Fishing & Boating News

Milton’s Leidholdt Wins T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League Great Lakes Division Opener on Mississippi River

Illinois’ Howard Wins Co-angler Title

by: Joe Opager, Director of Public Relations,

Boater Rob Leidholdt of Milton, WI, caught 5 bass weighing 17 lbs, 11 oz, to win the 2018 FLW Bass Fishing League Great Lakes Division opener on the Mississippi River.
Photo by courtesy FLW Outdoors
(Apr 30, 2018 - La Crosse, WI)

 Boater Rob Leidholdt of Milton, Wisconsin, caught five bass weighing 17 pounds, 11 ounces, Saturday to win the 2018 T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Great Lakes Division opener on the Mississippi River presented by Navionics. Leidholdt earned $5,046 for his victory.

“I stayed in Pool No. 8 all day, throwing a spinnerbait all day long on a shallow flat near Stoddard,” said Leidholdt, who earned his first career win in FLW competition. “There were around 15 boats fishing the same flat, but I was fishing slower than most of them. I caught around 10 fish all day long.”
Leidholdt’s spinnerbait of choice was a Spot Remover-colored War Eagle Finesse Spinnerbait with a white Zoom Swimmer Paddle Tail swimbait.

“I think only having one day to practice actually really helped me,” Leidholdt said. “The river has had so much water fluctuation in the past few weeks, so even if I would have had time to practice it likely would have been very different come tournament time.

“It’s the first time in a long time that I can remember that I put the jig down and picked up the spinnerbait,” Leidholdt joked. “I’ve been fishing BFL tournaments for 15 years, so I definitely put my time in to earn the win.”  

The top 10 boaters finished the tournament in:
              1st:          Rob Leidholdt, Milton, Wis., five bass, 17-11, $5,046
              2nd:         Michael Hanrahan, Pleasant Hill, Iowa, five bass, 16-15, $2,523
              2nd:         Ryan Lewis, Glasford, Ill., five bass, 16-14, $1,682
              4th:         Mike Brueggen, La Crosse, Wis., five bass, 16-0, $1,177
              5th:         Ben Potaracke, La Crosse, Wis., five bass, 15-15, $1,209
              6th:         Dan Mohn, Lansing, Iowa, five bass, 15-12, $925
              7th:         Bob Downey, Hudson, Wis., five bass, 15-8, $841
              8th:         Nick Trim, Galesville, Wis., five bass, 15-1, $857
              9th:         Frank Cipra, Prairie du Chien, Wis., five bass, 14-10, $673
              10th:       Jeff Ritter, Prairie du Chien, Wis., five bass, 14-1, $589
Tony Seiler of River Falls, Wisconsin, caught a bass weighing 6 pounds, 11 ounces – the heaviest of the event in the Boater Division – and earned the day’s Boater Big Bass award of $770.

David Howard of Farmington, Illinois, won the Co-angler Division and $2,523 Saturday after catching a five-bass limit weighing 16 pounds, 9 ounces.

The top 10 co-anglers were:
              1st:          David Howard, Farmington, Ill., five bass, 16-9, $2,523
              2nd:         Kory Kreinke, Annandale, Minn., five bass, 14-9, $1,262
              3rd:         Mike Frazer, DeForest, Wis., five bass, 14-1, $841
              4th:         Jake Lambrecht, Davenport, Iowa, five bass, 13-14, $589
              5th:         Alexandru Spiac, Chicago, Ill., five bass, 12-6, $505
              6th:         Brad Juen, La Crosse, Wis., four bass, 11-6, $663
              7th:         Jason Wulf, Crown Point, Ind., three bass, 10-2, $471
              8th:         Chad Schultz, Rockton, Ill., four bass, 9-10, $378
              9th:         Jason Swanson, Waterloo, Iowa, three bass, 9-5, $336
              10th:       Chad Smith, Davenport, Iowa, three bass, 8-4, $294

Bill McBride of Rockford, Illinois, caught the largest bass in the Co-angler Division – a 5-pound, 12-ounce fish. The catch earned him the day’s Co-angler Big Bass award of $385.

The T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Great Lakes Division opener on the Mississippi River presented by Navionics was hosted by the La Crosse County Convention & Visitors Bureau.

The top 45 boaters and co-anglers in the region based on point standings, along with the five winners in each qualifying event, will be entered in the Oct. 25-27 BFL Regional Championship on Lake of the Ozarks in Osage Beach, Missouri. Boaters will compete for a top award of a Ranger Z518C with a 200-horsepower Evinrude outboard and $20,000, while co-anglers will fish for a new Ranger Z518C with a 200-horsepower Evinrude outboard.

The 2018 BFL is a 24-division circuit devoted to weekend anglers, with 128 tournaments throughout the season, five qualifying events in each division. The top 45 boaters and co-anglers from each division, along with the five winners of the qualifying events, will advance to one of six regional tournaments where they are competing to finish in the top six, which then qualifies them for one of the longest-running championships in all of competitive bass fishing – the BFL All-American. The 2018 BFL All-American will be held May 31-June 2 at Cross Lake in Shreveport, Louisiana, and is hosted by the Shreveport-Bossier Sports Commission. Top performers in the BFL can move up to the Costa FLW Series or even the FLW Tour.

For complete details and updated information visit

About FLW
FLW is the world’s largest tournament-fishing organization, providing anglers of all skill levels the opportunity to compete for millions in prize money in 2018 across five tournament circuits. Headquartered in Benton, Kentucky, with offices in Minneapolis, FLW and their partners conduct 286 bass-fishing tournaments annually around the world, including the United States, Canada, China, Italy, South Korea, Mexico, Portugal, South Africa and Spain. FLW tournament fishing can be seen on the Emmy-nominated “FLW" television show, broadcast to more than 564 million households worldwide, while FLW Bass Fishing magazine delivers cutting-edge tips from top pros.