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Lake Erie BFL

Started by motocross269, August 30, 2009, 04:54:01 AM

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Another tough tournament for me out of Elizabeth park. That area has some bad vodoo magic on me, I have yet to weigh more than 6lbs in a tournament out of there..
I drew Joe Balog as a boater, I was thinking "yes" I may finally have a good tournament down here, but it wasn't meant to be. (What are the odds that the winning boater and co angler from the previous BFL on LSC would get paired together?) The weather was tough so we headed to St Clair. We never really did get on fish real heavy, but Joe just kept moving and plugging away. It is amazing how those good guys can scratch a good limit out of basically nothing spectacular. He never gave up and just kept his head down and fished all day.  He ended up with a top 10 finish, I think he only culled once or twice. Sometimes I think some of these sticks could cash a check fishing cement.  He was fun to fish with and I picked up on some things that I need to work on....


I had forgotten about the BFL being yesterday, it was a tough day to be sure with that front moving through and the winds we had. Doesn't surprise me that Mike Trombley won that. After the top 5 or 6 the weights really dropped off. You'll get them one of these days. Congrats to all the guy's from the website that did well.


This year has been a complete nightmare, I keep telling myself I will draw someone thats on fish this time but it never happens. My boater blanked and I weighed in one 14 incher. Im not sure if its even worth fishing the last one the guy I draw will probably blow up his motor in the middle of lake Erie or go to fish he found two weeks ago. Every time I get a guy who didnt get to practice and runs to fish they found weeks ago they are never there, those fish always move. I figured up my boaters total weight for the 4 BFLs and that total was 16 pounds. This co-angler crap is for the birds, the only way I ever fish another bfl as a co-angler is if the regional next year is at Burt & Mullet.


Hopefully next year they have a good schedule, but I've heard it's more of the same.  When you have 4 out of 5 tournaments on 1 body of water, your only going to draw from a certain group of guys. 


TCOOK, sounds like you better try the boater side. keep dreaming about a regional in Michigan, that will never happen! I have been fishing Redmans and BFL tourneys for 20 yrs. no regional has ever been less than a 5hr drive....FLW OUTDOORS wonders why Michigan draws the fewest number of boats in the country, with the greatest lakes in the world? Well, if anyone is listening here is the reason.
Fish the same great lakes for the same 40 anglers and send them to a REGIONAL far, far, far away to fish against locals with no chance of winning? SOUNDS FUN? ???   Q.  How many MI bfl anglers have made the All-American in the last 10 yrs????:'(


sorry about your bad luck. It reminds me of my FLW co angler days. My last year before I quit, all my pros finished below 100? no fun?

                          JJ SNIPER


can I get a vote? hey westside....

2011 BFL:

MUSKEGON LK,  MIXED BAG  third week in June?
LK ST. CLAIR, BIG,BIG SMALLIES  first week in July?
GRAND RIVER, BIG LARGIES   first week in august?

second week in October? ;D



Hey TCook,
Keep your head up. Fishing for a profit is a tough road to hoe. Even if you make the regional, like we did last year, you spend way more than what you can win in most cases.
You almost have to have a backer that will get you through a number of lean years as a boater. Look at the lakes the pros fish and try to compete against those guys that have been on the tour for years and have fished those bodies of waters many times. It is a really tough challenge. Look at Luke Gritter this year. He's a pretty good young stick, but having to compete with a 100 top pros is a daunting task. I hope he can afford to stay after it.
I like fishing the East Side BFLs, but if I fish them again next year it's just for the fun of getting out with no expectations. Then I think, well for what I would spend, I could drag my old boat over there and just fun fish.
Maybe next year I'll start my own circuit, "Camp and Cruise." Pick a spot and camp there for several days and make it a rendezvous for whoever wants to show, and then have some half day draw tournaments for small pots and just have fun. Have time to sit around a campfire and BS about the day. That kind of thing is sounding better and better to me. Fished tournaments for 25 years or so and I enjoy it, but it's getting harder and harder to rationalize the expense.
"Not in the clamor of the crowded streets nor in the shouts and plaudits of the throng, but within oneself lies victory or defeat."


