Coastal Angler Magazine | January 2023 | Ohio Edition

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Winter is the best time to sh,” said Capt. Chris Cameron, “the only problem is the weather.”

Capt. Cameron is owner/operator of Fired Up Fishing Charters out of Cocoa Beach, Fla. He said it was tough to nd good weather windows this November and early December, but that o shore shing is primed to re o like a Space Coast rocket whenever conditions stabilize.

Winter on Florida’s Atlantic Coast can be spectacular because of all the migratory species that push down to overwinter in milder temperatures. King sh, cobia, black n tuna, sail sh and others are all hunting the reefs about 18 miles o Port Canaveral. e key to the shery is menhaden.

“ is time of year, you get these huge baitballs,” said Capt. Cameron, “and there are all these sh following the bait around. You nd sh where you nd ‘bunka’ congregating on the reefs.”

Cameron is a transplant from Long Island, New York, and even a er more than two decades living and shing Florida’s east coast, he still refers to menhaden as “bunka,” which is Yankee dialect for bunker, which is what they call pogies up where boats are winterized this time of year.

“On good days, when you can get o shore and the water is clean, we might catch a limit of kings, a couple cobia, a couple black ns and hopefully a sail sh,” Cameron said. Even with 2022’s tightening of cobia regs, that’s a fun and delicious mixed bag to ll the freezer.

At places like Pelican Reef and 8A Reef, where depths range from 75 to 85 feet, Cameron nds the bait and then goes to work slow trolling live baits on double-hook stinger rigs and 20-pound line and tackle. He said he pulls baits at about 1 knot, which allows them to swim along naturally.

“ e thing with slow trolling is you never know what you’re going to get,” said Cameron. “It could be a big king, a sail sh, a cobia or a shark.”

Pitch rods are kept ready in case a cobia shows up on the surface. Cameron said he’s learned from experience not to over-stimulate cruising cobia by throwing multiple lines at once. Usually, clients can convince cobia to bite with a one-two punch. ey keep a squid-tipped bucktail ready for a quick cast. If that doesn’t draw a strike, it allows time to slap a live bait on the second rig, which is a simple 5/0 circle hook.

Shrimp boats are another option Cameron seeks out this time of year. Although chasing them can be a bit of a time gamble, since they are usually 25 miles o shore over 200 feet of water, they can be extremely productive.

“If you see a shrimp boat o in the distance or spot one on the radar, it’s almost always worth a shot,” Cameron said. “When they dump their bycatch in the morning, it pulls everything up.”

Fishing shrimp boats can be short-lived, but

it can also provide fast action for the same species that come o the reef. For this bite, Cameron beefs up to 6500 spinning gear and 50-pound braid and 50-pound mono leaders. He keeps four pitch rods ready, two with bucktails and two with live baits, because the bite can turn into sight shing

in a hurry. Meanwhile, he’ll search with freelined pogies on a knocker rig.

Contact Capt. Chris Cameron and Fired Up Fishing Charters through their website at

Winter’s cold fronts consolidate wahoo to their preferred temperature ranges across their range. is makes them easier to target than at any other time of year. e following is a short list of very good destinations for wintertime wahoo.

San Salvador, Bahamas: Way out in the Atlantic in the southern Bahamas, the waters o San Salvador hold one of the best wahoo sheries in the world. Peak wahoo season is December through April, when hordes of ’hoos migrate to the area’s warm waters. e island might just be the

best place on the planet for a shot at a triple-digit wahoo, and the right conditions can yield fast action for 50-pounders, as well.

Within a short 10-mile run o the island, a seamount rises to 180 feet from 4,000 feet of water. is hump is a well-known feature, where wahoo congregate to feed on schools of small tuna. e remoteness of San Salvador keeps shing pressure in check, but it also makes this one of those bucketlist trips you plan ahead for.

Galveston, Texas: O shore humps out of Galveston, Texas also lay claim to some of the best wahoo shing in the world, and every winter anglers connect with giants. is shery, however, is reserved for anglers with the gumption to make 100-mile overnight runs to features like East and West Flower Gardens to catch the morning bite.

Windows of good weather and big, fast boats are a requirement to reach the shing grounds at the edge of the Continental shelf, where wahoo pile up with bait sh on steep depth changes of rock structure.

Murrell’s Inlet, South Carolina: O the South Carolina coast, cooling water temperatures con ne wahoo to the warm water at the edge of the Gulf Stream. is makes them much easier to target than when they are spread out in summer.

Depth changes and structure at the edge of the Continental Shelf, combined with warm 70 to 80 degree waters of the Gulf Stream can be found 50 or 60 miles o the coast. ese structures hold bait sh in the temperature range where wahoo are comfortable. Covering lots of water with high-speed spreads trolls up the best wahoo of the year, every year.

