TRENTON, Mich. – Boater Michael Sitko of Pinckney, Michigan, caught 10 bass weighing 46 pounds, 13 ounces, to win the two-day MLF Phoenix Bass Fishing League Presented by T-H Marine on the Detroit River in Trenton, Michigan. The tournament was the fifth and final regular-season event for the Bass Fishing League Michigan Division. Sitko earned $5,874 for his victory.
“I’ve really been wanting a Super Tournament win,” said Sitko, who now has four BFL wins and a Toyota Series victory on the Detroit River. “I’ve been close at second and third place, but I’ve been after this one for a while.”
Sitko said he fished isolated humps in 20 to 23 feet of water in the Canadian shoreline of Lake Erie to catch around 30 smallmouth during the course of the tournament. Sitko said the smallies fell for a drop-shot rig as well as a tube on Saturday in a hard south wind, but wind switched to out of the west on Sunday, and the fish wouldn’t bite the tube.
“I rotated through a half dozen spots or so to catch my fish,” Sitko said. “On my second cast on Sunday I caught one that weighed 6-1, and I thought it was going to be a pretty good day. Then I fired right back out and broke off a fish and lost one right after that. I was off to a great start, but it went sideways on the next two casts.”
However, Sitko remained composed and finished his limit within the hour and finished out the win.
The top 10 boaters finished the tournament in:
1st: Michael Sitko, Pinckney, Mich., 10 bass, 46-13, $5,874
2nd: Angel Rosario, Kalamazoo, Mich., 10 bass, 46-4, $2,937
3rd: Mike Raber, Elkhart, Ind., 10 bass, 45-7, $1,957
4th: Ryan Hochstetler, Shipshawana, Ind., 10 bass, 43-6, $2,071 (includes $500 Phoenix MLF5 contingency bonus)
5th: Wilson Burton, Findlay, Ohio, 10 bass, 42-11, $1,675
6th: Scott Dobson, Clarkson, Mich., 10 bass, 42-10, $1,377
7th: Jeremy Antrup, Fremont, Ind., 10 bass, 42-1, $979
8th: Kerry Frey, Middlebury, Ind., 10 bass, 41-6, $881
9th: Mike Trombly, Belleville, Mich., 10 bass, 40-14, $783
10th: Grant Gallagher, Fremont, Ohio, 10 bass, 40-10, $685
Complete results can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.
Brad Ballew of Macomb Township, Michigan, caught a bass weighing 6 pounds, 1 ounce – the heaviest of the event in the Boater Division – to earn the Berkley Big Bass Boater award of $780.
Joe Nega of Chicago, Illinois, won the Strike King Co-angler Division and $3,427 Sunday after catching a two-day total of 10 bass weighing 45 pounds, 12 ounces.
The top 10 Strike King co-anglers were:
1st: Joe Nega, Chicago, Ill, 10 bass, 45-12, $3,427
2nd: Alex Newman, Celina, Ohio, 10 bass, 42-2, $1,468
3rd: James Marcum, Catlettsburg, Ky., 10 bass, 39-9, $1,379
4th: Sean Hupp, Logan, Ohio, 10 bass, 37-9, $685
5th: Jim Betts, Fort Wayne, Ind., 10 bass, 37-5, $587
6th: Kristian Dus, Roselle, Ill., 10 bass, 35-11, $538
7th: David Roche, Center Line, Mich., 10 bass, 35-10, $489
8th: Ryan Legg, Parma, Ohio, 10 bass, 35-4, $441
9th: Andrew White, Canton, Mich., 10 bass, 33-7, $392
10th: Terry Bucciarelli, Ypsilanti, Mich., eight bass, 32-10, $493
Nega also caught the largest bass in the Strike King Co-angler Division, a fish weighing in at 5 pounds, 12 ounces. The catch earned him the Berkley Big Bass Co-angler award of $390.
With the regular season now complete, boater Scott Dobson of Clarkston, Michigan, won the 2022 Bass Fishing League Michigan Division Boater Angler of the Year (AOY) race with a five-event total of 1,337 points to earn the $1,000 boater AOY award. Dennis Sepeck of Bethel, Ohio, won the 2022 Strike King Co-Angler Michigan Division AOY race with 1,245 points and earned the $500 Strike King Co-angler of the Year award.
Now, the top 45 boaters and co-anglers in the division based on point standings, along with the five winners of each qualifying event, will advance to compete in the Oct. 13-15 Bass Fishing League Regional Championship on the Mississippi River in La Crosse, Wisconsin. Boaters will compete for a top award of $60,000, including a new Phoenix 819 Pro with a 200-horsepower Mercury outboard and $10,000, while co-anglers will fish for a new Phoenix 819 Pro with a 200-horsepower Mercury outboard.
The 2022 Phoenix Bass Fishing League Presented by T-H Marine 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 Strike King co-anglers from each division, along with the five winners of the qualifying events, will advance to one of six Regional Championships 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 Phoenix Bass Fishing League All-American.
The top 45 boaters and Strike King co-anglers plus tournament winners from each Phoenix Bass Fishing League division will also earn priority entry into the MLF Toyota Series, the pathway to the MLF Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit and ultimately the MLF Bass Pro Tour.
Proud sponsors of the 2022 MLF Phoenix Bass Fishing League Presented by T-H Marine include: 4WP, 13 Fishing, Abu Garcia, AFTCO, A.R.E. Truck Caps, B&W Trailer Hitches, Berkley, Black Rifle Coffee, E3, Epic Baits, Favorite Fishing, Gary Yamamoto Baits, General Tire, Lew’s, Lowrance, Lucas Oil, Mercury, Mossy Oak, Onyx, Phoenix, Polaris, Power-Pole, Revital Outdoors, Strike King, Tackle Warehouse, T-H Marine, Toyota, Wiley X, YETI and Yo-Zuri.
For complete details and updated tournament information, visit MajorLeagueFishing.com.