If I could get more time off from work(and work was more stable) I would fish the Strens and maybe the BASS opens...To me that seems the way to go. I would fish a couple of years as a Co and then move up if things looked good after that...The potential profit margin vs time on the water and expenses seems way better.....Sure entry fees are more, but really in the grand scheme of things the entry fee is only a percentage of my expenses..

I agree with Mark and Dan....The BFLs as they stand are basically a LSC/Lake Erie shootout. I think the reason that Michigan does so poorly in the Regional,(besides the obvious that they never fish Great lakes water to even things up) is the lack of bank fishing (LM) experience by most of the states competitors...There are a few guys that mix it up (Eric Bond), but most of the guys have limited time so they focus on their next tournament by fishing LSC or Erie...

Just my opinion...I think that the BFLs are very organized and well run and I love fishing them, I just wonder if we are not shooting ourselves in the foot trying to get to a higher level..

I wish that we had a bigger, better ran team circuit in Michigan...Like Bass Champs in Texas...

Team houston

My brother and I fish St. Clair every week for fun. We finally found a mess of fish with some big ones mixed in. At the meeting we were both kind of hoping to get someone who was not on much and maybe run to these fish. Amazingly I drew a nice young guy from Pennsylvania who fit the bill. I came in 9th and he caught his first limit of the year. Everything went perfect except for the rough ride. Oh yeah my bro drew Mike Trombley. He got his butt kicked but managed to catch a limit and come in 12th.


I've been in the same boat as TCook. My boater draw hasn't been very stellar:
1) drew a guy on a jerkbait bite during a bed tournament, taught him what a bed looked like
2) drew a guy on a largemouth bite on Erie, huge waves, small boat...
3) drew a guy who ran to Grosse Ile to fish largemouth from Metro beach because he wanted points, almost ran out of gas because he forgot to fill up, taught him how to use his boat... do I need to give the boater gas money in advance to make sure we'll get back to the launch?

This draw seemed promising as the guy was on to some fish but his trolling motor only lasted half the tourney, so then we had to get the wind sock out and make drifts, we never got another keeper after that. He ended with 3 and I had 2.

What is that saying... if it wasn't for bad luck...

I haven't drawn a boater who has brought in a limit this year... not even close.

Terry Bone
Bass Anglers of Michigan
The Bass Boys - TBF Club
2013 Ranger z520c w/ Evinrude ETEC 250

Team houston

I have been fishing as a non boater for 25 yrs. All I can say is stick with it your time will come. It was 15 yrs before I cashed a check. But it was a big one, not so much money wise it was at a regional and I was fortunate to go to an All American. Patience.


Tim, I have never drawn you in a BFL, but I have been lucky enough to draw you two years in a row for the Tim And Eric Go Up North To Catch A Bunch Of Big Smallmouth Event.  Sure hoping for my luck to continue this fall.


 I agree 100% w Eric(Bond) i have had a tough year lost fish and boat probs have really hampered things on me so bringin fish to the scale will always make up 4 things. I cut my teeth fishing the westside grand,muskegon,white and made the choice to step up and fish the BFL this year to see what i could do. I am a shallow water largemouth fisherman.. its what i do and i can do it well. I havent faired the best in this years BFL im in the points but i couldve done alot better. if you put a little time in and have an open mind you'll be fine..Im so excited to get back to Detroit river 4 this last 1. i found some fish and just couldnt keep them hooked plus i feel more will move in, so it will be good and hopefully get a chance to show my largemouth skills in Iowa and make Michigan proud...

Gary Yamamota Baits
Ice Mountain Water


Eric(bond) you and flw have no clue? That is my point! You fish 5 great smallmouth tourneys and send guys to fish a river full of largies??? DUH? My thoughts are that we might some day send 12 anglers to the ALL-AMERICAN from MI !!!  You have little chance of cashing a check in the BFL's after the Burt and mullet tourney?  ;D You are a shallow water specialist....Your only hope is a top finish at the regional. Yes you have made many regionals. Q. how many checks have you cashed at the regional?  Q. how many trips to the ALL-AMERICAN? 
My point was that the BFL regional are always on rivers or somewhere down south 5+ hrs away? And we send 40 of the best smallmouth fishermen to fish them? MI always gets the shaft!
THIS IS THE SMALLMOUTH DIVISION! Not the Michigan division. I know it will never happen but just a fantasy of mine to see one regional in Michigan waters??? Fishing for smallmouths!!! If you can send the Michigan division bfl's to Sandusky, OH??? Why can't you have a regional in MI??? Anything is possible.

