This story was published in the Washburn Review. Be sure to check them out!
Echo Lake drummer Matt Mirsch. Photo by Josh Rouse.
For a band named Echo Lake, it's only natural that the founding fathers of the group love to fish.
Drummer Matt Mirsch, senior music education major, and bassist Scott Stormann, who is coming back to Washburn after taking a few years off to work, created the popular Topeka-based funk band while earning their diplomas at Seaman High School in 2006. Several years and a few new band mates later, the band has become a local favorite thanks to various gigs they've done in the area, including the Jayhawk Theatre Revival in 2009.
However, when the pair of North Topekan rockers aren't practicing for an upcoming gig or studying, they spend a good chunk of time at various fishing spots, mainly the Shawnee State Lake just north of Topeka.
"Scott has an addiction," said Mirsch. "I fish because I like to eat, Scott fishes because he's addicted to the adrenaline rush of the catch and he should probably see someone about that. That's all I have to say about that."
The two began fishing together in high school, but said they just recently started fishing frequently again this summer.
"We used to fish every now and again, because Matt's dad was a big fisherman and my dad was," said Stormann. "We've been fishing since we were little, but this summer we really started fishing a lot, like hardcore. I've been going out every weekend and Matt comes along probably once every other weekend with me and we've been going catfishing and bass fishing."
The other members of the band—lead singer Dave Hess, guitarist Michael Spangler and saxophonist T.C. Gomez—are all from Washburn. Hess recently graduated with a degree in vocal performance, while Spangler is working toward a business degree and Gomez is working toward a music education degree. Stormann said they've never managed to get the whole band together for a fishing trip, joking that it was mostly because Gomez never had enough money for a fishing license.
"Dave came out once... he's a better singer than a fisherman," said Mirsch.
This post was published in the Washburn Review. Be sure to check them out.
One of the lesser-known game fish available to anglers is the hybrid bluegill.
These fish are a hybrid between a male bluegill and a female green sunfish. As a result of the cross-breeding, a large majority (90-95 percent) of the hybrids are male. However, reproduction is still possible. The second generation offspring is typically weaker and killed off by predators.
Hybrid bluegills grow quite a bit larger than either of their parent species, with a growth rate of three to five times as much as a pure bluegill, and put up a terrific fight when hooked. They grow at a rate of .5 to .75 pounds per years and can reach as much as three pounds, according to Dunn's Fish Farm. They battle similar to a largemouth bass and have beautiful coloring.
Hybrid bluegills are often stocked in ponds because of their aggressive nature and willingness to bite on lures, and they are a great alternative to regular bluegill that can overrun a pond.
Hybrid bluegills can easily be caught using grasshoppers or worms. However, they also are willing to attack a majority of lures, including topwater poppers, jigs, plastic worms, spinner baits and crankbaits.