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    Walmart Bass Fishing League - Michigan

    St. Clair (June 26, 2004)


    Clapper wins season opener on Lake St. Clair

    The 2004 BFL Michigan Division season kicked off June 26 on Lake St. Clair near Mount Clemens, Mich., and boater Steve Clapper of Lima, Ohio, claimed the win.

    MOUNT CLEMENS, Mich. — The 2004 Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League Michigan Division season kicked off Saturday on Lake St. Clair near Mount Clemens, and Steve Clapper of Lima, Ohio, claimed the win thanks to a five-bass catch weighing 18 pounds, 1 ounce. He bested 188 Boater Division competitors to earn $4,771 and 200 points.

    Clapper caught his tournament-winning bass using ISG tubes around rock piles in 12 to 18 feet of water. Included in his stringer was a 4-pound, 14-ounce lunker that earned him $940 as the big-bass award winner in the Boater Division. He also earned a $1,000 bonus as the highest-finishing participant in the Ranger Cup incentive program. This was his fifth career BFL victory.

    Rounding out the top five boaters are Mark Modrak of Chesterfield (five bass, 17 pounds, 14 ounces, $2,385); David Reault of Livonia (five bass, 17 pounds, $1,622); Nate Wellman of Jenison (five bass, 16 pounds, 15 ounces, $1,240); and Greg Babiarz of Brighton (five bass, 16 pounds, 8 ounces, $1,050).

    Jeff Bishop of Clinton Township earned $2,385 as the Co-angler Division winner thanks to a five-bass catch that weighed 14 pounds, 7 ounces. He edged past 188 Co-angler Division competitors thanks to a green pumpkin ISG tube.

    Rounding out the top five co-anglers are Michael McGrane of St. Clair Shores (five bass, 13 pounds, 10 ounces, $1,193); Jim Valentine of Leslie (five bass, 13 pounds, 3 ounces, $811); Chris Sparks of Kalamazoo (five bass, 12 pounds, 15 ounces, $620); and Larry Mecham of Livonia (five bass, 12 pounds, 10 ounces, $525).

    Steve Contini of Lima, Ohio, earned $470 as the Co-angler Division big-bass winner with a 4-pound, 6-ounce bass he caught on a spinnerbait.

    The Michigan Division’s next stop will be July 10 on the Detroit River in Trenton. Each BFL division features four one-day events followed by a two-day Super Tournament to round out the regular season. The top 30 Michigan Division boaters and co-anglers based on year-end points standings will advance to the Kentucky Lake regional presented by Yamaha near Gilbertsville, Ky., Oct. 12-16, where they will compete against Choo Choo, Great Lakes and Hoosier division anglers for a slot in the 2005 All-American. The winning boater at the All-American receives $100,000 cash, making it one of the most lucrative and prestigious championship events in bass fishing.

    Every angler who receives weight credit in a tournament earns points, with 200 points going to the winner, 199 for second, 198 for third, and so on except for Super Tournaments, which award 300 points to the winner, 299 for second, 298 for third, and so on. These points determine angler standings. The Michigan Division boater who amasses the most points at the end of the regular season will earn $1,000 as the Yamaha “Be the Best” points leader, and the co-angler earning the most points will earn $500 as the Yamaha “Be the Best” points leader in the Co-angler Division.

    The $6.3 million Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League features 24 divisions nationwide. In BFL competition, boaters and co-anglers are randomly paired, with boaters supplying the boat and fishing against other boaters and co-anglers fishing from the back deck against other co-anglers. For more information or to enter a tournament, call (270) 252-1000 or browse this Web site.

    Wal-Mart and many of America’s most respected companies support FLW Outdoors and its six tournament trails. Wal-Mart has been the title sponsor of FLW Outdoors since 1997. For a complete list of FLW Outdoors sponsors and for more information about the premier products and services they offer, please visit’s sponsor page.