BISMARCK, N.D. (Sept. 24, 2011) – Tommy Skarlis of Waukon, Iowa, and co-angler Todd Dankert of Anoka, Minn.,  caught five walleyes weighing 17 pounds, 2 ounce Saturday to maintain the lead on the third day of the National Guard FLW Walleye Tour Championship on the Missouri River. Skarlis’ three-day catch of 15 walleyes weighing 58-0 gives him a  solid 4-pound, 14-ounce lead over his closest competitor in an event which started with the top 40 pros and 40 co-anglers from the 2011 FLW Walleye Tour season. Pros are fishing for a top award of up to $70,000.

“This a tournament where anything can happen and I am so excited to go fishing tomorrow,” said Skarlis, who is looking for his second championship title, the first coming in 2008 on the Missouri River. “We had a lot of missed bites today. When you start missing bites the way we did today it either means you have to start going ultra slow and finesse fish or go ultra fast and use ultra big baits and be ultra aggressive. I like to fish fast and furious with big baits. I really want the fish tomorrow to eat my bait.

“I have caught all my fish this week with Gulp!,” Skarlis continued. “Tomorrow I am going to have to make some changes based on what happened today. I may switch from the superlines I have been using to Trilene XL or XT and get some live bait.

“Today I was blessed with a great co-angler,” Skarlis went on to say. “He is one of the best jiggers I have fished with and he caught five of our six weigh walleyes that went in the box.

“Today was a real grind. Most of what we caught was in the main river channel. We started on the honey hole that I caught most of my weight on yesterday, but the fish have vacated that area and we moved out of there pretty quickly. We were fortunate to be able to catch key fish here and key fish there throughout the day.”

Rounding out the top 10 pros and fishing for the championship title on Sunday are:

  • 2nd:    Walmart pro Dean Arnoldussen, Appleton, Wis., 15 walleyes, 53-2
  • 3rd:     National Guard pro Bill Shimota, Lonsdale, Minn., 15 walleyes, 52-8
  • 4th:     David Andersen, Amery, Wis., 15 walleyes, 51-8
  •  5th:     EverStart pro Dan Stier, Mina, S.D., 14 walleyes, 50-6
  •  6th:     OFF! pro Chris Gilman, Chisago City, Minn., 15 walleyes, 50-6
  • 7th:     Keith Kavajecz, Kaukauna, Wis., 14 walleyes, 47-1
  • 8th:     Kevin Carstensen, Merrill, Wis., 15 walleyes, 44-14
  • 9th:     Tom Kemos, Oconomowoc, Wis., 15 walleyes, 44-13
  • 10th:   National Guard pro Mark Courts, Harris, Minn., 15 walleyes, 43-14

Final results for the remaining field can be found at FLWOutdoors.com.

Todd Dankert of Anoka, Minn., won the Co-angler championship title with a total of 15 walleyes weighing 58-12 and earning $7,000 for his efforts. He fished with OFF! pro Chris Gilman on day one, was then paired with David Andersen on day two and finally on day three he fished with Tommy Skarlis.

“I never fished the Missouri River before this tournament ,” said Dankert. “What an awesome fishery!. It is healthy, full of fish and just unbelievable. I tell you what, as soon as I get back to where I am staying I am going to wrap my hands in band aids. My hands are just tore-up we caught so many fish.

“You just can’t beat the week that I have had. I couldn’t have picked better partners if I tried. I was paired with three of the best and I have to thank each and every one of them. I had a blast. I am thrilled, really thrilled!

Rounding out the top 10 co-anglers were:

  • 2nd:    John Mickish, White Bear Lake, Minn., 14 walleyes, 55-1, $2,500
  • 3rd:     Tim Depooter, Rock Island, Ill., 15 walleyes, 53-10, $1,750
  •  4th:     John Solek, Indianapolis, Ind., 15 walleyes, 51-11, $1,200
  • 5th:     Don Shepard, Lowell, Mich., 14 walleyes, 50-11, $1,000
  • 6th:     Tyrone Larson, Amherst, Wis., 15 walleyes, 50-11, $900
  • 7th:     Jimmy Cox, Bono, Ark., 15 walleyes, 49-7, $800
  • 8th:     Dave Smith, Saint Joseph, Minn., 15 walleyes, 44-9, $700
  • 9th:     Jim Milewsky, Bondurant, Iowa, 15 walleyes, 44-5, $600
  • 10th:   Lance Bainville, Mounds View, Minn., 15 walleyes, 43-1, $500 plus $250 Evinrude bonus

Final results for the remaining field can be found at FLWOutdoors.com.

Overall there were 97 walleyes weighing 264 pounds, 8 ounces caught by 20 boats Friday. The catch included 18 five-walleye limits.

Top-10 anglers will take off from Hazelton Camp Ground and Access Area located 31 miles southeast of Bismarck on Highway 1804 at 8 a.m. on Sunday. The final weigh-in will be held at the Bismarck Civic Center located at 315 S. 5th St. in Bismarck beginning at 5 p.m.

All 40 pro and co-anglers fished the first two days of competition. Saturday the field was cut to the top-20 pro and co-anglers and a co-angler champion, Todd Dankert was crowned. On Sunday only the top-10 pros will fish for the championship title.

Fans will be treated to the FLW Outdoors Expo at the Bismarck Civic Center, on Sunday Sept. 25 from 1 to 5 p.m. prior to the final weigh-in. The Expo includes Ranger boat simulators, free seminars, the opportunity to interact with professional anglers, enjoy interactive games, activities and giveaways provided by sponsors, and learn more about the sport of fishing and other outdoor activities. The first 300 kids 14 and under on Sunday will receive a free Zebco rod and reel combo compliments of 103.3 US Country. All activities are free and open to the public.

This week’s catch is being donated to Trinity Lutheran Church, the Boy Scouts of America, House of Prayer youth and Spirit of Life Church.

Coverage of the FLW Walleye Tour Championship will be broadcast in high-definition (HD) on VERSUS. “FLW Outdoors” and will air Nov. 13 from 1 to 2 p.m. ET. “FLW Outdoors,” hosted by Chip Leer, is broadcast to more than 500 million households worldwide.

For complete details and updated information visit FLWOutdoors.com/mc. For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow the Walleye Tour on Facebook at Facebook.com/FLWWalleyeTour and on Twitter at Twitter.com/FLWOutdoors.

ABOUT FLW OUTDOORS

FLW Outdoors is the best in fishing, on and off the water. Anglers worldwide can compete for millions over the course of 191 tournaments in 2011. FLW Outdoors has taken fishing mainstream with the world’s richest fantasy sports game, FLW Fantasy Fishing presented by Straight Talk, where competitors can play for free as well as sign up for Player’s Advantage to gain an edge. For more information about FLW Outdoors and FLW Fantasy Fishing, visit FLWOutdoors.com or FantasyFishing.com.

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