Venice, Lousiana: It seems everything o shore of Louisiana is about the oil rigs, and in wintertime the oil rigs are all about wahoo. e key to nding wahoo on the rigs is nding the right temperature range, and the magic number is 60 degrees. Wahoo congregate and feed around the rigs where there is bait and water temperatures of at least 60 degrees.

One of the great things about Venice is there are deep-water rigs relatively close to shore at just 15 or 20 miles, which means it’s possible to nd a good weather window and go. e Louisiana coast also boasts some of the best catch rates for wahoo in the world, and 50- to 60-pound sh are the norm.

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With grouper season over, it’s time to switch gears and concentrate on other species. is is the time of year to size down and go for the snappers. Depending on water temps, it’s also a good idea to keep a light line out for any pelagics that swim by.

I love yellowtail and a mangrove snappers, but I really like jolt heads, trigger sh, pinkies, black seabass and hog snapper. I treat bottom shing like I’m going (organic) grocery shopping. First and foremost, I don’t shop on every aisle of the grocery store. I go down the aisles that contain the items I really want. e best groceries come from di erent places on the bottom and from di erent depths.

Farther north up the Atlantic coast there are a lot of beeliners (vermilion snapper) taking the place of yellowtails. In this mix will be trigger sh, which I absolutely love! Beeliners and trigger sh have one thing in common: the largest ones of the school stay higher in the water column. is is why I like to sh a level-wind reel versus a spinning reel with small circle hooks for this style of snapper shing. I start dropping one “strip” of the reel

at a time until I get down to the sh. A “strip” is the distance of raising the rod up with your thumb o the spool, and putting your thumb back on the spool. Simply let your thumb o the spool and let it fall in 10-foot “strips” while raising the rod tip upwards. Count the strips it takes to get down to the bites. Four strips will be approximately 40 feet deep. Note where you feel the rst bite. is will usually be the largest triggers and beeliners in the school. If you stop getting bites or you’re only catching smaller sh, let this same tackle go deeper or all the way to the bottom. is is where you’ll catch the jolt heads, black sea bass, mangroves and hogs.

I use a two-hook “chicken rig” made of 50-pound uoro with small circle hooks and a 3-ounce bank sinker. I bait it with small pieces of squid. A small 2- or 3-ounce jig works with the same tackle as the weight instead of a bank sinker. is is especially e ective on large triggers. Just replace the treble hooks or single

J hooks on the back of the jig with small circle hooks and tip with a small piece of squid.

I could go on and on about this style of shing. e limits are pretty good and the reward comes at the table. It is a good time of year to take youngsters out, because this style of shing produces lots of action, and it’s not heavy-duty grouper shing. Little ones love a trip to the “organic grocery store.”

See more from Tim Barefoot at and check out a video explaining this style of shing at

Tim Barefoot


Hopefully by the time you’re reading this you have your ice gear packed and are ready to hit the hardwater. I along with many other ice anglers across the country wane for Lake Erie to freeze so we can chase big walleyes. Usually, the currents and winds across the lake make it tough to freeze good enough for us to safely get out and fish, but hopefully the cold and snowy winter predicted for us will prevail and allow us to get after these big walleyes. Look to South Bass Island (Put-In-Bay) for your first ice access. The area between South Bass Island, Green Island, and Rattlesnake Island allows for ice to lock in and anglers to get into some deeper waters close to shore. I enjoy making a trip over to the island and seeing friends and catching fish. A quick call to Island Air Taxi will get you started on flying over and you can find a guide for the fishing. There are many guides at Put-In-Bay. Aaron Schroder at East Point Ice Charters (419870-8200) has always been helpful to me and is always on fish. If you’re looking to fly over this winter call him up and he can get you dialed in with the gear and the process of making the trek to the island. Ice season at Put-In-Bay is something every ice angler should experience. For the mainland anglers the first access should be in the “cove” off Catawba State Park. In a mile or two from shore you can be in 20+ feet of water and normally the walleyes are all over the area. As a past airboat ice guide, I would always recommend anglers err on the side of caution and find a guide if you are inexperienced. For the mainland, call Capt. Steve (440532-1089) to get you on the fish and help learn the ways of Erie ice. I don’t like to venture out onto the big lake ice though with less than at least 8 inches of ice and calm winds preferably with some northerly direction to them. Conditions can change fast, and many folks have been rescued over the years. We don’t need more rescues or worse over some fish. Your necessities on Lake Erie ice are safety gear and good tackle of course. Possibly traveling miles on ice, you need tough gear. Ice picks, rope, and a float suit are a minimum. For tackle and gear, don’t overlook a tough minnow bucket and a good fish finder or flasher. I keep it simple with lures, a few Swedish Pimples, and jigging Raps ½ ounce or heavier will get you bites. Let’s keep it safe and have a good ice season. Whether we get the ice we want or end up fishing in boats all year, you can’t beat jigging Lake Erie walleyes.

