A good friend of mine called me on Monday and asked me if I would be interested in going fishing tuesday morning. He said it would be his last trip in his boat before he put it away until spring. Of course without any arm twisting or second thought I told him I would. Tuesday morning rolled around and I went down in my man cave to begin preparing my rods for the day ahead. My phone rang and when I answered I got a pleasant surprise. My friend that I was going fishing with looked at the weather reports and decided that Lake Erie conditions would be good enough for us to make one final trip before winter. Previous to him calling me, the plan was to keep it local at one of the lakes around us. I haven’t done so well at local fisheries, so this news excited me. Our last trip their we did very well catching my favorite species….SMALLMOUTH. My friend also caught a monster steelhead. My hopes were very high. I just had a feeling that we would do well. We had success last time trolling, and we kind of accidentally stumbled upon the smallmouth. This time our game plan was to fish for perch for a little bit, and if that doesn’t work then we were going to troll for steelhead or smallmouth. Upon arrival, the lake was surprisingly calm. I know the weather wasn’t supposed to be bad, but anytime I see Lake Erie calm I am surprised. After we launched the boat we stuck to our plan and went looking for perch on the fish finder. On our last trip there were tons of boats on the water, but this time there was only one other boat. This should have been a sign of things to come. We pulled up to our first spot and went fish less. After fishing that spot for a while we moved on to two more spots, and after 45 minutes we had zero perch. Both of us eager to get back to the success we had trolling last time, decided we spent a enough time fishing for perch. I felt trolling it wasn’t a matter of when we would catch fish, but rather how many we were going to catch. We went right back to the break wall that yielded so many fish the last time. We were using the same lures and the conditions were very similar. It just seemed everything was in our favor. The fish finder was showing fish, the conditions were good, we weren’t competing with other boats, and we were executing the plan we had in place. Only problem is the fish decided not to cooperate. We trolled for hours without catching a fish. Occasionally when we would see a school of fish, we would stop and drop different baits down to entice them, but we never had any takers. Once again for me, it was very frustrating. This has been the worst fishing year of my life in regards to numbers caught. I have never been skunked so many times in one season. There was one exciting moment for us. We were on inside of the harbor on our last troll of the day. We were only going about two mile per hour, and I decided to cast out a vibe beside this collection of leaves in the water. Mind you, I did this while we were trolling so the boat is still moving. I just figured I would be able to jig the bait up and down a few times before the bait was to far behind and I had to speed reel it in. I jigged the bait up once and then went to do it again and it felt like I snagged a tree limb or something big. My friend that was controlling the boat asked “Do you have a fish?!” and I told him I that I hooked a tree limb that was under water. He stopped the boat and I began to retrieve the limb. I was pulling and pulling and it wasn’t coming to the surface. I started to think that maybe there was a fish on the end of the line, but every time I stopped to see if their was a fish, there was no feeling of anything fighting back. I finally reeled it about three quarters back to the boat and we saw a fin! Whatever kind of fish this was…it was HUGE! As I continued to reel it in right beside the boat, we realized that I somehow snagged a giant walleye on its back. I have no idea how it happened but right before us was about a 10lb walleye (my friend thought 12lbs). I am a bass fisherman, so you can imagine how I was feeling knowing that I had a gigantic walleye on the end of my line. Up to this point there was no fighting, but when she got a glimpse of the boat, the fight was on. My drag was singing and I was pulling like crazy to get it back up by the boat. My friend grabbed the net and was ready to net her so we could get the hooks out her back, take a picture, and then release her. As I pulled up one final time to get the fish in the net, she took off into a straight nose dive. In the process the hooks got caught in the bottom of the net and freed her. It was really disappointing because I specifically was thinking “wow I almost was able to call my blog something else other than A November Skunking”. It was neat to see a walleye so big. I couldn’t have kept her because she was hooked in her back, but it would have made for some nice pictures. I had a great time, and anytime I get to fish Lake Erie, I am very happy man. This brings a close to bass fishing for me until spring time. All future reports and blogs will more than likely be about steelhead or trout. Hopefully their will be more to report on though than why I didn’t catch any fish again!!!
