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Iowa Teams Prepare for Championship of Walleye Fishing on Okoboji

By Steve Weisman GNWC Publicity Director

A $5000 first place purse is on the line for the qualifiers of the Iowa State Championship of Walleye Fishing to be held at the Okoboji Chain on September 17-18. In addition, the winners will receive the Lowrance "YOU WIN!" award of two Lowrance LMS-332C color sonar/GPS units valued at $1400, putting the total first place winnings at $6400. It's showdown time for these top teams on the Iowa Region of the Grand National Walleye Cup (GNWC), and leading the way will be the Iowa Region Team of the Year, Jack Davis and Rob Funk from Mason City, who easily won the 2005 honors by 26 points. GNWC Executive Director Bernie Barringer looks forward to seeing what the teams can do on Okoboji. "The Okoboji chain of lakes offers anglers all kinds of fishing opportunities from the deep water structure of West Lake to the shallower waters of the other connected lakes. I think that is what makes this chain such an intriguing and unique fishery." John Grosvenor, a former GNWC angler and a guide for the past five years, believes that extended pre-fishing will play a major role in determining the winners. "With its water clarity, depth and incredible structure, West Okoboji is not like the typical bowl-like structure of the normal Iowa lakes," said Grosvenor. "I look for fishing to become more consistent as the water temperatures cool. Right now, the fish seem to be relating to the deep weeds in water up to 30 feet deep. Another key will be if the teams can find those subtle humps and bottom transitions where the bottom goes from muck to sand to gravel or to rocks. Those fish will be right there. Those are the kinds of things that aren't marked on the lake maps. When I find a spot on a spot like that I like to hover right over it and work it with live bait." Grosvenor also believes that the rest of the chain of lakes will also be possibilities. "I'm sure there will be walleyes caught on East Okoboji. Although I stay on West Okoboji most of the summer, I worked crankbaits there the other day and caught several fish." Although the tournament competition begins on Saturday, September 17, the activities for the Iowa teams actually begin on Friday evening with the Championship banquet sponsored by Kentucky Fried Chicken of Spirit Lake at the Community Center in Milford. The Iowa State Championship competition headquarters for take-off and weigh-in will be at the State Pier at Arnolds Park. "We have had a tremendous response from our Iowa sponsors. Triggs Bay Resort, AMFYOYO, Towtector, Carlson-Sanderson Real Estate and Motor Inn, Inc., have been on board all season long, and now we have Kentucky Fried Chicken and Pepsi joining us to help make this a tremendous Championship," said Barringer. Saturday's action begins at 7 a.m. with the opening ceremonies and take-off. Weigh-in will be at 3 p.m. Sunday follows the same time frame with the weigh-in festivities beginning at 3 p.m. Sunday's weigh-in will determine who will walk away with the Iowa State Championship of Walleye Fishing title. "We hope to have a good crowd at each day's weigh-in. It is a great way for the public to witness some great fishing action," noted Barringer. "Weigh-ins begin at 3 p.m. each day. The first day will be a day of positioning, but the second day will be for the title. Plus, on the second day, we will find out from the top teams what strategies they used to catch their fish." Special awards will be give out at the Championships including the Cabelas Big Fish Award of a $200 shopping spree for the team that catches the largest walleye during the two-day Championships. In addition, an optional Big Fish Pot will go to the team catching the overall big fish during the Championships. Skeeter Boats is offering an additional $3000 above their GNWC winnings to any owner of a Skeeter boat who wins the Iowa Championship of Walleye Fishing while fishing in the Skeeter. In addition, the top-finishing Skeeter owner will receive $1000. This extra $1000 is above the $3000 for winning. YoNet Folding Nets by AMFYOYO will offer the Yo So Close Award of an $80 folding net to the three teams finishing just out of the money. TowTector, maker of the premium boat protector for towing vehicles, will offer the Towtector Comeback Award of a Towtector Shield valued at $269 for the team advancing the most places from day one to day two. The FoodSource Lure Company is sponsoring $200 in FoodSource Lures for the top placing family team. Those interested in checking out the standings, reading the releases about any of the seven regions or simply learning more about the circuit can access the GNWC website at www.walleyecup.com. Major national sponsors for the GNWC include Skeeter Boats, Yamaha Outboards, Lowrance Electronics, YoNet Folding Nets by AMFYOYO, Aqua-VU, Aqua Innovations, Cabela's and UpNorthOutdoors.com. National championship sponsors are Towtector Shield and the FoodSource Lure Corporation, while Iowa Region sponsors include Carlson-Sanderson Real Estate, Motor Inn, Inc., and Triggs Bay Resort

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