WHITTINGTON, Ill. – Russ Rensing of Summerfield, Ill., weighed a five-bass limit totaling 14 pounds, 5 ounces Saturday to win the Walmart Bass Fishing League Illini Division event on Rend Lake. For his victory, Rensing earned $6,271.
“This win was much sweeter,” said Rensing, who had a previous BFL victory in 1999. “This is my home lake. I was really struggling to start my day.”
Rensing started his day by heading north and targeting the dirty water. He tried flipping and throwing a spinnerbait, but had no success. He moved down to the mid-lake area and started to fish the cleaner water.
“Around 10 a.m. the sun came out, and then the bite turned on,” Rensing said. “I caught fish for two hours, and then the bite shut down again around noon. Luckily, I was able to boat my six keepers in those two hours.”
Rensing said that all of the fish that he weighed in came shallow, on a white and chartreuse-colored Bass Pro Shops Lazer Eye Spinnerbait with double Colorado blades.
“I had my boat sitting in 6 feet of water, and I was throwing to the bank in 3 feet of water,” Rensing continued. “I was in the backs of creeks, looking for points that had brush and bushes.
“The key for me was my knowledge of the lake,” Rensing went on to say. “I just kept rotating through my spots, and I was able to find my mid-lake area at the right time. My local Ranger dealer, Belleville Sports Sales, definitely deserves some of my credit as well. I had problems with my lower unit last week, and they had me fixed and on the water in no time. My Ranger ran perfectly all day long.”
Rounding out the top 10 pros:
2nd: Mike Barnes, Mackinaw, Ill., four bass, 12-13, $2,136
3rd: Frank Clark, Benton, Ill., three bass, 9-1, $1,424
4th: Dan McDowell, Mattoon, Ill., two bass, 9-0, $997
5th: Jerry Walker, Zeigler, Ill., four bass, 8-12, $854
6th: John Wright, Shelbyville, Ill., three bass, 8-1, $783
7th: Delmar Burlison, Goreville, Ill., two bass, 7-7, $712
8th: Derek Jenkel, Pinckneyville, Ill., two bass, 6-6, $641
9th: Matt Wolfe, Saint Jacob, Ill., two bass, 6-5, $569
10th: Chris Rensing, Summerfield, Ill., two bass, 6-1, $498
Complete results can be found here.
Bernicky tops co-angler field
Rounding out the top 10 co-anglers:
2nd: Carl Lingle, Dongola, Ill., two bass, 8-11, $1,068
3rd: Aaron Wehmeyer, Odell, Ill., two bass, 6-12, $712
4th: Chad Buhs, Washington, Ill., two bass, 5-5, $498
5th: Mike Daumen, Mineral Point, Mo., two bass, 5-4, $427
6th: John Kuzera, Matteson, Ill., two bass, 5-2, $392
7th: George Osha, Steger, Ill., one bass, 4-2, $356
8th: Bob Manley, Belleville, Ill., one bass, 4-0, $320
9th: Donald Oksanen, Chicago, Ill., two bass, 3-13, $285
10th: Joey Fritts, Red Bud, Ill., one bass, 3-10, $249
The next BFL Illini Division tournament is scheduled for June 22 on Lake Shelbyville in Shelbyville, Ill. After the last divisional tournament is complete, the top 40 boaters and 40 co-anglers based on point standings will qualify for the Oct. 10-12 Regional Championship on Kentucky Lake in Gilbertsville, Ky. Boaters will compete for a top award of a Ranger Z518 with a 200-horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard and a Chevy Silverado, while co-anglers will fish for a new Ranger Z518 with a 200-horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard.
The BFL is a 24-division circuit devoted to weekend anglers, with 120 tournaments throughout the season, five in each division. The top 40 boaters and co-anglers from each division qualify for a regional tournament and compete to finish in the top six, which then qualifies them for one of the longest-running championships in all of competitive bass fishing – the Walmart BFL All-American presented by Chevy. The 2013 BFL All-American is being held June 27-29 on Nickajack Lake in Chattanooga, Tenn. Top winners in the BFL can move up to the EverStart Series or even the Walmart FLW Tour.
FLW is the industry’s premier tournament-fishing organization, providing anglers of all skill levels the opportunity to compete for millions in prize money nationwide in 2013 over the course of 220 tournaments across five tournament circuits, four of which provide an avenue to the sport’s richest payday and most coveted championship trophy – the Forrest Wood Cup. FLW tournament fishing can be seen on the Emmy-nominated “FLW” television show and is broadcast to more than 564 million households worldwide, making it the most widely distributed weekly outdoors-sports television show in the world. FLW is committed to providing a lifestyle experience that is the “Best in Fishing, On and Off the Water.” For more information about FLW visit FLWOutdoors.com and look for FLW on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and YouTube.