Just a thought for you and skeeterman to try the B.A.S.S. weekend series in Ohio to fish for $5000 1st place against 60 anglers fishing for largies....a no brainer?

                     Good luck at the regional fishing against the great lakes division.......who fishes the Mississippi river at least 3x's a year and live less than 3 hrs away from Ft. Madison??? duh? :-\'
I like my chances fishing against the great lakes division on Detroit river in October???


T-bone, I loved the blues? been there, done that. That's why they are called BOATERS and not professionals???

after every bfl you say to yourself.....i should be a boater, what was he thinking? Most of the time the only thing you learn from your boater is what not to do! so true!

Famous boater line: Just fishing for points? quit fishing! Save yourself a lot of money!!! or fish for the win!!!


 Hey your losing me on alot of points here.. so u think Eric and I are wrong because we are both shallow water largemouth fisherman... that can keep our heads above water after burt and mullet sight fishing?? ur making no sense..I really like your last post bashing us boaters.. yeah were not pros.. but atleast we have the guts to go out there and compete.. to the least of my knowledge u may be a stik but from the way u talk it sounds like  someone who is just mad about something. as far as the whole point to this topic.. yes there are alot of guys that just can go out and smoke them on Erie,St.Clair, and Detroit River.Must be nice to live right there..but there are also some that will light your doors up in other places also and those are the real fisherman. Mark Modrak,Brian Jackson, Heath Wagner,Eric Bond,Leo Reiter,Chad Pipkens. do i need to keep naming names.Chip Harrison,Mark Zona, theyve all come from here and are some of the best fisherman around..oh i forgot to mention KVD yeah he loves his smallies but will beat u no matter where u go. i dont look at the local cherrypicker to be the best fisherman yeah he can get em here but why not try to be the best all around..

Gary Yamamota Baits
Ice Mountain Water


Every year about this time of year a thread shows up just like this. I guess it is good to air things out. Don't get me wrong, I know it is tough to come out ahead fishing BFL's. At the last tourney I was able to make my to date winnings more than my entry fees for the year. I have said it before and I will say it again, while I do fish to win and to make more money than I spend, I fish the BFL's because that is my "pro" league. I can't afford to travel and fish the Stren's, but believe me if I could I would. I have 3 kids and a wife who depend on my and I make enough to support them. I have an awesome father-in-law who travels with me and we have the time of our lives prefishing for each event. I am a largemouth fisherman by trade so I really have to work at it to be able to compete in the BFL's. I was raised in Northern Indiana where the largemouth are king. When I get back home from a BFL I have to cut off nearly every bait just to go fishing. We have some good sticks in the Michigan BFL that I know could move on to the All American, it just hasn't happened lately. I finished 20th at Fort Madison 2 years ago and had my 5th fish break my rat-l-trap in two with an hour to go. The fish was easily a 3 pounder and was my shot at the All American. She jumped at least 5 times trying to get rid of the other half. At Paducah a couple years ago a busted lower unit on the first day gave me the big goose. The second day I was able to put one of the biggest stringers of the tourney in the boat and still finish 20th. Could I have done it the first day? I will never know, but I do know that I am not the only angler in the Michigan BFL with the abilities to make an All American there are many of them. It does make it tough to go to a fishery that we are competing against guys who know them well. Last year at Cherokee was a good example, but it makes it that much more gratifying when we do give 'em a whooping. I have yet to hear KVD whine about going and competing against local Elite guys in their backyards. He takes pride in giving it to 'em in their own backyard and that is how each and every one of us should feel giong to a regional that we can and do have the ability. If you feel any other way stay home and let another guy who does want to go have a shot.
Tim, listen to what Phil Borsa is telling you it will turn around. Your next 5 boaters may give you the fishing experience of your life. Keep at it, we need guys like you.
Phil S., if you keep at it you will figure these lakes out quick. My first year of the BFL's was basically my first year on these waters. I had been on Erie many times on the Michigan shoreline and a couple times to the islands, but I had no real experience for what I truly needed to do to be consistent on this water. I squeaked out one Super Tourney check that year (fishing with Mr Borsa, he did too:)) and finished in 20th that year, but knew that I could do better. Believe it or not, I have not cashed a single check in a BFL on the same spot twice over my 5 years. You have to constatnly find them period. You also have to be willing to not go to a guaranteed 5 fish spot and go for that 20+ stringer. Basic honest information from guys who consistently do well goes a long ways and I have been fortunate to make many friends fishing these BFL's. Feel free to stop over and say hi at the meeting, I always have a green/white Poor Boy's jersey on with H. WAGNER on the back. I will usually be standing there with 2 or 3 other guys (R. SAID, C PIPKENS, and J COX) with the same attire.
If we were all in this to truly make tons of money every year we would all be trying to figure out how to get into the FLW Tour or BASS Elites. When it comes down to it we fish the BFL's because it is a blast. There is no other BFL circuit in the country that puts up the weights that the Michigan Division does period and that just makes it fun. I will see everyone at the Super Tourney!
God Bless!


