Jeff Whitsett, of De Graff, won the co-angler division at the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Buckeye Division opener on Grand Lake-St. Marys last Saturday out of Celina. He caught 3 bass for a winning weight of 10 pounds, 4 ounces.
Whitsett also caught the heaviest bass in the co-angler division, a fish weighing in at 4 pounds, 3 ounces.
Six other Lima area bassers placed in the top 10 of both the co-angler and boater divisions. And a number of other area anglers weighed in fish during the tourney.
In the boater division, Michael Manor, of Sidney, finished 1 ounce out of first place with a limit of 5 bass that weighed 13 pounds, 3 ounces. Scott Manson, of Covington, won the division with a limit of 5 bass that weighed 13 pounds, 4 ounces.
Curt Flessinger, of Minster, finished third with a limit of 5 bass that weighed 11 pounds, 9 ounces while B.J. Baxter, of Willshire, was fourth with a 5 bass limit that weighed 11 pounds 5 ounces and Gary Guiter, of Lakeview, was seventh with a 5 bass limit that weighed 10 pounds, 14 ounces.
On the co-angler side, Daniel Shuga, of Botkins, finished fifth with 3 bass that weighed 6 pounds, 14 ounces and John Long, of New Bremen, was seventh with 3 bass that weighed 5 pounds, 2 ounces.
Several other Lima area bassers caught fish in the boater category. They were with their place finish: 16. Zach Fishbaugh, St. Henry, 4 bass, 8 pounds; 19. Jesse Stienecker, New Bremen, 5 bass, 7 pounds, 7 ounces; Cody Seeger, Lewistown, 4 bass, 7 pounds, 1 ounces; 27. Gary Hammake, Sidney, 3 bass, 6 pounds 6 ounces; 30. Jack Ray, St. Marys, 4 bass, 6 pounds; 31. Kyle Weisenburger, Ottawa, 3 bass, 5 pounds, 14 ounces; 32. Brandon Good, Fort Jennings, 3 bass, 5 pounds, 12 ounces; 34. Jay Ellis, Celina, 3 bass, 5 pounds, 7 ounces; 38. Jay Jeffries, Celina, 3 bass, 5 pounds; 41. Travis Tenwalde, 3 bass, 4 pounds, 15 ounces; 43. Jeremy Tenwalde, Fort Jennings, 2 bass, 4 pounds, 13 ounces; 46. Ken Pond, St. Marys, 2 bass, 4 pounds, 10 ounces; 49. Dick Shaffer, Rockford, 3 bass, 4 pounds, 6 ounces; 79. David Eyink, Celina, 1 bass, 2 pounds; 81. Craig Burwell, North Baltimore, 1 bass, 1 pounds, 12 ounces; 85. Bob Logan, Waynesfield, 1 bass, 1 pounds 11 ounces.
Several other Lima area bassers caught fish in the co-angler category. They were with their place finish: 17. Jon Angstmann, St. Marys, 2 bass, 3 pounds, 14 ounces; 21. Carter Mox, Minster, 2 bass, 3 pounds, 6 ounces; 28. Ryan Kriegel, Delphos, 2 bass, 2 pounds, 14 ounces; 34. Chad Rader, McComb, 1 bass, 2 pounds, 7 ounces; 42. Zach Harman, Delphos, 1 bass, 2 pounds; 48. Brian Dabbelt, Celina, 1 bass, 1 pound, 12 ounces; 49. Ron Weisenburger, Continental, 1 bass, 1 pound, 11 ounces.
The next Buckeye Division tourney will be held on the Ohio River out of Tanners Creek in Lawrenceburg, Ind., on June 8.
The top 45 boaters and co-anglers, plus qualifying-tournament winners in each division advance to regional championships. Anglers from the Hoosier and Michigan divisions will fish the regional at Kentucky-Barkley Lakes on Oct. 17-19 while anglers from the Buckeye division regional will fish the Potomac River regional on Oct. 17-19.
* * *
I’ve written about boating safety so many times, mention of it in a column sounds like a broken record. However if the repetitive reminder of being safe on the water, saves one life, it is well worth reiterating and asking boaters to act responsibly on the water.
Common sense is the most important part of being safe on the water. Don’t forget anglers make up a large portion of people using boats.
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) and the National Safe Boating Council are kicking off the annual safe boating campaign this weekend and National Safe Boating Week (May 18-24) with important safety reminders for boaters as the busy boating season gears up.
The most vital safety measure any boater can do it to wear a life jacket. It literally saves lives. Statistics show how important it is. Drowning was the reported cause of the death in 50 percent of all boating fatalities in Ohio during 2018. Of those, 75 percent were reported as not wearing their life jackets.
Life jackets keep your head above water. If you do not wear it, it is very difficult or impossible to put one on if you fall overboard.
Among other important safety measures are making sure you do not boat while under the influence of alcohol. Be aware of the weather and water conditions. High waters levels from recent thunderstorms can be dangerous and debris floating in the water poses hazards, too. Travel at safe speeds. Also make sure to have more than one communication device that works when wet.
Watch out for the other guy, much like being a defensive driver. The U.S. Coast Guard reports that operator inattention and improper lookout are at the top of the list for contributing factors to accidents.
Combined with the increasing popularity of paddlecraft such as kayaks and standup paddleboards, boaters should slow down in areas where paddlers congregate. Be mindful of your wake. Accept and understand that some paddlers may not understand the rules of the road or all of the safety risks inherent to small-craft operation. Some boaters are guilty of this as well.
* * *
Fun fish facts: Fish don’t blink because they do not have eyelids (except for sharks!) and so they may not close their eyes to sleep like we do, but they have periods of rest that’s like our sleep.
A salmon’s ability to smell is far better than the smelling sense of a dog! They use this smelling superpower to find their way back to their home stream when it’s time for them to reproduce.
Al Smith is a freelance outdoor writer. You may contact him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @alsmithFL