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  • Updated: 09/07/04


    ESCANABA, Mich. (Sept. 4, 2004) – Boater Keith Daniels of Fond du Lac, Wis., landed two walleyes weighing 19 pounds, 14 ounces Saturday to win the Wal-Mart RCL Walleye League Finals on Bays de Noc by 10 pounds, 5 ounces over runner up Glenn Chenier of Gladstone, Mich. Daniels earned the victory and an Evinrude- or Yamaha-powered Ranger boat, complete with trailer and equipped with a Minn Kota trolling motor, Garmin electronics and EverStart batteries, with a three-day total of seven walleyes weighing 53 pounds, 14 ounces.
       Daniels caught two walleyes weighing 16 pounds, 14 ounces while fishing with co-angler Roger Wright of Prior Lake, Minn., Thursday to open the tournament in fourth place. On day two he added three walleyes weighing 17 pounds, 2 ounces to his total while fishing with co-angler Jason Howell of Dimondale, Mich., to move into second place. Then, on Saturday, he and co-angler Scott Thimmig of Chilton, Wis., sealed victory with the third heaviest catch of the entire tournament. 
       “I couldn’t be more excited about this win,” said Daniels, who qualified through the Wisconsin Division as the No. 7 seed. “As soon as I saw the schedule this year, I started working to get here. I’m just ecstatic. It hasn’t really sunk in yet.”
       Daniels is well versed on how to catch walleyes on Bays de Noc, as he regularly fishes the area during August and September, but he struggled to figure out how to catch the smaller fished needed to fill out his daily limits this week. Fortunately, he prevailed on the strength of a big-fish bite that produced a steady stream of walleyes over 26 inches. A 15- to 23-inch slot limit restricted teams to two fish over 23 inches per day. All week Daniel and his co-anglers trolled with spinners and crawler harnesses at a depth of 18 feet over 23 to 35 feet of water in the area of Chambers Island. 
       “The bite was really hot and heavy in the mornings between 7 and 11,” Daniels said. “After that we went looking for small fish each day.”
       Rounding out the top five boaters are Glenn Chenier of Gladstone, Mich. (eight walleyes, 43 pounds, 9 ounces); Robert Winkler of Neenah, Wis. (six walleyes, 39 pounds, 10 ounces); Peter Werner of Kimball, Minn. (six walleyes, 37 pounds, 5 ounces) and Tom Hoinacki of Waupun, Wis. (15 walleyes, 37 pounds).
       Thimmig won the Co-angler Division and a Lund boat and trailer Saturday with a three-day total of six walleyes weighing 46 pounds, 6 ounces.
       He caught two walleyes weighing 13 pounds, 14 ounces while fishing with boater Perry Dreyer of Elk River, Minn., Thursday to open the tournament in ninth place. On day two he added two walleyes weighing 12 pounds, 10 ounces to his total while fishing with boater Shawn Hettinga of Schofield, Wis., to move into second place.
       “This is just unbelievable,” said Thimmig, who qualified through the Wisconsin Division as the No. 12 seed. “I told everyone when I left to come up here that I would be coming home with a boat, and they laughed at me. I guess I’ll be the one laughing now.”
       Rounding out the top five co-anglers are Todd Springer of Luck, Wis. (six walleyes, 38 pounds, 10 ounces); Erik Furseth of Okemos, Mich. (10 walleyes, 34 pounds, 12 ounces); William Wieczorek of Little Falls, Minn. (nine walleyes, 32 pounds, 10 ounces) and Dennis Springer of Luck, Wis. (five walleyes, 32 pounds, 6 ounces).
       Boaters and co-anglers are randomly paired each day and fish for a combined boat weight. Boaters compete against other boaters and co-anglers compete against other co-anglers. Winners are determined by the heaviest three-day catch weight. 
       Overall, 12 of the 15 boats that advanced to the final round caught 35 walleyes Saturday, including four five-walleye limits. The day’s total catch weighed 127 pounds, 6 ounces. 
       Anglers took off from Escanaba Municipal Marina at 7 a.m. Saturday followed by the final weigh-in held at the Wal-Mart store located at 601 N. Lincoln in Escanaba at 4 p.m. 
       Evinrude and Ranger Boats hosted a Children’s Fishing Clinic Saturday at Escanaba Municipal Marina, giving children the opportunity to visit with several Evinrude and Ranger pros. The pros signed autographs, demonstrated different fishing techniques, and talked about the types of lures and bait they use when fishing the Bays. 
       The Wal-Mart RCL Walleye League provides grassroots walleye anglers a chance to compete in professionally administered, close-to-home tournaments with lucrative cash awards. FLW Outdoors administers the Wal-Mart RCL Walleye League as well as the Wal-Mart RCL Walleye Tour, the world’s most lucrative walleye-fishing circuit. FLW Outdoors also administers the Wal-Mart FLW Tour, the EverStart Series, the Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League, the Wal-Mart Texas Tournament Trail, the new Wal-Mart FLW Kingfish Tour, and the new Wal-Mart FLW Redfish Series. To enter a tournament, visit FLWOutdoors.com or call (270) 252-1000.
       Wal-Mart and many of America’s most respected companies support FLW Outdoors and its tournament trails. Wal-Mart has been the title sponsor of FLW Outdoors 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.
       FLW Outdoors is named after the legendary founder of Ranger Boats, Forrest L. Wood. The RCL Walleye League is named after boat manufacturers Ranger, Crestliner and Lund.

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