Fishing & Boating News

Brueggen Wins Walmart Bass Fishing League Great Lakes Division Opener on The Mississippi River

Schultz wins co-angler title

by: Brian Johnson, FLW

Travis Brueggen of Cashton, Wis., won the May 9 Great Lakes Division event on the Mississippi River with a 15-pound, 11-ounce limit to earn over $5,300.
Photo by courtesy FLW Outdoors
(May 11, 2015 - LA CROSSE, WI.) Travis Brueggen of Cashton, Wisconsin, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 15 pounds, 11 ounces Saturday to win the first Walmart Bass Fishing League Great Lakes Division tournament of 2015 on the Mississippi River at La Crosse. For his victory, Brueggen earned $4,695.
 
“It’s a great feeling to win a tournament like this,” said Brueggen. “There are a lot of talented anglers around here so I’m happy with the fish I brought in.”
 
Brueggen said he fished the north end of the Mississippi River in Pool No. 7. In practice he said he had dialed in on the bite but had to adjust his pattern the morning of the tournament.
 
“The groups of fish I found in practice were a lot smaller on Saturday so I had to narrow down my best areas into individual pieces of cover,” said Brueggen. “I ended up flipping a black and blue-colored Lethal Weapon Lethal Bug Jig into wood all day and caught about 15 keepers. It was my best option at the time.”
 
By 1 p.m., Brueggen said he had around 12 pounds in the boat, but knew he needed more to win. Twenty minutes before he was due to check in at the scale, he caught a 4-pound, 9-ounce kicker off of a tree lying in the water to help push him into the lead.
 
“Towards the end of practice I was losing confidence but luckily I found the right pieces of wood and trees to catch what I needed,” said Brueggen.
 
The top 10 boaters finished the tournament in:

 
1st:          Travis Brueggen, Cashton, Wis., five bass, 15-11, $4,695
2nd:         Bob Bungard, Holmen, Wis., five bass, 15-1, $2,348
3rd:          Brian Fitzpatrick, La Crosse, Wis., five bass, 14-11, $1,330
3rd:          Clayton Reitz, Morton, Ill., five bass, 14-11, $1,330
5th:          Roger Ward, Macomb, Ill., five bass, 14-10, $939
6th:          Bill Salzmann, Galena, Ill., five bass, 14-7, $822
6th:          Chris Welch, Fall River, Wis., five bass, 14-7, $822
8th:          Jeff Pfeffer, Cambridge, Minn., five bass, 14-5, $704
9th:          Brad Leifermann, Andover, Minn., five bass, 14-3, $626
10th:        Ron Taylor, Chicago, Ill., five bass, 14-2, $548
             
Brueggen also caught the biggest bass of the tournament in the pro division, a fish weighing 4 pounds, 9 ounces and earned the day’s Big Bass award of $700.
 
Chad Schultz of Roscoe, Illinois, weighed in a five-bass limit totaling 12 pounds, 12 ounces Saturday to win $2,348 in the co-angler division.
 
The top 10 co-anglers were:
 
1st:          Chad Schultz, Roscoe, Ill., five bass  , 12-12, $2,348
2nd:         David Gnewikow, Sparta, Wis., five bass, 12-7, $1,174
3rd:          Alan Bernicky, Joliet, Ill., five bass, 12-4, $781
4th:          Ronald Syverson, Holmen, Wis., five bass, 11-14, $548
5th:          Hector Garcia, Elgin, Ill., five bass, 11-12, $470
6th:          Nathan Zentner, Wheaton, Ill., five bass, 11-8, $430
7th:          Greg Oppegard, West Saint Paul, Minn., four bass, 11-6, $391
8th:          Tom Lyskawka, Arlington Heights, Ill., five bass, 11-5, $352
9th:          Matthew Frisk, Sparta, Wis., five bass, 10-13, $313
10th:        Brooks Gullixon, Middleton, Wis., five bass, 10-12, $274
 
Oppegard caught the biggest bass of the tournament in the co-angler division and earned the day’s Big Bass award of $116.
 
The top 50 boaters and 50 co-anglers based on point standings will qualify for the Oct. 15-17 Regional Championship on Kentucky Lake in Gilbertsville, Kentucky. Boaters will compete for a top award of a Ranger Z518C with a 200-horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard and $20,000, while co-anglers will fish for a new Ranger Z518C with a 200-horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard.
 
The BFL is a 24-division circuit devoted to weekend anglers, with 120 tournaments throughout the season, five in each division. The top 50 boaters and co-anglers from each division qualify for a regional tournament and compete to finish in the top six, which then qualifies them for one of the longest-running championships in all of competitive bass fishing – the Walmart BFL All-American. Top winners in the BFL can move up to the Rayovac FLW Series or even the Walmart FLW Tour.
 
ABOUT FLW
FLW is the industry’s premier tournament-fishing organization, providing anglers of all skill levels the opportunity to compete for millions in prize money nationwide in 2015 over the course of 240 tournaments across five tournament circuits, four of which provide an avenue to the sport’s richest payday and most coveted championship trophy – the Forrest Wood Cup. FLW tournament fishing can be seen on the Emmy-nominated “FLW" television show and is broadcast to more than 564 million households worldwide, making it the most widely distributed weekly outdoors-sports television show in the world.