Wisconsin angler nets $85,000 payday after claiming his first walleye championship

Pro Danny Plautz of Madison, Wis., crossed the stage with three walleye weighing 6 pounds, 2 ounces Sunday to claim the National Guard FLW Walleye Tour Championship on the Mississippi River. Plautz, with a four-day total of 15 walleye for 27-2, won by a 2-pound, 3-ounce margin over pro Ed Stachowski of Canton, Mich., who caught five walleye weighing 7-13 for a four-day total of 16 walleye weighing 24-15, which was good for $19,000. Sunday’s weigh-in marked the conclusion of the championship tournament which featured 42 of the world’s best professional walleye anglers. Plautz won $85,000 for his efforts on the water.

“There are so many great anglers on this circuit that have never had the opportunity to win this championship,” said Plautz, who earned the first tournament win of his FLW career. “This is my eleventh year fishing as a pro, and so many of these guys have been doing it for much longer than I have. This is an amazing honor to get to hoist this trophy. I’m sure when I’m sitting in my deer stand over the next couple of weeks it will finally sink in for me just what I accomplished today.”

While most of the tournament competitors made the long run through the river lock system to fish the larger walleye population in pool 14, Plautz caught all of his fish throughout the tournament in pool 16.

“My goal this week was to find the current,” Plautz said. “I came up with the game plan of fishing the power dams. I knew the bait fish were in there real thick, and that was a key for me. I was fishing real shallow, in 4 feet of water or less, just casting crankbaits.

Plautz rotated between perch, crawfish and fire tiger-colored crankbaits throughout the tournament, throwing them with a Berkley Series One spinning rod rigged with 10/4 Berkley Fireline.

“I was anchored up, averaging about four casts a minute,” Plautz said. “If you do the math over four days, that’s a lot of casts.

“I knew I was catching fish and I was confident coming in to today that I could probably win this thing,” Plautz went on to say. “But, I knew that Jason (Przeukurat) was fishing in some big fish areas and that made me real nervous. This morning at takeoff, when I saw him turn right and head down the river instead of heading north, I knew he was going for a limit. Right then, I thought I’ve got a good chance. I figured if I found a limit today that it would be enough.

“I caught one right away this morning,” he continued. “And then I went a long time without catching another one. Ed (Stachowski) was fishing right by me and just ripping fish. I was seeing people catching fish from the shore. I started panicking a little bit.

“I just kept casting my crankbaits, nonstop,” Plautz said. “I knew that as long as I kept my lure wet, there was a pretty good shot that I would get some fish. I kept calm and just kept with it, and I got my fish and it all worked out for me this week. At this moment, I could not be any happier.”

The top 10 pros finished the tournament in:

  •       1st:     Danny Plautz, Madison, Wis., 15 walleye, 27-2, $85,000
  •       2nd:    Ed Stachowski, Canton, Mich., 16 walleye, 24-15, $19,000
  •       3rd:     Chevy pro Jason Przekurat, Stevens Point, Wis., six walleye, 22-5, $18,000
  •       4th:     Ryan Jirik, Rhinelander, Wis., 11 walleye, 17-6, $12,500
  •       5th:     National Guard pro Mark Courts, Harris, Minn., 10 walleye, 16-0, $10,000
  •       6th:     Todd Zemke, Red Wing, Minn., eight walleye, 15-7, $6,000
  •       7th:     Chris Gilman, Chisago City, Minn., seven walleye, 15-5, $6,500
  •       8th:     Dan Plautz, Muskego, Wis., 10 walleye, 15-4, $4,000
  •       9th:     National Guard pro Bill Shimota, Lonsdale, Minn., eight walleye, 13-14, $4,000
  •       10th:   EverStart pro Dan Stier, Mina, S.D., seven walleye, 11-12, $3,250

A complete list of results can be found at FLWOutdoors.com.

Overall there were 14 walleye weighing 22 pounds, 15 ounces caught by pros Sunday. Stachowski weighed the lone five-walleye limit.

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.

The National Guard FLW Walleye Tour Championship was hosted by the Quad Cities Convention & Visitors Bureau and Quad Cities Sports Commission.

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.

For complete details and updated information visit FLWOutdoors.com. For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow us on Facebook at Facebook.com/FLWFishing and on Twitter at Twitter.com/FLWFishing.

Image courtesy FLW

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