By MIKE CORN
LAKE WILSON -- Taking advantage of fishing on their home turf, 12 Kansas anglers were able to capture the 2011 Bass Federation Central Divisional title at Lake Wilson. The tournament concluded last week.
Jeff Brin, a former Hays resident now living in Olathe, was the overall winner. He and Mike Blaha, Salina, are eligible for the national tournament later this year.
"Lots of people try to do this and never do," Brin said in a statement. "It's just an honor. I didn't know if I had it."
On the last day, Brin caught his keepers fishing heavy cattails in about 3 feet of water and the rest in reeds.
"It started out tough," he said. "I only caught one fish in the first hour and a half. Then, it picked up and I probably caught about 15 keepers."
This is Brin's first time to qualify for the nationals.
With a catch of 238 pounds, 8 ounces, the Kansas team picked up its first-ever title in the central division, made up of eight states. Ninety-six anglers participated in the tournament, catching a total of 670 fish during the course of the three-day tournament.
Brin had a personal high, catching 15 fish weighing in at an even 31 pounds. Blaha was in third place, also catching 15 fish weighing slightly more than 28 pounds.
At least two area anglers participated in the tournament.
Don Glick, Zurich, caught eight fish, weighing slightly more than 19 pounds. Nick Brown, Stockton, caught seven fish, weighing slightly more than 17 pounds.
Other team members were Kyle Klein, Dodge City, Dennis Forbes, Medicine Lodge, Johnny Starks, Conway Springs, Robert Garver, Stilwell, Jason Baird, Gypsum, and Jody Pfannenstiel, Justin Bengtson and Steve Davenport, all of Salina.