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Day 1 Press Release
by Jim George, NAWA Staff
Wednesday, April 21,1999 - Sandusky, OH .... A combination of lure presentation and fishing location vaulted Ohio plumber David Frey of Avon Lake to a first-day lead here today in the LaCrosse/Winnebago "Lake Erie Quest."
"Presentation is definitely playing a key role in the numbers of fish we are catching," Frey said during the Day One press conference. "However, it is the location that is proving to be the secret to these bigger fish."
Weighing a phenomenal catch of six walleyes totaling 50.56 lbs., Frey, a veteran Lake Erie angler, and his amateur partner Ron Mickinak, Latrobe, PA, weighed one of only 13 six fish limits brought to the Day One scales. Frey said the east wind may have played some role in the slow bite experienced here today.
"We fished hard today and didn't catch our last decent walleye until about four this afternoon," said Frey. "That fish was an eight pounder and it came only minutes before we had to begin our ride back to the weigh-in site."
Fishing the same general area, but using a somewhat different presentation was Day One runner-up Rick Olson of Mina Lake,SD, and his amateur partner, Ricky Miller of McComb, OH. Olson said he had fished once before with Miller and during that outing set a NAWA six fish record.
"I experienced much better success earlier this week while pre fishing for this event," said Olson. "Still, we stuck with the pattern developed during our pre fishing even though the fish did not bite well today."
Olson and Miller weighed a six fish limit totaling 47.75 pounds.
Starting the Day Two competition in third place are Amery, WI pro David Anderson and amateur Mike Podracky of Toledo, OH, who weighed 44.03 pounds.
"Lake Erie Quest"Field Paired to 15 Boats With Top Anglers Set For Showdown on Friday
by NAWA Staff
Friday, April 23,1999 - Sandusky, Ohio .... Put 15 of the nation's top professional anglers on a nationally recognized walleye fishery like Lake Erie, with each planning to take home a top prize of nearly $30,000, and you're certain to see a slug fest that will rival any top-notch sporting competition. That's exactly what's happening tomorrow, during the final round of competition in the / "Lake Erie Quest, " a world class fishing event held at Sandusky's Battery Park.
After two days of grueling competition, Rick LaCourse of Oregon, OH, has earned the pole position in Friday's competition.
LaCourse, a veteran tournament Pro and Lake Erie charter captain, will be the first angler to depart the dock for tomorrow's final showdown, where the top 15 finishers out of the original field will fish-off for the event's top prize. His strategy of looking for clear water paid off big with two consecutive bulging baskets of walleyes weighing a total of 83.93 lbs. Lacourse's Day Two basket of walleyes weighing 41.72 lbs, combined with yesterday's catch, earned him the top spot going into tomorrow's competition.
"To me, if you have cold water and neutral fish, you need to slow down and put the bait in front of them." La Course said during the Day Two press conference. "This morning, we were moving so slow it was almost like bobber fishing."
Like many of the anglers, LaCourse is fishing open water for post spawn females. These fish are currently in their annual migration to the Central and Eastern Basin of this sprawling and famous walleye lake.
"I'm trolling spinners (baited with night crawlers) behind planer boards, " he revealed. "One key is to watch very closely for the light bites. The bite is so light, all you can see is the end of the planer board go down."
In second place going into Friday's final day is East Bethel, MN, pro Mark Broderick, another veteran who is capable of winning the event. Broderick, with a two-day catch of 76.72 lbs., is also fishing the same general area, but trolling crank baits.
"I'm using a different approach than most of the field," said Broderick. "I'm trolling a limited section of lead core line with cranks and targeting the shallow fish. I'M using shallow running crank baits and this techniques is allowing me precise depth control."
In third place is veteran NAWA pro Rick Olson of Mina Lake, SD. Olsen, always a strong contender, weighed a five fish basket totaling 26.33 lbs, for a two-day total of 74.08 lbs.
In general, the most productive patterns being pursued are classic Lake Erie trolling techniques. The majority of the field is using a variety of crank baits and are focusing their attention to the waters near some of the islands.
Under the NAWA "Quest Series" format, only the top 15 pros and top 15 amateur return to the water tomorrow. Through more than 13 pounds separate the first and tenth place finishers, this will have no effect on the final outcome.
The remaining contestants start from scratch on Day Three, the final round of this high stakes shoot-out held at Sandusky's Battery Park Marina.
Though not competing on Day Three, Pro and Amateur anglers finishing in 16th through 25th place after today's competition, also qualify for cash or prizes.
Warners, NY, Pro Earnie Brown Pro and his amateur partner Sean Boutin of Avon Lake, OH, captured the $500 Day Two Lund Lunker Award for their 10.39 lb walleye.
The top Pro prize, valued at nearly $30,000, includes a new 1800 Pro-V Tournament Series boat, 150 horsepower XR6 motor and trailer. Amateur anglers will be fishing for a top prize of a new Lund 1700 Angler SS boat, 90 horsepower Mercury motor and trailer valued at $14,000.