Today was supposed to be a beautiful Northeastern Ohio day, so I decided to cancel any plans of being productive and go fishing instead. I decided to trout/smallmouth bass fish across the border in Pennsylvania on the Shenango River near Sharon, PA. I didn’t know what to expect. I read some articles about the Shenango river years ago, but I couldn’t remember specifics about the article. I was going at it blind. I looked on google maps just to get an idea as to where I was driving and how to get there, and after a few wrong turns and missed roads, I found the tail race of the Shenango River Lake. I walked down a gated road to get to where the water flows out from the lake to form the lower half of the river. It was beautiful! The trees were lit up from the unusually sunny November day and the water was sparkling. I had my wading gear on and carefully chose a spot to fish. It felt good to be out river fishing. It reminded me of fishing in the Youghioghenny River growing up. Some of the best memories of my childhood and adolescent years were spent fishing, swimming, and relaxing on the Youghiogheny river. Unlinke the Youghiogheny, I went fishless today at the Shenango. I didn’t mind to much today because it was such a nice day out and I always wanted to fish the Shenango. I got some nice pictures and I got to explore a little bit of the river. All in all I can’t complain about a 60-70 degree day in November. Looking forward to catching and reporting the first fish of November for me.
I set out yesterday to do something I always wanted to do more of……..fall time bass fish. I debated on whether I should take my kayak to fish the lagoons of Presque Isle on Lake Erie, or stay local and fish a smaller sized lake that is rumored to have big bass in it. I made the decision to keep it local because I just didn’t feel like making the drive and then cutting fishing short to come back for my night class. Upon arrival, I was excited to see that there was absolutely no wind. That was good because when you fish in a kayak you are typically at the mercy of the wind. I fished this lake about three times in the late spring/early summer, so I already knew a little bit about this lake. Decision one was where should I fish. Since I already fished the lake, my decision basically came down to fishing water/areas I have already fished or explore a little bit. I decided to explore! In retrospect I should have just went with the familiar waters, but I was glad I did what I did because I found out that the lake was a lot bigger than what I thought it was. I ended up not catching anything, but it was therapeutic to say the least. This past year I been having an internal struggle between enjoying being out and my competitive drive to catch more fish. FIshing has always been an outlet for me, but I have always done well fishing (meaning, I have always caught my fair share of fish when fishing). This past year however, I have had one and two fish days, and I have also sprinkled in the occasional skunking. Yesterday just happened to be one of those days. A big asset or down fall of mine, depending how you view it, is I take it personal if I can’t figure something out. Even though I shouldn’t apply that train of thought to fishing, due to the amount of variables that go into it (wind, water temp, moon phase, feeding patterns, lure colors, seasons…..etc), that’s just how I’m built. So, I honestly went out yesterday with the intentions of just being happy I was outside on a beautiful day. All in all I would say I did a decent job of letting go of the fact that I couldn’t figure out where the fish were of what they wanted to eat. I used to tell my students to focus on the process not the product. Translating that in outdoor speak, focus on everything around you and everything you did to get there, and enjoy that moment. Don’t spend all your time focusing in on the end result and looking at it as a “failure”. I had an amazing day to fish, I was the only boat out on the lake, got some good pictures, did a lot of thinking/relaxing, and I was able to come home and write about it. There are a lot of people that would love to have traded days with me, so the next time I get skunked or get frustrated I just have to remember the saying “A bad day on the water is better than a good day at work”.
- Let me know how if I need to improve anything.
This blog is the hub for people that want to share photos & memories of their experiences in the outdoors. More specifically, photos that capture the moment. I am looking for different kinds of photos. Not your typical stand around and smile with a stringer of fish or holding up the head of a dead deer. I am looking for pictures that would help a non-outdoor person understand why we do what we do. Photos that capture the magic of the outdoors. I want the pictures to be able to tell the story. Don’t forget that you are the main ingredient of this blog. I personally don’t have enough pictures to keep you fascinated, so the sucess of this depends on you. Please share the URL with others so we can expand this and watch this blog grow together.