Thursday, November 3, 2011

Way overdue! Fishing in Cleveland

Edgewater Park, Cleveland

Well this post is a long time coming! It's been I think two weeks since this fishing trip... I haven't had a chance to post this for a bunch of reasons, not the least of which is I was crazy sick sunday through tuesday last week. That's right- I almost never get sick, and I've now been sick twice in the last four weeks... what gives? Hopefully I get the facts right in the series of events; it's been a while, things are a little fuzzy.

Claire and I were in Cleveland last weekend for the Smerglia's Halloween Potluck party- well, that and some fishing. Friday night, Leo and I spent what seemed like hours trying to get my Ohio fishing license reprinted (I left mine at home). The guy operating the computer apparently forgot his password, and was telling us it was impossible to reprint my license and I'd have to shell out another $40 for a non-resident license. Leo, who has experience with the computer system from using it at Dick's, saw right through the rouse and was able to make it happen! The manager came over after a while, and between the three of them, eventually I got my little green license. We also picked up enough two liters for a small army of little kids, which turns out was exactly who would be coming over Saturday night.

Saturday morning Leo, Uncle Kevin and I headed out to hit up the big lake. Stopped to fuel up (gas for the car, coffee for me, sprite for Leo, Kevin already had his coffee) and soon we were walking out on the pier at Edgewater Park on Lake Erie. I had researched extensively, and read recent fishing reports from the Ohio DNR, as well as a bunch of local fishing forums. Just as in Chicago, the king salmon run was winding down, dovetailing into the steelhead run. In my mind salmon, those crazy fish who give up eating to come inland and spawn, seem incredibly difficult to catch; but I've already caught a few tiny steelhead. They seem more attainable; at least they still want some food! And in my humble opinion, they are much prettier, and word on the street is they taste even better than salmon. I've had grocery store salmon and grocery store rainbow trout, and based on that I would probably agree.

So we headed out on the pier, visions of steelheads dancing in my head. We were armed with some bright green nightcrawlers Leo picked up, some normal ones, and three tackle boxes worth of the greatest and latest in fish-catching technology. Kevin had a... let's call it retro tackle box filled to the brim with every kind of lure I'm familiar with, and some I'm not! Just to clarify, I thought his tacklebox was awesome.

We set up along the pier, and began casting. Leo shared some crappie rigs- they had some beads and some other lines coming off horizontally, as well as a snap to attach a weight. He'd had luck with that rig here in the past; he tied one on, and so did I. Looking around, we were the only ones on the pier. We started casting.

15 minutes went by without so much as a bite. Pretty early on I lost the crappy rig on some rocks- classic Beckstrom - and began rotating through my normal repertoire. Homemade inline spinners, Mepps, Little Cleos, tube jigs, jig and twisters (in both white AND black!), white spinners, black spinners; and nothing. Except a bunch of lost lures.

Leo and Kevin weren't doing any better, not one of us had even a single bite.

We noticed a guy walk down the pier, sit down on his bucket, and begin fishing with two rods rigged with bobbers and nightcrawlers. Almost immediately, he silently pulled up a nice looking largemouth bass, measured it, and put it in his bucket.

What!? Here we were, standing not 10 feet from the guy, also using nightcrawlers, and we had nothing to show for it. This guy comes in, sits down, and pulls out fish like magic. A few minutes later he has another one. He threw it back because it was too small, and that hurt even more. He was catching so many fish than us he had to throw some back!

As he fished, our eyes were trained on his rig, and immediately Leo and I perfectly replicated what he was using. Bobber, then six feet down the line, a juicy nightcrawler. This would catch fish, right?

Wrong. As this guy proceeded to pull out fish after fish, we proceeded to stare at our bobbers moving in the waves. Other fishermen showed up, using bobbers and nightcrawlers and everything else, but nobody caught any fish.

Leo switched to the other side of the pier- the one the fish whisperer was on - and continued not catching fish. Kevin and I stuck it out on the other side, also not catching fish. After loosing more lures, I climbed up the wall and began fishing the other side with Leo and the fishing expert guy. Pretty soon after that, he switched to the other side- the side where we'd been waterboarding our nightcrawlers for at least an hour straight- and proceeded to catch fish exactly where we had been fishing.

What the hell!? I told Leo I was retiring from fishing. The embarrassment was too much to bear. I mean, I had a fishing blog and 4 or 5 readers to report to, and this would not make an exciting post. How would I tell my faithful handful of followers I had failed them? How I had caught a big fat skunk instead of a big fat steelhead?

After about 3 hours of soaking worms in the choppy water, we conceded defeat. It was a fun if not frustrating outing, and it's always nice to fish with some other people. And really, it's probably for the best that Leo or Kevin didn't catch any fish- had they landed any hogs I would have had no choice but to disown them out of shame. Alas, nobody caught anything, so everything's good! And here I am telling you about it.

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