Fishing & Boating News

Illinois’ Haake Wins T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League Michigan Division Tournament on Detroit River

by: Brian Johnson, FLW

Brett Haake
Photo by courtesy FLW Outdoors
(Sep 4, 2018 - Trenton, MI)

 Boater Brett Haake of Shorewood, Illinois, caught five bass Sunday weighing 23 pounds, 11 ounces, to win the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Michigan Division tournament on the Detroit River. Haake took home $3,956 for his win.

Haake said he fished rocky humps and ridges in 12 to 20 feet of water on the north shore of Lake Erie. He said he wasn’t able to practice for the event due to inclement weather, but was able to use prior knowledge of the fishery to help piece together his day.

“I ran to some areas in the morning that I knew had fish this time of year. At the first stop, I had some suspended fish marked but they wouldn’t bite,” said Haake, who earned his first win in BFL competition. “There were a lot of wind and waves, and the water was pretty stirred up.”

Haake said he made his way farther east, but ended up returning to his initial area between 11:30 a.m. and noon with only two small fish in the livewell. He said the wind and waves were much calmer by that time, and that the bite picked up considerably.

“It was pretty much cast after cast when I got back,” said Haake. “I caught a lot of the bigger ones at first and then they seemed to get smaller. I didn’t mark any more fish because they were tight to the bottom. There were probably around 10 spots in there that they held on. They move around hourly – it’s like I was chasing them.”

Haake said he caught his fish on a drop-shot rig using an Arkansas Shiner-colored Strike King 3X ElazTech Z Too Soft Jerkbait. He also had some hit a medium-diving crankbait, but wasn’t able to keep them hooked. He said he caught around 15 fish throughout the day, with 90-percent of them being keepers.
“The Spot Lock feat

ure on my Minnkota Ultrex trolling motor really helped me out there as well,” said Haake. “Being able to move over in 5-foot increments, especially with the waves, was important.”

The top 10 boaters finished the tournament in:
               1st:          Brett Haake, Shorewood, Ill., five bass, 23-11, $3,956
               2nd:         Michael Sitko, Pinckney, Mich., five bass, 23-6, $2,278
               3rd:          Mike Trombly, Belleville, Mich., five bass, 22-12, $1,253
               4th:          John Devries, Fishers, Ind., five bass, 22-9, $876
               5th:          Heath Wagner, Angola, Ind., five bass, 22-2, $751
               6th:          Andrew Gaul, Port Huron, Mich., five bass, 22-0, $689
               7th:          Jason Root, Fostoria, Ohio, five bass, 21-12, $626
               8th:          David Reault, Livonia, Mich., five bass, 21-11, $563
               9th:          Mark Peiser, Pittsboro, Ind., five bass, 20-4, $501
               10th:        Scott Dobson, Clarkston, Mich., five bass, 20-2, $438

Bret Holling of Lansing, Michigan, brought a 5-pound, 15-ounce, bass to the scale – the heaviest of the event in the Boater Division – and earned the day’s Boater Big Bass award of $490.

Aaron Stahley of Batavia, Ohio, won the Co-angler Division and $1,978 Saturday after catching five bass weighing 22 pounds, 1 ounce.

The top 10 co-anglers were:
               1st:          Aaron Stahley, Batavia, Ohio, five bass, 22-1, $1,978
               2nd:         Andy White, Canton, Mich., five bass, 20-8, $939
               3rd:          Michael Kokoska, Findlay, Ohio, five bass, 20-2, $627
               4th:          Robert Hernandez, Canton, Mich., five bass, 19-13, $457
               4th:          Beau Bickford, Findlay, Ohio, five bass, 19-13, $457
               6th:          Larry Thomas, Lambertville, Mich., five bass, 19-12, $344
               7th:          Eric Polenz, Maybee, Mich., five bass, 19-1, $313
               8th:          Derwin Thomas, Little Rock, Ark., five bass, 19-0, $282
               9th:          Brian Kich, Berea, Ohio, five bass, 18-9, $250
               10th:        Rich Cialone, Dearborn, Mich., five bass, 18-3, $219

Darwin Griva of Hamilton, Indiana, caught the largest bass in the Co-angler Division weighing in at 5 pounds, 11 ounces. The catch earned him the day’s Co-angler Big Bass award of $122.

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 Lake 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. 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 For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow the T-H Marine

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. For more information visit and follow FLW at Facebook, Twitter,