Nature Notes: Best fishing day of my life

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Pictured above is my cousin David Palagyi, known alternately in the loose association of Lake Erie walleye fishermen as "The Mad Hungarian" or "Perchin' Palag." He's the man who this weekend brought me along on a friend's boat. At the end of the day, about six hours trolling through the Lake Erie Islands, we caught 30 walleye -- about 100 pounds of delicious fish.

He is a good man, The Mad Hungarian. He even cleaned my fish -- beer in hand, Bruce Springsteen blaring from his truck stereo. Going by weight, I took home more fish in one day than I'll catch in the next month wading Central Ohio rivers for bass, panfish and trout.

Walleye fishing, a cornerstone of the multi-million-dollar Erie fishing business, is a very different animal than I'm used to. Heck, the majority of the fishing I do requires a rod, reel, line and a few flies. I can pack my stuff no problem on the back of my bicycle.

This weekend, though, we used all the tools, including a 10-rod setup on a 27-foot boat with a fish finder, trolling motor and two planer boards, wooden planks that help spread out lines from either side of the wake. The boat even had auto-pilot, getting us to our destination without assistance.

It was a nice change of pace -- largely because we caught a helluva lot of fish, meeting our daily bag limit with ease. I prefer a more active experience, where I can be in the water and moving at all times. This wait-reel-haul method, though, is probably more appealing to a large number of people.

That's why I'll have a full-page spread on charter fishing in the June 12 issue of Alive. It's going to be our Ohio Outdoor Adventure issue. Should be amazing. For now, check out more pics after the jump.