David Zielinski of Wales, Wis., weighed a five-bass limit totaling 17 pounds, 7 ounces Saturday to win the Walmart Bass Fishing League Great Lakes Division event on the Wolf River Chain. For his victory, Zielinski earned $4,428 plus a $2,000 Ranger Cup bonus.

After what he described as a very rough pre-fish chasing largemouth bass, Zielinski decided that the largemouth bite was off and opted to target smallmouth bass at tournament time.

“On Saturday I made the run to all my smallmouth locations,” said Zielinski. “It was a long, miserable run. I speared five waves on the run. But I knew the largemouth bite was off, so if I was going to win I was going to have to win with smallmouth.

“I was targeting rock humps in the main lake using spider grubs on jigs. It was a pretty slow start. I didn’t get my first bite until about 9:30, and then until about 1:30 the fish came in spurts. I would catch two or three bass right in a row and then not have another bite for another 45 minutes, and it just kept doing that all day long.”

Despite the long, miserable 25-mile ride, Zielinski believed that the 20-mile-per-hour winds helped boost the smallmouth bite.

Rounding out the top 10 pros were:

2nd: Troy Anderson, Galesville, Wis., five bass, 16-10, $2,214
3rd: Mike Mayan, Rosendale, Wis., five bass, 16-3, $1,478
4th: Jim Jones, Big Bend, Wis., five bass, 15-5, $1,033
5th: Brett Rudy, Burlington, Iowa, five bass, 13-11, $886
6th: Jamie Gomez, Onalaska, Wis., five bass, 13-4, $812
7th: Dave Robel, Muscoda, Wis., five bass, 13-2, $738
8th: Caleb Kuphall, Mukwonago, Wis., five bass, 13-0, $664
9th: Chris Aswegan, Lisbon, Iowa, five bass, 12-14, $524
9th: Rick Miller, Eastman, Wis., five bass, 12-14, $524
9th: Jesse Wolfe, Nelson, Wis., five bass, 12-14, $524

Timothy Wittren of Mauston, Wis., weighed five bass totaling 13 pounds, 8 ounces Saturday to win the co-angler division. Wittren earned $2,175 for his victory.

Rounding out the top 10 co-anglers were:

2nd: Dustin Drath, Manawa, Wis., five bass, 13-4, $1,088
3rd: Phillip Butera, Chicago, Ill., five bass, 12-7, $726
4th: Christian Burzynski, Milwaukee, Wis., five bass, 11-15, $507
5th: Dylan Fisher, Prairie du Chien, Wis., five bass, 11-14, $435
6th: Chad Schultz, Roscoe, Ill., five bass, 11-10, $399
7th: Thomas Darst Sr., Milwaukee, Wis., five bass, 10-14, $363
8th: Matt Houman, Chisago City, Minn., four bass, 10-12, $326
9th: Shawn Overton, Coal Valley, Ill., four bass, 10-9, $290
10th: Stephen Lopez, Sparta, Wis., four bass, 10-5, $254

The next BFL Great Lakes Division tournament is scheduled for July 13 on the Mississippi River in La Crosse, Wis. After the last divisional tournament is complete, the top 40 boaters and 40 co-anglers based on point standings will qualify for the Oct. 10-12 Regional Championship on Kentucky/Barkley lakes in Gilbertsville, 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. The 2013 BFL All-American is being held June 27–29 on the Nickajack Lake in Chattanooga, Tenn. Top winners in the BFL can move up to the EverStart Series or even the Walmart FLW Tour.

Image courtesy FLW Outdoors

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