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NELSON, KROONA WIN WAL-MART RCL WALLEYE TOUR
EVENT ON LAKE OAHE
PIERRE, S.D. (June 19, 2004) – Pro Terry Nelson of Pierre, S.D., landed
$90,000 in cash and prizes, including a Lund boat powered by Yamaha, Saturday
after catching five walleyes weighing 16 pounds, 4 ounces while fishing
with co-angler Marly Kroona Jr. of Blaine, Minn., on the final day of the
$401,750 Wal-Mart RCL Walleye Tour stop on Lake Oahe.
Nelson and Kroona caught their biggest fish of the
day, a 23-incher, within minutes of wetting their first line to continue
Nelson’s rise up the leader board with a two-day, final-round total of
10 walleyes weighing 31 pounds, 5 ounces. The catch gave Nelson a 3-puond,
4-ounce advantage over runner-up Robert Crow of Paterson, Wash., who landed
10 walleyes weighing 28 pounds, 1 ounce and earned $25,000.
“Things really started out good when we pulled in
our first spot and caught that big one before we even had all of our lines
in the water,” said Nelson, who also fished the two previous RCL Tour stops
in Pierre, finishing 47th in 2003 and 67th in 2002. “When that one came
in the boat, I knew I was sitting in good position since I only had a pound
and a half to make up from day three.”
Nelson entered Friday’s semifinal round of 20 anglers
as the No. 12 seed after catching five walleyes weighing 12 pounds, 5 ounces
Wednesday with co-angler Robert Swank of Darby Mont., and five walleyes
weighing 14 pounds, 15 ounces Thursday with co-angler Greg Abbott of Canton,
S.D. Weights were cleared Friday, and Nelson advanced to the final round
of 10 anglers as the No. 4 seed after catching five walleyes weighing 15
pounds, 1 ounce with co-angler Chester Jones of Michigan City, Ind.
Nelson and his co-anglers used bottom bounces with
chartreuse beads and red hooks baited with either creek chubs or night
crawlers to catch their fish throughout the tournament. The majority of
the fish were caught out of less than 20 feet of water off humps in the
middle of the lake and main creek channels. Smelt were another key ingredient
of the productive pattern, as large clouds of the bait fish were present
in the areas targeted.
Rounding out the top five pros are Scott Steil of
Richmond, Minn. (10 walleyes, 28 pounds, $20,000); Reid Widvey of Pierre,
S.D. (10 walleyes, 27 pounds, 5 ounces, $15,000); and Scott Pitlick of
Pierre, S.D. (10 walleyes, 25 pounds, 14 ounces, $12,500).
Kroona won the Co-angler Division and $15,000 with
10 walleyes weighing 30 pounds. He caught five walleyes weighing 13 pounds,
12 ounces Friday while fishing with pro Reid Widvey of Pierre, S.D., to
enter the final round as the No. 7 seed. When Saturday’s catch with Nelson
was added to the total, Kroona opened a 1-pound, 6-ounce margin of victory
over Chester Jones of Michigan City, Ind., who caught 10 walleyes weighing
28 pounds 10 ounces and earned $7,500.
“We were only going to fish our first spot for 10
minutes and then move on, but after we caught that big one, we decided
to stay a little longer,” said Kroona, a veteran co-angler who also cracked
the top 10 on the Illinois River in 2003. “It worked out great because
we also pulled a 19-incher off the same spot a little later.”
Kroona advanced to the semifinal round as the No.
7 seed with 10 walleyes weighing 27 pounds, 7 ounces that he caught with
pros Jason Tomich of Omaha, Neb., and John Zirzow of Fort Collins, Colo.,
Wednesday and Thursday, respectively.
Rounding out the top five co-anglers are Dale Hein
of Spring Lake Park, Minn. (10 walleyes, 28 pounds, 6 ounce, $6,000); Stephen
Froelich of Eagan, Minn. (10 walleyes, 27 pounds, 3 ounces $5,000) and
Robert Swank of Darby, Mont. (10 walleyes, 25 pounds, 3 ounces, $4,000).
Overall, the final 10 teams caught 47 walleyes,
including nine limits. The day’s catch totaled 107 pounds, 3 ounces.
Pros and co-anglers fish for a combined boat weight
and are randomly paired each day. This was the fourth and final regular-season
tournament 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. Cash awards are presented to the top 60 anglers
in each division at every regular-season tournament. The total purse for
the 2004 season is $3.19 million.
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.