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Leave it to the pros

July 6, 2008
Bill Harding

Lake Erie was a bit rough last Monday. I've seen her rougher, but we had plenty of rock and roll while we drifted for walleyes. Most of the waves were in the 3-foot range, but we had a few that reached closer to 6 feet. When you are drifting broadside to the waves your lure gets plenty of action, but that also translates into plenty of boat movement. Not a good thing for anyone susceptible to seasickness.

Larry, Ray, Beaner, Carl, Sherri and I had won this charter in a raffle to raise money for the Columbiana County Youth Hunter Education Challenge kids. Even if we had not won the raffle we would have donated to a great program. The YHEC (we pronounce it "why-heck") kids make us proud every year with the amount of effort they put into their competition. Our local group has even participated nationally and done well.

Our charter was with Knot Lost charters out of Port Clinton and Tami and Dan treated us like royalty. There was a time when I considered taking the captain's exam, but when I see how hard charter skippers and their mates work I decided it was more fun to be a customer. Our group was easier to care for than some I have seen, but even so Dan and Tami were busy baiting hooks, giving advice and seeing to our comfort. We had one line snarl that could compete with any I untangled at the 4-H fishing camp. When you consider that all of this was done while the boat was rolling it is just that much more amazing.

Despite the waves we were in no danger. Our charter captains were experienced Lake Erie veterans and if there had been danger we would have stayed in port. Besides, we were not the only boat fishing the same general area.

Barb and I spent a lot of time sailing Lake Erie and we learned to respect her many moods. Heading offshore in a 12-foot aluminum fishing boat with a 6 h.p. kicker is not a good idea. These boats might be safe close to harbor, but a sudden storm or wind when you are 5 miles from safety is a recipe for disaster. That is why I recommend a charter unless you are experienced and have a boat capable of taking whatever this freshwater ocean can dish out. Knot Lost charter uses a 27-foot Sports Craft with the latest in electronic and safety equipment.

Not only do charter captains know how to handle Lake Erie, they know where to fish. If you are new to the lake you could waste more in fuel trying to find fish than it would cost to book a charter. Tami and Dan have 17 years of experience in the Western Basin, and we caught fish.

Lake Erie is an excellent fishery and the walleye is considered by many to be the king of fishes. To catch this excellent eating fish we drifted spinners tipped with nightcrawlers. A heavy sinker was used to get the lure down to where the walleyes were holding. If the water had been flat we might have raised and lowered our rods to impart action, but last Monday the boat movement added plenty of action with out rods held stationary.

I highly recommend a Lake Erie charter and I have been on several. Just keep in mind the infamous Lake Erie Chop. The big lake seems to have a different wave action than what you will find on a salt water charter. This likely can be attributed to the fact that Erie is comparatively shallow. Whatever the reason, I have seen a lot of people turn a pasty shade of gray-green and I am told that it is not fun to be seasick. If you are planning your first trip, keep this in mind and check with your doctor concerning seasickness medication. Dramamine seems to work, but it also makes some people sleepy. You could find yourself sleeping through your charter.

A friend of ours uses pressure bracelets and claims they work for her. This is a woman who sailed with her husband all over Lake Erie and could not go below into the cabin even during a storm. After using the bracelets she was able to go below and make sandwiches. Was it physiological? I have no idea, but it worked for her.

The best way to prepare for a Lake Erie trip is to check with your charter captain and we have some good ones on our north shore. Pick the one you like and I highly recommend Knot Lost as one of your choices. You can call them for more information at (330) 821-0452.



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