For many anglers, an off season would last anywhere from 3-5 months. That’s not so for professional bass angler Kyle Weisenburger.
The Lima area pro will leave Columbus Grove and pick up his new bass boat Monday and then will head south for the beginning of the MLF Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit opening tournament Feb. 11-14 on Florida’s Lake Okeechobee. He last fished a tourney in early December on Lake Cumberland in Kentucky.
This will be Weisenburger’s fifth year on the circuit. The tour has changed from FLW to MLF (Major League Fishing). He finished 60th in the points standings in 2020. He plans to continue fishing in the BFL Buckeye Division. He has not decided if he will fish the Toyota Series. He finished 15th in the Plains Division and fished in the championship tourney last year. He also is “working on some other events and seeing if I get in.”
Weisenburger said, “I am very ready to get the season started. I feel I have put in a lot of preparation in the off season and I have never felt more prepared and focused. I’m hoping everything just clicks this year and it will be my best year yet.”
On his way to Florida, he plans to check out a few lakes and get his motor broken in prior to the Okeechobee event.
There is one new rule change on the circuit this year and that limits practice to two days instead of three. There have been mixed reviews from the pros on the change. Weisenburger thinks it will benefit him.
“Honestly, I think it will benefit me. I fish fast and cover a lot of water,” he said.
The second tourney of the season will be held on Lewis Smith Lake in Cullman, Alabama, March 11-14. The remainder of the schedule includes: Lake Murray, Columbia, South Carolina, April 22-25; Lake Eufaula in Eufaula, Alabama, May 13-16; Potomac River, Marbury, Maryland, June 17-20; and St. Lawrence River, Massena, New York, July 29-Aug. 1 The championship will be held on the Mississippi River out of La Crosse, Wisconsin, Aug. 17-20.
* * *
I always like to give a tip of the hat to state wildlife officers for the job they do, but two thumbs up is especially worth it when they help not only humans but also wildlife.
Logan County Wildlife Officer Adam Smith was able to put his shooting skills to work to aid a red-tailed hawk that was dangling by its right wing about 40 feet up in a tree.
The hawk was unable to free itself of the string and Smith had received a call from a concerned citizen about the situation. He used his issued shotgun to break a kite string that was attached to the hawk’s right wing.
After one or more of the BBs from the shot shell broke the string, the hawk sailed to the ground.
The wildlife officer transferred the hawk to Crow’s Hollow Wildlife Care in Union County for examination. It was later released back into the wild.
According to the Ohio Division of Wildlife (DOW), its wildlife officers are frequently requested to handle unique calls that require an officer to be creative in order to resolve situations.
Another Lima area wildlife officer also helped a bird last fall.
Mark Schemmel, Auglaize County Wildlife Officer, responded to a landowner’s residence after the landowner called about an injured bird. Schemmel identified the injured bird as a great egret, which was unable to fly.
Once captured and examined for injuries, it appeared the egret suffered from a canine attack with two distinct and shallow puncture wounds. The egret was later transported to a nearby wildlife rehabilitation facility for additional care.
The following incident occurred in northeast Ohio and involved a white-tailed doe in distress.
When Medina County Wildlife Officer Eric Moore arrived on scene he saw the deer had its head stuck in a PVC pipe. According to the DOW, it appeared that the section of pipe was from a homemade deer feeder and the deer was likely trying to get corn from the bottom of the feeder. In the process, it apparently lodged its head and neck in the pipe.
After several attempts to pull the pipe off the deer’s head, Moore succeeded in freeing the deer. Although quite unsteady at first, the doe gained its composure and made it safely to a nearby woodlot.
A final incident involved a human in need of help in Central Ohio.
Pickaway County Wildlife Officer Josh Elster was on patrol at Deer Creek Wildlife Area when he was flagged down about a vehicle stopped and partially sitting in the road.
Upon inspection, Elster found a person who had run out of gas the night before. The vehicle’s battery also had died and the person had the vehicle’s flashers on. The person had no luck in trying to contact multiple people for assistance. Elster pushed the vehicle a short distance to get it off the road.
Discovering the stranded man had no money for gas, Elster offered to buy him some gas so he could get home. After getting gas and returning with jumper cables, Elster put three gallons of gas in the car and started it with the jumper cables. He then followed the car for a short time to make sure there were no other problems and then continued his patrol.
Al Smith is a freelance outdoor writer. You may contact him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @alsmithFL