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  • Updated: 09/23/04

  • Benson, Edlund Overcome Strong Winds to Win Minnesota Championship of
    Walleye Fishing Title

    By Steve Weisman
    Gander Mountain GNWC Publicity Director
        With winds whipping to 40 mph, the team of Chad Benson and Joe Edlund
    from Bemidji, MN made the best of the tough fishing conditions on Sunday to
    take the $4500 payday and the Minnesota State Championship of Walleye
    Fishing title held on Big Stone Lake, September 18-19.
        Benson and Edlund, who won the 2003 Minnesota Team of the Year title,
    were in second place after Day I but ended up with a three-fish weight of
    6.84 pounds to take the championship.
        Second place and a check for $2050 went Matt Hogness and Jeremy Zemlicka
    from Spring Lake Park, MN. Their 6.61 pound walleye gave them the lead on
    Saturday and even though they weren't able to bring another keeper to the
    scales on Sunday, they were still able to hang on to second place. That fish
    also gave them the Berkley Big Fish Award of $400 in Berkley product and an
    additional $460 in cash.
        Third place and a check for $1000 went to    Scott Whipps from Ham Lake,
    MN and Rick Enright from Kasson, MN with a two-fish weight of 6.16 pounds.
        The Minnesota State Championship of Walleye Fishing, which is the eighth
    of such tournaments on the Gander Mountain Grand National Walleye Cup (GNWC)
    circuit, was, according to Gander Mountain GNWC Executive Director Bernie
    Barringer, a tough tournament. "The bite has been almost non-existent, and
    with a south wind at 30 mph yesterday and up to 40 mph today, the fishing
    conditions were really tough. However, I take my hat off to these Minnesota
    teams. They never gave up and kept working right to the end. That wind blew
    right up the chute, and we had teams using two and even three drift socks
    trying to slow themselves down."
        Benson and Edlund went with a game plan that proved to be the game
    winner. They anchored off the end of the peninsula on a rock hump and fished
    in 8' to 10' of water, working jig and minnow combinations.
        "Chad and Joe were bouncing around out there, and even though they only
    weighed three fish, that game plan to anchor off the peninsula brought them
    the title," said Barringer.
        Several other special awards were presented at Sunday's weigh-in.
         The "Yo So Close" award of a Yo Net folding net valued at $80 and the
    VIB"E" Lure award of two six-piece lure sets valued at $40 went to the teams
    that placed just out of the money. They include Ron Swanson and Bran Swanson
    from Osceola, WI in 9th place; Tim Hinrichs from Bemidji, MN and Jeff Putnam
    from Dassel, NN in 10th place.
        The Towtector Comeback Award of a Towtector boat protector valued at
    over $250 went to the team advancing the most places from the first day to
    the second day. This award went to Bob Gotch from Maplewood, MN and Joshua
    Gotch from St. Paul, MN. They caught no fish on Saturday but came back with
    a 5.07 pounder on Sunday that put them in 4th place and also earned them a
    check for $750. 
         The winner of the Gander Mountain "Need More Stuff" drawing of $200 for
    a Gander Mountain Shopping Spree went Jim Harken from Oak Park Heights, MN
    and Jeff Harken from Inver Grove Heights, MN.
        "Although we had a tough bite, we know that Big Stone Lake is a
    tremendous walleye fishery. I would like to thank the Madison Bottling
    Company and the Big Stone Chamber of Commerce for sponsoring the
    Championship banquet on Friday night and the community of Ortonville for
    welcoming the GNWC teams to the area," added Barringer.
        The Walleye Wisdom camera crew was also on hand to film footage of the
    Championship. "The Walleye Wisdom camera crew is at all of the State
    Championships to capture the excitement of the tournament action. The
    highlights of these State Championships and the National Championships,
    along with some great walleye fishing tips will appear on our 13-week
    Walleye Wisdom television program," noted Barringer.
        Those interested in checking out the standings, reading the releases
    about any of the eight regions or simply learning more about the circuit can
    access the Gander Mountain GNWC website at www.walleyecup.com.
        Title Sponsor for the GNWC is Gander Mountain. Other major national
    sponsors include Skeeter Boats, Yamaha Outboards, the Sportsman Channel,
    Berkley, Aqua Innovations, YoNet Folding Nets by AMFYOYO, VIB"E" Lure
    Company, TowTector Shield and UpNorthOutdoors.com.

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