Mike Cunningham of Fenton, Michigan, caught five bass weighing 23 pounds, 1 ounce, Saturday to win the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Michigan Division opener on the Detroit River. Cunningham took home $3,718 for his victory.
“I’ve been fishing BFL tournaments for a long time and this is my first win – it’s pretty special,” says Cunningham, whose previous top finish in BFL competition was a 19th-place showing on Lake St. Clair in 2015. “I targeted a ridge in Lake Erie that had a nice flat. It stayed active until noon and then it shut down.”
Cunningham began his day using a green pumpkin-colored Smack Daddy Baby Elite Tube. He put a couple of good fish in the boat with the tube, but decided to switch techniques after losing two 4- and 5-pounders.
“After I lost the bigger fish I picked up my drop-shot rod and went to work,” says Cunningham. “I used a Poor Boy’s Erie Darter in 12 feet of water and stuck them hard. I probably caught 40 fish, and was releasing 4-pounders at one point. It ended up being a great day out there.”
The top 10 boaters:
1st: Mike Cunningham, Fenton, Mich., five bass, 23-1, $3,718
2nd: Arthur Teper, Lake Orion, Mich., five bass, 22-1, $2,544
3rd: Kyle Greene, Ortonville, Mich., five bass, 21-12, $1,338
4th: Dan Mittlestat, Woodhaven, Mich., five bass, 20-9, $867
5th: David Reault, Livonia, Mich., five bass, 19-11, $744
6th: Mark Modrak, China Township, Mich., five bass, 19-5, $982
7th: Randy Ramsey, Burlington, Mich., five bass, 19-0, $620
8th: Michael Sitko, Pinckney, Mich., five bass, 18-12, $558
9th: Freddy Hurley, Somerset, Ky., five bass, 18-10, $496
10th: Jerry Arnett, Mexico, Ind., five bass, 18-9, $434
Complete results can be found at FLWFishing.com.
Teper caught a 5-pound, 11-ounce bass – the heaviest of the event in the Boater Division – and earned the day’s Boater Big Bass award of $485.
Borsa tops Co-angler Division
Philip Borsa of Redford, Michigan, caught five bass weighing 19 pounds, 5 ounces, Saturday to win the Co-angler Division and $1,859.
The top 10 co-anglers:
1st: Philip Borsa, Redford, Mich., five bass, 19-5, $1,859
2nd: Aaron Stahley, Batavia, Ohio, five bass, 18-4, $974
2nd: Jeffrey Thomson, Birmingham, Mich., five bass, 18-4, $774
4th: John Lovin, Fayetteville, Ohio, five bass, 17-14, $555
5th: Jerry Propst, Jasper, Texas, five bass, 17-11, $422
6th: Cyril Haxton, Peru, Ind., five bass, 17-10, $325
6th: Robert Hernandez, Canton, Mich., five bass, 17-10, $325
8th: Jamie Elliott, Warsaw, Ind., five bass, 17-9, $279
9th: Erik Jacques, Harrison Township, Mich., five bass, 17-5, $248
10th: Matt Vermilyea, Perrysburg, Ohio, five bass, 16-12, $206
10th: Dan O’Neil, Canton, Mich., five bass, 16-12, $206
John Murphy of Mooresville, Indiana, caught the largest bass in the Co-angler Division – a fish weighing 4 pounds, 12 ounces – and earned the day’s Co-angler Big Bass award of $121.
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. 12-14 BFL Regional Championship on the Barren River in Scottsville, 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.