Article by Capt. Jonny Fickert. He can be reached at Sea Breeze Charters 877-616-7780.

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2023 Fishing Expo and Boat Show fun!

I love this time of year when the boat shows, and fishing expos come to town.

As Ron Slater mentions in his article this month, it is like being a kid at a candy store seeing all the new boats and gear and getting deals on lures. I love watching the pro demonstrations and other speakers.

This year The Angler Magazine - Ohio will have a booth at both of the Fishing Expos, come see us.

Those dates are Cincinnati: January 13th to the 15th. At the Sharonville Convention Center.

And Columbus: February 10th to the 12th. At The Ohio Expo Center.

Knox Marine will be at the Ohio RV and Boat show in Columbus. Those dates are January 6th to the 15th.

They will also be at the Fishing Expo in Columbus, be sure to visit them too.

Hope to see a big crowd out there supporting the vendors, speakers, and demonstrators, so we can keep these shows coming every year.

Steve Philpott

Happy New Year! 2023 tactics for successful bass fishing....

Happy New Year everyone. As we move towards another awesome year of fishing in our beautiful state of Ohio, we are beginning to get that itch of getting ready to get back out on the water.

This is when I enjoy the planning and going to the tackle shows. It’s always fun to check out the new line of rods and reels as well as the new boats on the market. We are like kids in a candy store as we walk the aisles and many times run into old friends from the past. Many times, I am asked by many Anglers what will I throw during the cold days after the winter when the ice has melted. My favorite lure that comes to mind is a spinnerbait, something that I can slow roll such as a 3/8 ounce or a 1/2 ounce with oversized Colorado blades. My second choice will of course be the ever-popular jig in a 1/4 to 1/2 ounce depending on the depth of the water. And for my third choice I would definitely have to throw a crankbait. I always have a shallow runner on one rod as well as a mid-runner on my other crankbait rod.

Choose a lure type that basically resembles the type of bait fish that the bass are generally feeding on at that particular body of water. It can make all the difference and make your day a little more enjoyable. So hit the fishing expos and get stocked up on your favorite lures. Hope to see you on the water soon.

Article by: Ron Slater Pro Angler N.P.A.A. #808. Bassfisher273@ (330) 780-3652

Ron Slater’s Portage Lakes Guide Service (330) 780-3652 • Bass • Walleye • & More
COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM JANUARY 2023 OHIO 3 COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THE ANGLERMAG.COM JANUARY 2023 LOCAL 3 13285 Netherland Road, Fredericktown, Ohio 43019 740-694-7774 13285 Netherland Road, Fredericktown, Ohio 43019 740-694-7774 13285 Netherland Road, Fredericktown, Ohio 43019 740-694-7774 Come see us at the: Ohio RV & Boat Show - January 6 -15th, 2023 And Columbus Fishing Expo February 10th – 12th, 2023 Both at The Ohio Expo Center in Columbus COASTALANGLERMAG.COM • THEANGLERMAG.COM SEPTEMBER 2022 OHIO 7 do it again someday. Stage 4 cancer is a terrible thing, my prayers are with them. P.S. I have never had such a touching guide trip as this one. Sometimes we need some sunshine and a great fishing trip to help us put life Ron Slater is a fishing guide on the Portage Lakes in Ohio, he can be reached at 330-780-3652 or email BE SEEN HERE Steve Philpott Co-Publisher The Angler Magazine – Ohio Edition Office: (740) 899-0591 For advertising opportunites, please contact:

Ice Fishing - The Right Way

Ice fishing can be a great, inexpensive way to get outside and enjoy some fresh winter air! For beginners, the first thing to consider is safety. No ice is safe ice, but the common rule of thumb is that four inches can accommodate the weight of you and your gear. If you are personally comfortable after gauging the thickness of the ice yourself, you are ready to go! Your ice fishing gear should include some basic safety equipment. These will go a long way to making sure you are safe. Cleats. WEAR YOUR CLEATS! These are necessary for being able to get good traction on ice. It’s darn near impossible to walk on ice and nobody wants to slip and fall, and possibly break a hip their first day out ice fishing!

Personal floatation device, float suit, or anything you can use to keep your head above water is a must if you are walking out to a deeper part of a frozen lake. You don’t want to fall through and not have something to keep you afloat. A whistle is a good idea to have with you, in case of an accident or if you can’t get to your cellphone or have signal to call out for help. Remember…the shock of cold water will take your breath away rendering you unable to scream for help.

Warm clothing. Remember to layer your clothes, dressing as warmly as possible. You can always shed the layers if you get too hot, but you need to have the added protection with you. Shedding layers can help to regulate your core temperature, so you don’t sweat, and then get cold later.

