Ryan Dempsey of Oneida, Wis., and his co-angler Bruce Frevert of Centerville, Iowa, brought a five-walleye limit to the scales Thursday weighing 27 pounds, 15 ounces to lead day one of the National Guard FLW Walleye Tour at Bays de Noc. Dempsey and Frevert now hold a slim 4-ounce lead over Chad Schilling of Akasaka, S.D., and co-angler Phillip Riccio Jr., of Huntley, Ill., who caught five walleye weighing 27-11 in a tournament featuring the top walleye professionals from all across North America.

Fishing in his third tournament with FLW, Dempsey chose to sign up for the event on Wednesday evening after closely watching the weather forecast all week.

“I was really looking for a good forecast,” Dempsey said. “I really didn’t feel like coming up here and battling the five-foot waves if the wind was blowing hard. It looked good, and it ended up being a good decision for me.”

Dempsey said like most of the tournament field, his fish came on spinners. He also had some success pulling Reef Runners.

“We left our fish by 11 a.m. this morning,” Dempsey continued. “We didn’t want to beat them up and I wanted to save them until tomorrow. I just hope the big fish stay in my area. It’s Bays de Noc, though, and the wind can change 180 degrees and really change some things.

“We threw back a few 6-pounders today, so at the very least I think I’ll come in with those,” Dempsey added. “I’m pretty confident that my spot will hold up. There are other boats fishing around me, and I’m not really doing anything different. I just got the right bites today. Hopefully, you’re talking to me again tomorrow.”

The top 10 pros and co-anglers after day one at Bays de Noc are:

1st:     Ryan Dempsey, Oneida, Wis., and Bruce Frevert, Centerville, Iowa, five walleyes, 27-15

2nd:    Chad Schilling, Akaska, S.D., and Phillip Riccio Jr., Huntley, Ill., five walleyes, 27-11

3rd:     Derek Parker, Skandia, Mich., and Todd Dankert, Anoka, Minn., five walleyes, 26-7

4th:     Korey Sprengel, Beaver Dam, Wis., and William Bay, Berlin, Wis., five walleyes, 25-7

5th:     Dusty Minke, Forest Lake, Minn., and Todd Rieder, Fond du Lac, Wis., five walleyes, 24-13

6th:     Stephen Paulsen, Peshtigo, Wis., and Kenny Brenner, Moline, Ill., five walleyes, 24-8

7th:     Brian Bjorkman, Fargo, N.D., and Steve Beasley, Macomb, Mich., five walleyes, 24-6

8th:     Ross Grothe, Northfield, Minn., and Isaac Bower, Mosinee, Wis., five walleyes, 24-5

9th:     National Guard pro Bill Shimota, Lonsdale, Minn., and William Ditto, Leaf River, Ill., five walleyes, 24-4

10th:   Ted Takasaki, Sioux Falls, S.D., and Randy Hummel, Jackson, Minn., five walleyes, 23-15

For a full list of results visit FLWOutdoors.com.

Overall there were 363 walleyes weighing 1,435 pounds, 8 ounces caught by 99 boats Thursday. The catch included 44 five-walleye limits.

In FLW Walleye Tour competition, pro and co-anglers are competing for valuable points in the hope of qualifying for a shot at the 2012 National Guard FLW Walleye Tour Championship which will be held on the Mississippi River in the Quad Cities Sept. 25-28. Anglers are also vying for the coveted 2012 National Guard FLW Walleye Tour Angler of the Year title, which earns them a place in the 2013 Walleye Tour Championship, as well as $10,000 for the pro and $2,500 for the co-angler.

Anglers will take off from Escanaba Harbor located at Loren W. Jenkins Drive in Escanaba at 7:00 each morning. Friday’s weigh-ins will be held at the marina beginning at 3 p.m. Saturday’s final weigh-in will be held at the Walmart located at 601 North Lincoln Road in Escanaba beginning at 4 p.m.

Prior to the final weigh-in on Saturday fans will be treated to the FLW Expo at Walmart from noon-4 p.m. The Expo includes the opportunity to interact with professional anglers, a trout pond and interactive games and activities. The NPAA will be offering a free Youth and Family Fishing Clinic beginning at 2:30 p.m. Prizes, including rods & reels, will be given away after the clinic. All activities are free and open to the public.

Coverage of the Bays de Noc tournament will be broadcast in high-definition (HD) on NBC Sports Network when “FLW” airs Oct. 21 from 1-2 p.m. ET. “FLW” is hosted by Chip Leer and is broadcast to more than 559 million households worldwide, making it the most widely distributed weekly outdoors-sports television show in the world.

Image courtesy FLW Outdoors

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