I went fishing Saturday, but not just any fishing.
I was pro fishing on Pine Lake as part of the O’Charley’s Bass Classic to benefit the United Way.
I shot some video, too. Click here. I was more prolific at shooting video than catching fish.
That’s not to say I did not catch any fish. I did — six of them to be exact.
But visions of a great fish fry on the back grill that night were snagged away by my partner, pro angler Sean Wright of Reynoldsburg, Ohio.
“Catch and release” is how he fishes, with the release coming after the weigh-in at the end of the tourney.
Proper relations with nature were a constant lesson Sean taught on Saturday
No wasted line in the water. It’s not bio-degradable and it can tear apart the insides of fish and boat engines.
No live bait — only lures. Live bait like worms and minnows are foreign species to water and risk contamination.
Respect fish spawning season.
And on the few times when a fish swallowed his lure and he had to leave it inside the fish, a tone of sympathy came over him as he muttered to himself and to the fish. He’d say things like “Sorry fella — this one’s in deep.”
I also learned a lot about fishing.
First, getting hit by a fishing pole as it is being cast could rank right up there with waterboarding.
I did not get hit, but my ear is still buzzing from the 1,068 whips (estimated) that passed my ear as Sean cast into Pine Lake. If fishemen threw baseballs like they cast fishing lures, I think they'd clock in at 98 mph. And Sean's daring space allocation between his pole and my ear could earn him a place in the William Tell Society of Close Calls.
(I got one cast on video. Check it out.)
Essentially there are no success rules for catching fish, only theories and gut feelings: Time of day, wind direction, wind speed, cold fronts, air temperatures, cloud cover, lily pad cover, water depth, water clarity, type of fishing line, color of the lure, texture of the lure, sound of the lure, wiggliness of the lure, fish are hungry, fish are lazy, fish are dumb, fish are smart ...
All of the above are just on the first page of fishing lessons and theories.
They can simultaneously create or ruin a fishing outing — it depends on the angler.
Our outing was OK.
Sean placed fourth last year, but got 19th this year.
I would have believed it was my fault due to the number of times I snagged his reel and he had to unsnag me. But there were several times he landed a big one, and it snapped his line. Seriously, just ask him.
I think local knowledge had a hand, too, as the winners on each lake were local guys.
Pine Lake winners were Struthers’ Michael Bolevich (first), Girard’s John Yohman (second) and Poland’s Jack Wollitz (third). In addition to fishing, Jack gets credit for running the event and also ensuring The Vindy has a good outdoors page on Saturdays.
Over at Evans Lake, winners were Austintown’s Tom Rolland (first), Clarksville’s Brad Wall (second) and Warren’s Joe Discerni (third).
United Way was also a huge winner.
So was Sean’s fishing gear that he loaned me. Nothing broken. Nothing lost.