Double-teaming a star player is standard practice in basketball and even at times in football, but in fishing?
Well it happens, or happened, at least once, and brothers Dick and Fred Fox can tell you about it. They double-teamed a star of a big-game fish - a 200-pound white marlin that ate not one but two separate baits during a fishing trip off Mexico's Pacific coast.
"That was one in a lifetime," said Dick, who lives in Springfield Township and who says he has been fishing since the early '60s. "The same marlin took baits from two lines."
He and Fred, of Maumee, and Bill Nunemaker, of Sylvania, have been fishing in Mexico the last seven winters and have taken lots of sailfish, mahimahi or dorado, and roosterfish and the like. But no marlin.
This year they were on a charter sportfisherman out of Zihuatanejo, an old British harbor about 200 miles north of Acapulco. Dick said they were on their fourth and last day and had started trolling 27 miles out. While the boat was still 11 miles from port, Fox said, the captain and mates decided to call it a day and have lunch. Nunemaker had just landed a fine and feisty 35-pound mahimahi.
"I told them I paid for seven hours and wanted the lines back in the water," said Fox. The crew put out four trolling rigs. "Ten minutes later the marlin hit the two baits closest to the boat."
Each of the brothers grabbed a rod and got strapped in for the fight. "We were lucky the boat had two fighting chairs," added Dick. It took them an hour to land the brawny billfish. And that's how to double-team a marlin.
"The run is on!" said Gary Lowry at Maumee Tackle in Maumee yesterday morning.
Area fishermen need to know no more than that to grab their waders, spinning tackle, and an assortment of jigs and plastic tails and head for the Maumee and Sandusky rivers to try for ever-popular walleye.
The first catches in the annual spring spawning runs are being reported, though it will be days, perhaps many days, before the runs reach a peak.
The first fish checked in at Lowry's shop Wednesday afternoon was a 12-pound, 2-ounce female taken by an unnamed angler on his first cast while fishing at the access at the foot of White Street in Maumee. He was using a pink floating jighead and a plastic tail. Carolina-rigged, it is pretty much a standard setup nowadays.
"That fish was at least 31 inches long," added Lowry, who said that another angler soon thereafter appeared at his door with a pair of three-pound males, or jacks. The three-pounders should be the standard fish this year with the maturing of the huge 2003 year-class. It will be the first spawning year for females in that class.
The recent ice-out was followed by flushing rains that cleared the popular fishing zones in both rivers - the rapids area above Maumee-Perrysburg on the Maumee and downtown Fremont on the Sandusky. Both streams, however, were high, muddy, and still rising yesterday, which will put a crimp in wading prospects for the weekend. The cold front also should put a dent in the thermometer, with water temperatures likely falling from yesterday's 43 degrees and out of the ideal spawning range of 42 to 52 degrees.
"But at least the fish are going to be there," said Lowry.
So expect plenty of anglers if not plenty of catching at both streams this weekend. Be sure to have a new license, remember that the daily creel limit now is four, and that you cannot keep snagged or foul-hooked fish. Please pick up your trash and spent fishing line.
Up at Grand Rapids Dam on the Maumee, fishermen are trying to catch northern pike - the timing is right. But other than a few small "hammer handles," not much can be said about the pike report, according to Chris Martin at River Lures in downtown Grand Rapids. Martin also said that early crappie fishermen also are out, but none have reported catches as yet.
On the Sandusky at Fremont, fishermen started taking a few walleyes Wednesday night, said Bernie Whitt at Angler Supply there. "The high water is going to bring them in," Whitt added, noting that he does not expect to seek aggressive fish just yet.
Though western Lake Erie quickly is losing ice, enough of it remains to preclude much jig-and-minnow fishing from small boats, said Rick Ferguson at Al Szuch Live Bait in Jerusalem Township.
Once the ice clears, however, look for lots of action around the reefs off Davis-Besse and Camp Perry, in Maumee Bay, and near-shore from Toledo to Huron. That may take another week or two to develop, however.
Joe Brooks, author of the recently released Year-Round Trophy Whitetails, is holding book-signings today, tomorrow, and Sunday at Cabela's in Dundee, Mich.