The above is a quote from “The Old Man and the Sea,” by Ernest Hemingway. It epitomizes how my father and I felt about fishing when I was a boy growing up in Erie. I discovered fishing with my father in a 12-foot flat bottom boat powered by a mighty 2-horsepower Elgin motor.
Back when I was a young sprout, dad and I alwayys managed to find time enough to fish at least three days a week during the summer. If you would enjoy a true story about fishing with my father, just go back in this blog’s archives to August 21, 2011, and look at the blog entitled “Fishing with Ernie.” I am sure, It will give you a laugh or two about Ernie, my dad.
At the time Presque Isle Bay contained scores of perch, bass, sunfish, northern pike and walleye. Once in a while, if we were fortunate enough to get a seat on a head boat, we would make our way out onto the lake and fish for the wonderful, and now gone, Blue Pike. Back in my early days of fishing, all these fish were plentiful, and if you could bait a hook, you could catch a fish. My favorite pole back then was a hand-line boat pole. I still have my original boat pole somewhere in the garage.
When I was young, I loved going fishing in the Misery Bay area, because you could catch just about any kind of fish. Nothing puts me in touch with nature better than casting a line into Presque Isle waters and hooking up with a strong fish. Dad is no longer with us. In spite of this, I am fortunate enough to have a new fishing buddy. My grandson, Steven, has become the family’s newest fishing expert. He loves to bait his hook, change lures, cast, land and net his own fish and hold and unhook it. His brother Jack is also becoming a good fisherman. In fact, for Cristmas this year they both wanted an ice-auger to fish on the Presque Isle Bay Isle. You know that did not happen this year, even though Santa delivered on the auger. Needless to say, I am pround that the family fishing tradition is continueing.
Because I grew up fishing Lake Erie, Presque Isle Bay and all the waters of Presque Isle State Park, I own and have used almost all forms of fishing gear except fly-fishing tackle. Yes, I know. Fly-fishing is one of the oldest and most popular methods of fishing. I did try it once or twice; nevertheless, catching a ten-inch trout never quite compared to pulling in a 12 pound, 32-inch steelhead off the Waterworks piers, or 30 or so 12-inch perch off the second buoy outside the channel. Also, do not forget the 20-minute battle with a large mouth bass in the lagoons. Sorry, fly-fishing fans; that is the one type of fishing I cannot seem to enjoy or get excited about. I know fly fishing is wonderful. It’s just not for me. All new to fishing should give fly fishing a try. There are many who would tell you that it is true fishing.
My fishing tackle includes a trolling rod or two, at least three or four bait-casting outfits, and both open and closed-faced spinning reels and poles. Of course, which tackle I use depends on where I’m fishing and which fish I am after.
Bait casting outfits are used mostly when fishing live minnows, large plugs, worms or when trolling shallow waters for walleye, bass or northern pike. They are usually rather short and stout, and the reels are designed to cast short distances, or to simply lower a weighted line down from a pier, bridge or boat. Nothing can entice, hook and haul up a large bottom-feeding fish as well as sturdy bait-casting tackle. That is what they are built to do.
In the last ten years, many different spincasting rigs have become the most popular method of fishing. With spinning outfits, you can cast farther using lighter lines and all size of lures. Once you have made the cast, one single crank of the reel locks the spool in place, and you are ready to retrieve the lure. It is just that simple, and can be done without fear of the dreaded bait-casting reel backlash. The spinning rods are longer and lighter and have the flexibility to whip out a lure great distances.
More and more anglers have made a complete change to the spinning outfits to do all their fishing. Just for fun, I have a mini-spinning outfit that I keep in the back of my car all the time. I have even caught a few of those little stream trout’s with this rig instead of a fly rig. The trout seemed to like mini-lures just as well as flies.
When I take my boat out onto Lake Erie for steelhead, salmon or walleye, we always end up trolling, using both flat lines and downriggers. We fish anywhere from 10 feet to 60 feet down. This type fishing takes a strong and long trolling rod, plus a reel with a line counter on it. This is a heavy rig, and if you are successful, will get a real work-out.
Lake Erie, Presque Isle Bay and the lagoon waters are wonderful fishing grounds. My fatherI established a family fishing tradition right here on Lake Erie and Presque Isle Bay and now my grandsons and I get to carry on and enjoy this rich tradition. If you have not tried fishing recently, you should give it a try. Let me know how you do.
See you on the park!!
Categorised in: Fishing
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