Area anglers not faring well in Michigan Division

Lima area bass anglers may be catching more fish in Michigan waters on the FLW T-H Marine Bass Fishing League (BFL) circuit, but they aren’t faring as well in the points standings as their local counterparts who fish the Buckeye Division.

While a trio of anglers are in the top five of the Buckeye Division points standings, local basser Matt Elkins, of Spencerville, is the lone Lima area angler in the Michigan Division top 10. He stands at 9th in the points standings. He dropped 8 places after finishing 44th in the tourney held on the Detroit River on Aug. 24. He caught a limit of 5 bass that weighed 13 pounds, 1 ounce.

Findlay’s Wilson Burton moved up 2 places in the points standing to 23rd after weighing in 4 bass at 14 pounds to finish 37th.

Lima’s Zach Masich is in 27th place in the standings. He climbed 6 spots after finishing 21st in the tourney with a limit of bass that weighed 17 pounds, 3 ounces.

On the co-angler side, Findlay’s Michael Kokoska dropped from 18th to 23rd after finishing 63rd in the tourney with one fish that weighed 3 pounds, 13ounces. Vickie Maisch Rumer moved into the top 50 of the standings at 49th. She was 47th in the tourney with 3 bass that weighed placed 6 pounds, 5 ounces. Celina’s Alex Newman is just outside the top 50 at 52nd. He moved up from 66th place with a lime of 5 bass that weighed 14 pounds and was 17th in the tourney.

The top 45 boaters and co-anglers in the region based on point standings, along with the five winners in each qualifying event, will be entered in the Oct. 17-19 BFL Regional Championship on Kentucky and Barkley lakes in Buchanan, Tennessee, presented by Evinrude.

The next Michigan Division tourney will be held on the Detroit River on Sept. 21.

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People are always attracted to oddities and when Debbie Geddes caught a two-headed lake trout recently in Lake Champlain in upstate New York it certainly caught a lot of attention.

Numerous TV stations ran photos of it along with other media outlets and it got thousands of hits on Facebook with people offering all kinds of theories about the unusual fish.

My first thought was what made this happen?

According to fish biologists, it’s a genetic mutation that is very rare, but sometimes happens. Two-headed snakes have been found pretty frequently. It happens in people too.

A female fish can produce millions of eggs in its lifetime. They aren’t all winners … some eggs get genetic information that isn’t quite right. Most eggs that get bad genetics aren’t viable (don’t survive) but a minute fraction do live and survive with their deformities.

Wildlife District Two fish management supervisor Michael Wilkerson in Findlay explained: “Those type of things happen every once in awhile and typically it is the result of a genetic problem or a cell division problem. Most fish eggs that have this issue don’t hatch or if they do won’t live long after that as the defect usually prevents them from feeding.

“In this case the defect must have occurred in such a location that it did not prevent the fish from feeding. But it is really interesting to think about that fish lunging and grabbing prey with the extra mouth and not being very streamlined.”

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As has been stressed often in the past, when it comes to hunting, safety is of the utmost importance.

There is some good news on the safety front as September rolls around. The month is designated as Tree Stand Safety Awareness Month and statistics show that the number of estimated falls requiring an emergency department treatment has decreased by 46.2 percent between 2010-18. That significant drop indicates that safety promotions by numerous organizations are working. However, there still were an estimated 3,001 tree stand falls requiring an emergency department visit in 2018 nationally, according to data.

Thus, hunters should take take tree stand safety seriously, every time you hunt from, hang, or remove a tree stand. Tree stand users can virtually eliminate their risk of falling to the ground by performing the following 3 simple steps:

Always remove and inspect your equipment

Buckle on your full-body harness

Connect to the tree before your feet leave the ground

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In all my years writing about the outdoors, one thing I will never understand is why some gluttonous anglers stockpile panfish. I’ve know of and been told about people who have a freezer or freezers full of fish filets. There is no way those people are going to eat all those fish unless they have multiple fish fries or they give away gobs of filets.

This occurs in states like Ohio where they are no possession limits or when someone illegally keeps that many fish. These anglers are like hoarders.

One of the worse cases, I’m aware of happened recently in Michigan where an angler was charged with possessing 1,400 fish illegally. In addition to daily limits, Michigan has a daily limit of 25 panfish and a possession limit of two days worth of fish.

The angler had been seen fishing Lake Lancer in Gladwin County several times a day and had been reported by other anglers for reported over fishing. A pair of Michigan DNR conservation officers saw him twice in one day at the same lake. The second time they contacted the angler, they went to his place and searched chest freezers in his garage. They found he had exceeded the possession limit by more than 1,400 fish.

Once the investigation is completed and the evidence no longer needed, the confiscated fish will be donated to a food bank or a church.

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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