Source: Sherman Publications

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Whoppers are coming early this year

April 04, 2012

Richard Leech holds up his mighty catch shortly after hooking the fish two weeks ago. Inset, Leech is shown with friend Greg Bowman in an Oxford Orion Times from May 1980, after a successful fishing trip. Photos submitted
By Tahra Gribbin

Review Intern

Most people wouldn't think that March would be a good time to fish, but this year it has proved to be for one man. Richard Leach, a long time Lake Orion resident caught a 32-inch Northern Pike a few weeks ago. Richard has spent his whole life on the water.

"I've been fishing since I was probably 8 or 9-years-old," Leach said. "Childhood friends got me interested. I also used to live on Lake Orion when I was a kid."

Leach used a Rapala fake minnow as a lure. Rapala lures are more expensive than the worms and other lures that most of his friends and family use. This has lead to a long-running, good-hearted jabs between Leach and his fellow fishers.

"It's been a family joke that I  buy all of these expensive lures and I can never catch anything," he said. "Everyone would laugh because they just buy the worms and they catch all the fish. I couldn't really catch anything good for years until I pulled in the whopper."

Since the expensive lures have paid off for Leach, all of his friends have been asking exactly what lures he uses.

"Joke's back on them," Leach said. "They're all going out to buy what I used after picking on me."

The Northern Pike is the biggest fish Leach has caught in Lake Orion, but he caught his biggest fish up north, in St. Mary's River. There he caught a 36-inch salmon.

"I've been fishing for a long time," Leach said. "And it's very unusual to catch such a big fish in these lakes and especially so early in the year."

Leach spent 17 years as a Merchant Marine on the Great Lakes and on ocean-going freighters. At the moment, he is a full-time student of the Landscape Design and Architecture program at Oakland Community College.

"I have four kids that love fishing just as much as I do," said Leach. "It's nice that we get to live by these lakes."

Aside from fishing, Leach enjoys downhill skiing in the wintertime and shooting nine ball pool. He also flies remote control air planes.