Last week I went fishing with Alex (my 4 year old boy). We headed up to the road to the Cazenovia Lake, like we do just about any time we want to fish. I had been up there the night before with Grace cutting worms in half and throwing bobbers in the shallow water just to get her a few sunnies. The lake seems full of panfish and largemouth bass so throwing the canoe in at the state land on the north side of the lake on East Lake road always amounts to a few hours of fun for both of us.
Alex seemed stuck on catching a “big one” and he started making up songs about grilling a shark in the front of the canoe. He thought Mom would really be surprised to see a big fish come home in the 5 gallon bucket we usually bring along “just in case”. In fact, in the 4 years since Grace caught her fish fish in the same lake, we’ve never brought a fish home from this lake and that bucket has served as a worm container and life jacket holder.
The previous night there was no end to the fun for Grace, but Alex was having no luck as we watched his bobber just sit on top for a while. I had gotten a few largemouth bass casting a floating Rapala and so Alex started to ask why he had to fish with a worm and not a “hook fish”. Eventually I switched with him and started to teach him to cast the hook fish with his “Cars” fishing pole. He sort of surprised me by getting it right away and the fishing trip turned rapidly into a casting trip for Alex as he tried to beat his last distance with each cast.
While Alex threw the little lure I looked through the tiny tacklebox I usually bring along and chuckled as I flipped around the big lures that I thought were pretty much useless in this lake. There were a number of other boats up on the north side of the lake casting towards shore looking for largemouth, but I wondered if I might get some bigger fish if I tried jigging in the deeper water. The north side of the lake is hardly deep by any standard, only 10-20 feet in the middle of the lake, but still I might get a couple bigger bass that I could let Alex reel in.
After a few lost worms (sunfish tugging on the loose end I suspected) I tied two more hooks to my line above the jig head and hooked a worm with all three hooks in a makeshift worm harness. As soon as I did this I started getting some bigger sunfish, so I rigged up Alex’s line the same way. Alex and I started catching some bigger sunnies and he was enjoying himself and the talk of grilling a big fish for Mom started up again.
Just as it got a bit darker (9 pm) I hooked a bit larger fish. As I pulled it up, it started pulling out line. I hyped it up with Alex as I reeled it in and told him that this was the fish for Mom. In a few moments I flopped a nice walleye into the canoe and unhooked him. The fish started flopping around and Alex almost jumped overboard as it made its way towards him. I tried to put him in the 5 gallon bucket, but his tail stuck comically out of the top of it. He flopped around, toppled the bucket and almost managed to free himself over the side of the canoe. Alex could hardly believe his eyes.
When I paddled back to the state land where we put in I met a guy who said that there used to be walleye in the lake, but he hadn’t caught one in the 10 years he had been fishing in it. I was surprised because Caz isn’t stocked with walleye as far as I know any more. When I got it home I measured it at 27 inched and 5.8 pounds. A little searching around reveals that others are catching biggish walleye in here too.