When the dust settled at the Cabela’s National Walleye Tour event on Lake Erie last week, Ohio angler Mike Defibaugh had won the first-place prize package worth $61,000. During the 2-day tournament, he brought 10 walleyes to the weigh-in scale for 64.65 pounds.

Defibaugh (right) with four of his final day walleyes.

As is the case with many national fishing tournaments, the entire payout isn’t in cash. In this case, a boat (Ranger 1880), motor and trailer accounted for most the package, valued at $46,000. So, that left a cash prize of $15,000.

Instead of pocketing the cash, however, Defibaugh decided to give the money to the local Make-A-Wish chapter.

After the win, Defibaugh stated: “This is something I have dreamed of for my whole life, being able to fish on the professional level. When my wife and kids starting hollering for me on day one, that was me getting to live my dream. I wanted to let the kids get a chance to live their dreams, too.

“I’ve been blessed with a job that keeps all the bills paid with a little left over to put gas in the boat and buy a few worms. My wife and I decided any cash winnings won this year would go to the local Make-A-Wish chapter.”

Editor’s note: Make-A-Wish grants wishes to children diagnosed with a life-threatening medical condition. In the United States and its territories, on average, a wish is granted every 34 minutes. The organization does not, however, grant hunting trips as wishes. Another nonprofit organization called Hunt of a Lifetime has the mission to grant hunting and fishing dreams for children age 21 and under, who have been diagnosed with life-threatening illnesses.

Images courtesy of Cabela’s National Walleye Tour

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