Sutton, Hora Win Cabela’s National Walleye Tour Event at Lake City, Minnesota
Tournament pays out over $331,000 to competitors
MOUNTAIN HOME, AR – Pro-angler Bill Sutton, of Lindenhurst, Illinois, brought in a two-day total of 46.58 pounds of walleye to win the pro-angler category of the Mississippi River event for the Cabela’s National Walleye Tour (NWT) at Lake City, Minnesota, on May 8.
As promised, the NWT delivered an unprecedented boat and contingency payout. By winning the first-place prize and participating in the Ranger Cup, Mercury Marine and Angler’s Advantage programs, Sutton took home over $70,000 in combined winnings, including a new Ranger 620FS.
After a wet and windy of competition on day one, Sutton brought in 28.12-pound to top the leaderboard.
“The first big fish of the day was the 28.5-incher and we didn’t get her until about 9:15 or 9:20,” said Sutton. “We went another hour and a half and then we got the squeaker (a 15.5-inch walleye), which we put in the box. I was just about ready to leave and then a wave of walleyes came in and it was pandemonium. We stuck with it and it paid off.”
Sharing the area with another boat, the next 30 minutes was pure chaos – a combination of feisty female walleyes, current and snaggy cover. And then, just like that, the flurry was over.
“It was clearly a wave of fish that came funneling through,” said Sutton. “We caught four big ones and that was it. We pushed it right to the end, trying to replace that 15.5-incher, but we never did. I was hoping to be able to look for more spots. If we would have caught another 20-incher, we would have boxed it and left.”
Sutton returned to his productive backwater spot for the final day. Although he only weighed three fish on the final day, his bag was heavy enough to win by .19 pounds.
“We were three-way rigging,” said Sutton. “I used a 1.5-ounce pencil weight with a foot dropper. Then I used a three-foot lead to a Matzuo single hook on two of them. The other two rigs were Matzuo Death Roll hooks. Two of the lines had crawlers; the others had a leech and rainbow chub. Those Death Roll hooks gave the crawlers better action than the Slow Death.”
Just missing out on first place by .19 pounds, local angler Jeremy Wildeman, of Ellsworth, Wisconsin, took an eight-ounce penalty due to an expired fish.
“It wasn’t just the dead fish that cost us,” said Wildeman. “We lost a big fish two or three feet below the surface that was easily over five pounds. We also threw back a 21.5-inch fish thinking we would need more weight to win. Instead, we had to weigh a 20.5. That could have been the difference. We had first place locked up, it just wasn’t meant to be.”
The angler’s two-day weight of 46.39 won him $21,862 and valuable points in the NWT Lucas Oil Angler of the Year race.
After catching 22.14 pounds on day one, Hastings, Minnesota, native Jeremy Evans improved to 21.82 on day two, finishing the tournament with a total weight of 43.96.
“We fished the same spot with the same presentation both days,” said Evans. “We sat on one wing dam up in Pool 3 for the entire tournament. It’s a 45-minute run to get up there, but that’s home to me.”
Evans said the fish more or less stayed in the vicinity of the wing dam all day. But they have different areas where they fed and where they rested.
“I know they’re there,” said Evans. “You just have to find where they feed and wait them out to bite.”
Jarrad Fluekiger (fourth), John Gilman (fifth), Tom Kemos (sixth), Mark Courts (seventh), Korey Sprengel (eighth), Mike Gofron (ninth) and Robert Bruegger (tenth) round out the top 10 pro-anglers.
Terry Hora, of Iowa City, Iowa, brought in a two-day total of 48.81 pounds to win the $6,000 first-place co-angler prize. On day one, Hora fished with Wildeman and the two soaked live-bait all day, catching a total of 27.36 pounds.
On day two, Hora was paired with eventual fourth-place pro Fluekiger and together they caught a limit worth 21.45 pounds.
“Today we fished wing dams with willow cats,” said Hora. “The fish were sitting in one place where two wing dams came together. Jarrad caught four fish and I caught one.”
Hora felt he was fortunate to partner with two great pro anglers and took advantage of the opportunity to gain new knowledge.
“I did this to try and make myself a better walleye fisherman,” said Hora. “The two pros I had were excellent fishermen and both taught me different things. I didn’t even know what a willow cat was before the tournament; we don’t use them in southern Iowa.”
John Hoyer (second), Kirk Cearlock (third), Nick Huckson (fourth), Dave Klamfoth (fifth), James Goddard (sixth), Mike Utley (seventh), Scott Cisewski (eighth), Glenn Trudeau (ninth) and Jim Pinke (tenth) round out the top ten for co-anglers.
The next stop for the Cabela’s National Walleye Tour is set for June 12-13 on Leech Lake at Walker, Minnesota. Registrations for the event are already being accepted online and by calling 612-424-0708. Anglers who are participating in any of the numerous contingency prize programs are encouraged to submit all pertinent information before the event to remain eligible for any potential bonus money.
Anglers that have fished all three regular-season events, in addition to the top points leaders, will qualify for the three-day, entry-fee championship. Two fully rigged Ranger boats are guaranteed for the championship event. The first-place finisher in the pro division will take home a new Ranger 619FS Fisherman, plus $15,000 cash for a total prize value of $79,000. In addition, the second-place pro receives a new Ranger 1880 Angler valued at $46,000. Both figures have the opportunity to go even higher with sponsor contingency. Likewise, the winner of the Co-Angler category will take home $6,000 cash, with the opportunity to nearly double with contingency money thanks to NWT sponsors.
For more details, anglers are encouraged to call 612-424-0708 or 501-317-7548 or check out the new website atwww.nationalwalleyetour.com. From here, site visitors can register for events, view the contingency programs and TV schedule and learn more about what’s in-store for 2015.
2015 NWT scheduled events:
June 12-13 – Leech Lake (Walker, Minn.)
July 24-25 – Green Bay (Green Bay, Wis.)
Championship – September 17-19 – Devils Lake (Devils Lake, N.D.)