Ice picks. Ice picks are a complete must. It is impossible to claw yourself out of the water without them should you fall through. They a are a cheap, inexpensive, versatile, easy to store-way to save your life.

Spud bar. A spud bar is probably the most important thing you need as a beginner ice fisherman. A spud bar can help you gauge the thickness of the ice. Four hard raps straight down are equivalent to roughly 4-inches of ice.

An auger. An auger will help you drill a hole through the ice. Your grandfather may have gotten away with using a hammer or just a spud bar but, it is commonly thought that an auger is the best way to get through the ice more easily.

An ice rod, small jigs, and light line are best to use while ice fishing. A sled or bucket to carry all your gear. It is a hard feat to trek across the snowcovered ice, so anything you can find to help lessen the burden of carrying it all, the better!

These offer a general idea of the essentials a beginner ice fisherman would need to get out on the ice.

There is a plethora of different ice fishing gear, equipment, and essentials to complete your personal gear. If you plan to go out often, a great investment would be getting a shanty to shield yourself from the wind and cold. A floatation suit is also a great investment if you plan on spending a lot of time out on the ice.

Remember…here in Ohio, we deal with a very short ice season. Taking advantage and making the most out of your time on the ice will be the difference between a successful and pleasurable ice fishing trip or a complete waste of time. Other things to keep in mind…while all the lake may look frozen, 90% of the fish will be in 10% of the lake. With cold water, fish tend to congregate and school up more, so do fishermen, naturally. The very first tool and easiest thing to do is to go where others go.

If you are new to ice fishing, do not trek far out into new horizons. Ice fishing is one of the most unjudgmental things there is in mother nature. So…follow the footprints and the previously drilled holes. Follow previously carved out paths, until you are comfortable and know the riskier parts of your chosen lake.

When learning to ice fish, the most important thing you can carry with you is respect for the ice and nature, and respect for the fishermen leading and showing you the way.

For those looking to head off and explore who have a few years under their belt, I am right there with you. This year, I am focusing on transitional waters. Places where channels with developed seawalls will warm the water but the ice is solid and opens to open lake with colder waters.

Light is also a key factor to look out for. Light is greatly dissipated by ice crystals. Anyone that has been out at night and dropped a light under the ice can tell you, it is visible for a great distance. One of my tactics this year is to only fish shaded or dark areas during the day or naturally lit areas during the night. We will see how it goes! Tight lines and solid hook sets!

Article contributed by Tosh Collins with Indian Lake Fishing Reports LLC. You can find him on all social media under Tosh Collins, Indian Lake Fishing Reports, and Rad Katz Tackle.


North Central Ohio Lakes Report

Catfish seemed to be the theme at most north central Ohio lakes in August, but September should bring cooler temperatures and the crappie, bass and saugeye bite should heat up some.


Eastern Ohio Muskingum Watershed Lakes

Charles Mill anglers are still catching hybrid striped bass near the dam and occasionally bellow the dam. Large flathead catfish are being caught in the northern end of the lake. I just visited the campground there, it looks like a great place to camp, with some sites right on the water’s edge.

Even before cabin fever starts to set in - with the onset of the new year’s new TV programming, arrival of the new catalogs in the mail, and the annual consumer outdoors shows begin, it is simply not too early to initiate the annual inventory of your angling arsenal for the new open water fishing season.

At Clearfork, anglers are catching muskies near the spillway. Fishing Report by Chris at The Island Trading Post in Mifflin, Ohio, check with them for supplies and bait.

At Pleasant Hill Reservoir, Knox and Kokosing lakes, anglers are mostly chasing catfish and bluegills, but in September the bass and crappie should start hitting again. Steve Philpott

The Island Trading Post

A great place to begin things is with your boat. Take one day to simply do a cursory overview of the watercraft, with notebook in hand so as not to overlook any concerns. Make sure your motor is in the upright position to better allow any residual drainage. Check the prop and seal closely, along with trailer and boat lights. Add some lubrication to all essential parts and adjacent areas. Inventory the boat for any needed items or repairs. Disconnect batteries for the balance of the off-year.

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Take all combos and tackle boxes out to survey for any needs. Add such items together to properly fulfill. I save lots of time and space by not utilizing specific boxes for terminal tackle, finding it much more convenient to add appropriate terminal tackle to each lure box, individually. For any bladed baits, I use jewelry polish to enhance the metal. I always maintain a supply of Emory boards to assist with the more extreme needs. These boards also can be a welcome addition to the files I’ll use on every lure’s hooks in the box. I utilize Arm & Hammer baking soda to apply to the skirts on jigs and spinnerbaits. Their new spray version also works very well.

