The 2016 OHMC and MI Chapter 19 Joint PM Bite was held Saturday August 20th at Leesville Lake. We had 36 anglers register and 5 fish caught. Participants began showing up around 10 AM at the host site of South Fork Marina. Keith Ott, the owner of the marina had a Big-top tent set up for the day’s activities. Elmer McClure and Rick Simpson worked the grill cooking up some great burgers and dogs. Tim Smith worked the raffles while Phil Jarvis and Fred Lederer jumped in and helped fill in gaps. Meanwhile, John Ringenbach and Jason Chalmers conducted registration. We took our fill of lunch and then Tim started drawing winning tickets. Jason Chalmers won the trip to Chataqua, Dan Braun won the 50/50, and every participant won a raffle prize.
Soon, we all hit the water to take in a day of pleasant breezes and sunshine. The fish just would not cooperate. They were there for all to see, holding tight to the thermocline around 20 feet down. Mike Sandridge used his clinefinder to let me know that while we were seeing water temperatures as high as 85 degrees at the surface, the warmth extended all the way down to a reading of 77 degrees at 20 feet. The drop was nearly instant after that with a reading of 66 degrees at 21 feet. So, with the fish so tight to the cline, some anglers chose to cut their spools loose and send-em way back. Lengths of 120 and more were being employed and finally late in the evening a small bite window opened. The frontal system had arrived as evidenced by the dark clouds near sunset. The window was short, but for a few lucky anglers it proved to be enough before the rain showed up at the closing bell.
When we assembled at the tent a little after midnight, the tally board showed that Paul Shepard had landed a 38.50” (12.50 Point) fish that swam off strong. I witnessed the catch and was really impressed with the speed and care which was taken to get a good release by both Paul and his uncle Jim. Coming in third place with a 39.75” (13.75 Point) fish was OHMC past-president Fred Lederer. Finishing in second place with a 41.75” (15.75 Point) fish was MI Chapter 19 past-president Mike Sandridge. Meanwhile the winner of the lucky-dog big fish and first place was OHMC President Paul Anderson who caught two fish measuring 34.00” and 43.00” (25.00 points). Our winners will be presented their trophies at the annual banquet this coming March.
I’d like to offer my most sincere thanks to all those who so generously volunteered their time and effort to organize and coordinate this event. I was not coming to fish and had to lean on my support network due to work commitments. When a last minute itinerary change allowed me to be home for a day, I took full advantage and scrambled to get my better half, my lucky dog and my boat out to the lake. I was not surprised a bit when I showed up to find a well-oiled machine humming along. We are truly blessed to have such a wonderful dedicated group of trustees. Many thanks to all the members of both clubs that came out to support our groups. I hope you all made some memories and I sure hope to see you again next month at Piedmont for our Fall Outing.