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  • Updated: 12/24/03


    BENTON, Ky. (December 22, 2003) – Professional walleye anglers are poised to earn more money than ever before as the Wal-Mart RCL Walleye Tour returns in 2004 for its fourth full season of action. The tour, which features the top walleye pros from the United States and Canada, will pay out as much as $3.19 million in 2004, including a $185,000 Angler of the Year program. The 2004 RCL Tour will make four regular-season stops on the nation’s most prolific walleye hot spots, followed by the $1.4 million Wal-Mart RCL Walleye Championship on the Mississippi River in Moline, Ill., Sept. 29-Oct. 2.
       The tour will make its first stop March 31-April 3 on the Illinois River in Spring Valley, Ill., followed by an event presented by Yamaha on Lake Erie in Port Clinton, Ohio, April 28-May 1. The third regular-season event is scheduled for May 26-29 on Devils Lake near Spirit Lake, N.D., and the season will close on Lake Oahe near Pierre, S.D., June 16-19.
       “The 2004 season, with its schedule and lucrative payouts, encapsulates why the Wal-Mart RCL Walleye Tour is the nation’s premier walleye-tournament circuit,” said Mark Dorn, director of walleye operations for FLW Outdoors. “The tour’s continued growth and exposure is very attractive to the world’s best walleye anglers and their fans.” 
       Each regular-season event will pay out as much as $401,750 in cash and prizes, including as much as $50,000 cash plus a Ranger, Crestliner or Lund boat powered by Yamaha or Evinrude and trailer going to the winning pro. The winning co-angler will earn as much as $15,000 cash in regular-season events. The winning pro can also earn another $1,000 from Garmin if he uses only Garmin electronics and at least one unit is a qualifying Garmin Fishfinder or GPS/sounder, and Ranger boat owners can earn points in RCL Tour events that count toward the Ranger Cup incentive program. 
       The top 120 pros and 120 co-anglers based on year-end points standings will advance to the Wal-Mart RCL Walleye Championship. The rest of the 200-boat championship field is comprised of anglers who qualified through the Wal-Mart RCL Walleye League and other sanctioned organizations.
       The winning pro at the championship will earn as much as $400,000, which includes a guaranteed cash award of $150,000 plus a $150,000 bonus if he is a Ranger, Crestliner or Lund boat owner who meets contingency guidelines and a $100,000 bonus from Evinrude or Yamaha if contingency guidelines are met.
       The co-angler champion will earn as much as $150,000, which includes a guaranteed cash award of $75,000 plus a $45,000 bonus if he meets Ranger, Crestliner or Lund contingency guidelines and a $30,000 bonus from Evinrude or Yamaha if contingency guidelines are met.
       Entry fees remain unchanged for the third consecutive year at $1,250 for pros and $500 for co-anglers in regular-season events. Cash prizes are awarded through 60th place at qualifiers, and cash awards are guaranteed through 100th place at the championship. Including sponsor bonuses, cash awards are available through 200th place at the championship. Entry fees for the championship remain at $1,500 for pros and $750 for co-anglers.
       RCL Tour anglers will also reap the benefits of the $185,000 Angler of the Year program, which awards $10,000 plus a Ranger, Crestliner or Lund boat powered by Evinrude or Yamaha and trailer to the pro who earns the most points during the regular season. The top co-angler point-getter will earn $2,000 plus a Ranger, Crestliner or Lund boat and trailer. Cash prizes are awarded through 30th place in the standings, with the second-place pro also earning a boat. Each angler who receives weight credit in a tournament earns points, with 200 points going to the winner, 199 to second, 198 to third, and so on. These points determine angler standings.
       In RCL Tour competition, pros and co-anglers are randomly paired each day and compete for a combined boat weight. One hundred and sixty-five pros and 165 co-anglers comprise a full field in regular-season events. The full field competes for two days to determine the top 20 pros and 20 co-anglers who will advance to the semifinal round. Weights are cleared for semifinal-round competition, and anglers compete for one day to determine the top 10 who will advance to Saturday’s final round. The top 10 pros and 10 co-anglers continue competition, with the winner determined by the heaviest two-day weight.
       Ranger, Crestliner or Lund owners may begin submitting nontransferable, nonrefundable deposits beginning at 8 a.m. CST Jan. 12. For all other entries, deposits will be accepted beginning at 8 a.m. CST Jan. 15. While co-angler participation is open to the general public, pro participation is open only to Ranger, Crestliner or Lund owners. Anglers entering with a partner will be given priority, and anglers entering all four events with a partner will receive top priority. Entries are accepted online at FLWOutdoors.com or by calling (270) 252-1000 no earlier than the dates listed above.
       Wal-Mart and many of America’s most respected companies support FLW Outdoors and its five tournament trails.  Wal-Mart has been the title sponsor of FLW Outdoors since 1997. For a complete list of FLW Outdoors sponsors and for more information about the premier products and services they offer, please visit FLWOutdoors.com.
       For more information about the Wal-Mart RCL Walleye Tour, visit FLWOutdoors.com or call (270)252-1000.

    2004 Wal-Mart RCL Walleye Tour Schedule

    March 31-April 3    Illinois River    Spring Valley, Ill.

    April 28-May 1    Lake Erie    Port Clinton, Ohio
        Presented by Yamaha

    May 26-29    Devils Lake    Spirit Lake, N.D.

    June 16-19    Lake Oahe    Pierre, S.D.

    Wal-Mart RCL Walleye Championship
    Sept. 29-Oct. 2    Mississippi River    Moline, Ill.

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