Boater Fernando Lobato of Sparta, Wisconsin, won the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Great Lakes Division tournament on the Mississippi River at La Crosse Sunday after catching a two-day total of 10 bass weighing 31 pounds, 2 ounces. Lobato earned $5,316 for his win.
Lobato said he caught his fish over the weekend on the upper end of Pool No. 8. He got an early limit Saturday working a Bone-colored Heddon Zara Spook around scattered eelgrass. Looking to upgrade, he switched to a 3/8-ounce black and blue-colored Kureiji flipping jig with a Sapphire Blue Zoom Super Chunk trailer, which he threw around wood in 10 to 12 feet of water, specifically in deep holes next to grass flats.
On Sunday, Lobato couldn’t get the topwater bite going, so he opted for a Banana Shad Kureiji Mississippi swimming jig, which he worked in the same grass as Saturday.
“I got a limit, but it was small,” said Lobato, who logged his first win in FLW competition. “I upgraded a couple of times dragging the [Kureiji] flipping jig in the holes. At about 10 [a.m.], I switched to a shad-colored [Strike King] 5XD crankbait and caught two big fish away from the wood, a little deeper. I think they were preparing for the weather to cool down.”
Lobato said he managed to catch 30-plus keepers each day, weighing in all largemouth.
“Catching fish on the swimjig Sunday was key for me because I knew everything had changed. I think the weather was cooling off and they’re not used to it yet.”
The top 10 boaters finished the tournament in:
1st: Fernando Lobato, Sparta, Wis., 10 bass, 31-2, $5,316
2nd: Cade Laufenberg, Goodview, Minn., 10 bass, 29-5, $2,858
3rd: Kyler Chelminiak, Sullivan, Wis., 10 bass, 29-0, $2,074
4th: Travis Brueggen, Cashton, Wis., 10 bass, 28-3, $1,240
5th: Mike Brueggen, La Crosse, Wis., 10 bass, 28-2, $1,746
6th: Brandon Gann, Sparta, Wis., 10 bass, 27-4, $975
7th: Glenn Walker, Savage, Minn., 10 bass, 26-5, $886
8th: Douglas Chapin, Green Bay, Wis., 10 bass, 26-4, $797
9th: Anthony Getchell, Menominee, Mich., 10 bass, 26-1, $709
10th: Kevin Johnson, Sparta, Wis., 10 bass, 25-14, $620
Complete results can be found at FLWFishing.com.
Travis Seitzinger of Avon, South Dakota, caught a bass weighing 4 pounds, 7 ounces – the heaviest of the event in the Boater Division – and earned the day’s Boater Big Bass award of $333.
Jason Agpalza of Rock Island, Illinois, won the Co-angler Division and $2,758 Sunday after catching a two-day total of 10 bass weighing 25 pounds, 8 ounces.
The top 10 co-anglers were:
1st: Jason Agpalza, Rock Island, Ill., 10 bass, 25-8, $2,758
2nd: Kristian Dus, Chicago, Ill., 10 bass, 20-13, $1,479
3rd: Alan Bernicky, Joliet, Ill., nine bass, 20-11, $1,036
4th: Jessie Pollard, Whitehall, Wis., 10 bass, 18-13, $620
5th: Brent Schroeder, Caledonia, Minn., eight bass, 17-9, $532
6th: Jeff Pfeffer, Isanti, Minn., eight bass , 17-6, $487
7th: Rick Ragner, La Crosse, Wis., eight bass, 17-6, $443
8th: Paul Ambrose, La Crosse, Wis., eight bass, 16-12, $399
9th: Jeremy Parker, Batavia, Ill., eight bass, 15-12, $354
10th: Troy Karafa, Hebron, Ill., seven bass, 15-8, $310
Mark Persson of Otsego, Minnesota, caught the heaviest bass in the Co-angler Division, a fish weighing in at 4 pounds, 3 ounces. The catch earned him the day’s Co-angler Big Bass award of $334.
The tournament was hosted by the La Crosse County Convention & Visitors Bureau.
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. 17-19 BFL Regional Championship on Kentucky and Barkley lakes in Buchanan, Tennessee, presented by Evinrude. Boaters will compete for a top award of a Ranger Z518L with a 200-horsepower outboard and $20,000, while co-anglers will fish for a new Ranger Z518L with a 200-horsepower outboard.
The 2019 BFL is a 24-division circuit devoted to weekend anglers, with 128 tournaments throughout the season, five qualifying events in each division. The top 45 boaters and co-anglers from each division, along with the five winners of the qualifying events, will advance to one of six regional tournaments where they are competing to finish in the top six, which then qualifies them for one of the longest-running championships in all of competitive bass fishing – the BFL All-American. The 2020 BFL All-American will be held April 30-May 2 at Lake Hartwell in Anderson, South Carolina, and is hosted by Visit Anderson. Top performers in the BFL can move up to the Costa FLW Series or even the FLW Tour.
For complete details and updated information visit FLWFishing.com. For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League on FLW’s social media outlets at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.