Pair of area bassers have shot at points championship

By Al Smith - Guest Columnist

A pair of Lima area bass anglers have an opportunity to finish at the top of the points standings in their respective categories in the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine.

Dick Shaffer of Rockford and Ron Weisenburger of Continental continued hot streaks in tourney action following slow starts in the season opener. Both have proven older anglers definitely can compete well on the BFL circuit. Shaffer is 61 while Weisenburger is 64.

Shaffer sits second in the boater or pro category with 1,060 points just 20 behind leader Pete Justice of Sharonville. Weisenburger is third in the co-angler category with 1,043 points, only six points behind runner-up Jordan Smith of Middletown and seven behind leader Larry Gunville of Gahanna.

They have a chance to jump to the top spot with strong showings in the division’s final tourney on Indian Lake on Sept. 26. Both have bounced back from slow starts in the season opener on Indian Lake on June 6. The pair have been on a roll since then with Shaffer posting three consecutive top five finishes, including a win on the Ohio River at Maysville, Kentucky, on Aug. 15 while Weisenburger has had three successive top 10 finishes.

Shaffer had a runner-up finish July 11 on the Ohio River out of Tanner’s Creek, in Lawrenceburg, Indiana, and then finished fourth in last weekend’s two-day event on Lake Erie out of Sandusky. Bassers had to qualify among the top 22 following the first day to qualify for the second day’s action. He finished 62nd in the season opener at Indian Lake on June 6.

The veteran angler had a two-day total of 10 bass that weighed 25 pounds, 4 ounces. His first day catch was 10 pounds, 15 ounces while his second day catch weighed 14 pounds, five ounces.

He’s a shoe-in to qualify for the Lake Cherokee (Tennessee) since the top 45 boaters and co-anglers from each division, along with the five winners of the qualifying events, will advance to one of six regional tournaments where they are competing to finish in the top six, which then qualifies them for one of the longest-running championships in all of competitive bass fishing — the Phoenix Bass Fishing League All-American. Buckeye Division qualifiers will fish at Lake Cherokee.

Shaffer also fishes the Hoosier Division where he sits 55th in the points standings, He wants to do well in that division’s final event on the Rough River on Sept. 9-10 because he would rather fish the regional that division qualifies for on the Mississippi River out of LaCrosse, Wisconsin. As on Lake Erie last weekend, he must qualify for the second day on the Rough River by finishing in the top 20 percent following the first day’s fishing.

Weisenburger had his best finish of the season when he placed fourth on Lake Eire with a two-day catch of 18 pounds, 8 ounces. He caught three fish that weighed 8 pounds on the first day and then landed a five-bass limit the second day that weighed 10 pounds, 8 ounces.

He had a fifth place finish on the Ohio River at Tanners Creek on July 11 and was seventh on the Ohio River at Maysville, Kentucky, on Aug. 15. He was 70th during the season opener on Indian Lake on June 6.

Several other Lima area bassers should qualify for regional competition with a couple of others having a chance of qualifying.

Huntsville’s Josh Barnett sits ninth in the pro standings. He was 10th on Lake Erie with a two-day total of nine bass that weighed 21 pounds, 2 ounces. His first day catch was four fish that weighed 9 pounds, 3 ounces while his second day weight of five fish was 11 pounds, 5 ounces.

Kyle Weisenburger of Columbus Grove, and Ron’s son, is 11th, Jay Ellis of Celina is 12th and Craig Burwell of North Baltimore is 27th. Bob Logan of Waynesville is in contention for the top 45 as he is 49th while Cody Seeger of Lewistown needs a real strong outing at Indian Lake to move from 70th to the top 45.

At Lake Erie, Seeger was 29th with three bass that weighed 7 pounds, 8 ounces. Weisenburger was 34th with three bass that weighed 6 pounds, 10 ounces. Ellis was 46th with a pair of bass that weighed 5 pounds, 5 ounces. Logan was 47th with two bass that weighed 5 pounds, 2 ounces. Burwell placed 62nd with two bass that weighed 3 pounds, 3 ounces.

On the co-angler’s side, John Lane of Findlay is 14th in the points standings while Carter Mox of Delphos is 38th. Lane was 51st with one fish that weighed 2 pounds, 9 ounces. Mox did not fish the Lake Erie tourney. Lima’s Jesse Stewart was 21st at Lake Erie with two bass that weighed 5 pounds, six ounces. New Bremen’s John Long was 38th with one bass that weighed 3 pounds, 7 ounces. Stewart is far back in the points standings while Long is 66th.

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Ohioans are reminded not to touch or handle sickly looking or dead wild animals, especially deer.

Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease (EHD) typically affects some white-tailed deer in the late summer, according to the Ohio Division of Wildlife (DOW). Thus, people may come across sickly or dead deer. Some cases, mostly in northwest Ohio, have been documented this summer, according to the DOW.

The wildlife agency says EHD is not infectious to people and is not spread from animal to animal. It is transmitted by the bite of small insects called midges. Thus, EHD-associated deaths in deer can happen until the first frost of the year causes a decline in midge activity.

EHD is the most common ailment affecting deer in the eastern U.S., and occurs annually in the late summer and fall in deer herds across North America.

The DOW explained infected deer show symptoms within five to 10 days of contracting the disease. It added that many deer die within 36 hours of the onset of symptoms. There is little that can be done to protect wild deer from the virus. Outbreaks of EHD can result in high deer mortality in some areas but populations typically increase within a few years.

Infected deer may show symptoms including lethargy, head hung down, loss of fear of humans, swelling of the tongue and head and neck, difficulty breathing, and excess salivation. Affected deer are often found in or near bodies of water, likely because of fever and dehydration.

White-tailed deer, along with mule deer, elk, bighorn sheep and pronghorn antelope are susceptible to the disease.

By 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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