Writers test mad angler skillz and live to tell about it

Outdoor writer Paul Liikala, who was part of our gathering of writers, works at getting the right angle for a shot he’ll use to illustrate a story. (Mike Tontimonia photo)

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ASHTABULA, Ohio — Lake Erie is moody creature, smooth and gentle one minute, but nasty as a cornered weasel the next. Everyone who fishes the big lake knows about her temper and the smart ones pay Erie a lot of respect. The less than smart folks get wet at least, scared, too, when they ignore the signs of a mood change.

Capt. Tim Caruthers is one of the smart ones and he introduced himself to our gathering of outdoor writers with a caution that the ride might be bumpy and the fishing a lesson in slipping and sliding, because he suspected that Erie would be feeling a little rough as the hours passed.

But even that likely promise of rough seas failed to dampen the spirits of our group, a gaggle of sleepy-eyed guys intent on fishing with Caruthers, one of the top guides fishing out of Ashtabula, Lake Erie’s not-so-secret honey hole.

Writers-turned-anglers

Our goals all seemed the same; to gather story fodder, snap some pictures of the publishing kind, and more than that, smear ourselves with slime from our catch of big walleyes.

Oh yeah, there was also the secret of bragging rights, a pretty important prize considering we all spend way too much time on boats and reeling in fish, all in the name of journalistic research.

The day started a half hour north of the harbor as Caruthers dropped a few trolling lines in the water along with answering a six pack of writers’ questions.

Before Caruthers could explain his tactics, the first rod bent over like a buggy whip at the county fair track and the race was on. Big walleyes were the dish of the day and we all ate it up, winding in some of Lake Erie’s largest walleyes, some nearly 10 pounds, green and shiny and full of head shaking reluctance they came.

Some shook the hooks, others spit the lures, but still some came to the net and as they did, the fun began.

Paparazzi

Six outdoor communicators with cameras at work. How fun. Hold this, smile, look at the fish, shake the fin out, hold it up, tip it, and on and on.

Our cooler of walleyes had to be the most pictured of all walleyes and indeed some will make a cover, some will become story art, all will be enjoyed for their wonderful taste.

Caruthers runs a first class operation, clean boat, organized tackle, great electronics, and more. Most importantly, he had a plan. Nothing helter skelter about Caruthers, no guessing and wondering and chasing what might be.

His plan went into action as he throttled back when the glow of the morning sun popped up and he worked it all day. Confidence oozed and skill flashed as the caption directed his crew for the day to reel this fish in then that fish too.

A great walleye day, a Great Lake, and a great guide. That’s about as good as it gets.

For more information about Ashtabula walleye fishing contact Caruthers at www.tnvcharters.com.

About the Author

Mike Tontimonia has been writing weekly columns and magazine features about the outdoors for over 25 years, a career that continues to hold the same excitement for him as it did at the beginning. Mike is a retired educator, a licensed auctioneer, and marketing consultant. He lives in Ravenna, Ohio and enjoys spending time at his Carroll County cabin. Mike has hunted and fished in several states and Canada from the Carolinas to Alaska and from Idaho to Delaware. His readers have often commented that the stories about his adventures are about as close to being there as possible. He is past president of the Outdoor Writers of Ohio and a member of the Outdoor Writers Association of America. Mike is also very involved in his community as a school board member and a Rotarian. More Stories by Mike Tontimonia

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