Whereas I tend to the business of spinning reel lubing and cleaning myself, I prefer taking my baitcasters to a pro, having him add new line while they’re there.  I’ll take a cotton swab and carefully run it through the eyes of all my rod eyes. Any subsequent cottony residue that accumulates is an indication that that eye is in need of replacement before it starts weakening my fishing line.

The wintertime is a great time to kick back in the recliner

and tend to maintenance of your angling gear in a thorough, organized manner. Come spring, you’ll be glad that you did. ***

Clendening Lake. Known for having the largest undeveloped shoreline in Ohio, Clendening Lake is described as one of the best fishing lakes in the region by local anglers. Clendening Lake features 1800 acres of water surface with three public launch ramps. Anglers will find largemouth and smallmouth bass, saugeye, channel and flathead catfish, crappie, and bullheads. Clendening Lake Marina offers docking, boat rentals, fuel, boating and fishing supplies, and concessions. The lake has a 10-horsepower limit.

Piedmont Lake. Located both in Belmont and Harrison Counties near the village of Piedmont along SR 22. Piedmont is a 2270-acre lake. Secluded bays make for great bass and muskellunge fishing, (a state record was caught here!). It also has catfish, bluegill, crappie, perch and saugeye. There is a 10-horsepower limit and two public launch ramps. Piedmont Marina offers boat rental, docking, fuel, boating and fishing supplies.

Jack Kiser is the host of the “Buckeye Angler”, as well as TV and radio host for PBS and Fox Sports. You can reach him at the Buckeye Angler Facebook site, or at the new buckeyeangler. com.

Tappan Lake. Located along SR 250 northwest of Cadiz. Tappan Lake is a 2,350 acre lake with two public launch ramps and is home to an abundance of channel and flathead catfish, white bass, crappie, bluegill, and saugeye. It has a 399-horsepower limit and there’s a marina with boat rentals.

Seneca Lake. striped bass, largemouth, bluegill, crappie, perch and walleye. It has a full-service marina that provides boat and motor sales, service, rental, boating supplies, bait, tackle, and licenses.


Leesville Lake. and Carrollton off Rt. 22 in Carroll county. It has a great reputation for Muskie fishing, as well as northern pike, catfish, largemouth bass, bluegill, crappie, perch and saugeye. It has two public launch ramps, a 10-horsepower limit and two marinas.

Atwood Lake. off St. Rt. 212, is a 25-horsepower lake which offers 1540 acres of water surface. It has two public launch ramps and two marinas featuring boat rentals, docking, fuel, boat sales and service. It stocks northern pike, catfish, largemouth bass, bluegill, crappie, perch and saugeye.

Information for this report provided by The Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District. They can be reached at (877) 363-8500

Hunting Fishing Camping Shooting 615 S. Market St. Danville, Ohio 43014

Junior Anglers of Ohio at Indian Lake

Junior Anglers of Ohio is a youth educational program hosted by the League of Ohio Sportsmen Foundation. The program is designed to get youth involved in the great outdoors. Specifically, learning how to fish, enhancing skills in fishing, water safety, and conservation. But most importantly, gaining a sense of involvement in a fun, learning environment.

2022 was a big year for the program. After being inactive for a few years, the League of Ohio Sportsmen Foundation reached out to an Indian Lake native to offer the opportunity to bring the program back to life. With the help of Tosh Collins, Kevin Hollenback, Norman Shevokas, Jeffrey Weaver, Jason Wicker, and Mike Endicott, Junior Anglers of Ohio was back into operation. Tosh and Kevin became certified fishing instructors by completing the Passport to Fishing courses instructed by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

The 2022 program year had nine youth participants. The first Junior Anglers of Ohio meeting was held at Camp Cotubic in Bellefontaine on May 7th. They learned about fish habitat and handling, how water can be polluted and the importance of watersheds. They also learned basic knot tying techniques, how to properly rig their poles, and how to identify baits, lures, and flies to attract fish.

After finishing up with going over the learning material, the youth got to put their newly learned skills to use in rigging their own (provided) poles. Each youth participant got the chance to cast out cane poles, bait casters, spinning reels, casting reels, and fly rods. Although it was cold and windy, every youth angler caught fish that day!

The remaining Junior Anglers meetings were held at Indian Lake throughout the summer and fall. The youth learned about gear exploration, and bait/lure making. Stations were set up where they each got to hand paint their own stick baits, tie their own fly-fishing lures, and got to assemble their own tackle boxes. They even got to go out on a boat with fishermen during the Indian Lake Flathead Tournament to learn about tournament fishing to catch the biggest flathead catfish!

2022 was a huge success with the Junior Anglers of Ohio program. The group got to watch the excitement and determination of one

their personal bests. The excitement of catching bass, bluegill, crappie, and catfish are memories these youth will cherish.

