Kyle Weisenburger put “some life back into his season” with a good three-day performance last week on Lake Gunthersville during the fourth stop of Major League Fishing’s Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit.
He wound up 26th in the tourney in Gunthersville, Alabama, with a total weight of 49 pounds, 2 ounces on five-bass limits in the event. It was Weisenburger’s best finish since he was 24th at Lake Lanier in northern Georgia in 2017.
“I still have a chance to close strong in the last two events and make the championship,” the Columbus Grove bass angler said. The top 48 in the points standings qualify for the season-ending championship on the St. Lawrence River out of Massena, New York, on Aug. 16-21. He currently sits in 86th place with two regular season events remaining.
Weisenburger figures he has to finish in the top 40 in those two tourneys to make the cut for the championship. Those tourneys are on the James River out of Richmond, Virginia, on June 16-19 and on Lake Champlain out of Plattsburgh, New York, July 29-Aug. 1.
He was consistent all three days and caught at least 16 pounds of bass each day by targeting bluegill spawning beds where bass were on the feed.
“I had to make long casts with light line to trick these fish into biting. If I made the right cast, I would get a bite nearly every cast,” he said. “I had over 30 keepers on day 1 and day 2 and caught a lot of really nice 3-pound fish but just never got a really big fish all week. On day 3, I caught a few less fish. I caught about 15 keepers but it took nearly all day to get 5 solid fish to bring to the weigh-in.”
Weisenburger caught nearly all his fish on a weightless 6-inch Bass Pro stops stick-o fished wacky style on a spinning rod with gamma 15-pound braid and using a 10 gamma fluorocarbon leader.
“It was truly unbelievable at how many fish were cruising around these areas. There were thousands of bluegills bedding in an area about the size of a basketball court. Thankfully, all of these areas continued to replenish with more fish throughout the event. There were just so many bluegills that it attracted the bass in for easy meals. It was just a super fun way to get to fish this event,” he explained.
Weisenburger caught 16 pounds, 2 ounces on day 1, 16 pounds, 13 ounces on day 2 and 16 pounds, 3 ounces on day 3.
“I made small adjustments each day that helped keep my weights consistent. I have really struggled with my day 2 tournament weights really slipping off and it just feels good to have gained ground each day,” he said.
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Rockford’s Dick Shaffer is off to a good start in the Hoosier Division of the Major League Fishing Phoenix Bass Fishing League (BFL) presented by T-H Marine.
He has two top 20 finishes in the boater category following the first two tournaments. He followed up an opening tourney 16th place finish at Falls of the Rough in Kentucky with a 17th place finish last Saturday on Patoka Lake in Birdseye, Indiana. He caught a five-bass limit that weighed 11 pounds, 7 ounces. Shaffer caught a five-bass limit at Falls of the Rough that weighed 7 pounds, 8 ounces.
Shaffer, who fishes both the Buckeye and Hoosier Divisions, was scheduled to fish the Buckeye open on Indian Lake this Saturday. His next Hoosier tourney is set for Lake Monroe in Bloomington, Indiana on July 16.
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With one week left in the wild turkey hunting season in the Lima area, the turkey take is up in three counties (Mercer, Logan and Van Wert) and down in the six other area counties. Locally, 382 turkeys have been harvested thus far while the three-year average is 433.
Turkeys checked in locally through 23 days of the season and the three-year average (2019-21) in parentheses were: Allen 55 (65), Auglaize 23 (37), Hancock 27 (32), Hardin 72 (83), Logan 108 (96), Mercer 20 (18), Putnam 26 (49), Shelby 33 (37) Van Wert 18 (16).
Statewide, turkey hunters have harvested 10,734 birds through May 15. The total statewide harvest represents 23 days of hunting across most of the state, 16 days in the five northeastern counties (Ashtabula, Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lake, and Trumbull), and includes the 1,103 wild turkeys taken during the youth season April 9-10, according to the Ohio Division of Wildlife (DOW).
The wildlife agency said the three-year average (2019, 2020, and 2021) using the same dates is 15,538 wild turkeys. During the 2021 season, the number checked was 13,365.
The season closes Sunday in most of the state while it remains open until May 29 in the northeast zone.
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Among the 371 sandhill cranes observers found in 24 selected counties April 9 were 11 in Logan County.
This count was part of a one-day Midwest Crane Count, according to the DOW. The count was coordinated by the DOW, International Crane Foundation and Ohio Bird Conservation Initiative.
The survey was conducted in 24 preselected counties during the crane’s nesting season. Counties were selected based on the availability of wetland habitat that cranes use for nesting. Volunteers searched crane habitat within a 10-square mile survey block.
The count was the second of what will be an annual event to track the status of sandhill cranes in the Buckeye State. The count in 2021 found 160 sandhill cranes across five counties. Sandhills can be secretive during the breeding season, and the survey is an effort to better understand Ohio’s breeding population.
Al Smith is a freelance outdoor writer. You may contact him [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @alsmithFL