July 15, 2019 by FLW Communications
HARRISON TOWNSHIP, Mich. – Boater Dan Mittlestat of Woodhaven, Michigan, won the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Michigan Division tournament on Lake St. Clair presented by Navionics Saturday after catching a five-bass limit weighing 22 pounds, 7 ounces. Mittlestat netted $6,552 for his win.
“I fished mid-lake in 21 feet of water on Lake St. Clair all day,” said Mittlestat, who earned his first win in FLW competition. “I got one big one early on an umbrella rig – it was about 4½ pounds. I also lost a really big one.”
Mittlestat said he used a Shane’s Baits umbrella rig with 4-inch, Ayu-colored Strike King Rage Swimmers to catch his first one. The rest of his limit came on a Melon or Erie Green-colored Mizmo Baby Tube on a ¼-ounce custom jighead.
“The sun wasn’t high enough to penetrate through the water and there were 2-foot waves – I don’t think they could see the boat,” said Mittlestat. “The waves pulled the mayflies down into the water column and I think they were feeding on them.”
Mittlestat said the bite slowed down by 10:30 a.m. At that time, he said, the sun was high enough to reposition the fish into scattered grass beds. When it was lower, he figured the fish were feeding on the cleaner spots between them.
“I made long casts into the beds because they likely could see the boat and ended up plucking them out one after another,” said Mittlestat. “I’d keep tension on the line, and when I didn’t feel the tube hit the ground, that’s when I knew they had it – they didn’t hit it aggressively.”
Mittlestat said he caught around 25 keepers during the tournament. His biggest fish bit the tube around 11:15 a.m., and ended up being the heaviest of the event. He used a 7-foot, 11-inch iRod Bama Rig Special Heavy rod and 20-pound-test Sunline Super FC Sniper fluorocarbon line.
The top 10 boaters finished the tournament in:
1st: Dan Mittlestat, Woodhaven, Mich., five bass, 22-7, $4,552 + $2,000 Ranger Cup Bonus
2nd: Cameron Moore, Howe, Ind., five bass, 21-5, $2,021
3rd: Scott Dobson, Clarkston, Mich., five bass, 20-13, $1,582
4th: Dominic Ortiz, Midland, Mich., five bass, 20-11, $896
5th: Ross Rhodes, Paw Paw, Mich., five bass, 20-8, $768
6th: Kyle Greene, Ortonville, Mich., five bass, 20-6, $704
7th: John Devries, Fishers, Ind., five bass, 20-4, $890
8th: Ron Scharphorn, Grand Haven, Mich., five bass, 20-2, $576
9th: Jamie Elliott, Warsaw, Ind., five bass, 19-13, $662
10th: Matt Elkins, Spencerville, Ohio, five bass, 19-6, $448
Complete results can be found at FLWFishing.com.
Mittlestat’s largest fish weighed 5-pounds, 3-ounces and earned the day’s Boater Big Bass award of $510.
Michael Kokoska of Findlay, Ohio, won the Co-angler Division and $2,021 Saturday after catching five bass weighing 23 pounds, 5 ounces.
The top 10 co-anglers were:
1st: Michael Kokoska, Findlay, Ohio, five bass, 23-5, $2,021
2nd: Aaron Stahley, Batavia, Ohio, five bass, 21-1, $1,010
3rd: Mike Eldridge, Blairsville, Pa., five bass, 20-11, $641
4th: Dan O’Neil, Canton, Mich., five bass, 20-7, $448
5th: Tony Grubb, Ann Arbor, Mich., five bass, 20-4, $384
6th: Ryan Hochstetler, Shipshewana, Ind., five bass, 19-3, $352
7th: Craig Fanning, Elwood, Ill., five bass, 19-2, $320
8th: Jim Betts, Fort Wayne, Ind., five bass, 18-8, $543
9th: Riley Welch, Beecher, Ill., five bass, 17-15, $256
10th: Matthew Snyder, Pinckney, Mich., four bass, 17-1, $224
Betts caught the heaviest bass in the Co-angler Division, a fish weighing in at 5 pounds, 5 ounces. The catch earned him the day’s Co-angler Big Bass award of $255.
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. 17-19 BFL Regional Championship on Kentucky and Barkley lakes in Buchanan, Tennessee, presented by Evinrude. 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 2020 BFL All-American will be held April 30-May 2 at Lake Hartwell in Anderson, South Carolina, and is hosted by Visit Anderson. 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.