Michael Sitko of Farmington, Mich., weighed a five-bass limit totaling 21 pounds, 6 ounces Saturday to win the EverStart Series Central Division event on the Detroit River presented by Mercury. Sitko jumped into the top spot after starting the day in seventh place. Sitko’s three-day total of 15 bass weighing 61 pounds, 15 ounces earned him $32,841 and a new Ranger Z518 with a 200-horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard motor.
“This is unbelievable,” said Sitko, who earned his first career victory after posting three previous top-10 finishes on the Detroit River in BFL competition. “It still seems surreal. We faced extremely rough conditions today, and the key to my win was my Ranger 621VS.”
Strong winds forced most of the top-10 anglers to leave Lake Erie for Lake St. Clair after spending the first two days of competition there. Sitko’s larger boat was able to weather the conditions and allowed him to remain in Erie.
“I was making a 30-mile run and fished Erie for the entire week,” Sitko said. “I was fishing six different areas. They were isolated rock patches, from 12 to 25 feet of water. I just made a milk run to those six spots each day.
“I’d known about these areas for years,” Sitko continued. “But when I checked them in practice, they weren’t anything special. I had a pretty miserable practice altogether. I hit them again during the tournament, though, and they had turned on.”
Sitko said his baits this week consisted of tubes and drop-shot rigs.
“I mainly used minnow-colored baits all week,” Sitko said “There was a lot of fry in the water, and I feel like that color was producing more for me.
Along with the larger boat, Sitko credited his experience on Lake Erie as being a key to his win.
“I only live 45 minutes from the lake,” he said. “When it got rough today, my experience on the lake was a key. Knowing that I could handle the conditions won me the tournament.”
The top 10 pros on the Detroit River were:
1st: Michael Sitko, Farmington Hills, Mich., 15 bass, 61-15, $32,841 + Ranger Z518 with 200-horsepower outboard
2nd: Rick Taylor, West Olive, Mich., 15 bass, 57-4, $12,315
3rd: Heath Wagner, Angola, Ind., 15 bass, 56-13, $8,210
4th: Trevor Jancasz, White Pigeon, Mich., 15 bass, 55-7, $7,389
5th: Ryan Said, Wixom, Mich., 14 bass, 51-10, $6,568
6th: Jeff Vizachero, Grosse Ile, Mich., 15 bass, 51-6, $5,747
7th: Matt Belletini, Birmingham, Mich., 15 bass, 49-9, $4,926
8th: Jared Rhode, Port Clinton, Ohio, 14 bass, 49-0, $4,105
9th: Skip Johnson, Goodells, Mich., 15 bass, 47-14, $3,284
10th: Gary Greenwood, Irwin, Pa., 12 bass, 47-5, $2,464
Complete results can be found at FLWOutdoors.com.
Sitko also caught the biggest bass of the tournament in the pro division on Friday – a 6-pound, 2-ounce – bass that earned him the day’s EverStart Series Big Bass award of $230.
Jeff Hippensteel of Rochester, Ind., won the co-angler division and a Ranger Z117 with a 90-horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard motor with a three-day total of 15 bass weighing 49 pounds, 15 ounces.
The top 10 co-anglers on the Detroit River were:
1st: Jeff Hippensteel, Rochester, Ind., 15 bass, 49-15, Ranger Z117 with 90-horsepower outboard
2nd: Bryan Doyle, Holland, Ohio, 15 bass, 48-14, $4,309
3rd: Donald Sibley, Strasburg, Ohio, 12 bass, 41-2, $3,447
4th: Ed Shannon, Milford, Ohio, 12 bass, 39-12, $3,016
5th: Chad Wright, Clarklake, Mich., 12 bass, 37-12, $2,585
6th: Tony Grindstaff, Toledo, Ohio, 11 bass, 37-9, $2,154
7th: Philip Borsa, Redford, Mich., 11 bass, 37-0, $1,723
8th: Derek Raider, Lexington, Ky., 11 bass, 36-5, $1,293
9th: Steve Sorrell, Beavercreek, Ky., nine bass, 34-2, $862
10th: Zac Zernec, Ortonville, Mich., 10 bass, 33-13, $689
Joseph Stois Sr. of Fairview Park, Ohio, caught the biggest bass of the tournament in the co-angler division Thursday – a 5-pound, 14-ounce bass – that earned him the day’s EverStart Series Big Bass award of $153.