DETROIT – Michael Elkins of Parchment, Mich., topped 135 Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League competitors Saturday on Lake St. Clair with five bass weighing 16 pounds, 9 ounces. The catch earned him $3,748 and 200 points in the Boater Division.
Elkins caught his limit on a tube around weedbeds. The catch topped second-place boater Bill Clark of Allegan, Mich., by 2 pounds, 3 ounces. Clark finished the one-day tournament with a five-bass catch weighing 14 pounds, 6 ounces worth $1,874.
Dick Shaffer of Celina, Ohio (five bass, 13 pounds, 11 ounces, $1,124); Alexander Nowyorkas Jr. of Burton, Mich. (five bass, 12 pounds, 9 ounces, $900); and David Reault of Livonia, Mich., (five bass, 12 pounds, 7 ounces, $825) rounded out the top five boaters. Reault received a $500 bonus from Ranger Boats as the highest-finishing participant in the Ranger Cup incentive program.
Douglas Cummings of Harrison Township, Mich., earned boater big bass honors and $675 with a 4-pound, 14-ounce bass that he caught using a topwater shad in 4 feet of water. He finished in eighth place overall with four bass weighing 11 pounds, 1 ounce.
David Pence of Swayzee, Ind., claimed first place and $1,877 in the 133-competitor Co-angler Division with four bass weighing 12 pounds, 1 ounce. He surpassed second-place co-angler Steve Contini of Lima, Ohio, by 7 ounces using watermelon tube jigs. Contini finished with a five-bass catch weighing 11 pounds, 10 ounces worth $938.
Barry Baldwin of Dayton, Ohio (five bass, 11 pounds, 6 ounces, $563); Andrew White Jr. of Westland, Mich. (five bass, 11 pounds, 4 ounces, $450); and Richard Browning of Roseville, Mich., (five bass, 11 pounds, 2 ounces, $413) rounded out the top five co-anglers.
Baldwin earned big bass honors and $333 in his division with a 3-pound, 15-ounce bass.
Overall, 70 five-bass limits were caught during the tournament.
The Wal-Mart BFL will visit the Detroit River July 13 for the second of five Michigan Division events. The boater with the most points after the division’s season finale, a two-day Super Tournament Sept. 14-15 on the Detroit River, will be declared the Yamaha “Be the Best” Points Leader and awarded $1,000. The co-angler amassing the most points by the end of the season will receive $500.
The top 30 Michigan Division boaters and co-anglers will advance to regional competition presented by Yamaha Oct. 15-19 on Kentucky Lake near Gilbertsville, Ky., where they will go up against top competitors from the Great Lakes, Hoosier and Illini divisions for a shot at qualifying for the Wal-Mart BFL All-American – one of the most lucrative post-season tournaments in competitive angling.
2002 BFL awards could reach $7 million based on full fields.
Sponsors of the 2002 Wal-Mart BFL are Wal-Mart, ALPO Pet Foods, BC Powder, BFGoodrich Tires, Castrol, Chevy Trucks, Coleman, Conseco, Energizer, EverStart Batteries, Evinrude, Faded Glory, Frito-Lay, FujiFilm, GARMIN, Kellogg’s, Land O’Lakes, Minn Kota, Newell Rubbermaid, Pepsi, Poulan, Ranger Boats, Shop-Vac, Snickers, Stanley Works, Stren, US Bank, Weed Eater and Yamaha Outboards. Associate sponsors are Abu Garcia, Berkley, Eagle Claw, Hover-Lure, Laker, Maxwell House, Plano and Solar Bat.