Junior Anglers of Ohio will be held at Indian Lake on multiple Saturdays throughout 2023. In-person events will take place every other month, starting in January. All youth ages 8 and up who desire to learn more about fishing, conservation, water safety, and outdoor activities are encouraged to join!

In-person events will be held at Indian Lake, Ohio and will be on designated Saturdays. These dates will be determined by availability and will be announced at least two-weeks prior, along with some dates being set to coincide with certain local fishing events. All participants will be notified at least two weeks in advance. Youth will receive instruction in spin casting, bait casting, fly rod casting, lure making, water safety, and much more. This is a fishing program and much of our time will be spent practicing skills by fishing. Persons over 16 years of age will be required to have a valid Ohio fishing license.

Junior Anglers is an open, free-learning environment where youth have a chance to choose from different types of fishing to find the type(s) that fit them best. Our goal is for everyone to have fun and catch fish. This program can provide an alternative skillset for a youth who is having trouble finding their way.

As a part of the program, all youth will receive their own fishing equipment, including rod, reel, and tackle that have been donated by the angling community from all over the USA.

Online registration is REQUIRED. $25 FIRST YEAR, $50 SECOND YEAR

Registration will remain open all year. Registration fee will remain the same regardless of date registered. It will not be prorated. Attending the in-person events is strongly encouraged along with parental participation. Parents can join in on the learning fun!

Register at the Ohio Wildlife Federation website:

Article contributed by Kevin Hollenback of Sasquatch Custom Lures. You can find him on all social media platforms under Sasquatch


2022 Lake Erie Hatch results released

Lake Erie anglers have been anxiously anticipating the results of the 2022 Walleye and Yellow perch hatch surveys. It has spurred discussions on fishing site message boards, at bait & tackle shops and marinas for months.

Western Basin Hatches- According to a mid-December press release from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), Division of Wildlife, based on the 35-year history of the combined western basin survey, the 2022 walleye hatch was the 9th largest, while the western basin yellow perch hatch was the 7th largest. With a survey index of 83 young-of-year walleye per hectare (an area-based catch rate) the 2022-year class is well above the prior average of 55/ha. The western basin yellow perch hatch had a survey index of 572 young-of-year yellow perch per hectare, above the average of 462/ha. These hatches for both walleye and yellow perch only strengthen the extremely positive long-term outlook for walleye anglers lake-wide and yellow perch anglers in the western basin.

Central Basin Hatches – Walleye production in the central basin continued a trend of above average hatches. Survey results for young-of-year walleye were 14 per hectare, well above the average of 6/ha. and the 7th strongest ranking of 33 survey years. For yellow perch, the central basin is split into two management zones. The central zone extends from Huron to Fairport Harbor, and the east zone continues from Fairport Harbor to Conneaut. The central zone survey resulted in an index of 3 young-of-year yellow perch per hectare, below the average of 39/ha., and ranked 29th of the 33 survey years. Similar results were found in the east zone, with an index of 3 per hectare, below the average of 38/ha., and ranked 26th of the 33 survey years. Despite a good yellow perch hatch west of Huron in the west zone, conditions did not favor yellow perch survival in the waters east of Huron in the central basin during 2022, similar to recent years. Variability in regional hatch success is expected on Lake Erie due to the size of the lake, differences in characteristics among basins, and prevailing weather conditions. Hatch success is largely determined by the timing and availability of favorable conditions for both spawning and survival of larval (newly hatched)

yellow perch in the spring and summer; therefore, successful lake-wide yellow perch hatches are rare. It is common to observe poor hatches in the central and east zones during years when those in the west zone are good, which is what has been observed for several consecutive years. When conditions change and favor the central basin, the pattern is anticipated to reverse. Long-term collections support these observations. “Lake Erie yellow perch are surveyed and managed as regional populations within management zones. Our surveys during the past few years have shown a marked difference in the yellow perch hatch when comparing the west, central, and east zones,” said Travis Hartman, the Division of Wildlife’s Lake Erie fisheries program administrator.

Article by: John Hageman. John now writes approximately 125 articles per year after retiring from the Ohio Sea Grant/Stone Laboratory - The Ohio State University’s Lake Erie biology station at Put-In-Bay.

Summit - Portage - Mogadore area

On July 25, 2022, I had the privilege of guiding for a very special true friend, by the name of Dr. Eric Dennis. He is in a battle with Stage 4 cancer and wanted to get out on the water when the treatments weren’t slowing him down. This trip was like no other, when I got the call, I dropped everything and made plans for Monday morning to guide for him. He wanted to use his boat too, just to give it a good workout.

