Drift Sock Harness Buoy
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Walleye Planer Board
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Lodging food and more
HILL, BARTH LEAD WAL-MART RCL WALLEYE TOUR
SPIRIT LAKE, N.D. (May 28, 2004) – Bruce Hill of Forest Lake, Minn.,
and co-angler Brad Barth of Plymouth, Minn., landed the heaviest limit
of the $401,750 Wal-Mart RCL Walleye Tour stop on Devils Lake Friday to
open a 4-pound, 15-ounce lead over their closest competitors. The lake
was not as generous to opening round leaders Nick Johnson of Elmwood, Wis.,
and co-angler John Blanchard of Crystal, Minn., however, as the pair squeaked
into the final round by 1-ounce after leading the first two days of competition.
Hill and Barth caught five walleyes weighing 29 pounds,
11 ounces while working leeches around six key areas of submerged brush
along a quarter-mile stretch of trees on the east side of the 150,000-acre
lake. Johnson and Blanchard, meanwhile, struggled to land four walleyes
weighing 15 pounds, 15 ounces after being struck by engine trouble. The
catch was just enough to eliminate No. 5 seeds Tim Reitan of Sabin, Minn.,
and co-angler Herbert Stanford of Oregon, Wis., who finished 11th with
three walleyes weighing 15 pounds, 14 ounces.
“I feel very confident that if I can get my five
fish tomorrow, I will win,” said Hill, who made his RCL Tour pro debut
in 2001 on Devils Lake. “I’m fishing a spot that I found last year and
couldn’t drive by without fishing it again this year. I’ve had it to myself
all week, and everything is working, so I’m not going to change a thing.”
Hill entered Friday’s semifinal round as the No. 2 seed
after catching five walleyes weighing 23 pounds, 4 ounces Wednesday with
co-angler Randy Blasky of Fordville, N.D, and five walleyes weighing 26
pounds, 6 ounces Thursday with co-angler Jeff White of Bismarck, N.D. Barth
was the No. 2 seed after catching five walleyes weighing 27 pounds, 5 ounces
Wednesday with pro Mark Courts of Harris, Minn., and five walleyes weighing
21 pounds, 2 ounces Thursday with pro Dan Majeske of Billings, Mont.
“Today was the best day of fishing I’ve had in my life,
and it was my third consecutive day to catch over 20 pounds,” said Barth,
who is fishing his first tournament and postponed closing on a new house
Friday in order to compete. “I’ve had great draws, and the entire experience
has been excellent. I’m excited about the finals.”
Weights were cleared Friday for the top 20 pros and co-anglers
who made the cut out of an original field of 174 pros co-anglers. The 10
remaining pros are casting for a top award of $90,000 in cash and prizes,
including a Ranger, Crestliner or Lund boat powered by Evinrude or Yamaha,
and the 10 remaining co-anglers are chasing a top award of $15,000 cash.
The winners in each division will be determined by the heaviest two-day
Rounding out the top five final-round qualifiers are pro
Phillip Milliser Jr. of Plymouth, Ind., and co-angler Conrad Johnson of
Fargo, N.D. (five walleyes, 24 pounds, 12 ounces); pro Jerry Hein of Stillwater,
Minn., and Blasky (five walleyes, 24 pounds, 4 ounces); pro Shannon Kehl
of Menoken, N.D., and co-angler Lynn Jurrens of Watertown, S.D. (five walleyes,
23 pounds, 9 ounces); and pro Troy Morris of Bismarck, N.D., and co-angler
Mark Gardner of Casper, Wyo. (five walleyes, 22 pounds, 9 ounces).
Overall, the 20 semifinal round teams fishing Friday weighed
in 82 walleyes, including 12 five-walleye limits. The day’s catch totaled
322 pounds, 15 ounces.
Pros and co-angler are randomly paired, and cash awards
are presented to the top 60 anglers in each division. A total of 348 anglers
representing 21 states and Canada participated in the tournament.
The final takeoff starts at 7 Saturday morning from Spirit
Lake Casino and Resort, which is located at 7889 Highway 20/57 in Spirit
Lake. The final weigh-in start at 3 p.m. at the Wal-Mart store located
at 210 Highway 2 W. in Devils Lake. The community is encouraged to attend
daily takeoffs and weigh-ins.
Wal-Mart RCL Walleye Tour anglers compete in four regular-season
tournaments in their quest to qualify for the $1.4 million Wal-Mart RCL
Walleye Championship in Moline, Ill., Sept. 29-Oct. 2 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 total purse for the 2004 season is $3.19
million, and cash awards are presented to the top 60 anglers in each division
at every regular-season tournament.
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.