Goshen News, Goshen, IN


November 3, 2013

OUTDOOR COLUMN: A sentimental father-son fish story

GOSHEN — What began as a typical evening on the St. Joseph River near Bristol for eight-year-old Jon Howell and his dad became one they’ll never forget.

The father/son fishing trips have become routine this summer. Jon Jr. has been a river fishing fanatic ever since his grandfather gave his dad his old, Tracker Marine bass boat rigged with a jet drive engine.

“We put it in the water this summer and have been catching fish all year,” said dad. “That upper stretch of the river near Bristol really has some nice bass.”

That held true on that mid-October evening as well. Around 6:45 in mid-October, young Jon set the hook on a nice smallmouth while fishing a deep hole that contained rock and wood pilings.

“He got it up alongside the boat and I saw it had a metal tag in its jaw,” recalled the elder Howell. “I remembered seeing something at boat launches about a tagged fish program, so I told Jon he couldn’t lose that fish.”

He didn’t, and sure enough, the 16-incher bore a DNR tag that was carefully removed before the fish released.

They contacted the DNR with the information and discovered that Jon not only won a $5 Bass Pro Shops gift card, but the fish was tagged that same day it was caught!

Fish tags placed on the lips of several Indiana river bass are part of a study biologists are conducting to help them determine the success of a 12-to-15-inch river bass size limit imposed recently.

“I think Jon was more excited about catching the tagged fish than larger bass he’s caught on the river this year,” said dad.

The Trinity Lutheran third grader uses a 6-foot Berkley Amp rod with a Shimano Spirex reel spooled with 8-pound Trilene XL line.

 “He’s become quite efficient with spinning tackle,” said dad. “The boy knows how to handle a rod.”

Howell said he and his son’s fishing successes really picked up this summer when they changed lure choices based upon a recommendation of Dick Parker at Central Park Bait and Tackle in Osceola.

“I was in there earlier this year and told the owner we were catching a lot of small bass on Rapalas and jigs, but was looking for something that would catch bigger bass,” Howell said. “He told me that guys on the lower river were fishing 5-inch, green pumpkin Senkos and thought they might work up river as well.”

The next time they fished, the Howells stuck with their Rapalas for awhile before dad decided to try the new lure. He rigged it weightless and wacky style as suggested, placing the hook in the middle of the worm with the ends dangling.

“I threw up river and was going to put that rod down and resume casting another rod with a Rapala, when the bait took off,” Howell offered. “That fish was a 16-incher and a size we rarely catch up there.”

Since then, the Howells have been Senko fanatics and their catches of bigger bass have soared.

“It’s not uncommon for us to catch smallmouth between 16 and 19 inches now,” dad noted. “We cast upstream and let the current carry the lure around rocks and trees.”

Dad says young Jon is a fishing machine, and credits the success they have on the upper river for bonding them as longtime fishing buddies.

“He’s my fishing partner, and I can’t think of a better way to spend time with my son,” Howell said proudly.

Trappers day

The Michigan DNR Hunter Education Program will offer trapper field day in Dowagiac Dec. 7.

Field days are for trapper education students who have completed the online or home-study course and are required to receive a Michigan Trapper Education Safety Certificate.

The event, co-sponsored by the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians, will run from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Pokagon Campground, located at 58620 Sink Road. A parent or guardian must accompany any child 10 years old or younger.

There is no charge, but students must pre-register with Sgt. Tom Wanless at 517-335-3410. Students taking the online option must present their certificate of completion on the day of the field day. Students who wish to take the home-study option must receive their manual a minimum of one week prior to the field day. For more information, contact Sgt. Wanless.

Park closing

Potato Creek State Park will close to conduct deer herd maintenance hunts on Nov. 18 and 19 and Dec. 2 and 3.

No one except selected hunters will be admitted to the park on these days.

Canada goose reduction hunts will take place Nov. 9 and 10, and Dec. 14 and 15. The park will be open on these days, but aquatic areas will closed. Worster Lake’s boat ramps will be closed, and no fishing will be allowed. Access also will be restricted to selected wetlands. All other activities will be unaffected by the goose hunts.

