Sitko Wins Bass Fishing League Tournament at Detroit River

August 28, 2023
BFL News Archive

TRENTON, Mich. (Aug. 28, 2023) – Boater Michael Sitko of Pinckney, Michigan, caught a five-bass limit weighing 24 pounds, 15 ounces, Saturday to win the MLF Bass Fishing League (BFL) tournament on the Detroit River . The tournament was the fourth event of the season for the BFL Michigan Division. Sitko earned $12,146, including the lucrative $7,000 Phoenix MLF Contingency Bonus, for his victory.

Sitko now has five career Major League Fishing wins on the Detroit River, including four BFL victories and one Toyota Series title.

“I can’t explain how good it feels to get this win, because the guys competing in this are so good,” said Sitko, who made a run to fish Lake Erie’s isolated rock humps in 18 to 22 feet of water. “You have guys that guide out here daily, and they’re just so good. This never gets old, and I can’t wait to win the next one.”

Sitko said he caught around 10 keepers during the course of the day on a drop-shot rig tipped with a tube. The majority of his fish came late in the morning, and he didn’t cull a fish after that.

“I did have one that jumped off later in the day that I thought would have helped, but I ended up not needing it,” Sitko said. “I truly thought that fish was going to cost me.

“There’s never a point in this division when you think you’re going to win,” Sitko added. “I’ve had tournaments where I’ve had really big bags and not won because you get 26-pound bags from Erie a lot. This group of anglers is just so good.”

The top 10 boaters finished the tournament:

                1st:          Michael Sitko, Pinckney, Mich., five bass, 24-15, $12,146 (includes $7,000 Phoenix MLF Contingency Bonus)
                  2nd:        Pat Upthagrove, Monroe, Mich., five bass, 23-3, $2,793
                  3rd:        Nolan Mandel, Harrison Township, Mich., five bass, 22-7, $1,309
                  4th:         Scott Cooke, Marengo, Ohio, five bass, 21-6, $916
                  5th:         Aaron Jagdfeld, Rochester, Mich., five bass, 21-4, $785
                  6th:         Jared Rhode, Port Clinton, Ohio, five bass, 21-0, $720
                  7th:         Jeremy Reese, Powell, Ohio, five bass, 20-13, $654
                  8th:         Wilson Burton, Findlay, Ohio, five bass, 20-9, $589
                  9th:         Noah Stauffer, Gowen, Mich., five bass, 20-8, $523
                  10th:      Angel Rosario, Kalamazoo, Mich., five bass, 19-12, $458

Pat Upthagrove of Monroe, Michigan, caught a bass that weighed 6 pounds, 4 ounces, and earned the Big Bass Boater award of $530.Terry Bucciarelli of Ypsilanti, Michigan, won the co-angler division and $2,778 Saturday, after bringing five bass to the scale that totaled 21 pounds, 6 ounces.

The top 10 co-anglers finished:

                  1st:          Terry Bucciarelli, Ypsilanti, Mich., five bass, 21-6, $2,778
                  2nd:        Joe Nega, Chicago, Ill., five bass, 19-15, $1,181
                  3rd:        Bill Lass, Caledonia, Mich., five bass, 19-13, $655
                  4th:         Tyler Land, Coatsville, Ind., five bass, 19-0, $458
                  5th:         Cory Yoder, Goshen, Ind., five bass, 18-9, $393
                  6th:         Mike Eldridge, Blairsville, Penn., five bass, 18-2, $360
                  7th:         Keishaun Clemons, Richmond, Ind., five bass, 17-13, $310
                  7th:         Joe Westphal, Lapeer, Mich., five bass, 17-13, $310
                  9th:         Emmanuel Schwartz, Colon, Mich., five bass, 17-12, $245
                  9th:         Ahsten Lynch, Waynesville, Ohio, five bass, 17-12, $245

Bucciarelli also earned the Berkley Big Bass co-angler award of $265, catching a bass that weighed in at 5 pounds, 6 ounces – the largest co-angler catch of the day.

After four events, Patrick Goodman of Sturgis, Michigan, leads the BFL Michigan Division Boater Angler of the Year (AOY) race with 972 points, while Gavin Weted of Adrian, Michigan, leads the Strike King Co-Angler Division AOY race with 937 points.

The top 45 boaters and co-anglers in the region based on point standings, along with the five tournament winners of each qualifying event, will qualify for the Oct. 12-14 BFL Regional tournament on Dale Hollow Lake in Byrdstown, Tennessee. Boaters will fish 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 compete for a top award of $50,000, including a new Phoenix 819 Pro with a 200-horsepower Mercury outboard.