As the summer turned to August, Limaland bass anglers made a statement on the Walmart Bass Fishing League (BFL) trail.
Matt Elkins, of Spencerville, made the biggest splash with two outstanding tournaments in the Michigan Division and put himself into a spot to gain a place in regional competition.
He made a long trip to the Pelee Island area on Lake Erie from the Detroit River pay last Saturday when he won the BFL event out of Trenton, Michigan.
A large fish near the end of the tourney sealed his victory.
“I was able to bring in a 4½-pounder with only minutes to spare, so that really helped cap off the day,” he said.
That fish gave the Spencerville basser a five-fish weight of 22 pounds, six ounces, which bested runner-up Charles Mackintosh, of Brighton, Michigan, who weighed in five fish at 21 pounds, 11 ounces.
Following a sixth place finish in a Michigan Division tourney on Lake St. Clair on Aug. 1, Elkins rocketed out of nowhere to 42nd in the points standings. A good finish in the division’s final tourney on the Detroit River on Sept. 19 should put Elkins among the top 50 anglers who qualify for regional competition.
Elkins has climbed throughout the season. He failed to weigh in a fish in the season opener in late June on Lake St. Clair. He finished 32nd in the division tourney on the Detroit River on July 11.
He and Lima’s Zach Maisch, who also fishes the BFL, finished second in a big team tourney (Wonderland Open) on Aug. 2 on the Detroit River during his hot streak.
In BFL competition on the Detroit River, about a third of the field runs north to Lake St. Clair, a third stays in the river and the other third runs south and east into Lake Erie.
Elkins was well aware there was plenty of algae in Lake Erie, and he wanted to take advantage of it. He wound up catching a dozen keepers and of course culled fish for his largest five bass.
“I knew that’s where I wanted to be. I targeted fish in 30- to 33-foot depths,” he said after getting his first win in Walmart FLW competition.
Elkins fished around Pelee in the morning and landed a lunker 5 pound, 4 ounce bass around 8:30 a.m. He indicated by 10:30 a.m. he had about 21 pounds of fish. He wound up going to his primary spot at the end of the day after a couple other areas were not as productive.
He fished a drop-shot rig with a Sandbar Party-colored LBA Baits Ding Ding worm.
While Elkins was hot in Michigan, several Limaland bass anglers did well and some solidified spots in the points standings of the BFL’s Buckeye Division during the heat on the Ohio River last Saturday in Maysville, Kentucky.
Kyle Weisenburger of Ottawa finished runner-up in the event with a five-fish limit that weighed 7 pounds, 7 ounces. Scott Manson of Covington won the tourney with four bass that weighed 8 pounds, 10 ounces. Cody Seeger of Lewistown was fifth with 6 pounds, 2 ounces.
Six Limaland bassers are among the top 50 in the points standings with one tourney remaining. That one is scheduled for Sept. 19 on Indian Lake.
Weisenburger is third, Mike Weiler Sr., of Wapakoneta, is fourth, Seeger is 27th, Matt Tuttle, of Van Wert, is 38th, Craig Burwell, of North Baltimore, is 41st and Dick Shaffer, of Rockford, is 46th.
In the Hoosier Division, Weisenburger is 46th while Shaffer is 49th. There are two tourneys left on the Hoosier Division schedule. Both are on the Ohio River on Tanner’s Creek out of Lawrenceburg, Indiana. One is a rescheduled event Aug. 29 and the other is set for Sept. 12.
Some Lima area anglers are sitting fairly well in the co-angler category in the Buckeye and Michigan divisions.
Doyle Donnett, of Minister, who finished eighth among co-anglers on the Ohio River last Saturday, is 12th in the point standings among co-anglers while Denny Dabbett, of Celina, is 37th.
In the Michigan Division, Beau Bickford, of Findlay is 42nd in the co-angler points standings. Vickie Jeffries, of Celina, is within striking distance to make the top 50 at 52nd.
Jeffries’ husband, Jay, qualified for the 2015 BFL All American national tournament on Kentucky/Bartley Lakes after finishing sixth in the Kentucky Lake Regional last fall. However, Jeffries missed that event when he suffered a detached retina in June. He has not been able to fish this summer and just recently was cleared by his doctor to fish again.
Al Smith is a freelance outdoor writer. He may be contacted at email@example.com or and you can follow him on Twitter @alsmithFL