Finally, after weeks of getting ready and enduring cold nights and less-than-pleasant weekend days, I finally was out on the water fishing at Buckeye Lake Saturday — and didn’t even make it through a full morning because I forgot to do a simple check.

The club I fish with out of Zanesville had its first tournament of the season. It was a pleasant morning with a beautiful day predicted.

I started in a small bay that usually produces fish in the spring. I quickly picked up a keeper (over 12 inches), but the bay wasn’t producing much activity, so I thought I would head elsewhere as soon as I unsnarled some line (I had overfilled a spinning reel, with predictable results).

While I did that, the boat drifted into a shallow corner and I had to lift the outboard to get out. The trim unit did that, but then refused to lower the motor again.

The motor was too high to run, so I fished my way back out of the bay and back to the ramp.

I managed to get the boat on the trailer and out of the water, but the bottle of trim fluid I thought I had in the truck proved to be empty, so I had to go buy some.

Another test of the trim unit brought the motor down, so I was hopeful that meant the problem was just being low on fluid, but I didn’t know. A call to Knox Marine assured me that was probably the case.

Now I had the problem of getting the motor tilted back up so I could get to the trim unit filler plug. A couple friends helped me get the motor up so I could fill the unit and it works fine.

I have had to add fluid to the trim unit before and it was on my list of things to check, but I simply forgot to do it since the unit was working when I did some prep work on the boat earlier in the week. I should have seen if it needed fluid at that time, but for some reason I failed to do so.

By the time I was ready to go again, it was too late to go back out, so I just headed home.

This should be a good time to be out, although flood control lakes will likely be muddy and maybe still high from all the rain Sunday.

The water temperature at Buckeye was in the mid-50s, which should mean the bass are active, shallow and feeding, but the little cold front that rolled through Friday may have disrupted things a bit. I’ll admit I didn’t have a chance to give my favorite spring areas a fair chance, so the fishing might have been better than I thought.

I think Knox should be a good candidate to try this weekend. I’ll be fishing for bass if I get out, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the crappie are in a cooperative mood as well.

Unfortunately, there also appears to be a bit of a cold front coming through this weekend.

Free weekend

Mark May 4-5 on your calendar. That’s the state’s free fishing weekend and you can fish in public water without a license.

That Sunday also marks the return of the Pete Taylor Memorial Tournament at Buckeye Lake after a hiatus of a few years while the lake was down. I think the total entry fee is still only $20 per person.

You can register the morning of the tournament at the Lieb’s Island ramp and proceeds will be donated to Hospice of Central Ohio.


Chuck Martin: 740-397-5333 or and on Twitter, @