By Vanessa Johnson a.k.a. NessNovember 3rd, 2000 will go down in my personal history book as the day I let a bunch of new friends out of my computer. After a six and a half hour drive from New York, my son, Chad, and I arrived in Vermillion, Ohio for the Walleye Central Get Together.
First stop was The Sportsman's Outpost and a first time meeting with Den and Mary Braun. Some guy behind the counter there kept insisting that Den wasn't there but he couldn't quite hide his grin. Yeah, you guessed it, it was Den himself. You aren't going to be able to pull that one on me again, pal. We timed our arrival at Den's real well because Dan Wyma (Swat 1) was also there. My, he's a tall one. Dan was kind enough to offer to escort us to the Comfort Inn in Huron where we'd be staying.
A lot of the Walleye Central Gang was staying there and right away we ran into another Internet favorite of mine, Tom Ebi (Ebijack). The two men conferred for a few minutes and pretty soon they were heading out the door together and Dan was saying something about some errands he had to run. "Errands, my eye." I told Chad. "Those two are headed out to fish. A reconnaissance mission for tomorrow," I said with a smile. They proved me right later on when they showed up at the Fry with a nice mess of walleyes in Dan's livewell. Lots of really nice fish were being shown off out in the parking lot that night. I'm sorry I missed fishing on Friday because it sure looked like it was a good day to be out on the water.
Inside, I got to meet the man behind Walleye Central, Scott Golden. He gave me a big brotherly hug, which by the way not all of you guys can pull that off as smoothly as he does, and echoed my thoughts of how great it was to finally meet. I got introduced to Cindy, (Scott's wife) Sheila Ryan, and Rick (Bigfoot) LaCourse and his wife, Judy. Gang, I have to tell you that the two biggest surprises of this trip for me were Scott Golden and Rick LaCourse. Neither man is anything like I expected him to be. Scott is a warm, fun-loving guy with an infectious grin. Bigfoot? Well, let me put it this way… Rick's welcome in my boat any day. Just when are we going fishing, big guy?
The Fry was a blast . I got to meet my Internet pals, Airwave, Dan(oh), the Driftr's, Pete(oh) and numerous other WC friends. Oh, and the food… I think walleye tastes better when cooked by an army of men, at least it did that night. Wow, I still can't get over all the goodies that Scott gave away that night and judging by the big grin on his face, he was having a ball doing it. I can't wait to try out the new Rogues that Chad won. ( Hey, a guy should share stuff like that with his Mom.) We called it an early night on Friday because I knew that our ride, Dan Wyma (Swat 1) would be picking us up bright and early.
Saturday morning, I was up two hours too early so I hung out in the lobby and chatted with the guys as they came and went. I'm not sure exactly who it was I was talking to but they were real nice! Dan pulled in right on time and it's a good thing that he did because I could hardly stand the wait,. I was so excited. After seeing all those big fish the night before, I was ready to roll. The line at the boat launch was impressively long. I'll never complain about waiting at my local launches again. After some problems with my backing abilities, we got on the water. That man will listen to me the next time I say, "I can't…" Suburbans don't float very well, do they, Dan? I've got to give him credit, the man has nerves of steel.
Lake Erie was as awesome as everyone has said she is. A magnificent lake that can give you the best time of your life or be your worst nightmare, depending on how well you know and respect her. When we first went out, she was tossing us around with three footers. Later, they turned to four footers with, I swear, an occasional larger wave that was thrown in just to try and shake me up. I'm happy to say that the man that we hitched a ride with, knew this lake well and I had complete confidence in him to put us on to fish and to keep us safe.
Let's get something straight, I'm no troller. Ah, let's change that to I wasn't a troller but I am hooked now. All those six, seven, nine and that one 10.01 lber. will do that to you. ( I repeat that was a 10.01 lber, Scott! J) At first, I was lost when we put the lines out and less than five minutes later when Dan said there was a fish on, to be honest, I couldn't tell. A real nice six pounder was the first fish in the boat that day. I can understand now why everyone complains about aching arms after they get done with a good day of trolling. Even a six pounder feels like it weighs a ton when you get it closer to the boat.
Okay, this line goes out to 140??? Hey, I'm starting to get the hang of this. About then I heard my name called over the radio. Hey, Drift'r, how's it going? And hi to you, Airwave. How does that Brion ever catch fish? He's always talking on the radio?
When I landed my biggest fish, I think I shattered poor Dan's ear drums. Did anyone catch that war whoop shriek that filled the air? Sorry, got a little excited. I'm not use to catching fish that big. What a rush! I'm sold on Reef Runners, there's nothing like cheap sunglasses and a little monkey puke. Hey, I can talk Erie now.
I was probably the only person on the lake that wanted to catch a sheephead and a white bass. Everyone's always complaining about them so I wanted to see one for myself. Okay, I've seen what you look like so please stay off my hook now. Of course, they didn't listen and no, I don't like that flipping thing that sheephead like to do on top of the water. Maybe, New York's fishing nuisance, the pickerel, isn't so bad after all?
The fishing ended way too soon and in to the Weigh In, we headed. I must say that our basket of fish wasn't too bad looking, thanks to Dan. If you want to see them check out the picture of Swat 1 that's posted with the basket of fish. I wasn't about to have another bad hair day picture hit the Net again so I successfully ducked the cameras at the weigh in.
Unfortunately, we couldn't stay and fish on Sunday so I missed out on some more fantastic fishing, but I can't wait until next year.
Guys and gals, if you love to fish for walleyes, let me tell you, you haven't really experienced walleye fishing at it's best until you've fished Huron, Ohio in the fall. It was the greatest!!!!! Be sure and mark it on your calendar and join us for next years Get Together. You can bet that I'll be there!
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