SANDUSKY — Sometimes trophy fish come about through pure happenstance. If there is such a thing as the stars being aligned, they create a map pinpointing the location of a finned monster, and provide the angler with just the right potion to seduce that giant.
On other occasions, that “right place, right time” adage is combined with the right bait and the right presentation, and magic results.
But the elite wall-hangers – the record book entries – can come about as the result of a calculated, methodical, relentless pursuit of that single genetic wonder. Toledo native Brent McGlone took that formula to the extreme last fall, and his prize was a state record buffalo sucker he took while bowfishing in the Sandusky Bay area.
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McGlone’s 40.80-pound behemoth is one of the leaders in the impressive parade of 2013 trophies taken by area anglers, and it shattered a record that had stood for more than 30 years.
McGlone, who also holds the Ohio bowfishing record for a greater redhorse sucker he arrowed in the Maumee River in 2007, had a strong sense that a record buffalo was out there after taking other fish close to the existing mark. So from late spring through mid-October, he regularly made the two-hour commute from his job as a registered nurse in Marysville, Ohio, to search those rich waters on the Lake Erie periphery.
“I was pretty much draining myself,” McGlone said about sleeping a few hours in his truck, then launching his boat after dark and searching for a trophy while bowfishing until dawn. “I was fishing two to six nights in a row, and not really resting much. I beat the heck out of my boat, my bows, my arrows, and my body.”
The 38-year-old Springfield grad, who estimated that he spent considerably more than 400 hours on the water in pursuit of that one fish, said he passed up hundreds of trophy-class fish during his somewhat manic hegira. Sometimes he fished all night, but did not release a single arrow.
“There were stretches where I would literally run myself to exhaustion, stumbling around with my vision blurry and my motivation quickly fading,” he said.
On the night he landed his record buffalo sucker, McGlone said the temperature was 45 degrees and he was freezing and dog tired, into the third day of a four-day marathon fishing stretch. His truck-cab nap lasted too long, and he panicked when he woke at 3 a.m., and rushed out on the water.
It was pushing 6 a.m. when he decided to try one location he had not fished before. McGlone saw a number of 20-pounders before a gargantuan buffalo squirted out from under the boat.
“I can’t remember shooting, but I thought I’d missed it,” he said. McGlone set his primary bow down and as he grabbed a second one, his first bow started scooting across the deck as the big fish took flight. It took 10 minutes to get the trophy in the boat, and on his scale it pushed 41 pounds — destroying the Ohio record of a 37-pound buffalo.
As the sky flickered with the first teases of daylight, an exhausted and numb McGlone allowed himself a solitary celebration.
“I let out a heck of a yell —they probably heard me over in Cleveland. I had given 150 percent all summer trying to get that record, and then it finally happened.”