WHITTINGTON, Ill. – Boater Dan Shoraga of West Frankfort, Illinois, brought five bass to the weigh-in stage Saturday totaling 12 pounds, 5 ounces, to win the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Illini Division opener on Rend Lake presented by Navionics. For his victory, Shoraga pocketed $6,185.
“I decided to stay on the south end of the lake and had one primary spot that I stayed in pretty much all day – the Sandusky area,” said Shoraga, who earned his third win in BFL competition. “I’d found the fish a week before. The water came up about 10 inches so they’d pulled a little bit, but I was able to still get about eight bites, including five keepers.”
Shoraga said he flipped shallow willow trees, with the fish coming from about 2 feet of water. He caught four he weighed on a Texas-rigged black and blue- or black neon-colored Reaction Innovations Sweet Beaver with a 3/8-ounce weight, and one on a 3/8-ounce homemade white and chartreuse spinnerbait. He said he preferred the black neon Sweet Beaver for dirtier water.
“My Power-Poles were a big part of my day,” said Shoraga. “I knew some of the fish were on beds even though you couldn’t see them, and sometimes times it’d take three or four bites before I’d hook them. I had to sit there with the poles down knowing that they’d bite after a few tries.”
The top 10 boaters finished the tournament in:
1st: Dan Shoraga, West Frankfort, Ill., five bass, 12-5, $4,185 + $2,000 Ranger Cup Bonus
2nd: Brad Porter, Bluford, Ill., four bass, 10-8, $1,593
3rd: Jake Hurst, New Athens, Ill., three bass, 9-10, $994
4th: Derek Jenkel, Pinckneyville, Ill., four bass, 9-5, $947
5th: Chad Diedrich, Nashville, Ill., five bass, 9-2, $597
6th: Jeremy Mull, Pawnee, Ill., four bass, 8-11, $547
7th: William Walker, Mulkeytown, Ill., three bass, 8-7, $798
8th: Tim Davis, East Alton, Ill., three bass, 7-10, $448
9th: Luke Budde, St. Louis, Mo., three bass, 7-5, $548
10th: Greg Mullins, Mount Vernon, Ill., three bass, 7-0, $348
Complete results can be found at FLWFishing.com.
Cliff Pass of Lenzburg, Illinois, caught a 5-pound, 12-ounce bass – the heaviest of the event in the Boater Division – and earned the day’s Boater Big Bass award of $350.
Jacob Greco of Edwardsville, Illinois, won the Co-angler Division and $1,493 Saturday after catching four bass weighing 9 pounds, 1 ounce.
The top 10 co-anglers were:
1st: Jacob Greco, Edwardsville, Ill., four bass, 9-1, $1,493
2nd: Jason Piper, Collinsville, Ill., three bass, 7-8, $746
3rd: Kim Sapetti, Chatham, Ill., three bass, 6-12, $597
4th: Mario Rossi Jr., Granite City, Ill., two bass, 5-12, $398
5th: Sheldon Ayers, Goreville, Ill., one bass, 5-6, $474
6th: David Duzan, Oakland, Ill., one bass, 4-10, $274
7th: Drew Coleman, Jackson, Mo., two bass, 4-9, $249
8th: Brandon Depew, Odin, Ill., two bass, 4-8, $224
9th: Mike Swetland, Tamaroa, Ill., two bass, 4-4, $199
10th: Aaron Wetzel, Chester, Ill., two bass, 4-0, $174
Ayers caught the heaviest bass in the Co-angler Division, a fish weighing in at 5 pounds, 6 ounces. The catch earned him the day’s Co-angler Big Bass award of $175.
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. 24-26 BFL Regional Championship on Grand Lake in Grove, Oklahoma. Boaters will compete for a top award of a Ranger Z518L with a 200-horsepower outboard and $20,000, while co-anglers will fish for a new Ranger Z518L with a 200-horsepower outboard.
The 2019 BFL is a 24-division circuit devoted to weekend anglers, with 128 tournaments throughout the season, five qualifying events in each division. The top 45 boaters and co-anglers from each division, along with the five winners of the qualifying events, will advance to one of six regional tournaments where they 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. The 2019 BFL All-American will be held May 30-June 1 at the Potomac River in Marbury, Maryland, and is hosted by the Charles County Department of Recreation, Parks and Tourism and the Commissioners of Charles County. Top performers in the BFL can move up to the Costa FLW Series or even the FLW Tour.
For complete details and updated information visit FLWFishing.com. For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League on FLW’s social media outlets at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.
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 2019 across five tournament circuits. Headquartered in Benton, Kentucky, with offices in Minneapolis, FLW and their partners conduct more than 290 bass-fishing tournaments annually around the world, including the United States, Canada, China, Italy, South Korea, Mexico, Portugal, South Africa and Spain. FLW tournament fishing can be seen on the Emmy-nominated “FLW" television show 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, and YouTube.
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