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.

Good ‘rough’ fishing on the Sandusky River

The White Bass Run in the Sandusky River didn’t prove to be that great for me this year.  It seems it was one of those years where every time I got to fish, the action just wasn’t fast.  I did catch a fair number, but those familiar with the run know exactly how fantastic it can be if you time it right.  So I made the most of my outings by simply enjoying the other species that were being cooperative.  This turned out to be various ‘rough’ fish, which was plenty fun, and included another Fish Ohio Award.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESA 26″ Fish Ohio Award Channel Catfish

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESNot ugly in my book, just a cool big fish

Over the course of several trips during the Memorial Day Weekend, the theme of species was consistent.  The White Bass would hit now and then but the majority of catches were Channel Catfish, Freshwater Drum, White Perch, and Common Carp.  I did change up my offerings quite a bit, minnows, night- crawlers and threw inline spinners and a few swim baits, but these were the only takers.  No complaints, I was catching fish!

The big catfish was a fun catch.  I was using a 1/64 oz. jig tipped with waxworms, under a bobber.  I was fishing only about a foot off the dock, in 3 feet of water.  The bobber went under with some ferocity and when I lifted the rod it almost yanked out of my hands.  So much for me thinking I was targeting panfish on that rod!  The drag was set correctly and I was happy the 6# test line held up each time the fish ran.  My dad was beside me on the dock and we had a blast trying to get it netted, 4-5 times we got it close and it would take off again.  Even when we had it back close to the dock it was doing loops and circles and it was exhausting trying to get the net in front of it.  We did finally manage to get it landed, and a few photos later, it was swimming again.  Definitely a memorable catch.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESA nice sized Freshwater Drum that hit a white jig/grub combo

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESI did catch one Largemouth Bass during the weekend

So there’s my Memorial Day Weekend fishing report.  It was great to spend time with the family and feel the tug of a few fish.  A big thank you to all active duty and veterans out there.  I also am very thankful for all those who gave their lives for the freedoms we have.

First “Fish Ohio Award” of the year

CWF05242014carpCall me crazy, I think it’s a nice looking fish

CWF05242014brycecarpThat’s my boy, never pass up an opportunity to get in a fish photo

 A trip to my parent’s home today, meant a chance for the family to do some fishing.  We were on the Sandusky River, north of Fremont, targeting White Bass with minnows.  The action was okay, but quite a bit slower than what I was expecting.  In order to generate a few more bites, I opted to use Nightcrawlers on the second rod.  I figured two different kinds of bait might get us a few more strikes.  This would be especially important to keep Bryce’s attention.  The decision ended up being a good one, as I ended up reeling in a rather large Common Carp.  The hard fighting fish took me about 7 minutes to bring in and went 30″ on the tape.  It has been quite awhile since I caught a Fish Ohio Award qualifying catch and it was fun that Bryce was right there getting to see and touch (actually hugged) the fish.

The carp was the showstopper today, but plenty of White Bass, Sheephead and White Perch also were caught by day’s end.  Bryce has gotten pretty comfortable around the fish and became increasingly insistent on being able to handle them.  Jill did a great job getting some photos of him trying to be patient and taking instruction from me.  He was very happy to hold a fish on his own and even throw it back in the water for his first ever unassisted catch & release.  His form could use some work but at least he enjoyed letting them go.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESAttempting to show him how to lip a fish, but he just grabbed it

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESHe was fortunate the dorsal spines stayed down, or bye-bye smile

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESThe release

So there you have it, a memorable day with the family on the Sandusky River.  I appreciate everyone’s tolerance as I am sure I will post every ‘first’ that Bryce does as it relates to fish and/or fishing.  What can I say, I love my boy!, and I know other dad’s understand.

White Bass run starting on the Sandusky River

InstagramWBmay102014Well let me start by saying I apologize for the intro picture where I am shoving the fish down the camera lens.  I was excited to do an Instagram photo and just wanted to use a little artistic license.  It was a dandy of a White Bass, but of course it’s never easy to judge when you hold a fish out like that.  Please forgive me.

The Walleye Run is over by most accounts, but I was thrilled to be on the front end of the White Bass Run.  It seems like deja vu with 2013, no time during the Walleye, but a better schedule by the time the White Bass were showing up.  I ended up fishing north of Fremont, Ohio, with my friends Darrin and Leo.  Overall, the results were pretty good with plenty of White Bass, White Perch, Channel Catfish and a single giant Freshwater Drum.  A few carp and buffalo were inadvertently snagged into, all popping off before coming to the net.  The majority of the fish hit on Emerald Shiners on a 1/32 oz. jig, under a float.  The bite was best right at dusk and shortly into the night, right as we were leaving.  The next few weeks should be good!

The White Bass Run comes to an end

I had no complaints about the White Bass Run this year. It seems that in recent years I either couldn’t make it out, or if I could the conditions weren’t right. This year, I had multiple trips during the run that good numbers were caught with tons of bonus catches. The final trip to the Sandusky River before the end of the run, proved to be the best day yet.

I was joined by my friend, Leo, who made the fortunate decision to make the trip with me. After a slow start, the fish turned on and we were catching them at will. We only ended the trip when it was starting to get dark and the mosquitoes were getting unbearable. I have no idea what the fish count was by the end of the night, but it was a lot, and many different species. The highlight for me, was finally getting a “Fish Ohio Award” sized White Bass that just reached the necessary 16 inch mark.

Spring fishing on the Sandusky River

CWF2013MAY18Spring fishing on the Sandusky River is always good… this year it is exceptional. White Bass have been plentiful and so has just about everything else swimming in the river. The photo above is a pretty good illustration of what has been biting. Good numbers of White Bass and White Crappie, some very big Channel Catfish and even a few Buffalo. Also have brought a couple Yellow Perch, Bluegill, Pumpkinseed and Sheephead to the net. I’ve mostly just been using a live minnow under a bobber, with everything swimming in the water approving of the offering. It has been a lot of fun using 6 pound test that is plenty appropriate for the White Bass, only to have the rod double over and massive lengthy fights with a huge fish now and then. I think the White Bass will still be around longer, I highly recommend the Sandusky or Maumee River this time of year. No matter where you live, spring is just a great time to get out!

White Bass running on the Sandusky River

CWF2013MAY11bufwbTiming and conditions are everything when it comes to fishing for the Walleye or White Bass during the run. The past few years, I either couldn’t get out during the peak or conditions were poor when I had the opportunity to fish. Today, I was targeting the White Bass and was happy to find them somewhat willing to cooperate. Action was rather slow, but I caught enough to feel like the trip was a success. None of them were very large, just decent eaters if I would have been keeping them. The surprise of the day, was catching the pictured Smallmouth Buffalo on a minnow. I didn’t even know they would eat a minnow, let alone be able to get to it before the more abundant and aggressive feeding smaller fish. In the comings weeks, I will be heading back again.