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Leon Houle Lands Mega-Walleye; Takes Day 1 Lead at Chamberlain
Chamberlain, SD....In the tightest tournament in In-Fisherman Professional Walleye Trail (PWT) history, veteran pro Leon Houle, Lino Lakes, Minn., took a commanding lead. He did it with the benefit of the largest walleye caught in Chamberlain, SD, in quite a while, 9.40 pounds.
Houle and amateur partner Paul Kampfe, Sidney, NE, took first place in their respective Pro and Amateur divisions with a total of 15.51 pounds. Houle has fished 11 seasons with the PWT, capturing eight top 10-place finishes. He won on Lake Winnebago in Wisconsin in 1990. Houle and Kampfe were three pounds better than second place pro Mike Kulm, Rapid City, SD, and amateur Jeff Quist, Blair, NE. Northland Tackle company owner John Peterson, Bemidji, Minn., is in third with 11.51 pounds. He fished with amateur partner Phil Amundson, Sheridan, WY.
Only two pounds separates fourth place from 45th place, and another two pounds separates 45th place from 92nd place. Fourth place pro Rick Gardner, Greeley, CO, and amateur Neil Hodges, Sturgis, SD, made a terrific come-back with 10.09 pounds. They assisted a pro by bringing in his “wet” amateur at 11 a.m., after the boat was forced to beach. They fished in the Chamberlain vicinity for their limit, after sacrificing four hours of fishing time. Pro Keith Kavajecz, Kaukauna, Wis., was the first pro to weigh-in at 9:30 a.m. A third of the boats were already weighed prior to the time the first flight was due.
The PWT limit at Chamberlain is five walleyes per day per boat. Two persons fish together in the Pro-Am format. The story of the tournament so far has been the dramatic shift in South Dakota weather. Temperatures dropped from the mid-nineties a few days ago to 37 degrees at take-off. North winds howling at 15 to 30 mph from the north muddied many popular fishing spots, forcing PWT pros to adjust. They adjusted well, with 74 percent of the partnerships limiting.
The final two days, Thursday and Friday, May 13 and May 14, take place on the Cedar Shore Resort lawn, adjacent to the marina. Stage festivities begin at 3 p.m. daily. Results are posted on the PWT web site, www.professionalwalleyetrail.com, as soon as anglers cross the stage. This, the Trilene/PowerBait Pro-Am Artificial Challenge, is the first stop on the MotorGuide West Division. The PWT tour of six qualifying tournaments and the Mercury Championship includes payouts of more than $2,000,000 this season. The top 40 pros and top 40 amateurs win cash and merchandise at every tournament.
The PWT is an integral element of the In-Fisherman Communications Network headquartered in Brainerd, Minnesota, and PRIMEDIA, America's leading producer of targeted media. PWT sponsors include: Mercury Marine, Lund, Berkley Gulp!, The Outdoor Channel, Trilene, Optima Batteries, Realtree, MotorGuide, Mr. Clean, PowerBait, Lowrance, MinnKota, Frenzy, Gander Mountain, Blue Fox, Northland Fishing Tackle, Lindy Legendary Fishing Tackle, Coleman, Storm, Boat Buckle, Smooth Moves Seat Mounts, Kwik Pfyt, Beckman, Rejuvenade, Eagle Trailers, Raymarine, Rapala, Matzuo, Pflueger, Ram rod holders, Drift Control, Aqua-Vu, Plano, Stowmaster.net. and Chamberlain/Oacoma Chamber (605-734-4416).