Wayne Macklin of Fowlerville, Mich., weighed a five-bass limit totaling 22 pounds, 2 ounces Saturday to win the Walmart Bass Fishing League Michigan Division event on Lake St. Clair. For his victory, Macklin earned $5,377.
“The lake has been fishing absolutely phenomenal lately,” said Macklin. “You can catch as many 2½- to 3-pounders as you want. We have been catching 60 to 80 fish a day, but it’s been a struggle to find those big fish. That’s where I got lucky. My second fish I caught was a very nice 7-pounder, and that’s a huge upgrade in these tournaments. I was nervous that I caught him so early – those big fish are so hard to keep alive. I just kept up with Rejuvenade and babied her, and she was as alive at the weigh-in as she was when I caught her.
“I fished just one spot all day long,” Macklin continued. “The key for me was definitely patience. A lot of events I’ll have a few different areas and make the milk runs, but after I pulled out the big one right away I knew that I was going to be sitting there all day and grinding it out.”
Macklin targeted weed beds where the smallmouth were feeding on smaller perch. He fished in 9 to 10 feet of water, throwing a Clear Ghost Sexy Shad-colored Strike King shallow-running crankbait and drop-shotting the new green pumpkin-colored Strike King Dream Shot. His big bass came on the crankbait, but he found success with both all day long, catching 12 to 15 keepers. All five of Macklin’s fish weighed in were smallmouth, not at all uncommon on Lake St. Clair.
“The bite was a little tougher in the morning,” Macklin said. “Once the sun came out around 10:30 a.m. the bite picked up and got better. I really have to give credit to my Ranger boat with my Yamaha outboard. I also want to thank Wonderland Marine West, Solar Bat sunglasses, and letsremodel.com. They allow me to be out here doing what I love, and I couldn’t do it without them.”
Rounding out the top 10 pros were:
2nd: Jason Root, Fostoria, Ohio, five bass, 21-5, $1,689
3rd: Rick Roberts, Macomb, Mich., five bass, 20-9, $1,128
4th: Scott Dobson, Clarkston, Mich., five bass, 18-13, $788 + $1,000 Evinrude Bonus
5th: William Beal, Lenox, Mich., five bass, 18-7, $675
6th: Joe Balog, Harrison Township, Mich., five bass, 18-6, $619
7th: John Zubkoff, Monroe, Mich., five bass, 18-4, $563
8th: Brett Haake, Shorewood, Ill., five bass, 18-0, $507
9th: Chip Harrison, Pierceton, Ind., five bass, 17-14, $422
9th: Angers Ted, Harrison Township, Mich., five bass, 17-14, $422
Complete results can be found at FLWOutdoors.com.
Joe Cramier of Westland, Mich., weighed a five-bass limit totaling 21 pounds, 9 ounces Saturday to win $1,689 in the co-angler division.
Rounding out the top 10 co-anglers were:
2nd: Benny Gray, Ypsilanti, Mich., five bass, 20-5, $844
3rd: Jason Kopczyk, Commerce Township, Mich., five bass, 19-3, $564
4th: Philip Borsa, Redford, Mich., five bass, 18-1, $394
5th: Marvin Anderson, Russell Springs, Ky., five bass, 17-15, $338
6th: Ronnie Shephard Jr., Oak Hill, Ohio, five bass, 17-11, $310
7th: James Powers, Toledo, Ohio, five bass, 17-9, $281
8th: Hyman Johnson, Ypsilanti, Mich., five bass, 17-7, $253
9th: Cody Hitchcock, Sandusky, Mich., five bass, 17-5, $211
9th: Mike Schoemann, Waterford, Mich., five bass, 17-5, $211
The next BFL Michigan Division tournament is scheduled for Aug. 18 on the Grand River in Grand Haven, Mich. After the fifth Michigan Division tournament is complete, the top 40 boaters and 40 co-anglers based on point standings will qualify for the Oct. 11-13 Regional Championship on Lake Barkley in Kuttawa, 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. Top winners in the BFL can move up to the EverStart Series or even the Walmart FLW Tour.
Images courtesy of the FLW