Cool temperatures turned on the yellow perch bite in Lake Erie last weekend.
Aug. 19 marked our tenth annual family fishing outing and it proved to be the best one ever.
Our charter, with 12 kids and adults on board and Capt. John Tibbels at the helm, left Marblehead about 8 a.m.
Temperatures hovered in the low 70s as we headed to D-Can, west of South Bass Island and south of the Niagara Reef. Capt. Tibbels said anglers had reported good fishing in that area on Aug. 18.
He was right.
We barely dropped anchor when one of the teens onboard pulled in the first of about 390 fat yellow perch that we boated in about four hours.
The fishing was consistent all morning with everyone taking generous numbers of "doubles." Capt. Tibbels contributed a few "triples" with his own rod. Unfortunately, he didn't have much time to drop a line since he was busy helping our family's five teen and pre-teen girls take fish off their hooks.
The kids are not a bit squeamish about baiting hooks, but pulling those hooks out of flopping fish is another matter altogether.
Previous years saw a significant number of white perch in our boat's cooler. That was not the case last weekend. It appeared only sweet-tasting yellow perch were interested in our shiners. And they were not small!
Our group hooked a number of 8, 9 and 10-inch fish. One measured 11 ½ inches.
We hit the boat limit at 12:30 p.m. and headed in. Not surprising, finding a fish cleaning house to fillet our catch proved a bit difficult. Other anglers were enjoying similar success, causing increased demand at most of the facilities in Port Clinton and Marblehead.
We made it under the wire at Port Clinton Fish to get "same-day" service. Anglers who came in later were asked to pick up their fillets on Monday.
I hope last weekend's bountiful experience will not spoil our crew for future outings. They know some days you get the perch and some days you don't.
But we decided any day spent fishing and feasting on peanut butter sandwiches and candy bars beats any day on shore.