Mark Holbaugh of Reynoldsburg, Ohio, is now in the Ohio Department of Natural Resources' fish-record books.
A 2-ounce longear sunfish. It was 5¼ inches long.
Steve Graham, District 1 biologist in Columbus, Ohio, picks up the story from there.
"We just opened up the longear sunfish category," he said, "so it was vacant."
Holbaugh, seeing this, contacted Graham.
"I was curious why it was vacant," Holbaugh said. "So I did a little research."
"He thought it would be neat to have his name in the record books," Graham said.
"That's about it," Holbaugh said.
So he asked Graham for a good spot to fish for longear sunfish.
The biologist suggested Big Darby Creek in Franklin County.
"Two days later Holbaugh came into the office with his fish," Graham said. "He got it."
Holbaugh used a spinning rod with 4-pound test line and a waxworm for bait.
But the angler did have second thoughts.
"I was thinking that here I am 40 years old and turning in a 5¼-inch fish," he said.
"Longear sunfish don't get big, but they get bigger than that," said Graham of the catch. "It won't last long."
But until then, Holbaugh's in the record books.
By The Tribune-Review
Lake Erie's steelhead anglers are asked to be patient.
But keep those poles handy.
While the winter has put a damper on most fishing, western Erie County waterways conservation John Bowser predicts great fishing in March.
"As soon as the thaw comes, I look for March to be booming," Bowser said.
While large steelheads were caught this season, "March always yields the largest fish," he said.
The officer points out that steelhead fishing is closed only 36 hours before the trout opener. Most other trout waters are closed during March.
Bowser labeled the steelhead fishing as "great" last year, although the runs started later then the previous season because of a lack of rain.
The fine fishing is continuing at Lake Arthur, with several citation fish being caught, said Ron Anderson of BB Inc. Topping the list was James Lawson of Butler who caught a 21¼-inch, 5¾-pound largemouth. Bob Sarnese of Butler, who caught two citation largemouths previously, added a 35½-inch, 12-pound, 4-ounce northern pike. Rounding out the award-winning anglers were: Paul Angerett of Butler, 13-inch, 1½-pound crappie and Wes Aspinwall of Prospect, 13-inch, 1¼-pound perch. ... Randy Hielbreak caught a limit of walleyes up to 19 inches at Pymatuning Reservoir, said Tom Reese of Reese's Bait Shop. Kelly Patton of Greenville caught 30 perch in the Shenango River. "One customer told me he caught 30 steelheads last weekend at Erie," Reese said.
Keith Eshbaugh, Washington pro walleye angler and guide, reported fine fishing recently for walleye, sauger, saugeye, hybrid bass and white bass in the three rivers in Pittsburgh. "Keith and George Swierczek of Washington caught over 150 fish Jan. 11," Eshbaugh said. "Blade baits, spoons and jigs were best. The fish were in the deeper holes and channels." The hybrids went to 5 pounds, while the walleye and sauger topped out at 18 inches. ... Dan Shoemaker of Kittanning won last year's Catfish Contest sponsored by Hawk's Bait & Tackle. The flathead was 29½ inches long and weighed 10 pounds, 4 ounces. "We had bigger ones caught, but the fishermen weren't registered for the contest," Hawk said. ...
"Bruce Brandt caught a 4-pound, 1-ounce smallmouth bass at High Point Lake," said Dave Wass of Nicklow's Bait Shop. "Deep Creek Lake is yielding large perch along with some pickerel and a few walleye and trout," he said. Perch catches were reported at the Yough Dam. ... Joan Plants of Shad Lure & Tackle, West Elizabeth, said that customers are still fishing the trout lakes, "Not much is happening in the Mon River," she said. ... "Not too much is happening," said Dan Boyle of Star Junction Sports Shop. "I did see a few guys at Virgin Run." ... Wayne Lykens of Island Firearms reports another angler losing a large musky at the mouth of Montour Creek on the Ohio River. "They're also catching small walleyes there," he said. ... "A few guys have been fishing Keystone Lake (Armstrong County), but I haven't gotten any reports," said Bill Miller of Keystone Bait & Tackle.
Waterways conservation officer Ray Borkowski said the trout stocked in Beaver County "averaged 12 inches, with some going to 16 inches." He also reported crappie catches at Raccoon, Bradys Run and Hereford Manor lakes. ... Rich Kacsuta of Loyalhanna Fishing Post said that anglers are catching trout up to 13-14 inches in the Loyalhanna Creek delayed-harvest area on green and pink glo bugs and sucker spawn. "The trout are scattered," he said. Anglers are getting trout at Donegal Lake. "One angler is after a large brown in Tub Mill Run," he said. ... Kevin Polish of Kevin's Archery & Bait Shop told of a few trout catches at Dunlaps Creek Lake on maggots and marshmallows. ...
West Virginia has kicked off its trout stockings for the new year, with waters such as Upper Shaver Fork, North Fork South Branch and the Blackwater River receiving fish. "Anglers may notice that trout stocked in the early months will be slightly smaller than the past two years," said Mike Shingleton, assistant chief of coldwater management. "The continuing dry conditions that began in August have reduced spring flows at the hatcheries and these conditions produce smaller trout." Size of the trout to be stocked later should increase as hatchery conditions improve. ... The fishing should be fine at Kinzua Reservoir in the future if stocking last year by the Fish and Boat Commission pan out. According to waterways conservation officer Bill Miller, the popular reservoir received 3 million walleye fry, 210,000 brown trout fingerlings, 120,000 rainbow trout fingerlings, 12,000 channel catfish fingerlings and 6,393 musky fingerlings.