Outdoors: Woops, that’s not a walleye!

Talk about a swing of emotions.

Back on Dec. 1, James Beres of Lorain was fishing in a Lake Erie walleye tournament with his brother, Michael.

As they trolled with four planer boards out, they were hoping to catch enough to finish in the money of an Erie Outfitters tournament. As they trolled, they had an obvious hit on one of their boards, so they started reeling.

“We knew it was big. It was kind of a dead weight, like a lot of big walleyes,” Beres recalled. “And as we tried to get it into the net, there was a flash of white – like a huge walleye and we thought, ‘Oh, man!’

“When we got it on board, I said it doesn’t look like a walleye. But we decided it must be because it was old. And we thought we had just won a new boat.”

Their euphoria didn’t last long.

“I sent a photo to a buddy of mine and he told us it wasn’t a walleye. It was a lake trout,” he said.

As it turns out it was the largest lake trout ever caught in Ohio.

After a whirlwind day of having the fish weighed on a certified scale and identified by a Division of Wildlife biologist, Beres, 47, had his name entered in the record book. Officially, it was approved by the record fish committee of the Outdoor Writers of Ohio, keepers of the state fish records.

The amazing part is the fish weighed 26.63 pounds, more than six pounds over the old record of 20.40 pounds, also a Lake Erie fish, caught in April 2000. Beres’ fish is 38 inches long and 25.5 inches in girth. (Records are kept by weight only.)

“It’s really fat. You can’t see it so much in the pictures, but when you see it in person, it has a huge mouth and is really fat,” Beres said.

Or as his father-in-law said, he went from winning a new boat to a $1,000 taxidermy bill, just like that.

He also has a story he can tell the rest of his life.

More deer taken: Hunters had a successful weekend Dec. 16-17, taking 14,115 whitetails during Ohio's deer-gun bonus weekend. Last year, in poor weather conditions, the total was 9,228.

Following are the area totals for the weekend, by county. The number in parentheses is last year’s gun-weekend total.

Adams 203 (138), Allen 61 (60), Auglaize 55 (35), Brown 172 (124), Butler 66 (29), Champaign 75 (39), Clark 48 (24), Clermont 152 (85), Clinton 58 (36), Darke 48 (19), Greene 51 (35), Hamilton 55 (29), Highland), 191 (121), Logan 169 (60), Mercer 47 (32), Miami 54 (26), Montgomery 35 (16), Preble 82 (50), Shelby 75 (44), Warren 66 (42).

Youth fishing spot: The Division of Wildlife will open a new youth-only fishing area sometime next year. The former hatchery ponds at the District 5 headquarters, 1076 Old Springfield Pike in Xenia, will be available for young bank fishermen.

The area will be open free for girls and boys ages 15 and under with a reservation and accompanied by a non-fishing adult. Equipment and bait will be provided. Fishing is planned to begin in early summer and will continue through Labor Day. For more information about the youth fishing area, call 937-372-9261.

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