TRENTON, Mich. – Matt Elkins of Spencerville, Ohio, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 22 pounds, 11 ounces, Saturday to win the fourth FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Michigan Division tournament of 2016 on the Detroit River. Elkins took home $5,632 for his win.
“I caught my fish out of one area on Lake Erie and had a limit by 8:30 a.m.,” said Elkins, who earned his second BFL career win on the Detroit River. “I was way offshore, probably 30 miles, and fishing deep. My catches came from more than 30 feet down.”
Elkins said he rotated between two baits on a drop-shot rig – a purple-passion-colored LBA Baits Ding Ding and a smoke-purple Jackall Crosstail Shad.
“I fished very specific, isolated spots,” said Elkins. “I stood on the trolling motor and casted 30 feet forward and dragged it slow over rocks piles or a ridge.”
Elkins said a crucial part to his success was letting his fish replenish.
“In these spots, you’ll catch them fairly quick and then the bite dies off,” said Elkins. “I had to move around and let them reset. After catching my limit, I returned around 12:30 p.m. and boated two more. Those were the only fish I caught all day.”
The top 10 boaters finished the tournament in:
1st: Matt Elkins, Spencerville, Ohio, five bass, 22-11, $3,632 + $2,000 Ranger Cup Bonus
2nd: Seth Borton, Adrian, Mich., five bass, 22-0, $2,016
3rd: Todd Schmitz, Goshen, Ind., five bass, 21-14, $1,210
4th: Michael Sitko, Pinckney, Mich., five bass, 21-7, $1,147
5th: Zach Maisch, Lima, Ohio, five bass, 21-2, $826
6th: Steve Clapper, Lima, Ohio, five bass, 20-10, $666
7th: Jared Rhode, Port Clinton, Ohio, five bass, 20-9, $605
8th: Randy Ramsey, Ceresco, Mich., five bass, 20-8, $545
9th: Joshua Barr, Columbus, Ohio, five bass, 20-4, $484
10th: Jamie Jacobus, Johnstown, Ohio, five bass, 19-11, $424
Complete results can be found at FLWFishing.com.
Brett Haake of Shorewood, Illinois, caught a bass weighing 6 pounds even – the biggest of the tournament in the pro division – and earned the day’s Boater Big Bass award of $465.
Brian Ruetz of Toledo, Ohio, weighed in five bass totaling 18 pounds, 5 ounces, Saturday to win the co-angler division and earn $1,916.
The top 10 co-anglers were:
1st: Brian Ruetz, Toledo, Ohio, five bass, 18-5, $1,916
2nd: Rick McClintock, Interlochen, Mich., five bass, 17-8, $908
3rd: Daniel Holland, Beverly Hills, Mich., five bass, 17-2, $515
3rd: Mark Lyons, Marion, Ind., five bass, 17-2, $515
5th: Leo Reiter, Greenup, Ill., five bass, 16-14, $363
6th: Gary Polenz, Milan, Mich., four bass, 15-8, $318
6th: Kevin Fetzer, Wateford, Mich., five bass, 15-8, $368
8th: Jeffrey Thomson, Birmingham, Mich., five bass, 15-3, $272
9th: Bret Holling, Lansing, Mich., five bass, 14-10, $242
10th: Jorji Itoh, Beverly Hills, Mich., four bass, 14-5, $444
Itoh caught the biggest bass of the tournament in the co-angler division, a fish weighing 5 pounds, 6 ounces, and earned the day’s Co-angler Big Bass award of $232.
The top 50 boaters and 50 co-anglers based on point standings will qualify for the Oct. 13-15 Regional Championship on Kentucky Lake in Gilbertsville, Kentucky. Boaters will compete for a top award of a Ranger Z518C with a 200-horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard and $20,000, while co-anglers will fish for a new Ranger Z518C 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 50 boaters and co-anglers from each division qualify for a regional tournament and are competing to finish in the top six, which then qualifies them for one of the longest-running championships in all of competitive bass fishing – the BFL All-American. Top winners in the BFL can move up to the Costa FLW Series or even the Walmart FLW Tour.
FLW is the world’s largest tournament-fishing organization, providing anglers of all skill levels the opportunity to compete for millions in prize money in 2016 across five tournament circuits. Headquartered in Benton, Kentucky, with offices in Minneapolis, FLW conducts more than 235 bass-fishing tournaments annually across the United States and sanctions tournaments in Canada, China, Mexico and South Korea. FLW tournament fishing can be seen on the Emmy-nominated “FLW" television show, broadcast to more than 564 million households worldwide, while FLW Bass Fishing magazine delivers cutting-edge tips from top pros. For more information visit FLWFishing.com and follow FLW at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Snapchat: @FLWFishing.
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