Brag Board

do it again someday. Stage 4 cancer is a terrible thing, my prayers are with them. P.S. I have never had such a touching guide trip as this one. Sometimes we need some sunshine and a great fishing trip to help us put life in perspective.

is a fishing guide on the Portage Lakes in Ohio, he can be reached at 330-780-3652 or email

Mr. Dennis is a well-known fly-tying champion and has given many demonstrations and talks about fly tying and fly fishing. One of his flies can be seen at the Fly-Fishing Museum in Vermont. He is planning on doing some fly fishing in Montana with his son and friends soon (who are all dentists), but for now, we were bass fishing, and it was a beautiful morning for it. When we pulled up on our first area, at Turkeyfoot lake, Mr. Dennis landed a huge bass that weighed in at a little over 6 pounds! As I was taking a few pics, we were all smiles and laughs. The fun and friendships we make on the water may be the best part of what fishing has to offer.

After about 4 minutes we went across the lake and on his first cast there, he landed another huge bass, a 4 pounder this time. Our excitement was beyond words. It is not often you hook into back-to-back lunkers. This will always be a special day for Dr. Eric, his wife Mary and myself. We will never forget it and I hope that we can

Ron Slater

Berkeley County, South Carolina

Berkeley County is a wonderland for outdoor enthusiasts, sports bu s, adventure seekers, and water lovers. From exemplary fishing for striped bass, or a trophy largemouth bass, to our hiking trails and water activities, along with scenic outdoors where you can catch a glimpse of white tail deer and gators, Berkeley County has activities to fit all visitors and families.

Learn more about Berkeley County at:

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Researchers have designed and tested a new style of hook that takes catch-and-release to a whole new level. ese “bite-shortened” hooks are intended to allow sh to “release themselves” without being handled by the angler.

Dr. Holden Harris, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Florida’s Nature Coast Biological Station, was the mastermind behind the study. In his write up on Hook Line & Science, a North Carolina Sea Grant blog, he promoted the bene ts of e cient de-hooking and minimal handling of caught sh to considerably improve chances of survival for released sh. e hook he tested is a modi ed jig, which researchers clipped at the point, so that this “bite” portion of the hook—the business end— was reduced in length from 15 mm to 10 mm. e simple modi cation just clipped the barb and vertical length beyond the bend of the hook before it was re-sharpened. Harris tested it against a standard jighead as well as a jighead with the barb led down on 150 spotted seatrout. ey went shing with all three jigheads, reeled in the sh and then allowed the sh to op around boat-side until they either did or did not come unhooked.

“We found promising results for the bite-

shortened modi ed hook, which enabled anglers to land 91 percent of hooked spotted seatrout and then release 87 percent of those sh without direct handling,” Harris wrote. “In comparison, the self-release success rates were 47 percent using barbless hooks and 20 percent using standard, unmodi ed hooks.”

Additionally, Harris found that smaller seatrout were able to “self-release” at higher rates than larger ones.

Coastal Angler contributor and seatrout-on-

arti cials guru Michael Okruhlik has written on his use of barbless hooks when targeting pods of trout crashing bait. He said the ability to quickly and safely release sh without taking them out of the water allows him to get back in the action faster.

Maybe anglers would use a hook designed to let sh come unbuttoned?

For a video of this hook modi cation, see

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Amonster gold sh aptly named “Carrot” has been making the rounds on social media recently a er the sh was caught from a trophy carp lake in Champagne, France. UK angler Andy Hackett caught the nearly 70-pound bright orange sh from Bluewater Lakes, a heavily managed, privately owned pay-to-play shery that boasts of carp weighing heavier than 90 pounds.

Carrot seems to be somewhat of pet, but not the type you’d keep in a sh bowl. She is a crossbreed between leather carp and koi, and was stocked in the lake 15 years ago to give anglers an interesting sh to pursue.

“I always knew e Carrot was in there but never thought I would catch it,” said Hackett. It took him 25 minutes to reel in pot-bellied carp, which o cially weighed an astounding 67.4 pounds.

Carp caught at Bluewater Lakes are handled very carefully with a strict catch-and-release policy.

For more record sh, visit




Some cold but very fun shing days are ahead, and a Trapstyle bait is my absolute favorite way to sh this time of year. Typically sh group up in winter, and whether that be bait sh or bass, there are opportunities that make lipless crankbaits absolutely deadly!

rowing a lipless crank around areas where sh are chasing bait or where they are grouped up has caught lots of bass and some big ones. Even casting this bait as a search bait can work wonders. ere are so many options for lipless cranks that it can get confusing. I’ve experimented plenty, so I hope this article helps.

Traps range from ¼ oz. up to 1 oz. in weight, and every size can be used di erently. I pick sizes depending on the depth I’m shing or the depth of the structure, and I also consider the natural bait that is prevalent in the area. If you’re shing shallow or around tiny bait sh, a ¼-oz. size will be the best bet. A ½-oz. is usually my goto. It’s great for the mid-range depths of 5 to 10 feet, and it imitates a range of bait sh sizes.

