A father and son team from Northeastern Wisconsin got off to a record-setting start in the 24th annual Sturgeon Bay Open Bass Tournament Friday.
John Burda of Luxemburg and son Justin had six fish for a total weight of 36.22 pounds, topping the previous single-day high of 36.08 pounds by 2013 champs Darrell Greenwood and Steve Anderson of Missouri.
A week after finishing third in Cabela’s North American Bass Circuit tournament at Little Sturgeon Bay, John Allen of Green Bay and Scott Ourada of Little Suamico were right behind the Burdas with 34.62 pounds.
Greenwood and Anderson netted about 31 pounds on day two a year ago, and won the event by more than five pounds. They’re fishing on different teams this year and were part of the 50th and 68th positions in the 155-team field after Friday’s action.
In third place after day one this year — and ironically, finishing third in 2013 — is guide Adam Rasmussen of Stevens Point and his fishing partner Sam McSharry. They had 33.72 pounds.
For the second straight year, an eight-pound-plus giant of a smallmouth bass was caught. The Minnesota team of Scott Bonnema and Mark Fisher brought it to scales as part of a 31.10-pound basket, good for sixth heading into today’s final hours of action.
A 7.47-pound bass was the day’s second heaviest, and there were plenty of six-pounders as well.
In the early years of the event, a four-pounder was a monster and the average winning baskets were under three pounds a fish.
The average size per bass on the winning team has been over four pounds the last 10 years, including a five-pound-plus average four of the past five tournaments.
Stangel wins NABC
Jason Stangel of Tisch Mills and Chris Cox of Dodgeville had 30 pounds of smallmouths on their five-fish tournament limit, including the day’s second-biggest at six pounds, 14 ounces, to win last Saturday’s NABC tourney in Little Sturgeon.
His address says Two Rivers, but Stangel considers himself as much a “Kewaunee County boy” as Manitowoc, living near Gib’s on the Lake south of Kewaunee near the Kewaunee/Manitowoc County line.
The victory earned he and Cox the $10,000 first-place purse, a pair of $500 Cabela’s gift cards and $1,050 in bonus cash for the second-biggest bass.
Meanwhile, it was also a record-setting day Sunday in an Anglers Insight Marketing 100-boat walleye tournament Sunday on Green Bay. Many of the top teams jigged Door County reefs and west shore rivers or trolled the lower east shorelines.
Five fish between 29 and 31 inches — two of them, in fact, at 31 — helped the winning team catch, record and release and estimated 55.93 pounds of walleyes, earning a first place check of $8,000.
Finally, Chum Nault teamed up with Mark Holey to win the first Sturgeon Bay Sport Fishing Association Bass Invitational last Saturday. The duo finished with 25.21 pounds on Nault’s birthday. Ron and Dave Hedsand were second at 21.18 and Adam Neu and Billy Bretl third at 20.22.
There’s a memorial gathering from noon to 3 p.m. today at the Sturgeon Bay Yacht Club for former DNR fisheries supervisor Paul Peeters, who died at age 61 April 25 in Madison after complications following a lung transplant last December and his long battle with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis.
Peeters’ interests included hunting, photography, skiing, traveling, and his dogs. He loved Lake Michigan and fishing on his boat, the Lorax.
Memorials can be made in his memory and sent to Marcia Peeters, 407 N. 12th Ave., Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235.
Rare bird alert
Avid birders from around the state are flocking to Washington Island this week to try to get a peek at a tropical visitor that normally doesn’t travel farther north than Florida, Texas and Arizona.
Learn about the crested caracara — a tropical falcon version of a vulture — at www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/crested_caracara/id. Check for updated reports on the island at wsobirds.org or ebird.org/content/wi. Some photos have been posted at facebook.com/groups/wisbirdn.
The Door Peninsula Longbeards, a chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation, is holding its first annual banquet Aug. 6 at The Lodge at Leathem Smith in Sturgeon Bay.
Committee members are Tony Haen, Jim Bunning, John Kierstyn and Kyle Herlache. The group’s next meeting is June 2, 6:30 p.m. at the Sevastopol Town Hall.
Anyone interested in getting involved can contact Haen at (920) 333-0201 or email email@example.com.
— Kevin Naze is a freelance outdoors writer. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.