|NPAA Pro Walleye Anglers Sweep FLW Championship; Skarlis Wins
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
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