By Brandon Butler
Fishing Lake Erie for walleye should be on the bucket list of any serious angler. The fishing is unquestionably some of the best I have found anywhere, and the area is inviting to anyone seeking an affordable sporting adventure.
Plus, your chances of leaving with a cooler full of walleye filets for the freezer are really good.
Captain Bob Witt is owner of Sea Breeze Charters, the largest fishing charter operating on Lake Erie. We met a few years back at the Indianapolis Boat, Sport and Travel Show, when I set a date to for him to introduce to me to what he called “the greatest walleye fishing anywhere.”
As, I pulled into Wild Wings Marina around 6 o’clock on a Sunday night, the wonderful, misty smell of a Great Lake greeted me as I walked from my vehicle into the bait shop to buy a license.
I asked the woman behind the counter how the fishing had been and she said “real good.” Good news, I thought, but it still hadn’t registered what good meant on Lake Erie.
I bought a pizza from the small restaurant behind the gas station and retired to my lodging for a much-needed night of sleep.
Six o’clock came early the next morning, and the chill of the pre-dawn winds sank in as we motored out of the marina. Just about the time I thought Captain Bob was going to let the horses run, he shut down the motor and handed me a rod.
“We’re fishing here?” I questioned.
“There’s no reason to go far this time of year,” Bob replied.
I dropped my jig overboard and began to pop it off the bottom. Within 30 seconds, Bob netted my first Lake Erie walleye. A half an hour later, our group of four had limited out, for a boat total of 16. Bob’s first mate, “Richo,” caught four walleye in four casts.
I could not believe what I was experiencing. I don’t think I‘ve ever caught bluegill as fast as we were catching good-sized walleyes.
Let me tell you, there’s nothing wrong with catching the 3-pound walleye all day long.
The technique we were using was jigging right over the side of the boat. We used 6-foot medium-action rods with 8-pound test line. The jigs we used consisted of a purple lead-head, with purple and chartreuse hair, and a stinger-hook.
We fished in 12 to 15 feet of water, always drifting toward the shore. I wish I could tell you there was more skill to my success, but after dropping my jig to the bottom, I would simply reel up the slack; pop, pop, pop the jig a few times, and catch another walleye.
Captain Bob Witt founded Sea Breeze Charters more than 30 years ago. He was born in the area and has been fishing Erie since he was a kid. Now the owner of the largest fishing fleet on Western Lake Erie, Bob proudly reminisces on much simpler days.
“I bought two boats before I was ever old enough to buy a car,” he explained.
Capt. Bob and the other captains who run the Sea Breeze fleet are all top-notch professionals who know how to find the walleye on Lake Erie. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to fish with Captain Dan, Captain Dave and Captain Tom, all of whom thoroughly impressed me.
To book your trip, call Captain Bob Witt at 1-877-616-7780 or by visit the Sea Breeze website at www.seabreezecharters.com. Lodging is available on location and all tackle is included.
To hopefully experience the best walleye fishing of your life, all you have to do is make the easy drive to western Lake Erie.
See you down the trail.
Brandon Butler writes a weekly outdoors column for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.