I will say this about the BFL's, they are well run and generally have been fun. The guys have been great to a newbie learning the ropes. For me I've had to look pretty hard to find some positive elements in the individual tournaments but being put in strange, unexpected situations is part of the deal and I walk away learning something, even if it is what not to do, how to adjust to the situation or how I'd do something different. I'm a glass half full kinda guy anyways.

But, just wait until I have a tournament when there are more good than bad: good draw, good areas, good weather, nothing breaking down - I'll be a happy camper!!! See I didn't even mention catching a limit - I'll take care of that part!

(and I'd never seen a smallmouth up until about 3 years ago, they are now my favorite)
Terry Bone
Bass Anglers of Michigan
The Bass Boys - TBF Club
2013 Ranger z520c w/ Evinrude ETEC 250


Skeeterman, most of what I say is for Eric and the FLW.... ;) I love to get everyone fired up!  >:( It makes everyone want to fish that much harder to prove me wrong? It's working.... ::) The two day should be an all out war!! Can't wait!
The point I was trying to make is can't we fish a couple events on the westside and maybe someday have a regional on the Detroit river in October?

MI BFL anglers fish the biggest bodies of water, travel the longest distance to the regionals, spend more money on gas and repairs every year than any other division? I'm asking for one regional in MI!

You must have deep pockets to fish the Michigan bfl's! Period!!
How many times do you hear about guys breaking trolling motors, fishfinders, rods, backs, jackplates, etc. Fishing is great, Two hour boat rides suck! How many anglers have small boats under 18 ft?? Very few fish the BFL's! Yes we fish the most amazing waters anywhere in the country. True that!

But when the NBAA draws more anglers than the BFL's something is wrong?

Heath great job! Yes, you are one of the better draws in the bfl's and a true gentleman.

skeeterman, yes we do have most of the best fishermen in the country right here.  So is FLW afraid to bring a regional to MI because they might offend the other states? I can say with truth that if a regional ever came to MI in October, we will send at least 4 boaters and 4 non boaters to the ALL-AMERICAN! PERIOD!!

This whole game is time and money. time on the water, travel to the lakes, money for gas,and money to keep fixing everything that breaks?

I'm no stick, I just like my chances at a regional in MI, or the grand or muskegon to compete against Modrak, Reault, Pipens, Wagner, Harrison, Bond, Reiter, Zona, Jackson, and KVD?  Yes, Best smallmouth fishermen in the business, no doubt! And yes they can all catch largies as well.

All of these anglers you speak of I consider my friends. I love the high you get when you look at the results and you see you have finished higher. What a joy!

The funniest part of this whole deal is I like to think I have sponsored all of these guys with my Redman and BFL entries over the past 20 yrs???
Your welcome guys!  
Just remember me when you win the All-American. ha ha ha  ;D

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