The competition resumes at 7 a.m. tomorrow at Battery Park Marina. Weigh-in activities get underway at 4:30 pm. In addition to seeing some great catches, spectators can visit with NAWA sponsors and see some of the latest in fishing and outdoor gear.
North American Walleye Anglers
Saturday, April 24,1999 - Sandusky, OH .... A second consecutive day of high winds and rough seas has set the stage for a Sunday "grand finale", unmatched in NAWA history. The unsettled weather and unsafe boating conditions forced NAWA tournament officials to again delay the final round of competition in the LaCrosse/Winnebago "Lake Erie Quest". Also canceled was Day One of the "Team Challenge" event scheduled to begin today.
"A local charter caption, three highly respected professional anglers competing in the event and I made the evaluation earlier today after taking a short boat ride out to the main-lake waters," said Cabela's SQI Fishing Events Director Jim George. "Everyone agreed that the conditions were marginal and we determined that the best and safest approach was to reschedule the entire remaining competition for Sunday."
Forecasters are calling for greatly improved conditions by late Saturday and throughout the day on Sunday. This will mean that the tournaments will likely come to an exciting conclusion here on Sunday afternoon.
Weather permitting, the final round of competition resumes tomorrow. The "Lake Erie Quest" finalists competing in this "high profile" event will depart the launch site only minutes ahead of those anglers participating in the LaCrosse/Winnebago "Team Challenge" - a "world class" team competition that also concludes tomorrow at Sandusky's Battery Park Marina.
Under the NAWA "Quest Series" format, only the top 15 pros and top 15 amateurs compete in the final round of competition. Though nearly 30 pounds separate the first and 15th place finishers, this will have no effect on the final outcome.
The remaining contestants start from scratch on Day Three, the final round in this "high stakes" shoot-out held at Sandusky's Battery Park Marina.
The top Pro prize, valued at nearly $30,000, includes a new Lund 1800 Pro-V Tournament Series boat, 150 horsepower XR6 Mercury motor and trailer. Amateur anglers will be fishing for a top prize of a new Lund 1700 Angler SS boat, 90 horsepower Mercury motor and trailer valued at $14,000.
The canceled Saturday competition also brought some unexpected changes to the "Team Challenge" event, which also concludes here tomorrow. Typically the two-day "Team Challenge" is handled as if it is two separate events. The total prize money is split in half, with the top ten teams each day receiving cash and prizes.
"Due to the cancellation of Saturday's fishing, Sunday's competition will feature a "winners-take-all" format, George said. "Instead of splitting the total prize money in half, the winners on Sunday will take home the entire purse."
The tournament action resumes Sunday at Battery Park Marina. Weigh-in activities get underway at 3:30 pm. In addition to seeing some great catches, spectators can visit with NAWA sponsors and see some of the latest in fishing and outdoor gear.
Press Release Day Three
Lake Erie Quest
By NAWA Staff
Sunday, April 25,1999 - Sandusky, OH .... Following two-consecutive
days of delayed tournament action; NAWA anglers finally returned to the
water here today for the final round of competition in the /
"Lake Erie Quest" and "Team Challenge".
Finishing in the runner-up spot was veteran NAWA pro Chuck Miller, of Suamico, WI. Miller, who slow-trolled spinners and nightcrawlers in the same general area as Peterson. "It was a slow bite - very slow," Miller said at the final press conference. "Like Peterson, we only had seven bites all day." Miller's Day Three catch of 32.49 pounds earned him a total of $6,514. David Frey, a Avon Lake, OH, pro finished in third with a catch weighing 28.48 pounds. Frey's third place finish earned him $5,700 in cash winnings.
Sitting atop the amateur standings at the conclusion of the final day
was Chuck Byrum of Highmore, SD, who came to the scales with 33.04 pounds,
having been paired with Jim Peterson, Byrum takes home a new 1700
Angler SS boat, 90 horsepower
motor and trailer valued at $14,000.
Team Event Results
The cancelled Saturday competition also brought about some unexpected changes to the "Team Challenge" event. Typically the two-day "Team Challenge" is handled as if it is two separate events. The total prize money is split in half, with the top ten teams each day receiving cash and prizes.
"Due to the cancellation of Saturday's fishing, today's competition featured a "winner-take-all" format," said Cabela's SQI Fishing Events Director Jim George. "Instead of splitting the total prize money in half, The winners on Sunday take home the entire purse."
Taking first place were new partners Bryan LaPointe, a bartender from Oakdale, MN and Joe Ritzenthaler of Sandusky, a former fisheries biologist who works for his city's water department. Ritzenthaler was substituting for LaPointe's regular tournament partner Frank Christianson who made the final cut in the pro-am as an amateur.
Reef Runner Little Rippers in the 'Eriedescent' color caught three of the team's five walleyes. The duo fished the popular minnow-imitating stickbaits 20 feet deep. LaPointe placed a 2 oz snap weight seven feet in front of the lure then let out 35 feet of 10-pound green Trilene XT line to put the lures in the fish zone. His other two fish came on blue spinner rigs baited with nightcrawlers. The pair concentrated on an area just north of Kelley's Island.
"Team Challenge: Lund Lunker $1,000
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