(Sep 19, 2016 - La Crosse , WI)
Local angler Mike Brueggen of La Crosse, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 15 pounds, 5 ounces, Sunday to win the FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Great Lakes Division Super Tournament on the Mississippi River presented by Minn Kota, with a two-day total of 10 bass weighing 32 pounds, 6 ounces. For his win, Brueggen took home $8,011.
“I fished the majority of the tournament in Pool No. 8, but also a little bit in Pool No. 9,” said Brueggen, who earned his fourth career BFL win. “I started out the tournament fishing for smallmouth, but by 10 a.m. on Saturday I scrapped that plan. In certain areas of the river as the weeds die off it exposes a clean, sandy bottom. I ended up targeting largemouth in those areas.
“My numbers were good – I caught between 20 and 40 fish each day,” Brueggen continued. “The majority of them were 2-pounders, but I caught a couple of big ones each day.”
Brueggen said that he caught his fish on three baits – a ¼-ounce swimjig with a yellow, silver and blue-colored twister tail, a Kureiji buzzbait and a protoype frog from Kureiji.
“The frog really is a prototype – I have the only two that currently exist,” said Brueggen. “This win should help speed up the release process, though.
“I think the key to my win was just fishing with confidence,” Brueggen went on to say. “I’ve been fishing on this river for more than 15 years and I didn’t even figure out the clean bottom pattern until mid-way through that first day. When you completely scrap the pattern that you have planned, it takes confidence in your abilities.”
The top 10 boaters finished the tournament in:
1st: Mike Brueggen, La Crosse, Wis., 10 bass, 32-6, $6,011 + $2,000 Ranger Cup Bonus
2nd: Jason Howland, Albert Lea, Minn., 10 bass, 32-0, $3,006
3rd: Chris Aswegan, Tiffin, Iowa, 10 bass, 31-8, $2,827
4th: Brandon Gann, Sparta, Wis., 10 bass, 31-4, $1,603
5th: Brian Fitzpatrick, La Crosse, Wis., 10 bass, 30-3, $1,502
6th: Jeff Ritter, Prairie du Chien, Wis., 10 bass, 29-7, $1,202
7th: Devin Teigen, Eau Claire, Wis., 10 bass, 29-4, $1,002
8th: Jeff Benson, Holmen, Wis., 10 bass, 28-7, $902
9th: Travis Brueggen, Cashton, Wis., 10 bass, 28-6, $802
10th: Jimmy Johnson, Holmen, Wis., 10 bass, 27-13, $701
Aswegan caught a bass weighing 4 pounds, 13 ounces – the biggest of the tournament in the pro division – and earned the Boater Big Bass award of $825.
Nicholas Leno of Chicago, Illinois, won the co-angler division and earned $3,006 with a two-day cumulative catch of 10 bass weighing 27 pounds, 2 ounces.
The top 10 co-anglers were:
1st: Nicholas Leno, Chicago, Ill., 10 bass, 27-2, $3,006
2nd: David Boelkins, Waukesha, Wis., 10 bass, 21-13, $1,503
3rd: Rick Ragner, La Crosse, Wis., eight bass, 17-2, $1,004
4th: Chad Smith, Davenport, Iowa, six bass, 17-0, $901
5th: Ben Fisher, Waterloo, Iowa, six bass, 16-15, $1,013
6th: Benny Stutzman, Caledonia, Minn., six bass, 15-5, $551
7th: Dan McAdams, Nekoosa, Wis., seven bass, 15-0, $501
8th: Kristin Knuteson, De Forest, Wis., eight bass, 14-8, $451
9th: Bill McBride, Rockford, Ill., six bass, 14-6, $401
10th: Troy Rebeck, Sparta, Wis., six bass, 13-9, $351
Fisher caught the biggest bass of the tournament in the co-angler division, a fish weighing 5 pounds, 1 ounce, and earned the Co-angler Big Bass award of $412.
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.