TRENTON, Mich. – Heath Wagner of Ortonville, Mich., weighed a five-bass limit totaling 23 pounds, 8 ounces Saturday to win the Walmart Bass Fishing League Michigan Division event on the Detroit River. For his victory, Wagner earned $3,794.
“I was blessed,” said Wagner, who earned the third BFL win of his career, all on the Detroit River. “I decided to make the long 40-mile run over to fish Lake Erie. That lake has always been my first love.”
Wagner said that he fished one isolated stretch of gravel, about 50 feet long and 50 feet wide. He said that all of his fish came on a Smoke Purple Flash-colored Poor Boy’s tube with a 3/8-ounce head in 29 feet of water.
“I had 22 pounds in my livewell within the first 18 minutes of fishing,” Wagner continued. “I had found this gravel spot about six years ago using my side imaging. It’s a little early in the season for them to be out there. I’m not sure why they were there, but I’m really glad that I stopped to check it.”
Wagner estimated that he caught about 35 smallmouth bass throughout the day, and credited his experience on the water and his Humminbird electronics as being the keys to his victory.
“I only live about an hour and a half away from Erie,” Wagner said. “It can be really difficult to pinpoint where the fish are, because there is so much stuff that looks good. I’ve got over 1,000 Erie waypoints in my GPS. But when you find them, look out. I was lucky that I had this area all to myself – there wasn’t another boat within two miles of me.”
Rounding out the top 10 pros:
2nd: John Zubkoff, Monroe, Mich., five bass, 19-12, $1,897
3rd: Michael Sitko, Farmington Hills, Mich., five bass, 19-2, $1,265 + $300 Evinrude Bonus
4th: Scott Dobson, Oak Park, Mich., five bass, 19-0, $885 + $300 Evinrude Bonus
5th: John Leader, Granger, Ind., five bass, 18-9, $759
6th: Nick Neves, Brooklyn, Mich., five bass, 18-3, $696
7th: Mark Modrak, China Township, Mich., five bass, 17-14, $600
7th: Frederick Tillman, Muskegon, Mich., five bass, 17-14, $600
9th: Gary Greenwood, Irwin, Pa., five bass, 17-12, $506
10th: Frank Novock, Rockwood, Mich., five bass, 17-9, $443
For a complete list of boater results, click here.
Zernec tallies co-angler win
Rounding out the top 10 co-anglers:
2nd: Brian Ruetz, Toledo, Ohio, five bass, 19-1, $949
3rd: Chuck Hasty, Toledo, Ohio, five bass, 18-12, $633
4th: Dave Hasty, Toledo, Ohio, five bass, 18-0, $443
5th: Eric Schoolmaster, Portage, Mich., five bass, 17-12, $363
5th: Jon Witt, Kalamazoo, Mich., five bass, 17-12, $363
7th: Eddie Frye, Gallipolis, Ohio, five bass, 17-9, $300
7th: Aaron Hasse, Dewitt, Mich., five bass, 17-9, $300
9th: Mark Brooks, Dayton, Ohio, five bass, 17-4, $253
10th: Jason Kopczyk, Commerce Township, Mich., five bass, 17-0, $221
For a complete list of co-angler results, click here.
The next BFL Michigan Division tournament is scheduled for Aug. 3 on Lake St. Clair in Mount Clemons, Mich. After the last divisional tournament is complete, the top 40 boaters and 40 co-anglers based on point standings will qualify for the Oct. 3-5 Regional Championship at Chesapeake Bay in North East, Md. 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. 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.