Fishing & Boating News

Troy’s Belletini Wins T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League Michigan

Wathen, Mitchell Tie for Co-angler Title

by: Brian Johnson, FLW

Matt Belletini of Troy, MI, won the FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Michigan Division tournament on Burt and Mullet lakes with 5 bass weighing 23 lbs, 9oz
Photo by courtesy FLW Outdoors
(Jun 11, 2018 - CHEBOYGAN, MI.)

Boater Matt Belletini of Troy, Michigan, won the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Michigan Division tournament on Burt and Mullet lakes Saturday with five bass weighing 23 pounds, 9 ounces. Belletini took home $4,601 for his efforts.

Belletini said he spent his day sight-fishing spawning beds on both Mullet and Burt lakes. He said he fished around 12 beds, and caught a total of eight fish throughout the tournament.

“I ended up weighing three fish from Mullet and two from Burt,” said Belletini, who earned his second career win in BFL competition. “I fished really clean. I didn’t go to my biggest fish first. I went to the obvious fish that I thought people would know about and worked my way from there, but no one was around so I didn’t have to compete with anyone.”

Belletini said his bait of choice was a white Nemesis Goby on a drop-shot rig.

“I go through hundreds of those Gobys bed-fishing in the spring – they are the best smallmouth bed-fishing baits made,” said Belletini. “I also used a flogger underwater viewing device. It was wrapped in black to block the light out, which is good for tougher conditions like we had Saturday.”

Belletini said he caught the biggest fish of the event – a 5-pound, 7-ouncer – on Mullet Lake in the morning.

“My co-angler did a great job netting the big one. He got right under it as it broke the surface,” said Belletini.

The top 10 boaters finished the tournament in:
               1st:          Matt Belletini, Troy, Mich., five bass, 23-9, $4,601
               2nd:         Scott Dobson, Clarkston, Mich., five bass, 23-3, $2,523
               3rd:          Heath Wagner, Angola, Ind., five bass, 23-2, $1,448
               4th:          Nathan Nichols, Shelby, Mich., five bass, 22-13, $944
               5th:          Jeremy Antrup, Fremont, Ind., five bass, 22-9, $809
               6th:          Josh Kolodzaike, Toledo, Ohio, five bass, 22-5, $742
               7th:          Brett Haake, Shorewood, Ill., five bass, 22-4, $674
               8th:          Brian Jackson, Crete, Ill., five bass, 21-6, $607
               9th:          John Devries, Fishers, Ind., five bass, 21-5, $539
               10th:        Mike Trombly, Belleville, Mich., five bass, 21-4, $472

Belletini’s 5-pound, 7-ounce, bass earned him the day’s Boater Big Bass award of $555.

James Wathen of Royal Oak, Michigan, and Tony Mitchell of Plainwell, Michigan, tied for the win in the Co-angler Division Saturday after each catching five bass weighing 18 pounds, 14 ounces.

The top 10 co-anglers were:
               1st:          James Wathen, Royal Oak, Mich., five bass, 18-14, $1,617
               1st:          Tony Mitchell, Plainwell, Mich., five bass, 18-14, $1,517
               3rd:          Andy White, Canton, Mich., five bass, 17-13, $674
               4th:          Tony Grubb, Ann Arbor, Mich., five bass, 17-2, $522
               5th:          Dennis Blakely, Norwalk, Ohio, four bass, 15-12, $405
               6th:          Jim Stone, Greenwood, Ind., four bass, 15-6, $371
               7th:          Paul Stokes, Stockbridge, Mich., five bass, 15-5, $337
               8th:          Shaun Clucker, Osceola, Ind., five bass, 14-10, $303
               9th:          Jason Patterson, Markle, Ind., five bass, 14-8, $270
               10th:        Ken Ramsey, Cassopolis, Mich., five bass, 14-7, $236

Eric Polenz of Maybee, Michigan, caught the largest bass in the Co-angler Division weighing in at 5 pounds, 7 ounces. The catch earned him the day’s Co-angler Big Bass award of $277.

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. 18-20 BFL Regional Championship on Kentucky and Barkley lakes in Gilbertsville, 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 2018 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 2018 BFL All-American will be held May 31-June 2 at Cross Lake in Shreveport, Louisiana, and is hosted by the Shreveport-Bossier Sports Commission. 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

About FLW
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 2018 across five tournament circuits. Headquartered in Benton, Kentucky, with offices in Minneapolis, FLW and their partners conduct 286 bass-fishing tournaments annually around the world, including the United States, Canada, China, Italy, South Korea, Mexico, Portugal, South Africa and Spain. 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.