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  • Updated: 07/26/04


    MOLINE, Ill. (July 22, 2004) – The $1.4 Million Wal-Mart RCL Walleye Championship will celebrate its fifth anniversary Sept.29-Oct. 2 on the Mississippi River in the Quad Cities with the nation’s best pros vying for a top award of as much as $400,000. Top co-anglers will also compete for as much as $150,000. 
        Two hundred anglers will compete in each division after qualifying for the championship through the Wal-Mart RCL Walleye Tour, Wal-Mart RCL Walleye League and other sanctioned tournament organizations nationwide. Fishing fans from across the region will also descend upon the Quad Cities to see which of their fishing heroes takes home the sport’s biggest prize. 
        As host of the prestigious tournament, the Quad Cities will benefit from nationwide exposure when the region is featured on “FLW Outdoors,” which is broadcast to 65 million Outdoor Life Network subscribers. The program will air Oct. 17 at 1 p.m. Eastern time and will be rebroadcast Oct. 21 at 5 p.m. Eastern time. FLW Outdoors Magazine will also provide in-depth coverage of the event in its Winter issue that hits newsstands in November. 
        “Thanks to the awareness created by the RCL Championship, anglers from across the nation will look to the Quad Cities as a prime walleye-fishing destination,” said Joe Taylor, president and chief executive officer of the Quad Cities Convention and Visitors Bureau. “The championship will firmly establish the region as a vacation destination for fishing enthusiasts, and the windfall to our local economy will be felt for years to come.” 
        Sunset Park in Rock Island will host daily 7 a.m. takeoffs throughout the event. Wednesday and Thursday’s weigh-ins, Sept. 29 and 30, will also be held at the park beginning at 3 p.m. Weigh-ins Friday and Saturday, Oct. 1 and 2, will be held at the Wal-Mart store located at 3930 44th Ave. in Moline beginning at 4 p.m. The community is invited to attend takeoffs and weigh-ins as well as the Family Fun Zone, which opens at 3 p.m. Friday and 11 a.m. Saturday outside the weigh-in tent in the Wal-Mart parking lot. The Family Fun Zone features interactive displays, product samples and games for the entire family.
        “Fishing is a huge and often overlooked economic driver,” said Moline Mayor Stanley Leach. “Hosting the RCL Walleye Championship is a terrific opportunity to showcase our city and the entire region to the nation’s 53 million anglers.”
        One angler who already knows what the Quad Cities stretch of the Mississippi River has to offer is RCL tournament winner Tom Giachetto of Ladd. He’s hoping to turn his years of experience on the river into a championship title, and he feels that the winning tactics employed by top finishers will hinge entirely on the shape of the river when tournament time rolls around. 
        “If the water is normal or low, there are going to be some big weights, and it could take a 3-pound average to make the first cut,” said Giachetto, who won the 2004 RCL Tour season opener and $90,000 in cash and prizes on the Illinois River in April. “If the water is up, weights are going to drop dramatically.”
        Normal or low river flows could make it tough on jig fishermen and others who rely on handlining tactics.
        “It’s going to be tough to beat the trollers in those types of conditions, mainly because they can cover so much more water,” Giachetto said. “If the water is normal or low, it’s going to be won on lead core and crankbaits. You can cover 10 times the water in the same amount of time doing that as opposed to drift-fishing.”
        High water, on the other hand, could hamper trolling because of all the debris that could be drifting in the water.
        “High water will kill the lead-core bite and the jig bite will turn on – it always does,” Giachetto said. “If the river is up, a 5/16- to 1/2-ounce jig tipped with a minnow will likely be the ticket.”
        Other notable pros who will be fishing the RCL Walleye Championship are Dr. Bruce Samson of Minnetrista, Minn., who conquered the mighty Mississippi in Red Wing, Minn., to claim a $300,000 winner’s check at the 2002 championship, and Tom Keenan of Hatley, Wis., who won the 2003 title and $300,000 on the Mississippi River out of Red Wing.
        The winning pro at the RCL Championship is guaranteed a cash award of $150,000. If the winner is a registered owner of a Ranger, Crestliner or Lund boat, he will earn a $150,000 bonus, and if his boat is equipped with an Evinrude or Yamaha outboard, he will receive another $100,000 for a total cash award of $400,000. 
        The winning co-angler is guaranteed $75,000 cash and is eligible for a $45,000 bonus from Ranger, Crestliner or Lund if he is a registered owner. The winning co-angler will also receive a $30,000 bonus if his boat is equipped with an Evinrude or Yamaha for a total cash award of $150,000.
        The full field will compete on days one and two for one of 12 semifinal-round spots in their respective division. Weights are cleared for the semifinal round, and anglers compete for one day to determine the top six pros who will compete in the final round. The co-angler winner is determined after day-three competition. Final-round pros start at zero and compete for one day for position and prize money.
        With a $3.19 million purse, the RCL Tour is the world’s most lucrative walleye-tournament series.
        The Wal-Mart RCL Walleye Championship is administered by FLW Outdoors, the world’s leading marketer of competitive fishing. FLW Outdoors-sanctioned tournament trails include the Wal-Mart RCL Walleye Tour, the Wal-Mart RCL Walleye League, the Wal-Mart FLW Tour, the EverStart Series, the Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League and the Wal-Mart Texas Tournament Trail.
        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 events 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 Championship, visit FLWOutdoors.com or call (270) 252-1000.

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