Kyle Weisenburger encountered how humbling tournament bass fishing can be while on tour in Florida and Alabama the past two weeks.
The Columbus Grove bass pro decided to fish the Toyota Series Central Division event on Alabama’s Lake Guntersville and ran into brutal weather and tough bites. It was 16 degrees when the tourney began Wednesday morning. The prior evening he was under his boat cover using a hair dryer to dry ice out of the locks on his boat’s storage bins. The tourney had been postponed one day to allow for safer travel conditions.
“It is a humbling sport,” Weisenburger said after Wednesday’s fishing. “I found just one bite (A bass that weighed 1 pound, 14 ounces).”
Thursday brought overcast but mostly dry conditions and a high temperature around 52 degrees. Weisenburger weighed in three fish that tipped the scales at 6 pounds, 12 ounces.
He had a frustrating tourney on the Major League Fishing (MLF) Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit opener on Lake Okeechobee and finished out of the money by one ounce. He wound up 81st in the event, but was missing “a big bite.”
“In Florida you have to get a big bite. I had one good fish on day one, but on day two, I really caught them and caught over 30 fish. My biggest was only 2 1/4 pounds. I just needed a big bite,” Weisenburger said.
He caught 10 bass (two limits) during his two days for 22 pounds 10 ounces.
His next tourney on the Tackle Warehouse circuit is March 11-14 on Lewis Smith Lake in Cullman, Alabama.
“I have fished Smith before and caught some fish in our tour event a few years back but didn’t have enough weight to get a check. I am looking forward to getting back there,” Weisenburger said.
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The Allen County Sportsmen & Farmers Association will hold a turkey shoot Sunday (Feb. 21) at its 1001 S. Kemp Road location. Sign-up begins at 10:30 a.m. with the first shoot at 11:30 a.m.
Prizes will be turkeys, hams, tenderloins and chickens. The club urges all who attend to wear a mask.
For further details, call Jeff Casady at 567-712-4762.
The club will hold its monthly meeting at 7 p.m. Thursday (Feb. 25). The public is invited to attend. If you attend, the club asks that you wear a mask.
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The All-American Outdoor Expo has moved from Indianapolis to Fort Wayne, Indiana.
The show will be held at Allen County War Memorial Coliseum on Friday through next Sunday (Feb. 26-28). Show hours are noon-9 p.m. Feb. 26, 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Feb. 27 and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Feb. 28.
Tickets will be sold at the door. Entry is good only on the day of the ticket, but there are unlimited returns. Return passes are available on the way out. Admission is $15 for adults for all three days. Persons under 16 are admitted free.
A mask is required. Constant cleaning will occur.
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With the Arctic-like weather we have experienced the past 2 1/2 weeks, one would think Lake Erie would be a prime spot for ice fishing these days. Don’t count on it.
When Punxsutawney Phil emerged from his den Feb. 2 and predicted six more weeks of winter, that foreboding forecast was correct as Mother Nature displayed a not so nice personality since then.
Lake Erie went from an all-time record low of only 1.3% percent of it being frozen Feb. 2 to more than 80% of it being frozen now. However, that has not bode well for ice anglers.
When it turned cold, it brought 30 mph north and northeast winds which created a tilt in the lake where water from Buffalo moves toward Toledo and the western basin. In a situation like that when the water level eventually settles, it creates cracks in the ice and water will seep in and lay on top of good ice, according to long-time ice guide John Hageman. Anything that could create bad ice followed.
Lousy winds (70 mph around Middle Bass Island) on Feb. 4 tore up the ice and created some vertical ice. Then the recent snowstorm that dropped 12 inches of snow on Lake Erie added to ice woes. That blanket of snow keeps the water below from making good ice and makes for dangerous conditions because no one knows what kind of ice lies under the snow.
Hageman warned that sagging ice can create what he calls a water sandwich. That’s where there is a layer of ice, a layer of water and another layer of ice on top of the water.
He said air boats have been breaking through the ice; ice anglers have gone through the ice around Catawba Island; and that the ice off of Crane Creek is not safe.
Hageman offered some sound advice: “The fish are not biting so why risk your life?”
He also noted: “There are 150 million walleyes in the lake so there’s no reason to take chances on the ice when you can get them at other times of year.”
Al Smith is a freelance outdoor writer. You may contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @alsmithFL