However, this go around I tied on a Terminator T-1 buzzbait and had no trouble coaxing fish out from their cover under the weeds. I quickly picked up four bass before my baitcaster got tangled up and I switched poles. I made the switch to a TTG Lures swimming worm on a dropshot — again, not exactly my forte, but I decided to give it a shot (no pun intended) — and soon caught a few with that setup.
I again ran into tangles after a bad attempt at a hookset, despite fishing in my comfort zone with a spinning reel, and made a switch to my crappie rod. I cleaned up nicely on big slabs using Fle-Fly’s feather jigs and Crappie Kickers and B&P Jighead’s Crappie Carrot rigged under a float. The jig and bobber has quickly become one of my go-to setups for just about any species, but crappie in particular.
After a solid day of fishing, I decided to test my luck the following morning at Jeffrey Energy Center near St. Marys. The huge, puffy cumulus clouds I’d enjoyed the day before turned into a gray sheet of nimbus as drizzle fell throughout the morning near the plant. I had a few bites early on the buzzbait at the main lake near where the water comes in, but they were small fish and I couldn’t get anything to stick. I tried fishing the docks with spinners and crankbaits, where I saw big wipers breaching the choppy surface, but they weren’t interested in what I offered. The day was a complete bust, save for a fish grilling basket I picked up at a church garage sale in Silver Lake on the way back home — and a cassette version of Pink Floyd’s “The Wall.”
We had been sitting in the vehicle listening to a Big and Rich CD for about 10 minutes when my bobber suddenly disappeared. I jumped out and ran to the rod and saw the line going out, completely rigid. I gave Handy a big thumbs up and yanked back to set the hook. I felt an unexpectedly heavy pull on the line and soon realized I had somehow hooked my first walleye of the season during a bright, clear, blisteringly hot day. I saw a nice flash of silver from the 15-plus-inch fish near the rocks before it dove again right at the bank. I didn’t want to snap the 6-pound line, so I let him run with it, though I admittedly should have eased the tension knob on my rod a bit. My heart sank as he scraped the taut line up against a rock and snapped free as I watched my slip bobber re-emerge from the depths and float freely, completely detached from the line now.
After fishing in the heat for eight hours that day, I didn’t feel like doing much fishing the rest of my vacation as the heat jumped up close to the 100s, but I did make a couple one-hour trips to Lake Shawnee in the early morning where I ended up catching two new species — a rock bass and a warmouth. Both of them were good-sized panfish, too.
Now, if only I could get the smallmouth I’ve been targeting out there.