Steel's the deal

Last week was Indian summer here in Ohio. The weather was beautiful, gentle breezes with temperatures in the 70s and all that. As you might expect I played hooky from the office and headed to Lake Erie. I can't help myself. I'm an addict. 

The only tough thing was the water temperature. It's still around 50 degrees. We were fishing with blade baits — Venom's Vibra-Max and Silver Honey — and everyone knows the bite gets better when the water temperature drops into the low 40-degree range. I've always wondered about that. It seems like that would be a little cold, even for smallmouth. It doesn't seem to bother them, though. In fact it turns them on. We can file that under one of the many things about fishing we humans don't understand. 

My friend Tom Harbison was with me and, as usual, he whooped on me pretty good. Last year I said he beat me like a rented mule. I'll not say that again. Frankly, I'm tired of hearing him quote it. I should have known better. But it really is true. The numbers were ugly. We caught about 40 smallmouth the first day. He had 30, I had 10 — but mine were big. (Note that I didn't say mine were bigger, just that they were big.) I don't know what it is about Tom, but he has the feel with the steel. He seems to be able to make minor adjustments in his presentation on the fly. That's what it takes. You have to make subtle changes as the day wears along if you expect to catch a ton of them. I know I'm going to hear about this, but he's the best blade fisherman I've ever seen.

We also did a little walleye fishing. They're unbelievable on Erie. We averaged about 7 pounds per fish with several in the 10-pound class. In all we caught about 180 pounds of them. I know I'm supposed to worship bass, but I have to tell you catching 180 pounds of anything's a lot of fun. It'll be even more fun this winter when Tracey fixes them for supper. I'll be working in Columbus until the weekend when I leave for a couple of weeks in Florida. I want to do a little fishing on some of the Elite venues before they go off-limits and maybe visit an Open lake as well. I'm fishing two Open divisions this year. I figure the more of them I fish, the better my chances are of returning to the Classic.

The only responsibility I'll have when I'm down there, other than Signcom, will be attending my sister-in-law's wedding. I'm really looking forward to that. She's nice, and besides the church might have a pond out back I can fish before the reception. I'm thinking that would be a great way to kill time while they're taking pictures. Next week ...

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