It was another tough day on the Mississippi River, as Chevy pro Jason Przekurat brought only one walleye to the scales at the National Guard FLW Walleye Championship. It was enough to maintain his lead, however, heading into the fourth and final day of competition for the richest prize in walleye fishing. The top cash award of $100,000 is still very much up for grabs as the best professional walleye anglers in the world continued their competition Saturday.
The Stevens Point, Wis., angler advanced to the top 10 as the No. 1 seed with one walleye Saturday weighing 1 pound, 10 ounces. With a three-day catch of six walleye weighing 22-5, Przekurat now holds a 1-pound, 5-ounce lead in the tournament going into the fourth and final day of competition.
“I’m going to have to do a lot of thinking and strategizing tonight to figure out how I’m going to seal this deal,” said Przekurat, who has fished every National Guard FLW Walleye Tour event ever held since the tour’s inception. “I got up to my best spot this morning, and the water was real dirty and all weeded up. There is too much flow right now. I’m going to have to change game plans.”
The lone walleye Przekurat weighed in Saturday actually came from pool 16 within the first two minutes of the day.
“Right away I ran up to the dam and had around 10 minutes to kill, and I caught two fish right away,” Przekurat said. “One was just a tad short.
“I got to my best spot in pool 14 and decided I had to move,” Przekurat continued. “I moved to a few of my other spots and caught plenty of fish – around 17 pounds of walleye. I couldn’t get them in the slot, though. Everything I was catching was 24½ inches, 25½ inches. It’s hard throwing them back. They’re just too short to weigh in.”
Przekurat said he has been throwing hair jigs all week, but did not want to divulge any color specifics.
“I haven’t thrown any other colors other than what was working for me in practice,” Przekurat said. “When you put it in front of their face they are absolutely clobbering it.
“I’m going to have a lot of thinking to do,” Przekurat went on to say. “I haven’t made up my mind yet on which way I’m going to go tomorrow. I’ll come up with a game plan tonight and try to figure it out. It’d be pretty special to win this championship.”
Pro Danny Plautz of Madison, Wis., advanced to the final day of competition of 10 pros in the No. 2 spot with a three-day catch of 12 walleye weighing 21-0.
The top 10 pros advancing to the final day of competition are:
1st: Chevy pro Jason Przekurat, Stevens Point, Wis., six walleye, 22-5
2nd: Danny Plautz, Madison, Wis., 12 walleye, 21-0
3rd: Ed Stachowski, Canton, Mich., 11 walleye, 17-2
4th: Todd Zemke, Red Wing, Minn., eight walleye, 15-7
5th: Chris Gilman, Chisago City, Minn., seven walleye, 15-5
6th: National Guard pro Mark Courts, Harris, Minn., nine walleye, 14-14
7th: Dan Plautz, Muskego, Wis., nine walleye, 14-3
8th: National Guard pro Bill Shimota, Lonsdale, Minn., eight walleye, 13-14
9th: Ryan Jirik, Rhinelander, Wis., eight walleye, 12-12
10th: EverStart pro Dan Stier, Mina, S.D., six walleye, 9-9
Finishing in 11th through 20th are:
11th: Gary Parsons, Glidden, Wis., five walleye, 9-8, $2,000
12th: Ted Takasaki, Sioux Falls, S.D., four walleye, 8-9, $2,000
13th: Walmart pro Dean Arnoldussen, Appleton, Wis., four walleye, 8-6, $2,000
14th: David Andersen, Amery, Wis., five walleye, 8-0, $2,000
15th: Dusty Minke, Forest Lake, Minn., five walleye, 7-11, $2,000
16th: Jimmy Bell, Ham Lake, Minn., three walleye, 7-9, $1,500
17th: Kevin McQuoid, Isle, Minn., four walleye, 6-5, $1,500
18th: David Kolb, Rockford, Mich., four walleye, 5-7, $1,500
19th: Tom Kemos, Oconomowoc, Wis., three walleye, 5-0, $1,500
20th: Eric Olson, Red Wing, Minn., two walleye, 4-2, $1,500
Final results for the remaining field can be found on FLWOutdoors.com.
Overall there were 43 walleyes weighing 77 pounds even caught by 20 boats Saturday. The catch included three five-walleye limits.
Tom Wiehoff of Pierre, S.D., won the co-angler division and $8,000 Saturday with a three-day total of 10 walleye weighing 19 pounds, 3 ounces, followed by Stuart Lubbert of Stewart, Minn., in second place with five walleye weighing 18-11 worth $2,500.
“I never dreamed that I would do this well here,” said Wiehoff. “My season was pretty rocky and I honestly didn’t think that I would make it here. I was lucky to draw the right pros on the right days.
“EverStart pro Dan Stier is a good friend of mine and an incredible angler. We fish together all the time,” Wiehoff went on to say. “But, it’s great to fish the walleye tour and go fish with some of the other walleye legends. They all have different things to offer and if you’re paying attention, there is always something to learn.”
The top 10 co-anglers are:
1st: Tom Wiehoff, Pierre, S.D., 10 walleye, 19-3, $8,000
2nd: Stuart Lubbert, Stewart, Minn., five walleye, 18-11, $2,500
3rd: Todd Dankert, Anoka, Minn., 10 walleye, 16-11, $1,750 + $1,000 Ranger Cup + $2,500 Engine Bonus
4th: Anthony Erdmann, Watertown, Wis., seven walleye, 14-15, $1,200
5th: Bruce Frevert, Centerville, Iowa, nine walleye, 14-12, $1,000
6th: Dale Janota, Gillette, Wyo., nine walleye, 14-11, $900
7th: Chris Augustyn, Holdrege, Neb., eight walleye, 14-9, $800
8th: Corey Meyer, Pierre, S.D., eight walleye, 12-13, $700
9th: Craig Cayemberg, Valders, Wis., six walleye, 11-1, $600
10th: Douglas Ripperger, Eldridge, Iowa, six walleye, 10-4, $500
Final results for the remaining field can be found on FLWOutdoors.com.
Anglers will take off from the Centennial Park Launch located at 315 S. Marquette St. in Davenport, Iowa at 7:30 a.m. Sunday morning. Weigh-ins will be held at the River Center located at 136 E. 3rd St. in Davenport beginning at 4 p.m. Sunday.
In celebration of the festivities, Davenport, Iowa, Mayor Bill Gluba and the Davenport City Council proclaimed the week of October 22-28 as FLW National Guard Walleye Championship Week.
Fans will also be treated to the FLW Expo at the River Center on Sunday from noon-4 p.m. prior to the weigh-ins. The Expo includes Ranger boat simulators, the opportunity to interact with professional anglers, enjoy interactive games, activities and giveaways provided by sponsors, and fans can learn more about the sport of fishing and other outdoor activities. All activities are free and open to the public. On Sunday the first 300 children 14 and under who are accompanied by an adult will receive a free rod and reel combo courtesy of the Quad Cities Convention & Visitors Bureau/Quad Cities Sports Commission. Also on Sunday, one lucky fishing fan will win a $500 Walmart gift card. The gift card giveaway is free to enter but the winner must be present at the conclusion of Sunday’s final weigh-in to win.
Coverage of the National Guard FLW Walleye Tour Championship will be broadcast in high-definition (HD) on NBC Sports Network when “FLW” airs Dec. 2 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