Fred Lederer shows off the 44-inch muskellunge that won him a contest last weekend in central Ohio.
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It took him four years, but muskie fisherman Fred Lederer, of Perrysburg, has broken a curse.
No, it's not that he has not caught his share of the ever elusive, reclusive monster of the fishing midway, muskellunge, the fish of a thousand casts [and one more].
It is just that he has been president of the Ohio Huskie Muskie Club for four years and never had won one of the club tournaments.
Until last weekend. That was when he boated 44-inch and 36-inch muskies at Alum Creek Reservoir in Delaware County, where 14 Huskie Muskie teams vied for the fall championship. "It's the first time a president has won," Lederer said with a chuckle. "I guess I broke the officer's curse."
He said he owes it all to Ziggie Muskie Lures, which is quite an endorsement. But Lederer explains himself:
"I was guiding a guy from North Carolina the previous week at Alum Creek. I used the trip for pre-tournament fishing. We were using Ziggie lures and we boated four of 10 muskies trolling that day."
Now, muskies are notoriously unreliable and picky. But that day, that lake, that lure - magic.
Come tournament time, Lederer and family set up camp last week Thursday in the rain, and he fished for practice Friday with his 9-year-old daughter, Jenna, and 14-year-old son, Jake. She landed a 32-incher on a Ziggie.
"We were working the same pattern, same part of the lake, same lures," explained Lederer in his smart-move to repeat the previous week's tactics. Jenna, by the way, last year took top honors in the state for junior girls [under 16] with a 38-inch muskie.
Dad and daughter also lost two other fish on practice day - "we were trolling over a lot of dead [sunken] trees."
On tourney day one, Saturday, Lederer boated the 44-incher while trolling in the afternoon. It turned out to be the winner. On Sunday he boated a 36-incher, which was good enough for second place.
He blames his success - years of experience aside, of course - on the plugs, which were recommended to him by Greg Ellison, of Traxstech Fishing Systems in Clinton, Mich. "He turned me on to these [baits]."
They are made by Ziggie Obidzinski of Marine City, Mich., which is up in muskie country on the St. Clair River northeast of Detroit.
As for the Ohio Huskie Muskie Club, Lederer put in a plug that next year will be the outfit's 50th. For details visit web.tusco.net/ohiohuskiemuskieclub.
The annual fall stocking of some 25,000 10- to 13-inch rainbow trout in impoundments around Ohio gets under way next week, the Ohio Division of Wildlife said.
Three northwest Ohio impoundments will see trout plantings on Thursday, including Lamberjack Reservoir, also known as Fostoria No. 3, in Hancock County; Lima Lake near Lima in Allen County, and Swanton Reservoir in Lucas County.
Norwalk Reservoir No. 1 at Norwalk in Huron County is set for stocking Oct. 9, and Grand Lake St. Marys in Auglaize County on Oct. 16.
The fish represent excess production of rainbows groomed as steelhead trout for Lake Erie tributaries. The wildlife division usually alternates among various impoundments for its spring and fall stockings to spread around the fun.
"This annual stocking provides excellent opportunities for anglers to continue fishing through the fall all across Ohio," said Elmer Heyob, hatcheries program administrator for the division.
These trout are hardly sophisticated but plenty feisty on ultralight spinning or fly fishing tackle, not to mention fine table fare. They will attack small spinners, small shiny spoons, tiny spinnerbaits such as the Beet-L-Spin, and small jigs, including ones rigged with dropper flies. Hooks baited with everything from wax worms and red worms to corn, fished under bobbers, also work well.
Remember that the daily creel limit for these stockers is five. For details on all trout stockings statewide this month, visit ohiodnr.com, or call Wildlife District 2 at Findlay, 419-424-5000.
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