by Bobby Oney
One evening in late April 2016, I was researching new lakes to fish for the year (I’m always looking for that next Ohio fishing adventure) and after taking some notes on a few lakes I wanted to target, I decided to call it a night...
Now I don’t know what made me think about it at the time, but before turning in that night, I remembered there was a park lake 10 minutes from my house, it's one that I’ve driven past thousands of times and not even given it a second thought.
I asked my wife her thoughts on fishing the park lake, she replied, “You’ll never know unless you try” those are words to live by right there...So just like that the decision was made. The park lake was on the list.
The first trip was planned for a quick after-work session just to see what’s what. That Friday, I made a mad dash home to gather up my gear and head to the lake arriving at the park around 4ish. The lake isn’t huge — maybe 12 acres in size and was "L" shaped.
After a brisk walk around the lake, I found a swim that I wanted to fish and cast a few times with the lead. I could tell right away there were weed beds and some silty areas in front of me and quickly found a spot worth presenting a bait on.
I remember being so excited to get things going and kept the tactics really simple: blow-back rig with a size 6 hook, three pieces of pineapple-flavored corn, 2 ounce in-line lead with an oat pack bait molded around it. Very simple, yet effective and I wasted no more time getting both rods on the spot.
The waiting game had begun; minutes went by, then hours...I stood there watching the lake hoping for a sign of carp somewhere, but nothing was showing.
I was beginning to think that nothing was going to happen when suddenly my alarm woke and the line started screaming off the right hand reel, I quickly got to the rod and just like that, I was into my first park lake fish.
What a feeling!! Now I just had to land it and get a photo...
The fish powered to the left towards a weed bed but I managed to turn her head and keep her from getting it there.... The fish battled on powerfully for about 10 minutes before finally tiring some. I sunk my net into position and as she came up to the surface in front of me, I noticed it was good solid common.
Heart thumping, adrenaline racing, I finally slipped the net under the beautiful fish. Smiling ear to ear, I just couldn’t believe it.
After that amazing evening, I couldn't wait to get back but unfortunately work had me tied up the following week but this little Gem of a lake was all I could think about all that week.
When I finally got back there again after work on the following Friday, I was still buzzing from the previous session.
The rain was pelting down when I arrived at the lake and it looked prime for a bite, so I set up in the same area as before with the same tactics... My hopes were high, and it wasn’t long before a rod ripped off.
Just 20 minutes into the session, I had a fish on. After a few minutes, a nice long common was in the net. Shortly after taking a few photos of the lovely fish, the other rod went off. I quickly scrambled to the rod as the fish screamed down the right side of the bank but after a few seconds I was back in control. It wasn't long before I got my first look at the fish. It was a mirror!!
I was going crazy, this was the first mirror from the lake, so landing this fish was a must. After what felt like forever playing this fish, it hit the bottom of the net. I exhaled a big sigh of relief, followed by some fist pumping...I just stood there for a few moments admiring the beautiful mirror in my net... It took a few more seconds for everything to sink in.... I knew right there and then, this park lake was a very special place for me.
Since then, I have gone on to catch some amazing fish out of this lake — including my PB buffalo, which was another extraordinary surprise.
I could go on and on about this place. The park lake really is a gem in my backyard.
Nowadays, I don’t overlook any body of water. I fish it, because “you’ll never know until you try.”