Last week’s heavy snow in Northeast Ohio left many to slog through the difficult and even dangerous chore of shoveling driveways and sidewalks.
For many, however, good samaritan neighbors, stepped up to shoulder the heavy lifting, including young Kannon Kirkpatrick of Minerva. He lugged his shovel to come to the aid of fishing buddy Tom Wickersham. Kannon and his brother Keaton became friends with Tom, a retiree who hosted them aboard his boat in a Student Fishing League bass tournament on Berlin Reservoir last summer. Theirs is one of a myriad of friendships fortified by people who share the common bond of a love of fishing.
“We have watched these boys grow up as neighbors,” Tom said. “They usually find their way down to our house to have their bikes fixed, help with yard chores, talk fishing and sports, not to mention how many rods and reels I have given them. Not having my own grandchildren, I am blessed to have them around.
“Spending a day fishing with them last year was a pure joy. They loved it. There will be many more trips in the future, I might add.”
Fishing friendships are real and enduring. Buddies learn from each other and along the way, great memories are made.
Chris Bray of Brookfield says his grandfather was a special fishing buddy back in the 1970s as he instilled a love of working the big waters of Lake Erie. That love lingers today.
“I have a boat I keep docked in Marblehead and I exclusively fish that area around the islands, mainly for walleye, but also smallmouth bass, perch, channel cats and white bass,” Chris said. “White bass was a fish that was actively sought after by many, including my grandpa when I fished that area in the ’70s as a child. The fact they’re now considered ‘junk fish’ by many baffles me, as they are good eaters.”
Chris is passing his Erie love along to son Bryce. They were fishing in April last year near Mouse Island when both Brays made milestone catches.
“We were catching the occasional sheephead and a lot of nice white bass. I had a nice hit from a hard-fighting fishing, which I thought to myself was another sheephead until it came to the surface! I yelled, ‘Get the net’ and a 33-inch 13-pound walleye came into the boat! An hour later, Bryce landed a 30-inch 10-pound fish. Both were our personal best.”
Family is huge in the fishing life of Campbell resident Charles. His grandfather had a 1983 16-foot Sylvan that went unused after he passed away in 1993 until recently when Charles and his brother caught the fishing bug.
“My grandfather was a walleye guy through and through,” Charles said. “One day last June, I took one of my wife’s friend’s kids fishing on Mosquito and caught my first walleye on my boat which was Grandpa’s. I wasn’t a spectacular specimen, but it was a solid 17-inch keeper!”
Fishing will be big for him again this season.
“As for ’22, I look forward to resuming the weekend fishing trip with Dad and my brother on Dad’s birthday. I’m also hoping to finally catch a muskie and maybe have one of those fabled days where I limit out on walleye or crappie or perch.”
Memories and Dreams. They are everything in fishing, huge reasons we love every opportunity to go to our favorite waters.
Jack Wollitz’s book, “The Common Angler,” explores the thrills and chills that make fishing fun. He likes emails from readers. Send a note to email@example.com.
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