There is something about the lure of Lake Erie.
One day last week, I wasn’t feeling particularly good when I woke up. I really thought about crawling back into my motel bed and blowing off my spot in the Governor’s Fish Ohio outing that was getting together a couple of blocks away.
But I didn’t. I slapped on some jeans and a fishing shirt and headed out. There are few things in life I enjoy more than fishing on Lake Erie.
Another thing that convinced me to go was the weather. A storm had pass through two days before and the water was still rough the next day, the day before we were to go out fishing. But on this day, the blue sky was cloudless and only a gentle breeze created the desired “walleye chop.”
I was assigned to Capt. Pat Winke’s boat, the Limit Out (winkeguideservice.com). In all, there were 18 boats donated for the occasion by the captains of the Lake Erie Charter Boat Association. At 5-6 anglers per boat, that meant there were about 100 people taking part in the 35th annual Governor’s Fish Ohio Day.
There were five on our boat, including Rich Carter, executive administrator of fisheries management for the Division of Wildlife. I figured our boat would catch a bunch of walleyes, because those are all Rich’s fish out there and he knows them all by name.
Here’s what happened: Rich caught some walleyes, but I didn’t. He even caught a huge fish, a walleye that measured just shy of the 28-inch mark required for a Fish Ohio pin. Ah, well, he’s probably got a drawer full of them anyway.
While, alas, I didn’t pull in any walleyes, I did catch a few white bass and a couple of sheephead – Winke calls them “goats.” So I wasn’t skunked … but almost.
It was a beautiful day to be on Lake Erie … the sky, the water, the temperature … all perfect. (That’s what people say when they don’t catch any walleyes.)
Gone, but not forgotten
The plaque has been found. A couple of weeks ago I mentioned a small plaque that sat at the base of the flagpole in front of the almost-demolished former Amateur Trapshooting Association headquarters building on National Road in Vandalia. I pointed out it – and the building – were part of local history and even if the building was torn down, the plaque should be preserved.
It was. The ATA took the plaque, pole and brick gateway and put them in a nice arrangement at their new headquarters in Sparta, Ill. What is so interesting about the plaque is it lists the names of the men who built the building in 1923 that would house the ATA for some 82 years. The names include Governor James M. Cox, automotive pioneer Charles Kettering and industrialist F. B. Patterson.
I drove by the old ATA grounds along National Road one day last week. The historic old building had been gutted and was ready for the wrecking ball. One would never know the greatest trapshooting tournament in the world – and the Dayton area’s only annual world championship in any sport – was held there for 81 years.