Coal industry scars improve state’s fishing

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Jim Zaleski was leaving a cloud of dust in his wake as he towed his bass boat down a gravel road.

It’s not a route he often takes when he is headed to quality bass water. A tournament fisherman, he is accustomed to fishing the big reservoirs that are off paved roads.

But far off the beaten path in southeast Kansas, he’ll tell you, there are literally hundreds of hidden jewels that are filled with bruiser bass: the strip pits.

And that’s where he was heading.

“I honestly believe that these strip pits are an untapped resource,” said Zaleski, director of Labette County Tourism. “Where else are you going to find this much water, open to the public, with good bass fishing, that doesn’t get hit all that hard?

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