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JACK WOLLITZ Cool-down should heat up fishing



Published: Sun, August 19, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



Summer's dog days took a big bite out of the local fishing throughout August, but cooler weather has settled over the area and the action should begin to improve.

Reports from Lake Erie indicate that's exactly what has begun to happen.

Walleye fishing is rated as very good from the Western Basin to Buffalo, with most anglers catching fish and many limiting out. Surface water temperature there is 74 degrees.

Anglers are hooking walleyes west of Green and Rattlesnake islands, near the F Can and on the north side of the Camp Perry firing zone. They also are scoring off Ruggles Reef and Lorain.

Best success is being reported by trollers dragging crankbaits behind side planers and Dipsy Divers, as well as drifters working may fly rigs and worm-spinner combos.

Walleyes also are biting in the Central Basin, where anglers are plumbing the depths with downriggers and lead-core lines. Fish up to 28 inches are being caught regularly off Cleveland, Fairport Harbor and Geneva.

Everybody loves fresh yellow perch, and Lake Erie is producing a bumper crop this year.

In the Sandusky-Cedar Point area, anglers are limiting out (30 fish) on perch measuring eight to 13 inches. Lake shiners are the best bait, and doubles are coming for those who use spreaders.

Hotspots include Green, Kelleys and Mouse islands, the Marblehead Lighthouse and Cedar Point.

Steelhead catches have picked up in the past two weeks, with anglers catching fish eight to 14 miles off Cleveland, Fairport Harbor and Conneaut.

The bites are coming in 65 to 70 feet of water, with gold spoons producing fish in the 20-inch range.

Lake Erie's smallmouth bass fishing also is excellent. Good catches are occurring off Geneva and Conneaut in 20 to 35 feet of water by anglers dragging tube jigs over sandbars and rocky ledges.

Walleye hero: Jim McGowan of Niles earned a special award at the In-Fisherman Pinnacle/Real Tree Eastern Pro-Am tournament Aug. 8-10 on Lake Erie for his recovery following a slow first round.

McGowan received the Coleman Cool Under Pressure Award for advancing 60 places through the third and final round. He pocketed a $475 bonus for his rally.

From puck to bass: Two-time National Hockey League All Star Pat Verbeek will trade his skates for fishing rods next week as he competes in the amateur division of the Michigan CITGO BASSMASTER Tour stop at Lake St. Clair near Detroit.

Verbeek, a Detroit Red Wing, knows bass, having competed in Texas when he helped the Dallas Stars win the Stanley Cup.

"When time allows, I'm out on the water all the time," Verbeek said. "In general, I try to fish two or three times a week. When you're fishing, you're not thinking about anything else."

New bass boss: Sports marketing veteran Dean Kessel has been named general manager of B.A.S.S. Inc., according to an announcement by Michael Rooney, senior VP and general manager of ESPN Outdoors.

Kessel formerly was in charge of Lowe's portfolio of sports marketing activities, including its NASCAR team and sponsorships with the NFL, NBA and Major League Baseball.

"As we continue to grow B.A.S.S., we realized a need for the event and sports marketing expertise that Dean brings," Rooney said.




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