Thursday, February 17, 2011

Hot Waters in the Blizzard

Over at fellow blogger Alan Hopewell's Pointing the Cannon, he is featuring his thoughts and memories about Lorain's well-known Hot Waters pier and boat launch.

That reminded me of this Journal clipping that I found on microfilm at the Lorain Public Library. It's from the infamous late January Blizzard of 1978, featuring the fact that the water level at the pier had dropped dramatically. (Give it a click so you can read it.)

Like Alan, I've also enjoyed hanging around Hot Waters both as a kid and an adult. 
My father brought my siblings and me there once in a while to fish, and we usually managed to get the lines from our Zebco fishing reels stuck on the rocks at the base of the pier. When we did manage to catch some gruesome looking specimen (like a sheephead), my Dad would offer it to one of the other fisherman there, who was glad to get it and knew how to cook it.
When I first got my own apartment in the 1980's, I would bring my dinner down to Hot Waters and watch the fishermen while I ate and listened to the radio. And now, decades later, my wife and I bring our ice cream treats from Terry's Dairy down there during the summer, so we can take in the fishing action. It makes for a pretty cheap date.


-Alan D Hopewell said...

If you soak your sheephead (or carp) fillets in vinegar overnight, it gets rid of that "muddy" taste.

Dan Brady said...

I just remember those fish as being ugly--with big teeth! (And my Dad referring to them as SH*THEADS!)

Randall Chet said...

My best friend Bob Schwartz and I would ride our bikes to Hot Waters to fish for White Bass back in the mid 70s. They were good to eat, but just a bit fishy. Yellow Perch were much better but you rarely caught one down at Hot Waters. My dad would joke that they were halfway cooked already! We used to cast a popper bobber trailed by a white fly, and would routinely catch 50+ in an outing. One time I was casting for White Bass and... my line kept going UP! The line had caught on one of the many flying and diving gulls feeding on the minnows. I had no choice but to "set" the hook. Luckily the hook didn't get him, but the line had wrapped around his wing. Down he went. He was not very happy - with the help of some strangers we freed the bird. As an 12 year old, I remember that gull being BIG!

Dan Brady said...

Hi Randall!

What a great story! Thanks for posting it!

randall chet said...

Hi Dan - lots of great memories of Hot Waters. Another day, on a back-cast, I caught my friend Bob in the bottom lip with the hook! Ouch.

I sure miss the sounds of working Lorain. On certain nights you could hear the unloader at our house at W. 41st.

The nights there are eerily quiet now.

Ray Dangel said...

I'm 82 now and living in the Denver area, but lovingly recall my days 75 years ago when I'd ride my bike to Hot Waters, which had no pier then, just a rough rocky beach. I'd attach a little strip of white cotton from an old T-shirt and cast it out into the corner near the hot water outlet, and invariably catch a white bass on each cast. Some were a few ounces, but others were a pound or more. I took them home for my grandma to cook. She was Jessie Hobbs. She and her my grandpa John Hobbs owned the Hobbs Grocery store at Delaware and F Street, and my Mom and sister and me also lived there. I loved Hot Waters and will never forget the shock when I went back there a few years ago and discovered there was no hot water coming from the power plant and thus no swarm of white bass to catch. I think the plant's "improvement" wrecked the fishing there for kids.
---Ray Dangel, Amherst native.