A ¾-oz. is a bit bigger, and I don’t throw it as much, but it certainly has its place in 10 to 20-foot depths.

Remember, you can always vary your retrieve to get these baits higher or lower in the water column.

Color is another key factor. Ninety percent of the time, I sh a bait sh color. Whether it’s a shad, shiner or bluegill pattern, natural colors always work for me. I also throw orange or red a lot in winter. ese colors imitate craw sh, and they work where craw sh are prevalent. Match your bait color to the forage in the lake.

e last factor for lipless baits is sound related. ey come in silent, multi-rattle or single-knocker versions. I go silent for very clear water and heavily pressured sh, when appearing natural is important. e multi-rattle baits make a lot of noise, and the commotion draws strikes. My go-to, though, is the one-knocker style. is sound is unique and a little deeper pitched. I feel like sh, over the years, have become accustomed to the loud versions. I nd the single-knocker gets a few more bites in most situations.

With treble hooks, rod selection is important. You just reel into the sh when you get a bite, and this means your rod needs a solid backbone to drive those hooks and also a good amount of tip for keeping sh on during the ght. My go-to rod is a 13 Fishing Omen Black 7’4 Medium Heavy Moderate. e 13 Fishing Concept A 7:5:1 is a perfect reel for this application. I sh 15- to 20-lb. Seaguar Invizx line, depending on the structure I’m shing.

I hope these Trap tips help you put a few more sh in your boat this winter!

Tyler Woolcott is a professional tournament angler and guide. Check out his website at www.tylerwoolcott

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ANew Jersey angler eked out a new state record for albacore (long n) tuna in October when he boated a 78-pound, 2.4-ounce long n that bested the previous 1984 record by 3.4 ounces.

Matthew Florio, of Brick, N.J., is a commercial scalloper and he was shing with the rest of his scalloping crew aboard the Luna Sea at the east elbow of Hudson Canyon, the largest known underwater canyon o the east coast of the U.S. ey were at least 75 miles o shore and chunking for yellow n tuna, which is a technique that involves cutting up a bunch of butter sh and throwing them overboard before following up with hooked chunks of butter sh. e crew was already having a good day with yellow ns when Matthew hooked into his big albacore. He battled it in with a Kevin Bogan 30 Stand Up rod and a Penn 30 reel loaded with 60-pound mono lament. e sh measured 48 and 3/8 inches long and had a girth of 37 inches. e previous record was a 77-pound, 15-ounce long n caught in 1984 by Dr. S. Scannapiego in Spencer Canyon.

For more record sh, see



Now that Jack Frost has bay temperatures thoroughly chilled, only diehard lure chuckers will be found stalking the ats. Most of us have one thing in mind this time of year, catching a trophy trout. Here is how I approach my quest for that dirty 30-incher.

When water temperature stabilizes in the COLD range, all the migratory forage ees for warmer pastures. e bays are le with larger mullet as the primary food source for prized speckled trout. is is the time of year that I pull out my larger lures. is could be a longer length, a wider pro le, or both. is doesn’t have to be a 12-inch lure that is no fun to cast all day, but I do upsize from my typical 3- and 4-inch lures that I use most of the year. We have all seen a 25-inch trout with a 15-inch mullet in its belly, so they will eat something huge, but giant baits aren’t as fun to sh.

My con dence lures this time of the year are typically a 4-inch wide-pro le slow-sinking lure or a 5-inch bulky body paddletail. Since plastisol is buoyant, the bulky lure will have a slower sink rate, which I prefer under most conditions. e

slower sink allows for dual bene ts this time of year. Logically, the slower sink rate matches the slower mood of a cold sh. Also, I spend a lot of time targeting sh over shallow grass in knee-deep water. A slower sink rate keeps my lure in the strike zone longer before it disappears into the grass.

weedless hook. Depending on the conditions, I might go weightless or with a 1/16- or 1/8-ounce jighead. e weedless version keeps me out of the grass, it lessens the opportunity for my cold, less-dexterous hands to be impaled by a hook, and most of all, it does less damage to the trophy sh that I am targeting.

Areas I target will be near deeper water, have so er bottom, have visible forage, structure and hopefully be lowertra c areas. While planning trips, I take into consideration moon phase, current conditions and recent conditions when determining where to sh.

I have never caught a trophy trout by accident. I don’t know if that is lucky or unlucky, but every trout I have landed over 27 inches was on a day when I set out speci cally targeting larger sh. Case in point, if you want to catch trophy trout consistently, you must make the e ort to target them, sh where they live and be attentive to details. I know numerous anglers have caught large trout with no e ort, but most don’t catch two.

The Return of a

I t my 5-inch rattling paddletail with a

Capt. Michael Okruhlik is the inventor of Knockin Tail Lures®, and the owner of

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