Ottawa’s Weisenburger reaches bass tourney goal

Al Smith - Guest Columnist

Kyle Weisenburger reached a goal he set for himself in the T-H Marine Bass Fishing League (BFL) All-American on Cross Lake in Shreveport, La. However, it wasn’t good enough for the Ottawa bass angler to finish among the top 10.

He came up three ounces short of making the final cut of 10 to fish the final two days of the tourney and wound up 11th. A year ago, Weisenburger finished fifth in the 2016 All-American on Lake Barkley in Cadiz, Kentucky with a 15-bass limit that weighed 40 pounds, 5 ounces.

“It was frustrating to be so close to making top 10, but in this sport sometimes you just fall on that side of the coin. I try not to dwell on what I can’t control. I look back and see if there were things I could have done to have a better tournament and I couldn’t find much to regret in this event,” he said.

The Limaland bass had no idea some anglers would come up with what he called “spectacular catches.” Eventual champion Nick LeBrun, of Bossler City, La., took the first-day lead with a whopping 26 pounds, 9 ounces.

“I felt that I had a great week. My goal going into this event after my practice was 15 pounds a day. I thought if I could do that, I would have a shot at winning. I went out and was able to accomplish this, but unfortunately some of the other competitors just had spectacular catches,” he said.

“I capitalized on every bite and never lost a fish either day. Many times I was skipping a weightless worm on 10-pound line through many cypress trees and when I would hook up, it was extremely difficult to bring the fish back out through the trees,” he added.

Weisenburger caught a five-bass limit Thursday that weighed 15 pounds, 6 ounces and put him 19th.He knew he needed a good bag limit the second day to each the top 10. He got another limit, which weighed 16 pounds, 14 ounces. His two-day total was just short of making 10th place.

The experience was a good one for Weisenburger.

“I gained a lot of confidence in this event heading into the rest of the season. Also, I figured out some effective ways to fish cypress trees, which I think will help me down the road,” he said.

An added plus to fishing the All-American was having his wife, Kari, and daughters Kenzie and Karlee there along with this mother and father, Ron and Vickie and his mother-in-law Jane.

“It was awesome having the family down. This made the week even more special having all of them there every day cheering you on. In this sport, a good family support system is what holds all the glue together. Being gone at weeks at a time, I could not do this without a great wife and family that picks up all the slack and make sacrifices to help make all this possible,” he said.

Weisenburger also fishes the FLW Tour and has one key tourney remaining at Lake St. Clair in Michigan later this month. He sits in 92nd place in the points standings.

“I need to stay in top 100 to maintain my status for next year. That’s goal 1. Goal 2 is to make a final day cut in this event. It’s close to home and feel I am fishing really well right now. It will be a very exciting event with a lot of fish being caught,” he explained.

And he still has four tourneys remaining in the Buckeye Division of the BFl.

“The first BFL didn’t go well (he finished 75th). However, I plan to put in a lot of practice into the last 4 events and see if I can find a way to still challenge the angler of the year race,” he said.

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If you are planning on fish Lake Erie this week, you cannot use the Mazurik boat access in Marblehead.

The boat ramp and parking lot area will be temporarily closed beginning Monday (June 11) and will be closed through Thursday (June 14). The Ohio Division of Wildlife (DOW) will be sealcoating the parking during this time. During this time, no vehicles will be permitted on the access.

This improvement project is made possible by monies generated from the Boater-Angler Fund, a state tax on fuel that motorboat users pay to provide better access to Ohio’s waters.

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State wildlife officers sometimes step out of their local counties to help other DOW personnel. Such was the case one Sunday afternoon for Auglaize County Wildlife Officer Mark Schemmel.

He joined Lake Erie Investigators Kevin Good and Cody Klima on a patrol between the Toledo shipping channel and West Sister Island. After observing an angler fishing from a boat, they eventually caught him breaking four fishing laws.

The angler was first seen trolling five lines, three more than is allowed. After contacting the angler they asked him to reel in his lines and inspected his fish. The man had several more walleye than the two he claimed he had. Plus, many of them were under the legal limit of 15 inches.

Schemmel boarded the vessel and found that the man was in possession of nine walleye, three over the bag limit, and all but two of the walleye were undersized. Additionally, the angler did not have an Ohio fishing license. The angler was issued summons for four violations; fishing without a license, fishing with more than two rods, over bag for walleye, and possession of short walleye.

Al Smith

Guest Columnist

Al Smith is a freelance outdoor writer. You may contact him at and follow him on Twitter @alsmithFL

Al Smith is a freelance outdoor writer. You may contact him at and follow him on Twitter @alsmithFL

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