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  • Updated: 09/23/04

    Walker, MN-Paul Fournier and Ryan Olson of Andover, MN overcame a strong
    field of veteran anglers to win the Cabela's Masters Walleye Circuit central
    division finale, held September 18-19 on Leech Lake at Walker, MN.
    They weighed the heaviest basket each day of the Ranger Boats titled
    tourney-five fish at 15.99 lbs. on day one and four on day two at 16.52 lbs.
    Their 32.51 pound total earned them their first circuit victory and $20,000.
    Olson explained, "We figured the tournament would be a shootout because the
    fishing was tough.  We worked hard and stuck with our game plan and it paid
    off.  We beat a lot of good teams.  It's our first win.  I'm still shaking a
    An emotional Fournier continued, "We've been close so many times, now we won
    one.  I can't begin to tell you how great this feels."
    The pair fished an area near Goose Island-trolling number 5 and 7 firetiger
    colored Cotton Cordell Wally Diver crankbaits at depths to 13 feet.
    Fournier stated that boat speed was a critical factor to their victory --
    1.4 m.p.h. or so against the wind and 2.7 to 3.3 m.p.h. with the wind
    Second place finishers were Gordon Schwarz (New Holstein, WI) and Brett
    Wilkens (Kiel, WI) with eight fish weighing 25.46 lbs. worth $10,000.  They
    anchored over small rock humps between 12 and 15 feet they located between
    Grass Point and the Big Rock Resort.  They cast 1/8 oz. chartreuse jigs
    tipped with large leeches or crawlers.  Part of their second day catch, a
    5.51 lb. walleye, was good for big fish honors and $745.
    Third place went to father/son team, Ken Bjorkman (Marshfield, WI) and David
    Bjorkman (Fargo, ND).  Their ten fish limit weighed 22.94 lbs., earning them
    $7,500.  They worked Lindy slip-sinker crawler rigs through the weeds
    between 9 and 20 feet in the Cabacona Bay area.  They pocketed an additional
    $1,000 for the highest placing Ranger Boats team in the Ranger Cup series.
    The top 26 teams shared the $72,100 cash purse.  An additional $3,724 was
    awarded in tournament big fish prize money.  Michigan anglers Gerald Arnold,
    Jr. (Norway) and David Koller (Kingsford) took day one big fish honors and
    $745 for their 7.39 lb. walleye.  Tournament teams donated $2,235 to the MWC
    Conservation Fund which will be used for fishery related projects in states
    where MWC tournaments are held.
    Volunteers from the Walker Rotary Club hosted the event and assisted the MWC
    with tournament operations.

    Central Division Crowns Team of the Year
        Dean Nathe (Sartell, MN) and Paul Thompson (Wallace, MI) earned the
    most tournament points to take top honors in the Cabela's MWC Central
    Division.  Three hundred thirty two teams entered the race, competing for
    2005 MWC World Walleye Championship qualification and various teams of the year honors and cash bonuses.  Nathe/Thompson were awarded $6,474 and
    trophies for their fine effort. 
            First to fourth place runners-up were: William and Joseph
    Babe (Silver Lake, WI), Kevin Dahl and Steve Stack (Muskego, WI), Donald and
    Michael Olson (Andover, MN) and James Pestka and Todd Wilde (Wausau, WI).
    Each team received $872 in bonus prize money.
        The Babes also captured the central division Father/Son Team of the
    Year title, while the Husband/Wife Team of the Year award went to Chris and
    Gina Gasser of Random Lake, WI.  Both teams were presented trophies. 

    Circuit Team of the Year Honors
        Rob Manthei (St. Germain, WI) and Rick Zachowski (Milwaukee, WI) won
    the overall MWC Team of the Year honors that is derived from the MWC
    Challenge venue.  A team must fish all three tournaments within a division,
    plus one more event in another division in order to compete in the
    Challenge.  The duo was awarded trophies and rings, along with $13,000-their
    share of the $20,000 Challenge purse.
        Manthei beamed, "We didn't catch a legal fish until 3:30 this
    afternoon (final tournament day). We just kept pounding.  Man, I can't
    believe this.  What a thrill."
        Zachowski added, "We just kept running and gunning.  This is just
    awesome.  We got together at the Ranger Boats annual anglers meeting and
    decided to team-up and look what happened.  MWC Team of the Year-wow!"  
        Each of the first to fourth runners-up received $1,750.  They were:
    James Pestka and Todd Wilde (Wausau, WI), Bill Koval (Middleton, WI) and Pat
    Werner (Lone Rock, WI), Kevin Dahl and Steve Stack (Muskego, WI) and Dave
    Schmidt and Mark Zillges (Oshkosh, WI). 
    Tournament Statistics
    Number of teams:        149                Number of
    fish:        279
    Total cash and prizes:    $106,786                Total
    weight:        714.07 lbs.
    Water temp:        65 degrees            Big fish:
    7.39 lbs.
    Water level:        Normal                Winning pattern:
    Troll crankbaits
    Water clarity:        To ten feet            Inside tip:
    Proper boat speed

    Further tournament information including complete results and standings can
    be obtained at www.masterswalleyecircuit.com, or by calling the MWC
    toll-free at 877-893-7947.

    2004 Cabela's MWC Remaining Schedule
    MWC World Walleye Championship
    Mississippi River, Prairie du Chien, WI October 13-16, (for qualifying teams
    from 2003)

    In addition to Cabela's, MWC sponsors include-Ranger Boats, Lindy Legendary
    Tackle, Lowrance Electronics, Mercury Marine, North American Fishing Club,
    Smithwick Lures, Cotton Cordell, The Outdoor Channel, MotorGuide, Daiichi
    Hooks, Panther Marine, Lure Eyes, Xtreme Sports and Walleye Central.Com.

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