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Walmart Bass Fishing League - Michigan
Detroit River (Aug. 21, 2004)
Balog wins Detroit River BFL event
TRENTON, Mich. — Boater Division competitor Joe Balog of Harrison Township earned $3,853 Saturday as winner of the Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League Michigan Division event on the Detroit River in Trenton. The tournament was the fourth of five regular-season Michigan Division events. The regular season will wrap up Sept. 18-19 with a two-day Super Tournament that will also be held on the Detroit River in Trenton.
Balog bested 139 Boater Division competitors with a five-bass catch weighing 21 pounds, 10 ounces. He caught his tournament-winning stringer on an ISG tube around deep structure. Balog fishes select events in the Michigan and Buckeye divisions of the BFL, and in his other Michigan Division entry this season he finished sixth. Balog also earned a $1,000 bonus from Ranger Boats as the highest-finishing participant in the Ranger Cup incentive program, and he also earned $1,000 from Garmin for using only Garmin electronics during the event.
Rounding out the top five boaters are Dick Shaffer of Rockford, Ohio (five bass, 18 pounds, 11 ounces, $1,927); Seth Hartwick of Belleville (five bass, 17 pounds, 11 ounces, $1,310); Brian Hensley of Edwardsburg (five bass, 17 pounds, 10 ounces, $1,002); and Kent Hart of Westland (five bass, 17 pounds, 8 ounces, $848).
Gary Hannahs of Westerville, Ohio, earned $695 as the Boater Division big-bass award winner with a 5-pound, 2-ounce bass he caught on an ISG Dream Tube.
Jay Yoder of Graybill, Ind., won the 139-competitor Co-angler Division with a five-bass catch weighing 14 pounds, 8 ounces. He caught his tournament-winning bass on a drop-shot and earned $1,926 for the win.
Rounding out the top five co-anglers are Scott Clark of Thornville, Ohio (five bass, 13 pounds, 9 ounces, $963); Steve Smith of Commerce, Mich. (four bass, 13 pounds, 6 ounces, $655); Mike Haws of Osceola, Ind. (five bass, 13 pounds, $501); and Eric Wallace of Rocky Ridge, Ohio (four bass, 12 pounds, 8 ounces, $424).
Renee Hensley of Edwardsburg caught a 5-pound, 2-ounce bass to win Co-angler Division big-bass honors and $348.
Following 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. They will compete against qualifying anglers from the Choo Choo, Great Lakes and Hoosier divisions for one of six slots in the 2005 All-American, one of competitive bass fishing’s most prestigious events. The winning boater at the All-American will take home $100,000 cash, and the winning co-angler will earn $50,000 cash.
Every angler who receives weight credit in a tournament earns points, with 200 points awarded 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.
Anglers who compete in all five regular-season events within a division but do not advance to regional competition are eligible to fish the Chevy Trucks Wild Card for an All-American berth. Six nationwide regionals plus the Wild Card will each send six boaters and six co-anglers to the All-American for a total field of 84 competitors.
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 FLWOutdoors.com’s sponsor page.