Heartbreaking mistake costs Weisenburger

In this time period when it is becoming more difficult to find people who take responsibility for their actions, it is laudable to see someone admit making a mistake, especially when it keeps them from achieving their goal.

A “heartbreaking” mistake last week on Lake Champlain costs Kyle Weisenburger a spot in the FLW Tour championship tourney. He missed qualifying for the event by two places after reporting an infraction for having too many bass during the weigh-in on the second day of the event.

As he explained: “Day 2 on Champlain was a good day. I had initially weighed in 15 pounds, 3 ounces. However, when I pulled my boat out of the water after weigh-in and started putting things away, I realized I had another fish in my live well. My heart sank! I immediately contacted the tournament director to report the rules infraction and was assessed a 2-pound penalty. This reduced my weight to 13 pounds 3 ounces.”

That mistake dropped him enough in the final points standings that he missed qualifying for the season-ending championship.

“There was only one thing to do and that was to simply report the infraction. Fishing is a sport a lot like golf based on integrity for the game and where many infractions are actually called upon by yourself, Weisenburger said. “Unfortunately it happened in the most important day of my career and led to missing out on the championship by 2 points. I am trying to find something positive or lesson learned from this. I feel I let emotion get in the way of my focus as I caught a key fish at the end of the day and after I put the fish in the live well thoughts starting raving through my mind like ‘we are in, that was the fish that gets us into the championship,’ and I simply forgot to return my 6th fish back into the water. That led to the 2-pound penalty and my chances at the championship.”

What made matters worse was the fish left in his live well was one of the biggest Weisenburger caught. Had he weighed in his largest 5 fish, even with the penalty, he might have had enough to make the championship.

The Lima area angler took a philosophical approach to what happened.

“To have this happen in any tournament would be frustrating, but when it happens in one of the biggest tournaments of your career, it even hurts more. I have just got to learn what lessons I can from this and prepare to make next year’s championship,” Weisenburger said.

“Looking back, it was still a great year and I was blessed with some great events and memories that I will never forget. It also feels encouraging when I look at how each year I’ve shown improvement in the standings. This is truly something I love to do and enjoy. I am truly blessed with a great family and support circle that has given me these opportunities. It’s time to go back to the drawing board and start preparing for next year’s tour getting all equipment, sponsors, travel plans, and game plans in order and ready to go so that the championship can be a reality if it is in God’s plan.”

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Lima area bass anglers continue to do well in various divisions of the BFL. A pair of them finished among the top 10 in Michigan and Hoosier division tourneys recently.

Jay Ellis, of Celina, was 7th in the Indiana event held on Rough River Lake out of Falls of Rough, Kentucky on June 30. He had a 5-bass limit that weighed 7 pounds, 10 ounces in the makeup tourney. Matt Elkins, of Spencerville, was 9th in the Michigan event on Lake St. Clair out of Harrison Township on June 22. He had a 5-bass limit that weighed 21 pounds, 2 ounces.

Ellis fished the same lake the next day in a regularly scheduled tourney, but caught no fish.

At St. Clair limits were plentiful. The top 70 pros all caught limits while the top 59 co-anglers all caught limits.

Wilson Burton, of Findlay, was 13th among the pros with a weight of 20 pounds, 10 ounces. Zach Maisch, of Lima, was 70th with a weight of 14 pounds, 1 ounce while Brian Cox, of Convoy, and Bart Say, of Van Wert, were 81st and 82nd with weights of 12 pounds, 9 ounces and 12 pounds, 5 ounces.

On the co-angler side, 5 Lima area bassers caught limits.

Beau Bickford, of Findlay, was 17th with a weight of 18 pounds, 4 ounces; J.R. Selke, of Waynesfield, was 23rd with a weight of 17 pounds, 3 ounces; Alex Newman, of Wapakoneta, was 28th with a weight of 16 pounds, 3 ounces; Mike Kokosa, of Findlay, was 38th with a weight of 15 pounds, 6 ounces and Chris Pellock, of Bluffton, was 53rd with a weight of 13 pounds, 4 ounces.

The next Hoosier Division tourney is scheduled for July 20 on the Ohio River out of Rocky Point. The next Michigan tourney is slated on Lake St. Clair on July 13.

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Three Lima area high school students are among the 31 founding members of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Conservation Teen Advisory Council (ConTAC) for the upcoming school year.

They are Rebecca Dominguez of St. Marys, Phoebe Brielmaier of Indian Lake and Issac Edelmann of Anna High School. They will serve one-year terms and may serve for a maximum of two terms. A kickoff meeting will be held this month.

The council serves as the voice of Ohio’s youth to ODNR and help expand the reach, impact and quality of the agency’s youth initiatives.

According to a press release, members will spend approximately 10 hours per quarter developing and implementing youth-focused strategies, resources, campaigns, and events, advising ODNR on issues important to teens and working to empower others to enact conservation-focused initiatives in their communities.

They will serve one-year terms and may serve for a maximum of two terms.

A list of the 2019-2020 Conservation Teen Advisory Council members and additional information about ConTAC can be found at ohiodnr.gov/teens.

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Persons interested in earning how to gig frogs can participate in a free frog gigging workshop at the St. Marys Fish Hatchery on July 26. Space is limited, thus pre-registration in required by July 24. No walk-ins will be permitted.

First time frog giggers should register online at https://apps.ohiodnr.gov/wildlife/educationregistration/. Attendees must be at least 12 years old. Those between the ages of 12-15 must be accompanied by a parent.

Equipment, techniques, regulations and a cleaning demonstration will be covered by Ohio Division of Wildlife (DOW) instructors. The workshop begins at 8:15 p.m. Groups will begin gigging with DOW staff at dusk. All equipment will be provided but participants are also permitted to bring their own equipment if they choose.

Participants should dress for the weather. Items needed include a valid Ohio fishing license for participants older than 16 years of age, towel, a dry change of clothes, and a drink.


Al Smith is a freelance outdoor writer. You may contact him at flyfishman7@hotmail.com and follow him on Twitter @alsmithFL

Al Smith is a freelance outdoor writer. You may contact him at flyfishman7@hotmail.com and follow him on Twitter @alsmithFL

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