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Two Trophy 'eyes Propel Heller, Henrich to GNWC Title at Marquette

By Steve Weisman GNWC Publicity Director

When is two worth more than six? When they are walleyes, and they weigh over 8 pounds each! That's what Mike Heller of West Des Moines, IA and Troy Henrich from Akron, IA discovered when they weighed in their two walleyes at the Grand National Walleye Cup (GNWC) Iowa Region opener on the Mississippi River at Marquette on Sunday, April 10. Their combined weight of 17.49 pounds weighed more than 3 pounds more than the second place team and garnered them the $1600 first place check. They also took Big Fish honors with an 8.88-pound walleye. Troy Loeckle from Floyd, IA and Wes Loeckle from Mason City, IA took second place and a check for $800 with a 6-fish limit of 14.44 pounds. GNWC Executive Director Bernie Barringer noted the difference between first and second place. "It goes to show what two big walleyes can mean. Troy and Wes had a solid six-fish limit, but those two huge fish were simply too much." Terry Green from Mason City, IA and Steve Templeton from Clear Lake, IA ended up in third place with a six-fish limit weight of 10.43 pounds. They pocketed $550 for their efforts. High water made the tournament a tough one for the 46 teams fishing the opener on the Iowa circuit. "The river was high and there was a lot of debris floating in the water. The conditions definitely had an impact on the results." The top three teams, according to Barringer, gambled on better conditions upstream and ran 35-40 miles in search of more fishable waters. The gamble was a winning decision for all three teams. Heller and Henrich worked three-way rigs with chartreuse/orange and chartreuse/white Rapalas. They remained persistent throughout the day and caught each fish in a different spot. Both the second and third place teams capitalized on pole lining to catch their six-fish limits. They used a heavy weight and dropper lines to pull plugs. The Loeckle duo pulled chartreuse jointed Shad Raps, while Green and Templeton also pulled chartreuse Rapalas. The Yo So Close Award, provided by AMFYOYO, manufacturer of the innovative stowable folding landing net, went to the three teams just finishing out of the money. They include Steve Kopp and Jan Ruden from Dubuque, IA in 12th place; Joel Shaw from Fairfield, IA and Dave Smithburg from Libertyville, IA in 13th place; and Jesse Roush from Clive, IA and Cory Batterson from Pleasant Hill, IA in 15th place. "I definitely see a lot of excitement among the teams fishing the Iowa Region. I think it's going to be a fun year," said Barringer. Next up on the Iowa Region is the Clear Lake qualifier on April 24. For those interested in entering this or any of the remaining qualifiers, call 1-800-890-FISH (3474), or email the GNWC at info@walleyecup.com. "Now that the tournaments are underway, I encourage people to check out our website at www.walleyecup.com. I think they will find it extremely interesting to see how the teams do in each of the seven regions," added Barringer. Major national sponsors for the GNWC include Skeeter Boats, Yamaha Outboards, Lowrance Electronics, YoNet Folding Nets by AMFYOYO, Aqua-VU, Aqua Innovations, Towtector Shield, VIB"E" Lure Company and UpNorthOutdoors.com. Iowa Region sponsors include Carlson-Sanderson Real Estate, Motor Inn, Inc., and Triggs Bay Resort.

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