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.

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.

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.

Fremont voters approve Ballville Dam removal

CWF11102015damThe Ballville Dam has blocked the Sandusky River since 1913

Fremont, OH – It appears the saga of the Ballville Dam removal has finally come to an end.  For those not familiar with the Sandusky River and/or the Fremont, Ohio area, this dam has been the center of controversy and legal action for a good number of years.  The two polarizing views are those who support the removal of the dam and those who wanted to save it.  On November 3rd, 2015, the people were able to decide the dam’s fate.  Fremont voters approved the removal of the Ballville Dam by an almost 1,000-vote margin.  The results were 2,637 yes votes (61.3 percent) on the removal ordinance, and 1,663 no votes.  Finally, it is settled… and I am thrilled with the outcome.

I am a strong proponent of dam removal in general, but I was especially interested in this dam.  This was due to a host of reasons most notably being; this is a river that runs through the city I grew up in, I have fished this river more than any other body of water, and my family owns waterfront property on the river.  Needless to say, I love the river and wanted to see the fish that swim in it gain an extra 22 miles of unimpeded habitat.  I can’t believe this will finally be a reality!

At some point in 2016, I will be adding a page to the blog that will be devoted to the Ballville Dam and it’s removal.  I hope to create a photo journal of the progress that will go from start to finish and beyond.  I anticipate fish surveys and research will happen for many years to come, if not indefinitely.

Making the most of little time

Time is a commodity I don’t have much of these days.  Between a demanding career and family, fishing has been few and far between in 2015.  Along with very limited outings, getting the time to even do a brief write up has proven difficult.  On the up side, when I have made it out I have had some good success.  Most notably, I made it over to the Sandusky River White Bass run and timed it perfect.  It was non stop action with a real nice class of fish.  Plenty of bonus species also kept things interesting.

CWF05032015wbA 16″ Fish Ohio Award White Bass

The pond has been fishing well, and of course gets the majority of my attention as it provides a quick fishing ‘fix’ when there is no time to get anywhere else.  For the most part, I just have been working on my fly fishing and seem to be getting more proficient.

CWF05032015pumpkinPumpkinseed are quite beautiful

CWF05032015flybassA few Bass get to the fly before the Bluegill

Only a single trip was made to the various spring trout stockings and even on that day I didn’t have much time.  I was happy to at least get a fish, a rather decent 12″ Rainbow that under the circumstances, made my day.

CWF05032015troutInstagram trout selfie

I’m not feeling very worthy of calling myself a fishing blogger these days with so little time for fishing and writing.  I appreciate the folks that still stop by and/or follow on Facebook, even a small following makes me want to continue doing this.  I hope everyone out there is having a fun spring and making some great catches!

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.