(Aug 21, 2017 - TRENTON, MI.)
Cody Kelley of Portage, Michigan, caught a five-bass limit weighing 23 pounds, 9 ounces, Saturday to win the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Michigan Division tournament on the Detroit River presented by Navionics. Kelley pocketed $4,316 for his win.
Kelley said he spent his day in the middle of Lake Erie focusing on a 100- by 50-foot length of scattered chunk rock in 25 feet of water. He said he used one lure to catch his limit – a green-pumpkin-colored V&M Smallie Tube.
“I found the area last Sunday during practice and weighed around 23 pounds of bass on a hand scale,” said Kelley, who earned his first career-victory as a boater in BFL competition. “During the event, the school was about 30 yards from where I caught them Sunday. It was one of those magical days where everything came together.”
Kelley said he caught his first bass around 8:30 a.m., and the heaviest fish of the event – a 6-pound, 9-ouncer – at 11:15 a.m.
“My Denali rods were really what did it for me,” said Kelley. “I was able to feel the bites. I tried to use a custom-made rod at one point, but it didn’t help. The guides on the Denali worked the best.”
The top 10 boaters finished the tournament in:
1st: Cody Kelley, Portage, Mich., five bass, 23-9, $4,316
2nd: Michael Sitko, Pinckney, Mich., five bass, 22-0, $1,920
3rd: Terry McWilliams, Greenfield, Ind., five bass, 21-12, $1,214
4th: Steve Clapper, Lima, Ohio, five bass, 21-3, $850
5th: Pat Upthagrove, Monroe, Mich., five bass, 20-7, $728
6th: Joseph Nega, Chicago, Ill., five bass, 20-1, $637
6th: Joshua Barr, Stow, Ohio, five bass, 20-1, $637
8th: John Devries, Fishers, Ind., five bass, 19-14, $546
9th: Aaron Limber, Millbury, Ohio, five bass, 19-9, $485
10th: Tom Cooley, Waterford, Mich., five bass, 19-8, $425
Kelley’s 6-pound, 9-ounce bass also earned him the day’s Boater Big Bass award of $475.
Mike Raber of Wolcottville, Indiana, caught a five-bass limit weighing 22 pounds, 8 ounces, to win the Co-angler Division and $1,820.
The top 10 co-anglers were:
1st: Mike Raber, Wolcottville, Ind., five bass, 22-8, $1,820
2nd: Chris Fraser, Canton, Mich., five bass, 19-12, $910
3rd: John Black, Monclova, Ohio, five bass, 18-13, $607
4th: Tony Grubb, Ann Arbor, Mich., five bass, 18-1, $425
5th: David Michaelis, Commerce, Mich., five bass, 17-14, $364
6th: Alex Newman, Wapakoneta, Ohio, five bass, 17-6, $334
7th: Jason Roberts, Bargersville, Ind., five bass, 17-3, $303
8th: Jeff Cox, Saline, Mich., five bass, 17-1, $373
9th: Christopher Majerle, Trenton, Mich., five bass, 16-15, $243
10th: Aaron Stahley, Batavia, Ohio, five bass, 16-10, $262
Brian Kich of Berea, Ohio, caught the largest bass in the Co-angler Division – a fish weighing 5 pounds, 7 ounces – and earned the day’s Co-angler Big Bass award of $237.
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. 12-14 BFL Regional Championship on the Barren River in Scottsville, Kentucky. Boaters will compete for a top award of a Ranger Z518C with a 200-horsepower Evinrude outboard and $20,000, while co-anglers will fish for a new Ranger Z518C with a 200-horsepower Evinrude outboard.
The 2017 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. Top performers in the BFL can move up to the Costa FLW Series or even the 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 2017 across five tournament circuits. Headquartered in Benton, Kentucky, with offices in Minneapolis, FLW conducts more than 258 bass-fishing tournaments annually across the United States and sanctions tournaments in Canada, China, Mexico, South Africa 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.