBryce always wants to be the intellectually superior person when it comes to fish knowledge with his peers.  Cleveland Metroparks Aquatic Biologist Mike Durkalec, pictured above, is always kind enough to share some knowledge.  Some people have a gift with teaching, and Mike has it.

05222016fAfter a conversation with this young lady’s dad, I learned she had caught a nearly microscopic fish in a small plastic bucket.  I almost went blind trying to spot it, but it was there.  Too bad for her that the Smallest Fish Award required being caught on hook and line, or she would have won easily.  I’m sure she was fine without the award, as anyone rocking “Fish Ohio” cheek art knows who is boss.  Bryce and I didn’t find the tattoos, not sure if I could have pulled off the look.

I apologize that this post doesn’t have any awesome fish pictures in it, but most assuredly I can tell you many great fish were caught.  Click here to see some of the catches.  The way the day turned out, Bryce and I simply weren’t by the water to make our own catches or see neat catches being made around us.  We had fun with the activities pictured above, conversations, great hot dogs and the casting station.  For those that have never gone to one of these events, I want to note that loaner fishing rods were offered to those that needed them and free bait.  It also goes without saying that there are always numerous volunteers and staff offering free instruction.

A big thank you to the Cleveland Metroparks for another wonderfully fun family event!

Give me a home, where the buffalo (fish) roam…

FREMONT, OH – After my trip to Florida, I have only fished a couple of times. Weather has been a bit odd in Ohio this winter with it just cold enough to have ice cover on most bodies of water, but not cold enough to make the ice safe enough. I guess I should say not safe enough for me, some brave souls have ventured onto the ice. When the water has been open, my four year old and I have targeted panfish in a few ponds, without even a nibble. Steelhead fisherman seem to be having a good year in the NE Ohio tribs, but I simply haven’t had any opportunities to get out after them since the fall. I am hoping that changes.

Having longed for the fight of a good sized fish and some responsibilities that put me on the Sandusky River, it was an easy decision to rig up for carp and buffalo.  With the water still extremely cold, it is usually a matter of simply having the patience to wait it out for a bite.  I have an area that I know well, where opportunistic fish are holding nearly year round, where the current supplies food.  At different points in the year, the spot can often get a bite before your rig even settles on the bottom.  As for this time of year, you just have to have confidence a fish or two is there and the mindset that a day of fishing for a single bite is okay.

Fortunately, I had the time and the ability to multi task with a host of things I needed to get done while fishing.  While not the exciting fast paced action a lot of anglers seem to need, it suits me fine to wait out a bigger species this time of year.  It took 6 hours of fishing, but the effort was worth it when I finally got to hoist a decently large fish in front of the camera.  I can’t wait for the water to warm up a bit, where the same time commitment will yield vastly better numbers of fish.