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NPAA Pro Walleye Anglers Sweep FLW Championship; Skarlis Wins $150,000

Bismarck, North Dakota: National Professional Anglers Association (NPAA) pro walleye anglers swept the top nine spots in the recently concluded Walmart FLW Championship, presented by Berkley. NPAA executive director Cody Roswick said, “Watching these pros share their love of the sport before thousands of fans made me proud of what the NPAA is all about. Congratulations!”

The NPAA is a non-profit organization focused on growing the sport of fishing and increasing the professionalism of its members. Only the top walleye pros, based on the 2008 season, were invited to fish the richest walleye Championship in the world. Tommy Skarlis #11, Waukon, Iowa, claimed top honors and $150,000 in the Sept. 24-27 event. The new Champion, running a Ranger/Evinrude boat on the Missouri River, and fishing all Berkley products, is at the peak of his walleye fishing career. He has four Professional Walleye Trail (PWT) tournament wins, was the 2004 PWT Angler of the Year, and runner-up FLW Angler of the Year in 2003 and 2005. His sponsors include: Evinrude Outboards, Navionics, Ranger Boats, Berkley – Trilene, Gulp, and Powerbait, Lindy Legendary Tackle, Humminbird, Minnkota, Offshore Tackle, Optima Batteries, Fenwick Rods, Abu Garcia Reels, Otter Outdoors, Strikemaster Ice Augers, Drift Control, Reef Runner, Beckman Nets, Gemini Sport Marketing, and Tempress/Fish-On.

Skarlis fished the mouth of Beaver Creek by rigging 5 to 11 feet of water on a previously (low water) river bank with exposed gravel. He said the fish reacted better to night crawlers on Lindy rigs with 5 to 7 foot Trilene XL leaders of 8-pound test. He also jigged this spot by slipping the current with jigs and Berkley Gulp! Alive minnows.

Rookie pro Robert Blosser #255, Poynette, WI, trolled lead core with Berkley Flicker Shads and Rapala Shad Raps at 4 mph, and rigged live bait on the final day to capture the $65,000 second place prize. Blosser said, “I was honored to make the final top ten and used every skill I had to secure 2nd place.” Blosser’s sponsors include: Ranger Boats, Yamaha Outboards, Minnkota, Lowrance, Real Grip, and Mack’s Lures.

Pro Todd Frank #73, Pulaski, NY, trolled Bomber Fat Free Shads to win third and $17,000. Placing fourth by jigging and rigging was 7-time FLW Championship qualifier Ross Grothe #64. He won $22,500.

Chris Gilman #60, Chisago, City, MN, is the only pro to qualify for all eight FLW Championships. Consistently placing in the top 10 throughout his career, Gilman won $18,500. He trolled original Rapalas and Shad Raps upstream and jigged downstream through his best spots. Todd Riley #19, Amery, WI, tallied the largest one-day weight by catching five walleyes for 24 pounds. That limit included the $1,000.00 Snicker’s Big Walleye of the Championship, 6 ¼ pounds. He also netted $12,500 by trolling channel edges and jigging his sauger hole with Berkley Gulp 3” Minnows. Like many anglers he ran the 60 to 65 winding river miles to get to his best spots.

Past FLW Champion Tom Keenan #907, Hatley, WI, won $11,500 for seventh. He snap-jigged and trolled. Eighth place Ted Takasaki #9, East Gull Lake, MN, a PWT Championship winner at Bismarck in 1998, and second in FLW Angler of the Year race this season, won $5,500. Brett King #314, Claremont, MN, won $7,000 for ninth, claiming on stage that he was thrilled at the awesome week of competitive walleye angling.

The FLW format pairs co-anglers with pros daily. Pros select the fishing spots and provide the tackle and instruction. NPAA member Dave Anderson #809, Sauk Rapids, MN won the co-angler $15,000 prize. Roswick said, “Top pros and everyday walleye anglers who want to become involved as in-siders, belong to NPAA, which continuously strives to bring professionalism to the sport.” Roswick also thanked the NPAA supporting partners for their dedication to helping grow the sport of fishing. They include Northland Fishing Tackle, Navionics, Mercury Marine, Evinrude Outboards, Lund Boats, Ranger Boats, Off-Shore Tackle, Fin-Tech Tackle, Berkley, Walleye’s Inc., Greater Insurance Services, Masters Walleye Circuit and FLW Outdoors.

More news about members and the NPAA can be seen at www.npaa.net

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