Drift Sock Harness Buoy
here for more info and to order on line
Walleye Planer Board
here for more info or to order on-line
Lodging food and more
LOTZ LEADS WAL-MART RCL WALLEYE TOUR SEASON
SPRING VALLEY, Ill. (April 1, 2004) – It may have been April Fools’
Day, but fishing the Wal-Mart RCL Walleye Tour season opener on the Illinois
River was serious business Thursday for 340 anglers from 19 states and
Canada who are trying their best to trick just a few sauger into biting
despite high, debris-filled water. At stake in the state’s most lucrative
walleye tournament to date is $401,750 in cash and prizes and valuable
points toward a return trip to Illinois to fish the $1.4 million Wal-Mart
RCL Walleye Championship on the Mississippi River in Moline Sept. 29-Oct.
Ranger pro Steve Lotz of Lena, Ill., and co-angler
Wally Neumann of Morris, Ill., landed a five-fish limit weighing 12 pounds,
6 ounces Thursday to give Lotz a two-day total of 10 sauger weighing 25
pounds, 4 ounces and the lead heading into Friday’s semifinal round of
20 pros and 20 co-anglers. Neumann is currently in 11th place in the Co-angler
Division after blanking on opening day.
Weights are cleared Friday and only the top 10 pros
and top 10 co-anglers will advance to Saturday’s final round for a shot
at $90,000 in cash and prizes, including a Ranger, Crestliner or Lund boat
powered by Evinrude or Yamaha, in the Pro Division and $15,000 cash in
the Co-angler Division. The winners are determined by the heaviest two-day
“It was definitely an improved bite for everyone
today,” said Lotz, who entered Thursday’s competition as the No. 1 seed
after catching five sauger weighing 12 pounds, 14 ounces on opening-day
with co-angler Tony Jaworski of Chicago. “That’s the scary part. Several
guys are charging hard, so it’s going to be a tough couple of days.”
Lotz caught his fish working a three-way rig around
current breaks. His setup included a 1-ounce jig tipped with a minnow.
“We fished a different area today and had a limit
by 9:30, but we only caught eight fish all day,” Lotz said. “Tomorrow I’m
heading back to my prime area and hitting them hard. The bite is definitely
going to be better over the next two days.”
Despite improving conditions, the Illinois River,
which is widely regarded as a world-class sauger fishery, was stingy for
a second straight day, as just 92 of 170 boats weighed 211 fish totaling
536 pounds, 13 ounces. On Wednesday, 56 boats brought a total of 91 fish
weighing 231 pounds, 5 ounces to the scale. All of the fish were weighed
in alive Thursday.
Rounding out the top five pros are Mark Courts of
Harris, Minn. (eight sauger, 19 pounds, 12 ounces); Brian Ernat of Seatonville,
Ill. (six sauger, 18 pounds, 11 ounces); John Campbell of Marco Island,
Fla. (eight sauger, 16 pounds, 6 ounces) and Tom Giachetto of Ladd, Ill.
(six sauger, 15 pounds, 15 ounces).
RCL Tour rookie Daniel Smola of Wonder Lake, Ill.,
holds the co-angler lead with a two-day total of six sauger weighing 19
pounds, 13 ounces. He and pro Rick LaCourse of Port Clinton, Ohio, caught
five fish weighing 15 pounds, 11 ounces Thursday to compliment the single
sauger weighing 3 pounds, 8 ounces that Smola caught Wednesday with pro
David Kolb of Riverview, Mich.
“This is my first major tournament, and it’s just
exceptional,” said Smola, who was among a handful of pros who handlined
Thursday. “This is more than I could have asked for. I just can’t stop
Rounding out the top five co-anglers are Glen Prochnow
of Hartford, Wis. (five sauger, 16 pounds, 14 ounces); Troy Nelson of Lombard,
Ill. (seven sauger, 16 pounds, 5 ounces); Scott Koenigsfeld (eight sauger,
16 pounds) and Carolyn Brandon of Greenville, Ohio (six sauger, 15 pounds,
Daily takeoffs on the Illinois River start at 7
a.m. at Spring Valley Boat Club in Spring Valley. Friday and Saturday’s
weigh-ins start at 3 p.m. at the Wal-Mart store located at 1650 38th St.
in Peru. The community is encouraged to attend daily takeoffs and weigh-ins.
Pros and co-anglers fish for a combined boat weight
and are randomly paired each day. Anglers compete in four regular-season
tournaments in their quest to qualify for the $1.4 million Wal-Mart RCL
Walleye Championship where the world’s top pros will fish for as much as
$400,000 cash and co-anglers will chase as much as $150,000 cash.
The RCL Tour is administered by FLW Outdoors and
named after boat manufacturers Ranger, Crestliner and Lund. FLW Outdoors,
the world’s leading marketer of competitive fishing, is named after the
legendary founder of Ranger Boats, Forrest L. Wood. Other FLW Outdoors-sanctioned
tournament trails include the Wal-Mart RCL Walleye League for weekend anglers;
the Wal-Mart FLW Tour, the world’s most lucrative bass-tournament series;
the EverStart Series, designed as a pathway to the FLW Tour; the Wal-Mart
Bass Fishing League for weekend anglers; and the Wal-Mart Texas Tournament
Wal-Mart and many of America’s most respected companies
support FLW Outdoors and its six tournament trails. Wal-Mart has been the
title sponsor of FLW Outdoors since 1997.
For more information about the Wal-Mart RCL Walleye
Tour, visit FLWOutdoors.com or call (270) 252-1000