Like many walleye anglers around the Great Lakes when late July and August roll around my attention turns towards those tasty yellow bellied treats known as Perch! Even fisherman who do not put their boats in for chasing walleye come out in droves when it comes to the annual perch season. Often the bite can be hot and heavy with slinging multiple perch into the cooler, one after another.
With that in mind, while combining either Ohio’s limit of 30 perch or Michigan’s larger amount of 50 per angler, keeping an accurate count can be difficult to say the least. It is time-consuming to stop fishing and take several minutes to check multiple times to be sure of a precise number in the cooler. I even thought of using a clicker like the one above, this was even before they started showing up in fishing catalogs and local bait shops for sale. The problem with the clickers is that before long somebody in the boat will eventually ask, “Did you count that last one?”. Which will lead you to ask, “Who’s last one?”. And the vicious cycle of putting the rod down and start counting the individual perch all over again.
Two years ago I found the solution to my perch counting problem, The CatchCounter. Made locally in Port Clinton, Ohio, the counter kept track of the number of perch going into my cooler, while keeping them on ice as well! As I wrote in a previous article, I learned of The Catch Counter from a friend of mine who sent a link for a Craigslist posting, I contacted the owner, Tony Sebastiano. Tony was great, explained everything about the counters to me and went with getting just the counter myself, had an old cooler, cut my hole in the lid and was ready rock n roll on Lake Erie. The counter was great, never had an issue with it and has performed flawlessly for the last couple of seasons.
I will say this about Tony, you can tell that he has a passion for his product because he works all the time to improve it for the panfishing minded consumer. Responding to feedback he has introduced the new BigMouth CatchCounter. Crappie anglers in the South wanted the opening to be bigger for their crappie that grow rapidly in their warm southern climates. Tony made it bigger, stronger, more durable, with even a more accurate counter.
There are three options when buying the BigMouth CatchCounter, well actually four and will get into that also. First you can order just the counter itself, and then mount it to any flat surface storage area. The second option is that you can buy the counter mounted on a 5 gallon Bass Pro Bucket. I like this option for ice fishing because it is easy to store. The third option is to have it come mounted on a 48 quart cooler, which is really nice for fishing the big lakes and handles the larger limits with ease.
The fourth option is actually the best deal of all, if you can get five of your friends to order at the same time, you actually can get just the BigMouth CatchCounter heads for five dollars cheaper per unit. Don’t have five panfishing friends, that issue can be solved, because I bet two or three of the people you do know, know a few other anglers who would want one also. Installing the heads are fairly easy to do yourself, and most folks have an old cooler or bucket lying around.
If you ice fish like I do, it is easy to first install the counter on a cooler, and then because it is so easy to take the head off, you can then use it on a bucket for ice fishing. If your experiences on the ice are anything like mine, once you start throwing bluegill, crappe and perch on the ice, you tend to quickly attract a crowd near you. By keeping them in a bucket, it is a little easier to hide the fact that you are on a hot bite. Instead of laying them on the ice to get a count, which can draw attention, the CatchCounter does it for you.
Once I hang up the walleye gear for the summer, will be posting lots of pics of the BigMouth CatchCounter from the boat, and later on when the ice gets solid, from the hardwater too!
If you want to see one of the units for yourself, you can check them out at these locations:
-Matthew’s Bait&Tackle, Monroe Miahigan
-Fin/Feather/Fur-4 Ohio Locations. Canton,Ashland,Middleburg Heights and Youngstown.
- FISHERMANS WHARF – Port Clinton, Ohio
- A&J BAIT – West Lakeshore Dr., Port Clinton, Ohio
- LAKE SHORE BAIT & TACKLE – Ashtabula, Ohio
- BAD BOY BAIT & TACKLE – Vermilion, Ohio
- TROUTS YACHT BASIN – BOLLES HARBOR Michigan (Monroe)