TRENTON, Mich. (Aug. 29, 2022) – Boater Michael Sitko of Pinckney, Michigan, caught five bass Sunday weighing 26 pounds, 11 ounces, to win the MLF Phoenix Bass Fishing League tournament on the Detroit River. The tournament was the fourth event for the Bass Fishing League Michigan Division. Sitko earned $4,601 for his victory.
“I had no idea where I was going to head out to or start, and I was boat number three,” Sitko said. “I probably ran 10 miles and still hadn’t decided where to go. It was a little bit rough out there, so I decided to stop on some closer stuff and there were no fish there. I worked my way out a little further and picked off a few here and there.
“Sunday was kind of tough,” Sitko added. “I didn’t catch a bunch, but I caught the right ones.”
Sitko said he made a run to Lake Erie and caught 10 smallmouth keepers on isolated rocks in 20 to 22 feet of water on drop-shot rigs, as well as a couple of kickers on tubes.
“My first fish of the day was a 3-10, and at one point I had four good ones in the boat,” Sitko said. “About noon I had been at a spot for 10 minutes and picked up a tube and decided to make one last cast there. I bombed a cast out over a rock hump and got bit a quarter of the way back in. It was a 5-13, so I culled the 3-10.”
The BFL win was the first for Sitko since a win at the Detroit River in 2016.
“It’s very hard to win in this division,” Sitko added. “I’ve been close so many times with second-and third-place finishes, so it feels good to get another win under my belt.”
The top 10 boaters finished the tournament in:
1st: Michael Sitko, Pinckney, Mich., five bass, 26-11, $4,601
2nd: Heath Wagner, Angola, Ind., five bass, 23-14, $2,023
3rd: Trevor Jancasz, White Pigeon, Mich., five bass, 22-5, $1,348
4th: Gary Greenwood, Taylors, S.C., five bass, 22-1, $944
5th: Jeremy Reese, Powell, Ohio, five bass, 21-8, $809
6th: Nick Trim, Galesville, Wis., five bass, 21-5, $1,242 (includes $500 Phoenix MLF Contingency Bonus)
7th: Dan Mittlestat, Woodhaven, Mich., five bass, 21-2, $974
8th: Mike Trombley, Belleville, Mich., five bass, 21-1, $607
9th: Elijah Meyers, Fort Wayne, Ind., five bass, 20-9, $539
10th: Mike Raber, Elkhart, Ind., five bass, 20-7, $472
Complete results can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.
Sitko also caught a smallmouth weighing 5 pounds, 13 ounces – the heaviest of the event in the Boater Division – to earn the day’s Berkley Big Bass Boater award of $555. James Marcum of Catlettsburg, Kentucky, won the Strike King Co-angler Division and $2,723 Saturday after catching five bass weighing 20 pounds, 11 ounces.
The top 10 Strike King co-anglers were:
1st: James Marcum, Catlettsburg, Ky., five bass, 20-11, $2,723
2nd: Jeffrey Thomson, Birmingham, Mich., five bass, 19-12, $1,011
3rd: Mike Eldridge, Blairsville, Penn., five bass, 19-2, $674
4th: Benton Peoples, Bardstown, Ky., five bass, 18-14, $472
5th: Ken Ramsey, Cassopolis, Mich., five bass, 18-10, $405
6th: Gregory Jantovsky, Westland, Mich., five bass, 18-4, $371
7th: Greg Owens, Clinton Township, Mich., five bass, 18-3, $337
8th: Paul Porento, Lowell, Ind., five bass, 17-10, $563
8th: Jeffrey Galgan, Arlington Heights, Ill., five bass, 17-10, $286
10th: Nicholas Veselka, Fishers, Ind., five bass, 17-9, $236
Paul Porento of Lowell, Indiana, caught the largest bass in the Co-angler Division, a fish weighing in at 5 pounds, 11 ounces. The catch earned him the day’s Berkley Big Bass Co-angler award of $277.
After four events, Scott Dobson of Clarkston, Michigan, leads the Bass Fishing League Michigan Division Boater Angler of the Year (AOY) race with 967 points, while Dennis Sepeck of Bethel, Ohio, leads the Strike King Co-Angler Division AOY race with 921 points.
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. 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.