Walmart Bass Fishing League - Michigan
DETROIT RIVER (Sept. 14-15, 2002)
WOODHAVEN, Mich. — Joe Balog of Independence, Ohio, topped 87 Boater Division competitors on the Detroit River this weekend with a five-bass catch weighing 21 pounds, 5 ounces. He earned $5,676 and 300 points for the win at the Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League Michigan Division season finale.
After qualifying for the final round of the two-day Super Tournament in first place with an opening-day catch of five bass weighing 21 pounds, 4 ounces, Balog out-fished runner-up Steve Clapper of Lima, Ohio, by 14 ounces to take the win. Balog caught his limit on day two using a tube. He also earned a $1,000 bonus as the highest-finishing participant in the Ranger Cup incentive program.
Clapper qualified for the final round in second place with five bass weighing 20 pounds, 14 ounces and finished up with a five-bass catch weighing 20 pounds, 7 ounces to win $2,838.
Jim Wilson of Amhertsburg, Ontario (five bass, 19 pounds, 1 ounce, $1,537); Scott Dobson of Waterford, Mich. (five bass, 18 pounds, 15 ounces, $1,301); and Mike Trombly of Perrysburg, Ohio, (two bass, 18 pounds, 13 ounces, $1,064) rounded out the top five boaters.
Balog took boater big-bass honors and $870 for a 5-pound, 7-ounce bass he caught on a melon tube.
Jeff Bishop of Clinton Township, Mich., topped 87 competitors in the Co-angler Division to take first place and $2,838 thanks to a final-round catch of five bass weighing 17 pounds, 9 ounces. Second place in the division and $1,419 went to Stephen Roth of Syracuse, Ind., with a five-bass catch weighing 15 pounds, 10 ounces, followed by Kenneth Taylor of Shelby Township, Mich., in third place with five bass weighing 14 pounds worth $769.
Roth won the co-angler big-bass award of $435 with a 4-pound, 3-ounce bass he caught using a tube.
Bill Clark of Allegan, Mich., is the Michigan Division's Yamaha “Be the Best” points leader, winning $1,000 for the 1,015 points he earned during five regular-season tournaments. Peter Merckx of Westland, Mich., is the Yamaha “Be the Best” points leader in the Co-angler Division. He earned $500 for his division-leading 968 points.
The top 30 boaters and top 30 co-anglers in the Michigan Division will advance to regional competition presented by Yamaha Oct. 15-19 on Kentucky Lake near Gilbertsville, Ky., where they will go up against top competitors from the Great Lakes, Hoosier and Illini divisions for a shot at qualifying for the BFL All-American, one of the most lucrative postseason tournaments in competitive angling.
2002 BFL awards could reach $7 million based on full fields.
Sponsors of the 2002 Wal-Mart BFL are Wal-Mart, ALPO Pet Foods, BC Powder, BFGoodrich Tires, Castrol, Chevy Trucks, Conseco, Energizer, EverStart Batteries, Evinrude, Faded Glory, Frito-Lay, FujiFilm, GARMIN, Kellogg's, Land O'Lakes, Minn Kota, Newell Rubbermaid, Pepsi, Poulan, Ranger Boats, Shop-Vac, Snickers, Stanley Works, Stren, U.S. Bank, Weed Eater and Yamaha Outboards.