Carstensen Wins FLW Leech Lake
Kevin Carstensen was a little nervous coming to the scale today. He was confident he had the raw weight to win the FLW Leech Lake tournament at Walker, MN, but mechanical issues with his boat had caused the fish to die. With the dead weight penalty, he wasn’t sure he would be able to pull it off. In the end, he was able to edge past Bill Shimota by four pounds to take the win with a three day total of 41lbs 11oz.
Carstensen spent the last three days fishing by the dam in the cane beds, which was about a 25 minute run from the launch. The day started out really slow because of the clear, flat water. However once some boats came through and stirred it up, he started catching fish. It wasn’t long before he stuck one just over 26 inches and another that was 26.5 inches. At 10am they left that spot to try to replace some of their unders with fish from another area.
He was rigging with a 6.5 foot snell with a plain hook and 3/8 ounce weight. “You had to use a full crawler, not a half, because they wouldn’t touch a half. I would just drag it on bottom and when I would feel a small tap, like a small perch, I would just free spool it, let them eat it, and then just set the hook. Even the big ones would just tap on it like perch. They were all just barely hooked on the lip,” he said. Carstensen weighed five fish for 12lbs 11oz today and took home a check for $63,000, which included sponsor contingencies.
Courts then went to plan B. “We went rigging and in the first spot we caught a nice 17.5 inch fish. In the third spot we caught three more weigh fish and at that point I had to make a decision. It was noon and I knew I had to get another over to win.” By choosing to look for overs and only bring four fish to the scales, Courts missed second place by six ounces. “But that’s fishing and you only get the opportunity to do this every now and then. When you get the opportunity you have to go for the win.”