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Archive for Sunday, May 31, 1998

NED KEHDE COLUMN

May 31, 1998

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For Kansas fishermen and wild turkey hunters, May is the most splendid month of all.

On the flip side, the last day of May also reminds us that the long, languid and humid days of summer lie ahead.

In May, the countryside turns from russet and sable to green. Early in this spell, the blooms of rose verbena and May apples grace the land.

Ultimately, the blackish-gray latticework of the once barren trees become fully leafed, and by month's end Queen Anne's lace regale the land.

All the while, the turkeys procreate, as do many of the aquatic species, which makes them vulnerable to the calculated designs of the hunter and angler.

Fishermen, however, can release all the fish they catch, causing only slight harm to those critters and most of the species' progeny.

The hunter, of course, has the option of calling a gobbler into shooting range and not pulling the trigger, but just watching the lustful of antics of that bird. But few of us can perform such noble deeds.

And despite our plunderous ways, the turkeys hereabouts flourish and many of the fishes thrive.

We can be thankful most of the fishermen in these parts release the bulk of the fish they catch -- especially during the spawning season.

When things are right in the angling world, several of skilled anglers can single-handedly catch more than 200 fish a day.

If these anglers lacked the noble discretion of releasing all the spawning fish they caught, they could severally crimp the crappie and white bass populations in Kansas, where an unlimited number of white bass and 50 crappie can be killed in a day's angling.

This May was particularly grand for many area hunters.

Leonard Covert of McLouth and Paul Weingart of Lawrence reported the turkey hunting, which ended on May 17, was some the easiest they ever experienced.

For days on end, Covert and Weingart called and played with a multitude of jakes and toms. What's more, they could do it at nearly anytime of day.

After enduring the horrendous weather and hardscrabble angling of March and early April, local anglers found May to be exceptional.

During the first two weeks of the month, white bass and crappie charmed several area anglers. For instance, Terry Bivins of Wellsville and Clyde Holscher of Topeka caught and released as many as 200 fish a day at Melvern and Pomona lakes. And there are signs the white bass population at Pomona is experiencing a rebirth.

In addition, Bivins and other anglers caught scores of smallmouth bass at Melvern Lake. Although these bass measured 13 inches and less, many interrupted it as an auspicious sign, predicting that after another four or five Mays Melvern could be a spectacular waterways for smallmouth bass.

Many anglers, including Harold Ensley of Overland Park, were pleased with the crappie fishing at Perry Lake. Throughout the month, it often was an easy chore to tangle with more than a hundred of Perry's crappie and a potpourri of other species.

Now the last casts of the month are about to be made. So, from now and until the next equinox, anglers are preparing for some of the best channel-cat fishing known to mankind.

And even though there will be some splendid summer engagements with wipers, white bass and largemouth bass, the sweet splendor of May will be missed.

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