It was a red-letter day for Tallmadge angler Jason Brooks who will likely capture a coveted spot in the Ohio state record fish book.
While fishing about 15 miles from Lorain's Avon Point this morning (Friday, June 25), Brooks reeled in what could be the new state record steelhead trout. The fish weighed 21 pounds, 3 ounces and measured 38 inches long.
The current recognized state record steelhead trout weighs 20.97 pounds and measures 36 1/2 inches. It was caught Oct. 2, 1996 by Mike Shane of New Middleton while fishing off Conneaut.
Brooks was fishing with his partner, Joe Boewe of Parma, aboard the former's 22-foot Grady White boat. This vessel is docked in Vermilion.
The anglers were actually targeting steelhead this morning, fishing in 68 feet of water. They were trolling Stinger spoons behind Dipsy Divers set at "1" and played 103 feet back, Brooks said.
"I'm an offshore walleye man but for about three weeks I'll target steelhead as long as they're at a reasonable distance," Brooks said.
The potential state record trout fell for a Stinger spoon in a "cat-dog" finish, Brooks said also.
Brooks said the fish jumped three times and power-dived in much the same fashion as a walleye.
When brought aboard the fish was hung on a 20-pound fisherman's scale but that tool broke as the hook bottomed out.
Concerned, Brooks called ahead to Erie Outfitters in Sheffield Lake and was advised to head to a boat launch where a member of the sporting goods store would take the angler and his catch to a business with a certified scale large enough to weigh the fish.
Its species was verified by Phil Hillman, fisheries manager for the Ohio Division of Wildlife's District Three (Northeast Ohio) Office in Akron.
Brooks intends to file the required documentation with the Outdoor Writers of Ohio which certifies state record fish in the state.
"As soon as I get the paperwork we'll start the process," said Tom Cross, chairman of the OWO State Record Fish Committee.
- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn