Far too few weeknights like this

N. RIDGEVILLE, OH – We finally had a warm enough evening that the ‘stir crazy’ kids and I could get out of the house and do some fishing.  A weeknight fishing trip always means just enough time to fish in the pond or a local park, but that’s good enough!  The kids hadn’t fished since Fall, so they were especially excited.  Dad was pretty excited too, fishing memories are some of the best!

This gem was the “take a picture with your sister” directive

My daughter likes to fish and is willing, but my son always loves to tell her she will get pricked by a fish if she catches it.  This usually ends with her not wanting to fish and Bryce having to do some time disciplined with no fishing.  His goal is to have her stop fishing so he can manage more rods or get all of the attention.  Pretty much a jerk move, but I suppose that overly strong desire to catch the fish, and fishing selfishness – came from me.

She loves her dolls and babies, but has her rugged side too

As for my firstborn, he is a ‘mini me’.  He loves fishing and never wears out from it.  I suppose the only real difference between him and I is that I am sad when it’s time to stop fishing, but usually I am not reduced to crying or tears.  Please note I said “usually”.

The first evening fishing and the Bluegill were biting non-stop

As with most parents, you lower the expectations of any family endeavor to just hoping the kids get along and aren’t fighting the whole time.  Happily, this was one of those times where it was magical.  Both kids happy, and Bluegill that were hitting as fast as the bobber landed.  We ended up fishing with a single rod because we could not manage more than one.

Bryce admiring his first catch of the year

Not only were the fish biting, they were decent sized

A gnarly looking bonus catch

Fish after fish, I dare say we wore out catch and releasing Bluegill.  Towards the end we did get rewarded with a hard fighting bonus fish, a Bullhead that finally took the jig and maggot faster than a Bluegill could snatch it.  I’m thrilled Bryce thinks they look cool, instead of ugly.  I’m trying to raise a fisherman that appreciates all of the species like his dad does.  As for my daughter,  I’m pretty sure at this point she thinks all fish are ugly, but at least she thinks they are fun to catch.  Overall, a very fun time this evening, we have “Far too few weeknights like this”.

Wallace Lake, multi-species from the kayak

BEREA, OH – I returned to Wallace Lake a few days after the fishing derby, solo this time with the kayak.  A bit of mixed emotion with the day’s success after the poor showing with the kids.  I would have gladly traded these catches for just a single fish for each of them to reel in.  That’s how fishing goes though and I certainly wont say that just because I didn’t catch any with them, that I hoped I wouldn’t catch any without them!  Just a little fisherman’s honesty there!

A very nice sized Wallace Lake catfish

The fishing started fast as I caught a Largemouth Bass on one of my first few casts.  I had also used a second rod to still fish (and slightly drift) which yielded a very nice 22″ catfish.  After those two catches I decided to focus on the trout as that was my main target of the day.  While I did have to work for them, I did get a limit.

Typical stocker Rainbow Trout

After catching the 3 fish limit of trout (only 1 was kept that wasn’t fit for release), I played around in the shallower areas sight fishing.  I got a few bumps and follows but nothing else was caught except a single Bluegill.  The day had grown exceptionally hot, and I was pleased with catching four species and accomplishing the trout limit goal.  Being more than content, I called it a day.

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.

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.

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!

Four days of bliss, an Instagram interpretation

It’s rare that I take time off from work, so this past week when I had four consecutive days off, I wanted to make the most of it.  My goal was to hit a combination of known places to hopefully ensure some catches, while also exploring new waters.  By week’s end, I was satisfied I had accomplished these goals.  The fishing was okay, with the highlight catch being a Bluegill that exceeded the “Fish Ohio’ mark.  Along with Bluegill, other species I encountered included Largemouth Bass, Pumpkinseed, Common Shiner, Yellow Bullhead, Rock Bass, and Round Goby (man those are annoying).

I did a fair amount of fly fishing, and I continue to gain confidence with this technique.  I do miss a good number of hookups, but I know practice and getting more experience is the best remedy for that.  Even missing some fish, I really was appreciating the scenery and simply enjoying the outdoors.  I reminded myself several times, it isn’t just about the fish.

Rather than my typical posing with fish, I thought I would attempt to be a bit more artistic with how I presented the content.  Below, is a selection of Instagram pictures from the week.  If you dig my favorite fishing hat in the first photo, It is from Good River.

CWFIG10102014hat

CWFIG10102014vermilion

CWIF101010bgflys

CWF10102014cro

CWFIG10102014blackriver

CWFIG10102014rocky

CWFIG10102014lake

CWFIG10102014bullhead

CWFIG10102014bluegills

CWFIG10102014bryce

CWFIG10102014bass

CWFIG10102014bigbgs

The only complaint I have, is that the four days went by far too quickly.  I pray that as the days get colder and shorter, I still get out for a few more experiences like this.  All the fish pictured and caught this week were released.

Where did the summer go?

I’m amazed at how fast the summer went, and how busy I was between work and family.  Outside of my special trip to New Hampshire, most of the fishing I have done has been pretty routine with nothing caught of noteworthy mention.  It is exciting that my son is getting to an age of really enjoying fishing, knows what he is doing and demonstrating a genuine interest in it.  So while the actual fish caught aren’t worth bragging about, watching him grow and seeing his personality develop, has made every trip memorable.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESHoping Bryce is old enough to remember days like this

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESI love how interested he is in each fish, a little version of daddy

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESHappiest when he can touch the fish, and insists on throwing them back

I imagine many of you can relate to these photos as it is the experiences you have had with your little ones.  It truly is an amazing part of life and I’m soaking up every second of it!

