Got The Biggest Catfish I've Ever Seen And My New Personal Best At Hinckley - 5/31/12
My brother had a baseball game at Hinckley so I decided to go fishing there. His last two practices were at Wallace Lake where I wasn’t having much luck. I only expected to catch a few dink bluegills if I was lucky and just assumed the lake was terrible. I take that all back.
I was going to fish on the dock near the dam but some people were already there. So I fished a little ways down from them to the left. After a few minutes, I got a big fish. I was just bobber fishing ten feet from shore but since it drops off quickly I was about five feet deep. I started reeling in and the fish was swimming away. I wasn’t even fighting but it was so big that its swimming away still dragged out my line. This was flimsy, weak pole which is not suited for behemoth fish. All I did was reel in so it bent the hook straight out and lost it. I continued fishing for a few minutes and it came back on the same pole. This time I was smart enough to let it pull the line out and reel until it was tired. I also got the attention of another guy who was going to help me. Unfortunately, the line snapped. I did know at this point it was a fish and not a turtle since I saw a fin.
I was fishing for another hour and did not have any luck with the fish. I’m not sure if the two fish I had were one and the same. If they were, I assumed it would not bite since it had a hook in its mouth likely. I caught two tiny fish that were either rock bass or black crappie. I could not tell so if anyone would know, that would help. They also had a purple shade on them. I also switched to my heavier duty poles, one of which was a slip bobber. I bobber fished all over in front of me and only got those two dinks and several other bites that were likely dinks. There were some kids nearby that were playing the ukulele and harmonica and singing. One was fishing and it sounded like he caught a big fish which I assumed was my catfish. I figured I was done.
Fortunately, I was not. I was bobber fishing with my slip bobber only two feet in front of me where it was still slightly deep. I got a bite and hooked it. Lo and behold, the catfish was back!!! I fought with a minute or two. This is the first fish in 17.5 years of living that I had to fight with and let them drag out the line. That was really fun because he really took the line out there. All other fish I’ve caught, some that were only a few inches shorter than this one, I was able to reel in with no fight. Not this one though. The guy helped me get it in and we discovered it was a channel catfish. I do not know if was either or both the same fish from the other two strikes. It did not have my hook in it, which I was hoping on getting back, but then it could have fallen out. It measured exactly 30 inches though we did not weigh it. I kept it on a stringer until my dad could come and see it. It sounded like my family and the rest of my church that was at the game was too. But because it was stressed, we just let it go and it was fine.
So, that is officially the biggest fish I’ve ever caught, beating a 26-inch sheephead from last July. It’s the biggest catfish I’ve ever seen. It is a Fish Ohio. God is very good to me. I’m glad I was able to come home saying, “That is the greatest fishing accomplishment of my life!!!”, instead of, “ I just blew three hours I could have spent studying for finals.” I will try to post pics soon but it is late and I haven’t learned how to do it yet.
Also, I was actually hoping for trout. Does anyone know how one might catch them there? I don’t know if I’d be going back too soon. Last year, I got two nice ones at Wallace Lake on bobber and worm. That’s all I’ve been doing for them at Wallace and Hinckley and that’s what the Plain Dealer fishing report says to do. I’ve actually caught a lot of big fish from everywhere doing that.
The pictures are uploaded to my album. I tried posting them on here but I couldn't figure it out and I got too impatient to try.
Last edited by Aang; 06-04-2012 at 05:01 PM.
Love the story, congrats on what we can tell was an exciting moment in your life. It is hard to beat the joy of fighting and landing a monster fish.
Welcome to OGF! I know I speak for everyone here when I say that we hope you share more moments of fishing success with us. Also, don't be bashful if you need any help with anything. Members here are more than willing to lend a helping hand.
Incidentally, channel catfish are not particularly numerous at Hinckley Lake, but of the ones caught in the lake there have been some giants, with a few over 20 pounds over the years. The lake also has a very good population of nice size largemouth bass, although they are not pushovers. Our fish population surveys reveal plenty of 2-4 pound bass, with a healthy number up to and exceeding 5 lbs. They tend to follow shoreline dropoffs where the water goes from shallow to about 9 foot, and I believe they are roaming those drops hunting the gizzard shad we find in the same areas when electrofishing. Also as note, the lake is actually an impoundment of the East Branch Rocky River, and although it is always stained it will be especially muddy after a rain. The catfish certainly don't mind, but if you go there to target bass after a heavy rain the conditions will be poor. To round things out the lake has quite few big carp, rainbow trout (available only in April-May after stockings), decent crappie, white suckers, with bluegills and other sunfish being only fair (numerous, but smallish).
On a side note, I made a very special catch in Hinckley Lake that will always have a special place in my memory. It was not a giant catfish, but was a 5 inch bluegill...the first fish I ever caught. I was fishing with my father in a rented rowboat there about 35 years ago as a young child, and it was one of many sunfish we caught on that day I will never forget that sparked my lifelong love of fishing.
Last edited by Cleveland Metroparks; 06-03-2012 at 11:08 AM.
Its refreshing to see someone obviously extremely excited about a day of fishing. I don't fish catfish much but you've probably already doubled the size of my best. Keep up the good reports, it really was like we were there watching the excitement build.
I think they stopped stocking pike due to poor survival rates, I haven't heard of any caught in a long time. It'd be great if they dredged it, the lake would be 25% bigger if they did, there's a real sediment problem there and the lake is shrinking at a surprising rate because of it. I wish they'd atleast dredge the boat ramp by the boathouse, that ramp is a reall hassle to launch at