(Jul 16, 2018 - Harrison Township. MI)
Boater Heath Wagner of Angola, Indiana, caught a five-bass limit Saturday weighing 28 pounds, 15 ounces, to win the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Michigan Division tournament on Lake St. Clair. For his efforts, Wagner earned $5,731.
“I fished the Belle River hump area of Lake St. Clair. It’s close to the same area where some of the FLW Tour event leaders fished,” said Wagner, who earned his fifth career win in BFL competition. “The area was about one square mile in size, and had a mega school of fish.
“A couple of the spots in the area attracted around 50 other competitors, but I didn’t start near any of them,” Wagner continued. “When I started, the closest person to me was about a half-mile away. I was between fish that were on the outskirts of the school and the school itself. I roamed the flat looking for a certain type of bottom – a big sandy spot with shells. I could see down there, even in 18 feet of water. As soon as I found where I needed to be, I hit the Spot Lock [on my Minnkota Ultrex trolling motor].”
Wagner said every fish he weighed came from some type of Z-Man ElaZtech lures on a drop-shot rig. He noted that green-pumpkin-goby colors did well.
“I had four areas that were similar and I basically just circled them. I’d catch three to 20 fish in a location and kind of wear it out before moving on to the next one. There was a stretch where I caught 20 fish in a row between 4½ and 5 pounds, but didn’t even weigh any of them – it was pretty ridiculous.”
The top 10 boaters finished the tournament in:
1st: Heath Wagner, Angola, Ind., five bass, 28-15, $5,731
2nd: Dan Mittlestat, Woodhaven, Mich., five bass, 24-9, $2,403
3rd: Kyle Greene, Ortonville, Mich., five bass, 24-6, $1,705
4th: David Reault, Livonia, Mich., five bass, 23-4, $1,121
5th: John Devries, Fishers, Ind., five bass, 23-2, $961
6th: Joshua Barr, Stow, Ohio, five bass, 22-13, $881
7th: Codea McCathran, Mansfield, Ohio, five bass, 22-9, $801
8th: Clayton Reitz, Morton, Ill., five bass, 22-8, $721
9th: Alex Newman, Wapakoneta, Ohio, five bass, 21-12, $641
10th: Ronald Nutter, Saint Louisville, Ohio, five bass, 21-10, $561
Wagner also brought a 6-pound, 3-ounce, bass to the scale – the heaviest of the event in the Boater Division – and earned the day’s Boater Big Bass award of $725.
Tony Mitchell of Plainwell, Michigan, won the Co-angler Division and $2,816 Saturday after catching five bass weighing 22 pounds, 15 ounces.
The top 10 co-anglers were:
1st: Tony Mitchell, Plainwell, Mich., five bass, 22-15, $2,816
2nd: Ken Ramsey, Cassopolis, Mich., five bass, 22-5, $1,182
3rd: Andrew Vadnais, Saint Clair Shores, Mich., five bass, 21-11, $788
4th: Matthew Esparza, Green Springs, Ohio, five bass, 21-9, $552
5th: Arthur Teper, Lake Orion, Mich., five bass, 21-7, $473
6th: Steven Rowswell, Saint Thomas, Ontario, Canada, five bass, 20-9, $433
7th: Randy Westerfield, Constantine, Mich., five bass, 20-2, $394
8th: Harbor Lovin, Fayetteville, Ohio, five bass, 20-1, $405
9th: Jorji Itoh, Beverly Hills, Mich., five bass, 19-11, $315
10th: Robert Hernandez, Canton, Mich., five bass, 19-10, $276
Mitchell also caught the largest bass in the Co-angler Division weighing in at 6 pounds, 4 ounces. The catch earned him the day’s Co-angler Big Bass award of $352.
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. 18-20 BFL Regional Championship on Kentucky and Barkley lakes in Gilbertsville, Kentucky. 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. 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 FLWFishing.com.
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.