George Block

Column George Block

George Block is a sports columnist who loves the outdoors.

Marianna canoe race a big draw for the small town

Marianna canoe race big draw for the small town

May 3, 2014

There is one thing you will never see and that is this old man in a canoe. I should reiterate and say a canoe in water. I have been on Lake Erie in a 12-foot boat but that was back in my younger days. But me climbing in a canoe? No way.

Watching someone in a canoe, I marvel at the smooth and graceful way to travel. Why bring this up?

I spent time at the annual Marianna Canoe Race. The course was simple. Go from the low wall dam to the edge of Maianna to the second bridge downstream and do it in the shortest time.

The way Ten Mile Creek twists and turns, this is probably a couple of miles. Mixed in with the canoes were a few kayaks and homemade floats. There was even a couple styrofoam boxes large enough to hold two people.

The last time I saw them, they were grounded on a small island. It was easy to see that they were not in the best shape for going from Point A to Point B but they did float.

For those who are new to the area, Marianna is a small coal mining town close to the Greene County line. Like many of these small towns, it lacks both a gas station and a store. Residents travel almost 10 miles just for gas. Thinking about it, there are many other small towns that lack both of those conveniences. Residents had better gas up and keep their vehicle at a quarter of a tank all the time.

The canoe race is sponsored by the Marianna Outdoorsmen Association. The race not only draws attention to Marianna but it raises funds for the fire department and for trout stocking in the creek. Some of the funds raised will go to a disaster fund.

When you look at the problems faced by these small towns – and there are many – Marianna has an advantage. The creek as a big plus.

The association does a good job of stocking the creek with trout and one has to wonder just how good the fishing would be if the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission also stocked trout at this location.

The first person to bring the race to my attention was Ed Thomas. Ed said they charge $7 to get in at the finish line, where the food and music take over. Because of this, they should have good records of the visitors. Ed said 3,500 attended this year.

There were anglers fishing upstream from the area where the canoes went on their merry way. There was a team of three that won the race. After all, how can you have a race and not have a winner?

Just like last year, the O’Brien family that reside near Glyde, crossed the finish line first. I met John and Pat O’Brien a few years ago. They do know how to work as a team.

• I realize I am speaking for myself but it seems a slow trout season. Of course, the weather wasn’t so cooperative. It won’t be long until we are trolling Hot n Tots, hoping to hook a walleye in either Pymatuning Reservoir or Lake Arthur. The Hot n Tot will run about 10-foot deep just above the bottom.

The other hot lure is hardly for the purist. It’s a jig and night crawler. John Dino and I have used both methods and caught fish with both. Use the wind to your advantage. Troll against the wind and jig our way with the wind doing the work.

George H. Block writes a Sunday Outdoors column for the Observer-Reporter.



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