South Dakotans Mike Dorris and Curt Olivier weighed a total of 43.99 pounds to capture top honors and more than $32,000 at the Cabela’s Masters Walleye Circuit’s 2012 World Walleye Championship.
“It’s absolutely amazing, I can’t believe that we finished in first place. The best anglers are here fishing the tournament, so the competition is unbelievable,” Dorris of Madison, said moments after the final weigh-in came to a dramatic close in front of a large crowd gathered river-side at the Winneshiek Marina. “It hasn’t set in yet, it’s the highlight of our fishing career,” added Olivier, of Yankton.
Held Oct. 18-20 on Pools 9 and 10 of the Mississippi River, the Championship pitted 48 elite two-person teams from 14 states against one another for more than $100,000 in cash-including $25,000 for first place-plus thousands more in sponsor bonuses from Cabela’s Angler Cash, Ranger Boats, Lowrance Electronics, Berkley, U2/The Oxygenator and the MWC’s Big Fish Pot.
Dorris and Olivier capped their Circuit season by collecting the $25,000 first-place check, plus a $5,000 Cabela’s gift card through the Cabela’s Angler Cash program, $1,000 Ranger Cup bonus, $500 Lowrance Electronics HDS/Elite DSI contingency, $500 in Berkley products for being the highest-finishing team using Berkley Baits, $100 Oxygenator Bonus and U2 Bonus worth $60 in U2 product.
Dorris and Olivier left in 6th place after Day Two, and after a nail-biting finish came out on top by 0.08 pounds. Their go-to tactic was pitching .25-ounce jigs tipped with Berkley PowerBait ringworm tails. The duo positioned their Ranger 621 VS over 23 feet of water and cast into shallower, fast water near the dam.
Casper, Wyoming anglers Brian Woodward and Rick Walter notched their second straight second-place Championship finish, worth $13,000. In all, the field shared more than $110,000 in cash and bonuses. Teams qualified for the no-entry-fee event during the circuit’s 2011 season.
A total of 376 walleyes and saugers weighing 879.48 pounds crossed the Cabela’s MWC stage during the event, which was filmed for airing on NBC Sports later this fall. Big fish of the tournament was an 8.15-pound walleye caught on Day 1 by Jim Preissner of Chilton, Wisconsin, and Mike Olson of Andover, Minnesota.
The event was co-hosted by the Prairie du Chien Cabela’s store and supported by the Falling Rock Walleye Club. Following each day’s weigh-in, teams trailered to the store to visit with fans, and hold a free drawing for Cabela’s gift cards-courtesy of Cabela’s. On Friday, the Cabela’s MWC, National Professional Anglers Association, Pure Fishing and Zippo Outdoor Brand presented a Youth & Family Fishing Clinic, giving away free rod-and-reel combos, Cabela’s fishing packs, and a Zippo Outdoor Family Camping Pack valued at more than $100.
Teams qualified for the 2012 World Walleye Championship by earning points during the 2011 Cabela’s MWC season at world-class walleye destinations from Lake Oahe to Lake Erie. Each spot in the field is by invitation-only, carries no entry fee, and is coveted amongst tournament anglers.
This was the final Cabela’s MWC tournament of 2012. The schedule included nine qualifying tournaments spanning from Pueblo, Colorado to Huron, Ohio.
Images courtesy Cabela's MWC tournament