Trinidad Martinez's turn on Ox CreekDriving back from Derby Hill last Thursday, I decided to take the long way and took NY 48 out of Oswego. Just south of Fulton, I saw a few guys fishing in Ox Creek right at the bridge. I’m always interested in panfish bites so I turned around, pulled into the parking lot of the bar on the east side of the road (the locals tell me it’s OK to park at the north end of the lot if you’re going fishing) and went to see what was biting.
The men had one five-gallon bucket half full of seven-inch bluegills. Now that might not sound very big but a sunny that size pours out of the sides of a big man’s palm, they’re easy to fillet and it only takes two to feed ya.
They were using worms suspended a couple feet below tiny bobbers. The school of sunnies was a big one because anywhere they cast, so long as it was close to shore, produced a bite almost immediately, but always within a couple minutes.
The spots that were especially productive had some cover: sunken timber, low lying branches, boat dock, stuff like that.
Dave Karalunas, one of the three, said “the sunfish, and a few perch have been hitting good all day,” and claimed the spot was also a local favorite for crappie. They hadn’t caught any calicoes but were hoping to get some before dark.
I watched them for about 10 minutes. Each landed a couple of bruisers. Granted, sunfish aren’t as glamorous as game fish, but pound for pound they fight harder than fish twice their size. Their feistiness on the end of a line, mixed in with their delicious flavor makes them America’s most popular panfish.
But there’s more to them than that. One of the nicest things about fishing is it never ends. It’s an activity you enjoy while planning, actually fishing, and recalling the memories afterwards.
Think about it, who amongst us doesn’t have a sunfish story. In fact, the lowly, colorful, spiny sunny is usually the first fish a youngster pulls out of the water, and it’s often the last fish, too, before hanging up the rods for good.
As I was leaving, three other dudes showed up, and another carload pulled into the parking lot.
They’ll be biting good well into May, but as their numbers diminish and they get smarter, they’ll be a little tougher to catch. So if you’re looking for a fresh fish dinner, now’s the time to do it.
By the way, just about any creek-size Oswego River tributary’s mouth has fish in it right now. If tributaries are few near you, fish the eddies and pools in the rapids at Phoenix, Fulton, Minetto or Oswego.
For up-to-date fishing conditions go to http://www.visitoswegocounty.com/tn/FishingHunting/Fishing/FishingReport.aspx