Happy New Year and SUPER Happy New Fishing Season! In just a few short months we are going to be launching the 2019 Walleye season. My 33rd year as a full time Lake Erie charter boat captain and fishing guide! And for the first time in quite a few years or at least this early into the off season, I just simply can not wait to get back out there! The fishing last year was so spectacular, so much fun, and do I dare say, so easy that I have put off any thoughts of retiring any time soon. If the fishing is even half as good as it was last summer, it will still be spectacular! And the size of the fish will be fantastic. I was just so impressed watching the Walleyes that we were catching all of last summer grow and put on weight right in front of our eyes. And there are just so many of them out there now. And it's only going to get better if that is even possible! The Ohio Division of Wildlife has released their final end of the year assessment of last springs Walleye hatch. This 2018 spring hatch had been rumored to have been the second largest Walleye hatch since they have been doing trawl studies and running test nets in the late fall for young of the year fish. They have since corrected their original assessments to now saying that it is by far, the LARGEST, the most GREATEST Walleye hatch ever recorded or that anyone has ever seen! Leaps and bounds above the 2003 Walleye hatch that they said would never be surpassed. Did I mention retirement is going to have to wait?
Before we get too carried away with things to come, lets revisit one final time the season that we just had aboard THE TROPHY. 2018 started out a little slower then we would have liked. After a particularly cold and nasty March & April, last May saw water temperatures lagging well below normal along with lousy water clarity. We struggled to catch around a dozen or so fish a trip. On the plus side they however were much bigger on average then the fish that would come the rest of the year. Still, I just couldn't understand it. The year before, May of 2017 it was just about as fast as we could go the whole month. Problem was, most were not quite legal sized. Last May I was expecting the same exact thing. Fast as you could go, just expecting all nice legal sized fish. It didn't happen. BUT then the first week of June last year we got hit with a big wind event that lasted two days. After having cold easterly and northerly winds most all of May, we got hammered with stiff westerly gales dead out of the west for 48 hours straight. Although I lost a couple of trips due to the wind, it was exactly what we needed! When everybody got back out there, water temperatures had jumped 7-8 degrees higher and it had blown a massive school of Walleyes down our way as well!
We went from working very hard and having long full days, something I had all of May to suddenly out of control and stupid fast! And all nice legal sized 17 to 19 inch fish like I was expecting. And it remained that way the rest of the year from early June when the big schools arrived till I pulled the boat in October. Every charter I ran, and I mean EVERY charter the rest of the year, we limited out easily no matter how many people we had on the boat or the conditions that we were dealt. 4 guys, 5 guys, 6... it just didn't matter. In fact if the weather cooperated, most days we caught full boat limits including me catching my fish! I kept a few fish for dinner here and there but most were given to add to the crews catch. Something we haven't been able to do in a very long time. But when they are coming that good every day and there are so many fish in the lake, I figured what's the harm? I think most of my guys really appreciated it and knew that I was going well above and beyond of what was expected of me. Hey, I like to fish too! So if we have a normal spring this year for a change unlike last year, we should and I say SHOULD be able to pick up in early May right where we left off here in October. I just can't wait to find out! Regardless, there will be plenty of fish to be caught and sometimes there's nothing wrong with having a "long, full day" out on the lake. Especially when you are catching some of the biggest Walleyes of the year!
There isn't a whole lot new planned for myself this season. Everyone really enjoyed last years upgrades and additions especially the overhead new 18 and 1/2 inch tablet that we incorporated into THE TROPHY's already incredible sound system. Using hi tech Wi-Fi & Bluetooth, we literally had a infinite music library and a virtual juke box onboard! We had HD music videos going on all the time as my guests all called out their favorite songs and artists. It got to the point where I didn't know whether I was a fishing guide or a frigging disk jockey! Ha! We had countless games of "name that tune" or "name that singer". We even had a little karaoke going on at times! Some pretty darn good, some rather painful! Lol! All the time while the Walleyes were biting in the back of the boat like CRAZY! Talk about having fun! And the party didn't end when we hit the dock. There was always the "after party" dockside! Also the brilliant new blue underwater stern lights were a lot of fun to see and made leaving in the early pre morning darkness a whole lot cooler as were a few of the other goodies that we added on last year. I do have a couple of neat ideas planned for the boat for this year, but as always you will have to come out and fish with me to find out exactly what! Haha! OK we've freshened up the trophycharters.com website just a little bit and we also have a new brochure out for this year as well. If you are not on our mailing list and do not receive a brochure here in early January, let me know and I would be more than happy to mail one out to you along with our mid winter newsletter. Also, for those of you that have tentative trips penciled in with us or somebody who would like a trip, now is the time to confirm those trips or inquire about a date. With the word getting out about how great the fishing is nowadays, dates go very fast. So that's about it. We've made it this far through the off-season. Everybody stay warm and remain safe the rest of the winter and just keep thinking FISHING! See everybody soon!
*A quick note. This past fall we had a server software glitch issue through our hosting site come up which added some strange gibberish to all our fishing report text. Disturbing to me was that it also affected all our past archived fishing reports. This has since been resolved. Thank you Ron at fishlakeerie.com for the fix!