UPCOMING EVENT: ABU GARCIA COLLEGE FISHING - 2020 - Harris Chain of Lakes

Cummings going to the nationals

Cummings going to the nationals
Derek Cummings will return to the TBF National Championship after winning the Northern Divisional and the Michigan state title.

CLINTON TOWNSHIP, Mich. - Derek Cummings of Mason, Mich., will return to The Bass Federation National Championship thanks to an overall win and a win on the Michigan state team at the TBF Northern Divisional on Lake St. Clair. Cummings hauled in 15 bass over three days totaling 63 pounds, 1 ounce to help lead the Michigan team to victory.

As the overall winner, Cummings earned a $500 Wal-Mart gift card as the Castrol Maximum Performer. But at TBF divisionals, cash prizes are awarded to the state teams based on total fish caught by their team members. Six state teams competed in this week's Northern Divisional, representing Michigan, Indiana, Wisconsin, Ohio, Illinois and Minnesota, and each team was comprised of 12 anglers. The Michigan team caught 473 pounds, 7 ounces of bass over the course of the tournament to claim the overall win, followed by the Indiana squad with 387-12. In third is Wisconsin with 295-14, with the Ohio team taking fourth with 294-1. Illinois hauled in 283-3 to claim fifth, and Minnesota rounded out the state teams in sixth with 263-0.

Cummings looking forward to second chance at glory

Winning the race among the states and taking home the top cash award was the Michigan team with 473 pounds, 7 ounces of bass caught over three days.As winner of the Michigan team, Cummings advances to the 2009 TBF National Championship as a boater, as will all six state-team winners. Each state's runner-up earned a ticket to the nationals as a co-angler. For Cummings, it won't be the first time - in 2007, he finished fifth overall at the nationals and earned a trip to the Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League All-American.

"It means a lot to be going back to the national championship," Cummings said. "I am excited to be going back and this time I hope to win."

As for this week's event, Cummings won it with a willingness to be versatile - and a little luck, too. Rain and wind forced Cummings out of his hot spot at the mouth of the Detroit River, but he nevertheless ended the day with a five-bass limit weighing 19 pounds.

"My spot at the mouth of the river did not pan out, so I returned to the lake with 15 pounds to try out a spot I had here," he said. "It worked out great because I caught two 4-pounders there."

Making victory taste even sweeter for Cummings is he advances to the championship alongside his good friend Mark Modrak, who took second on the Michigan team and will thus advance to the nationals as a co-angler. Cummings and Modrak were roommates during this week's tournament.

Kuhn's quality fish lead to Indiana victory

Second on the overall list and first in Indiana is Todd Kuhn with 60 pounds, 12 ounces.Taking second place overall and first on the Indiana team is Todd Kuhn of Angola, Ind., with a three-day catch of 15 bass weighing 60 pounds, 12 ounces. His heaviest catch of the tournament came on the final day, when he hauled in a limit weighing 22 pounds, 15 ounces.

"I have been crankbaiting the whole week, anywhere from 6 to 10 feet," he said, adding he also hooked a few on a spinnerbait. "I fished up near the north channel of the lake, and I found some real quality fish concentrated in one area. As the week went on, they scattered around due to weather, so I had to cover a lot more water today."

Kuhn is making his first trip to the national championship. He will be joined by No. 2 Indiana angler Britt Davidson of Brookeville, Ind., who caught 53 pounds, 9 ounces over three days.

Perkins wins Minnesota by 20 pounds

With an astonishing 20-pound, 9-ounce margin of victory, Bob Perkins of Crosslake, Minn., handily took the Minnesota title with a three-day catch of 52 pounds, 14 ounces. Making Perkins' victory all the more remarkable is that he only entered the tournament after someone else dropped out, and he came to Lake St. Clair on only two days' notice.

"It's awesome!" he said. "I had only two days' notice to come, so I didn't get to prepare much."

In the end, it didn't matter. Perkins fished what he knew, and it worked out perfectly.

"I had three solid days of throwing 3-inch minnow-type crankbaits," he said. "It is a prototype from Rapala called an X-shad."

Also making the nationals from Minnesota is No. 2 Scott Bonnema of Zimmerman, Minn., with 32-5 over three days.

Smyers scratches seven-year itch with Wisconsin victory

A look at the national championship qualifiers from the Northern Divisional.With a three-day catch of 50 pounds, 12 ounces, Nicholas Smyers of Franksville, Wis., leaves the divisional the Wisconsin victor, and he's national-championship bound.

"I have been trying to get to the national championship for seven years," said Smyers, an electrician by day. "I have had my eyes on the Living the Dream package since it came out because it is a perfect deal for a working-class guy like me."

(The boater winner of the TBF National Championship receives a "Living the Dream" package that includes paid entry into either the Wal-Mart FLW Tour or Wal-Mart FLW Series.)

Smyers made long runs to catch his bass this week, including his day-three catch of 16-9.

"I'm just glad I had the good weather this week to be able to make my long runs," he said. "I relied on one spot that I caught my 20-pound bag on the first day. Today I ended up having to move around a lot more."

Also advancing to the nationals from Wisconsin is runner-up Larry Hildebrandt of Cottage Grove, Wis.

Melsop, McIntyre round out state winners

Tops in Ohio is Jeff Melsop of East Liberty, Ohio, with a three-day catch of 45 pounds, 11 ounces. That put him past No. 2 David Fogle of Sidney, Ohio, who caught 40 pounds.

Winning the Illinois title is Scott McIntyre of Decatur, Ill., with 39 pounds, 9 ounces caught over three days. That's almost a 10-pound advantage over No. 2 Mike Reed of Pekin, Ill., who also advances to the nationals as a co-angler.

Tags: jennifer-simmons  headline-story  2008-09-10-lake-st-clair 

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