We need to be good stewards of our environment

By Al Smith - Guest Columnist

Some of us are old enough to remember the first Earth Day held April 22, 1970.

From its humble beginning, plenty has been accomplished in water and air making our surroundings cleaner in the past five decades. However, there’s still much to be done.

Those who litter remain many among us. People who fish, hunt, hike, bird, camp, walk, etc. are too well aware of how many slobs are too lazy to clean up after themselves. We should not have to see signs along a road telling us what local group or organization is cleaning so many miles of trash along that route. Ideally there should be no little along highways.

I find it so irritating when I’m fishing to see discarded fishing line, bait containers, lure wrappers, cans and bottles and food bags and containers scattered along the shore of a lake or river. But I see similar things tossed around when I’m walking my dog in my hometown. As we walk through a park, I see litter from a variety of fast food places, lying just feet or a few yards from a trash can.

As outdoor enthusiasts, we need to be good stewards and promote stewardship of our environment.

I saw a steward a few decades ago while fishing my favorite local lake. He placed a 5-gallon bucket in the middle of his row boat. I would see him stop along the shore and put litter in the bucket. I never knew his name, but I saw him often doing his part to help rid the lake he and so many others enjoyed of trash.

This gentleman left a powerful message by his actions. He showed there is a solution to litter — pick it up and dispose of it properly. Litter doesn’t improve the scenery of a lake or any other environment. It’s ugly and also embarrassing.

The earth is composed of 71% water. Many animals live around water. Litter damages the shoreline environment and the animals that live there. Trash like plastics (soft lures) and line can suffocate or impair these animals.

Make it a point and also encourage your friends to be better earth stewards. Take along a trash bucket or bags. Clean up (use rubber, latex or plastic gloves) the unsightly litter you see. Don’t worry if it’s someone else’s litter. If you want a cleaner place to enjoy you sometimes have to call upon yourself and friends to make it happen.

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After a downer on Lewis Smith Lake in Cullman, Alabama, in late March on the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit, Lima area bass pro Kyle Weisenburger bounced back with his best tourney of the year last week.

The Columbus Grove angler placed ninth on Grand Lake in Grove, Oklahoma, in the Plains Division of the Toyota Series of the Major League Fishing (MLF).

He primarily used a jig to bag five-bass limits each day and wound up with 46 pounds and five ounces. He had a solid three days in the event. Weisenburger was 22nd after the first day with 16 pounds, 5 ounces and then shot into ninth after the second day with 17 pounds, 9 ounces. He qualified to fish the third day (the top 10 qualify for the final day) and his 12 pounds, 10 ounces left him in ninth for the tourney.

“It was the rebound I needed after Smith Lake. I had one of my best practices ever at Grand. I truly thought I had found the quality and the pattern to have a shot to win,” Weisenburger said. “I caught them pretty good on day 1 and 2 maybe — catching around 10 to 12 keepers a day. The final day I struggled a bit more. I only got six keepers on day 3. There was a lot of local fishing pressure Saturday, and I also feel I had cleaned out my areas pretty well.”

The day before the tourney, he posted on Facebook: “I had a fun couple days on the water here at Grand Lake. I just have that feeling that it’s going to be a good event.”

According to a MLF press release, Weisenburger fished slower than most anglers and pitched a Reaction Innovations Sweet Beaver on either a 3/8- or ½-ounce Strike King tungsten to rock transitions most of the event. When things got tough, Weisenburger did have to employ a wacky-rigged Yamamoto Senko (black with red flake).

He now sits in sixth place in the points standings. He is only three points out of fifth place and 10 points out of fourth place. The top 25 qualify for the season-ending championship, which will be held Oct. 28-30 on Pickwick Lake. The lake is part of the Tennessee Valley Authority and is located in Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee. The final Plains Division tourney is slated for May 6-8 on Lake Dardanelle in Russellville, Arkansas.

Weisenburger heads out Saturday (April 17) for the next Tackle Warehouse event, which will be held Thursday through Sunday (April 22-25) on Lake Murray in Columbia, South Carolina.

“I am looking forward to Murray. It is kind of a do or die event as I have got to make some big strides back in the point standings to have a shot at the championship,” he said.

After finishing 129th on Smith Lake with only five bass that weighed 8 pounds, 14 ounces, Weisenburger said, “This past tournament definitely did not go as well as I had hoped and really set me back in the points race (122nd). It’s time to regroup and get the train rolling on a hot streak.”

His success at Grand Lake may have put him on that streak.


By Al Smith

Guest Columnist

Al Smith is a freelance outdoor writer. You may contact him at flyfishman7@hotmail.com and follow him on Twitter @alsmithFL

Al Smith is a freelance outdoor writer. You may contact him at flyfishman7@hotmail.com and follow him on Twitter @alsmithFL

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