Fall Perchin' Lake
Erie's Central Basin
It was over in less time than it takes to watch a made-for-television movie. After just 90 minutes of lowering weighted perch rigs into 52 feet of Lake Erie water the five anglers were stowing their gear and battening down the hatches. While the perch were kind and generous, Lake Erie was showing its temperamental side with waves lifting the hull of Marv DeGreenıs boat by as much as four feet.
Even so the fact that the boatıs cooler was enriched by 150 plump,sweet-smelling yellow perch was cause for celebration. "This is some kind of wonderful," said charter captain Steve Jager. "Another day in paradise."
The trip to heaven began as a busmanıs holiday for DeGreen, Jager and Ron Johnson, all Grand River-based charter captains. By a fluke the three normally busy fishing guides were each without a hired charter on a recent weekday afternoon.
That was good fortune for Bob Ashley of Mentor and myself. We'd have the opportunity to join the three charter captains on a yellow perch fishing trip out of the Grand River. This way the three fishing guides could keep on top of where the perch were actively feeding. That, of course, was asgood of an excuse as any.
These guys love to fish and the thought of even an afternoon off was an alien and unacceptable alternative. They knew their boats would soon hibernate on storage racks, surrounded by deep snows and water-freezing temperatures.
"Once again the weather report got it all wrong," said Johnson as wewatched the three to occasionally four foot swells. No matter, for the wind and the waves created the perfect perch fishing chop. We had enough of a roller coaster ride to keep our perch rigs riding up and down from the lakeıs bottom.
The fishing gear was pretty much assembled when DeGreen shut down the boatıs engines and released the anchor. Based on their experiences the three charter captains had attached sinkers weighing at least two ounces to each of the rigs.
"Theres a lot of current down there and you need the weight to keep the perch rig from running away," Johnson said. Hardly had the perch rigs touched bottom when the fish began inspectingthe baited offerings. Usually one fish was hauled aboard but enough double and triple headers were raised to spark more than a few "he-haws" and "yow-ees" from the quintet of fishermen.
"You might as well put that second rod away," Johnson said, looking at my pair of fishing outfits. "Itll only get in the way." Johnson was correct as the perch came so fast .....
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