Note there is a time element here since this runs on Friday-Saturday and Sunday.
Being on the bubble, Kyle Weisenburger has a choice to make when he fishes the final regular season event on the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit being held on Lake Erie next week (Aug. 11-16) out of Sandusky.
He currently sits at 52nd in the points standings with 697. The top 50 qualify for the tour’s title tourney Aug. 24-29, out of Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, which connects to Green Bay to the west and Lake Michigan to the east. The title event had been scheduled for the St. Lawrence River in Messena, New York.
Weisenburger finished 56th in the circuit’s last event held on the Mississippi River out of Lacrosse, Wisconsin. He caught limits (five bass) on the first two days of the tourney, but failed to qualify for the third day. He had a weight of 21 pounds, 13 ounces for both days. He caught 11 pounds, 4 ounces on the first day and 10 pounds, 9 ounces on the second day.
Right now, the 50th spot has 701 points while the 40th position has 723. Thus, mapping a strategy to climb to 50 or above comes into play.
“This is going to be a very complex event with a ton of factors in play,” Weisenburger said. “Since it’s the last event of the championship determination, anglers are going to be able to play to their need in points. Those that are nearly a lock will likely play more conservative and opt out for long runs. Those that need a great finish likely will run the risk of long runs to pull off a great finish.”
Long runs would mean going as far as the Detroit River and possibly as far as Lake St. Clair. Canadian waters are off limits to the tourney participants.
The Columbus Grove basser has to decide whether to be aggressive or conservative and whether to concentrate on smallmouth or largemouth bass. He has four practice days to figure “what is my best fit.”
Weisenburger explained, “I would love to be able to fish the largemouth game, but likely will need to target the heavier smallmouths. Weather is such a big key as well with winds being a big factor on decision-making. I am going to split two days for each species in practice and then make my decisions.”
He added, “I feel like I am fishing the best I ever have right now and I am excited to get up there. The key for this event is my preparation and decisions on where to go and weighing in all the factors. There are fish everywhere in that fishery, but dialing into the quality is where an angler needs to put himself.”
Ron Nelson, who was the 2019 Polaris Rookie of the Year, and currently leads the Pro Circuit Angler of the Year (AOY), is taking a conservative approach to the tourney.
“Personally, I’m going to be more conservative and won’t be making any long run unless I make the Top 50 cut on Thursday,” Nelson said. “My priorities are a little different than most, though. I’m not going for the tournament win – I’m going for the AOY win. Consistency is the key, there.”
He added, “The biggest factor in this event is going to be the wind. If it is calm, guys are going to be making long runs. If it’s rough, we’re going to have to fish the islands and the bay and you’re going to really have to change your strategy.”
In second place
Beau Bickford of Findlay has found Lake St. Clair to his liking as he has moved into second place in the points standings in the Michigan Division of the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine. He has 492 points while Mike Raber of Walcottville, Indiana, leads the standings with 497 points.
Bickford caught a five-bass limit, which weighed 23 pounds, 3 ounces, last Saturday to tie for third place in the pro category. He placed seventh in the opening tourney on St. Clair on July 18 when he caught a five-bass limit that weighed 20 pound, 9 ounces. He was among 11 bassers who weighed more than 20 pounds of fish.
The next two Michigan Division tourneys will be held on back-to-back days on the Detroit River on Saturday, Aug. 15, and Sunday, Aug. 16.
The Kalida Fish and Game Club will hold its gun extravaganza Aug. 22 at the club grounds located at 16415 Ohio 694 in Ottawa. The club will hold the event in collaboration with the Putnam County Health Department’s guidelines.
As long as the county remains under a Level 2, the event will be held.
Should the county move to a Level 3, the in-person event will have to be canceled and will be held virtually online. The club is asking attendees to follow social distancing put in place by Gov. Mike DeWine.
There will be no check-in area. When entering the grounds, attendees are asked to use either of the two bridges that cross Deer Creek.
Since there will be no large tent area or seating available, the club indicated small pop-up tents no larger than 12 feet x 12 feet are allowed. It suggests you bring lawn chairs. It is emphasizing people should not assemble in large groups.
No liquor permit or food permit was granted to the club, thus there will be no drink sales including beer, pop and water and no food sales. People are allowed to bring coolers and beverages, but no glass bottles will be allowed. The club is attempting to line up a few licensed food trucks. People are allowed to bring food and snacks, but no grills.
There will be no kids activities. If people bring children, they are asked to keep them close by and not allow them wandering around the event.
There will be additional gun raffles throughout the day as well as a 50/50 drawing.
Al Smith is a freelance outdoor writer. You may contact him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @alsmithFL