Boater Michael Black of Toledo, Illinois, brought a five-bass limit to the scale weighing 14 pounds, 12 ounces, Saturday to win the 2018 T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Illini Division event at Lake Shelbyville presented by Navionics. For his victory, Black brought home $6,879.
“I’m 65 years old, and anytime that I can get a win these days is just that much more of a plus,” says Black, who earned his eighth career win in BFL competition. “The best fisherman in the state of Illinois compete in these tournaments, and to get a win against anglers of this caliber is an honor.”
Black says he spent the day fishing shallow flats back in the Lithia Springs area. He says that one of the keys was that the fish had to be on a flat, near a drop.
“I figured out the pattern right near the end of practice, and I didn’t really have time to practice it but I had a little time Friday night to think about it,” Black says. “I have some experience on this lake, so I targeted areas where I thought I could duplicate it – a shallow flat with a drop right by it. It didn’t have to be a 30-foot drop – but a 6-foot or so drop nearby.”
Black says that he managed to catch 25 to 30 fish throughout the day, with 8 keepers. He caught his fish on a Wicked Lures In-Line Spinner and a Carolina-rigged watermelon seed-colored Zoom Baby Brush Hog with chartreuse on the tail.
“I don’t normally fish a Carolina Rig – I’m a jig fisherman. But, the bass were in pre-spawn and spawn mode and you had to give them something subtle.”
Top 10 boaters
1st: Michael Black, Toledo, Ill., five bass, 14-12, $4,879 + $2,000 Ranger Cup Bonus
2nd: Shane Haslett, Beecher City, Ill., five bass, 13-0, $1,940
3rd: Travis Wilson, La Harpe, Ill., five bass, 11-13, $1,225
4th: Wayne Shaw, Urbana, Ill., four bass, 11-2, $859
5th: Bobby McMullin, Pevely, Mo., five bass, 10-14, $736
6th: Luke Budde, St. Louis, Mo., four bass, 10-12, $675
7th: Mike Quinlin, Mooresville, Ind., five bass, 10-8, $613
8th: Riley Walk, Neoga, Ill., five bass, 10-7, $552
9th: Dan Shoraga, West Frankfort, Ill., five bass, 10-4, $491
10th: Mike Barnes, Mackinaw, Ill., five bass, 9-8, $729
Scott Shaw of Mount Vernon, Illinois, caught a bass weighing 5 pounds, 14 ounces – the heaviest of the event in the Boater Division – to earn the Boater’s Big Bass award of $480.
Johnson wins with a limit
JoJo Johnson of Benton, Illinois, won the Co-angler Division Saturday after catching five bass weighing 13 pounds, 10 ounces. Johnson earned $1,840 for his victory.
Top 10 co-anglers
1st: JoJo Johnson, Benton, Ill., five bass, 13-10, $1,840
2nd: Bobby McNeil, Crest Hill, Ill., five bass, 10-6, $920
3rd: Drew Coleman, Jackson, Mo., three bass, 7-3, $612
4th: Dale Renth, Mascoutah, Ill., three bass, 6-9, $429
5th: Terry Holsapple, Greenup, Ill., three bass, 5-8, $468
6th: Aaron Arning, Walnut Hill, Ill., two bass, 5-7, $387
7th: Roger Richardson, Belleville, Ill., three bass, 5-5, $307
8th: Scott McCleery, Winchester, Ill., two bass, 5-4, $276
9th: Chad Jackson, Indianapolis, Ind., two bass, 4-13, $245
10th: Ryan Murphy, Paris, Ill., two bass, 4-6, $215
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 Chickamauga in Dayton, Tennessee. 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.