For those of you without kids or just generally are looking for reports and more dynamic excursions – don’t worry I do have a lot of fishing coming soon.  I took the week of October 6th off and plan on fishing all over the region!  More to come on that, soon!

A pretty fly, Fourth of July

CWF070414bluegillA dozen ‘Hand sized’ Bluegill highlighted the day

Catching Bluegill on the fly rod isn’t necessarily noteworthy.  Every Bluegill caught being over 9 inches, however, is definitely something worth writing about.  As I fished in private waters today, I was reminded that the most important factor in fishing is simply having quality fish available at the location you are at.  Sometimes we over emphasize the smallest of details, technique and gear, when in actuality the most important thing to do is find a place with quality fish that are hungry.  I remember watching the weigh-in at a PWT (Professional Walleye Trail) years ago where the winning angler was getting asked all kinds of questions regarding lures, depth, speed, what kind of bottom structure – all kinds of specific detailed things.  The angler looked at the emcee and simply said, “I found a school of hungry fish, and they were big”.  I thought to myself, this angler won’t have a single sponsor left as to not take advantage of a line of questions that was perfectly set up to ‘name drop’ sponsors for every aspect of how he won the tournament.  As I later reflected on the comments, I simply appreciated the honesty and thought there was an abundance of truth in what he said.  So today, I wasn’t an amazing or accomplished angler for catching a dozen “Fish Ohio Award” sized Bluegill on the fly – I simply chose an amazing place to fish.

An enjoyable day with family & fishing

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESThe family had a gathering today that happened to be at a relative’s house that lives on a beautiful private lake.  As one might expect, I had fishing gear in tow.  As one of my goals this year was to do more fly fishing, I took a 7 wt. fly rod as my weapon of choice.  Although I was mostly going to be targeting Largemouth Bass and Bluegill, this was the scene of my first ever Grass Carp catch and went a little heavier in case one bit.  Without the potential of these carp, I likely would have just taken the 4 wt.  I also brought along one spinning rod in case the fly fishing wasn’t working out.  I’m far from a purist, I just want success!

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESWhile it did prove to be overkill using the 7 wt., the fishing was fantastic and numerous Bluegill and Largemouth Bass were caught.  All of the fish hit on a rust colored Woolly Bugger.  Three Bluegill were well over the 9″ Fish Ohio Award length, while all of the bass ranged from 11 to 14″.  It was easily the best fly fishing I have ever done, as far as numbers vs. the time fished.  Truly, a banner day.

So after getting my fill of the fly rod, I switched over to the spinning.  I was seeing tons of Grass Carp, but was not successful coaxing one to hit a fly.  I took a bobber and placed a hook about 4 inches under it, and then took some long blades of grass and tied them onto the hook.  This was getting a lot of attention from the fish and sometimes right as the bobber hit the water, a fish would swim over to inspect it.  After tons of experimenting, I finally was getting the fish to feed on the offering.  Unfortunately, I was too excited and kept pulling the hook out of the fish’s mouth before it truly had it good enough.

CWF062114grasscarp2This was getting very aggravating, but I reminded myself that this was my first time targeting the species (the only one I had ever caught was inadvertent and only saw it after it was hooked) and it would take a bit more figuring out.  The scenario kept playing out where a monster fish, like the one pictured to the left, would either swim up to the bait or take it – only to have me miss.  I must have pulled the hook out of 4 or 5 fish before I finally was patient enough to let the fish carry the food away before setting the hook.  When I did finally nail it, the sensation was awesome!  The drag was screaming and I can’t begin to describe how good it felt to have such a heavy big fish on the line.  It changed directions often and it would actually create a wake towards shore when it did.  When it splashed, it wasn’t the high pitched light sprinkling water sound, it was more of a dull thud and ‘whooosh’.  As I kneeled on the dock, praying the fish wouldn’t come off, all of the family came down to see the action.  I didn’t bring a long handled net, which only further complicated trying to get it landed.  Every time it got close to the dock it would spook and take off again.  Finally, it decided to go under the dock which turned out to be a help to me.  As it swam out from under it, it didn’t get much of a chance to see the net come down and that was it.  Landed!

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESThe massive Grass Carp was considerably bigger than the net

While the net was short handled, it had a deep basket.  The fish still exceeded this length, with a good portion of it hanging out, as you can see above.  On shore, everyone just commented on how astonishingly big it was.  We hurriedly took a measurement that put it just under 40″ and then I prepared for some photos.  While being measured, the fish got a little ‘dirty’ so I decided I would let it revive in the water and clean it off.  This proved to be a huge mistake, as the power of the fish in the water overwhelmed me, and it got away.  So much for any type of ‘hero’ photo of me with the catch.  At least I had a lot of witnesses, and got to experience the catch with a lot of family.  It was sad though, as this was my lengthiest freshwater catch, with no great photo.  In its own way, the photo above has an artistic qualities and some personality to it – and captures the moment fine.