Burton set to return to All-American
Wilson Burton is determined to return to the MLF’s Phoenix Bass Fishing League All-American Championship after he tastes the event for the first time.
Things did not go as well as the Findlay bass fisherman had hoped as he placed 46th out of 49 boaters in the tournament presented by TH Marine on Douglas Lake in Dandridge, Tennessee.
“I have tried new things and I have a lot to learn,” he said. “I’m going to work hard this year and try to make the 2021 All-American. My goal will be to get into the Michigan division top 45 and regional top 6 on the Potomac River.
Burton grabbed a five-low limit on day one weighing 8 pounds and 7 ounces. He followed up on day two with three basses that weighed 5 pounds, 7 ounces for a total weight of 13 pounds, 14 ounces.
“I couldn’t get my first three places on the first day and they were taken until the weigh-in,” he said.
It is not an easy task to qualify for the All-American. Only 49 of the roughly 20,000 competing anglers can fish the All-American.
In recent years, two Lima area fishermen besides Burton have made it to the boater category – Dick Shaffer and Kyle Weisenburger. Celina’s Jay Jeffries was a co-angler in 2015 but was unable to fish the event when he suffered a retinal detachment shortly before the tournament.
Shaffer, of Rockford, has qualified for the national event four times and was second in 2012. He was eighth in 2002, 17th in 2005 and 11th in 2007.
Weisenburger of Columbus Grove has qualified for the tournament twice. He finished fifth in 2016 and 11th in 2018.
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Here are some interesting facts about fish:
Fish breathe oxygen, not air. Their gills contain a network of fine blood vessels that diffuse oxygen through the membranes of the fish.
In most bodies of water, fish are abundant. There are over 33,600 described species of fish. It is the greatest diversity of species of all vertebrate groups.
Fish have smaller brains – relative to their body size – compared to most other animals.
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Always remember the basics when fishing. Simple mistakes can cost you landing a dandy fish.
Start with a good line and make sure it is in good condition. When winding it, make sure that the spool is filled with a sufficient amount to almost capacity.
A good, strong and secure knot on a premium line often makes the difference between catching a lunker and losing one. Check the strength of your knot often. Also check the line. If it is frayed near the knot, cut the inappropriate line and tie a new knot.
I have often seen where some anglers, especially bass fishers, do not set the hook enough. When I take cover for the bass I put the hook as hard as I can when I get a bite and can give it a good second set to make sure it’s hooked. You don’t want to lose a nice catch because you haven’t set the hook hard enough.
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With today’s cell phones, anglers have a good camera handy to record a dandy catch. In addition, it allows a quick photo to be taken so that the fish can be released without much stress if you are a catch and release person.
Taking pictures safely and releasing it quickly will help ensure the survival of the fish and give another angler the chance to catch it. Here are some tips to help you take capture and release photos:
Fish have a protective mucus (slime) so wet your hands so as not to remove this layer.
Since fish cannot breathe out of the water, keep them in the water until the camera is ready to take the picture. It’s a quick and safe way to help fish.
Take the photo near the water, so if it slips off your hands, it will go into the water. You don’t want to drop a fish on grass, rocks, or a hard surface.
While holding the fish, do not put your hands in the gills or squeeze or pinch it.
Remember what kind of fish you are holding. Some have thorns that will stick to you and others have sharp teeth.
Al Smith is a freelance outdoor writer. You can contact him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @alsmithFL