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Chwierut takes co-angler title, $19,100

PIERRE, S.D. (Oct. 6, 2006) - Despite a torturous 60-mile run in pounding waves, pro Richard Nascak of Winona, Minn., and co-angler Jerome Chwierut of Lake Villa, Ill., were all smiles Friday after catching five walleyes weighing 17 pounds, 6 ounces. The catch was the heaviest of the tournament since a 19-3 limit crossed the stage on opening day and more than enough to give Chwierut a $19,100 victory in the Wal-Mart FLW Walleye Tour Championship Co-angler Division. It also catapulted Nascak into the final day of competition with a huge 5-pound, 12-ounce lead in his bid to win his first FLW Walleye Tour title and $150,000.
Why is a 5-pound lead so critical on a lake that has already produced a 10-pound, 10-ounce walleye earlier this week? Because, unlike the preliminary rounds of competition, which featured pros and co-anglers fishing together for a combined five-walleye limit, only the pros are competing Saturday. That means instead of having the option to weigh in two walleyes over 20 inches and three between 14 and 20 inches, the pros will only be allowed to weigh in four walleyes, including just one over 20 inches. The combined weight from Friday and Saturday will determine the winner, and culling is not allowed.
"That's going to make it tough on the other guys," said Nascak, who has earned three top-10 finishes on the FLW Walleye Tour. "I figure if I can just bring in my four-fish limit, I'll be tough to beat. The first four fish I catch are coming back in. I'm not going to take any chances."
Nascak caught five walleyes weighing 12-15 Wednesday while fishing with co-angler Mike Taylor of Midland, Mich., to finish opening day in ninth place. He then added five walleyes weighing 13-12 to his total Thursday while fishing with co-angler Dewey Watson of Twin Falls, Idaho, to advance to the finals as the No. 2 seed with a two-day total of 26 pounds, 11 ounces.
Nascak has been catching fish all week trolling just south of the Highway 212 bridge with Reef Runners and Shad Raps on Fireline and leadcore. He is not alone, however, as four of the top six finalists - including Scott Allar of Welch, Minn.; Tom Brunz of Madison Lake, Minn.; and Scott Steil of Richmond, Minn. - are all trolling the same stretch of water.
For Chwierut, the 2006 championship is in the record books, and he is $19,100 richer after his impressive catch earned him $11,000 Friday plus a $6,000 bonus from Ranger, a $1,600 bonus from Evinrude and a $500 bonus from Castrol. To get to the finals, he caught five walleyes weighing 11 pounds Wednesday while fishing with pro William St. Peter of Bay City, Mich., and five walleyes weighing 13 pounds Thursday while fishing with Brunz. His two-day total of 24 pounds advanced Chwierut to the final day of co-angler competition as the No. 2 seed.
"This feels terrific," said Chwierut, who finished third at the FLW Walleye Tour Championship in 2001. "We didn't have a fish in the boat until 10:30 a.m. then we made some adjustments and had five in the livewell by 11:30 a.m. and were heading back in because of the rough water."
Allar, who led the opening round, slid to second place Friday, and his co-angler partner, Jimmy Cox of Bono, Ark., won $15,500 with five walleyes weighing 11-10.
Cox is perhaps most well known in bass-fishing circles for his Mizmo Bait Company, but he has made quite a splash in the walleye-fishing world in recent years with three top-10 finishes, including fifth place at last year's FLW Walleye Tour Championship.
Rounding out the top 10 pros and co-anglers are Kevin McQuoid of Isle, Minn., and Dana Delp of Lansing, Mich. (five walleyes, 9-3, $5,000 co-angler winnings); Brunz and Keith Strauss of Syracuse, Ind. (five walleyes, 9-1, $8,500 co-angler winnings); Rick Olson of Mina, S.D., and Watson (three walleyes, 8-7, $4,500 co-angler winnings); Steil and Jason Wrosch of Melrose Park, Ill. (five walleyes, 8-0, $2,000 co-angler winnings); BFGoodrich Tires pro Dustin Kjelden of Brookings, S.D., and Flo Swank of Pierre, S.D. (three walleyes, 7-14, $1,800 co-angler winnings); Gerrick McComsey of Fort Pierre, S.D., and Darrell Martin of Forest Lake, Minn. (one walleye, 2-15, $1,600 co-angler winnings); Troy Morris of Bismarck, N.D., and Mark Fling of Hudson, Colo. (one walleye, 2-9, $1,400 co-angler winnings); and Richard Franklin of Bemidji, Minn., and Adam Adler of Oconto Falls, Wis. (zero
walleyes, $1,200 co-angler winnings).
The original field of 51 pros and 51 co-anglers representing 18 states and Canada was cut to the top 10 Thursday evening, and opening-round weights were cleared for the start of the final round.
An overall catch of 33 walleyes weighing 77 pounds, 1 ounce crossed the stage Friday, including five five-fish limits.
Spring Creek Resort, located off Highway 1804 in Pierre, will host Saturday's final takeoff at 7:30 a.m. followed by a 4:30 p.m. weigh-in at the Wal-Mart store located at 1730 North Garfield Road in Pierre. The tour's popular Family Fun Zone featuring interactive displays, product samples and games for the entire family opens at 1 p.m. outside the weigh-in tent at Wal-Mart.
Fans visiting the Family Fun Zone can register for the chance to win an 1850 Ranger Reata powered by a 175 horsepower Evinrude E-Tec outboard. One lucky fan will be drawn during the final weigh-in and given the chance to cast a lure at an 8-inch target. If the lure lands in the target, the fan wins. Participants must be present during the weigh-in to qualify. Additionally, Ranger and Evinrude will offer test rides in the latest models from Ranger Boats on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Oahe Marina located at 20439 Marina Loop Road in Ft. Pierre. All activities are free.
National television coverage of the FLW Walleye Tour Championship will be provided by FSN (Fox Sports Net) on November 5. "FLW Outdoors" airs Sunday mornings at 11 Eastern time on FSN, which is broadcast to 81 million U.S. households. "FLW Outdoors" is also broadcast internationally to more than 350 million households in such countries as Germany, China, South Africa, Australia, Malaysia, Russia, Hungary and the United Kingdom, making it the most widely distributed weekly outdoor-sports television show in the world. Additionally, FLW Outdoors is proud to provide tournament coverage to more than 800,000 servicemembers stationed around the world in 177 countries and aboard Navy ships through broadcasts on the American Forces Network.
The Pierre Chamber of Commerce is hosting the 2006 FLW Walleye Tour Championship on Lake Oahe. For more information, call 1.800.962.2034.
Named after the legendary founder of Ranger Boats, Forrest L. Wood, FLW Outdoors administers the Wal-Mart FLW Tour, Wal-Mart FLW Series, Stren Series, Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League, Wal-Mart Texas Tournament Trail presented by Abu Garcia, Stratos Owners' Tournament Trail, Wal-Mart FLW Walleye Tour, Wal-Mart FLW Walleye League, Wal-Mart FLW Kingfish Tour, Wal-Mart FLW Kingfish Series, Wal-Mart FLW Redfish Series and Wal-Mart FLW Striper Series. These circuits offer combined purses exceeding $37.9 million through 249 events in 2006.
For more information about FLW Outdoors and its tournaments, visit FLWOutdoors.com or call (270) 252-1000.
Wal-Mart and many of America's largest and most-respected companies support FLW Outdoors and its tournament trails. Wal-Mart signed on as an FLW Outdoors sponsor in 1997 and today is the world's leading supporter of tournament fishing. For more information about Wal-Mart, visit Wal-Mart.com.

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