Contact Goshen News outdoor writer Louie Stout at stoutoutdoors@comcast.net.



Text Only
  • Nadal Withdraws Tennis [GOSHEN NEWS] TENNIS: Nadal withdraws from two tournaments Rafael Nadal withdrew Wednesday from U.S. Open tuneups in Toronto and Cincinnati because of a right wrist injury, putting in doubt his status for a title defense at the year's last Grand Slam tournament.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • NFL: Colts look for second-year LB to take big step forward ANDERSON — Big Bjoern has certainly made his presence felt during the first week of training camp for the Indianapolis Colts. Bjoern Werner -- the 6-foot-3, 257-pound second-year outside linebacker for the Colts -- is being counted on to big a major force on the Indianapolis defense this season.

    July 30, 2014

  • Bridgestone Invitational Golf-3 [GOSHEN NEWS] GOLF: Woods hopeful for more good memories at the Firestone AKRON, Ohio — Tiger Woods finds out over the next two weeks if his season is over or just getting started.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Lindley, Tom.jpg Sideshows involving Rice and Dungy stain NFL's image

    Pro football training camps should be all about, well, football. But the talk around the NFL is about Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice's two-game suspension, Tony Dungy's indelicate remarks about Michael Sam and Jim Irsay's largesse. What kind of league is Roger Goodell running?

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • NCAA Concussion Lawsuit-9 [THE GOSHEN NEWS] NCAA settles head-injury lawsuit via fund CHICAGO — The NCAA agreed Tuesday to settle a class-action head-injury lawsuit by creating a $70 million fund to diagnose thousands of current and former college athletes to determine if they suffered brain trauma playing football, hockey, soccer and

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Offense adapting to new arsenal ANDERSON — Dwayne Allen didn’t often recognize the Indianapolis Colts offense he was watching from the sideline last season.The third-year tight end suffered a season-opening hip injury in Week 1 against the Oakland Raiders, then watched as left guar

    July 30, 2014

  • Running back Rainey is released ANDERSON — Just days after earning praise for his playmaking ability from head coach Chuck Pagano, running back Chris Rainey was waived by the Indianapolis Colts on Monday morning.The news was broken in a press release around 8:30 a.m. and later conf

    July 30, 2014

  • SPT GN140730 Kulp Former Jimtown coach Brent Kulp named GHS softball coach GOSHEN — When you find your calling in life you follow it, even if it means going back to a previous career. Brent Kulp understands this lesson.

    July 29, 2014 2 Photos

  • Big Ten Media Days Football [Duplicate] Playoffs could create chances for Big Ten teams CHICAGO — As he watched the BCS championship game last season, Michigan State quarterback Connor Cook could not help but wonder: What if a playoff system were in place? Would the Spartans be playing for the biggest prize? No need to wonder anymore. T

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • USA Basketball-3 [Duplicate] Rose returns as U.S. basketball team opens camp LAS VEGAS — Derrick Rose says he feels old. The 25-year-old point guard's rigorous play on Monday during the U.S. basketball team's first practice dictated otherwise. "I was joking with Kyle Korver, I told him 'I'm getting old, man. I've got to stret

    July 29, 2014 2 Photos


Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
AP Video
Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers Small Plane Crash in San Diego Parking Lot Busy Franco's Not Afraid of Overexposure Fighting Blocks Access to Ukraine Crash Site Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida Workers Dig for Survivors After India Landslide Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN Raw: Deadly Landslide Hits Indian Village Obama Chides House GOP for Pursuing Lawsuit New Bill Aims to Curb Sexual Assault on Campus Russia Counts Cost of New US, EU Sanctions 3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand Six PA Cops Indicted for Robbing Drug Dealers Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways

With military action and tensions escalating between Russia and Ukraine, as well as Israel and Palestine, are you worried that the U.S. and other nations may get drawn into these conflicts?

Yes, it is a great concern of mine
I’m a little worried, but not too much
No, I’m not worried at all
     View Results