They hit several spots yesterday before finding good fish. When they got to their spot today, the fish weren’t there like they were the day before, but the team kept making different passes looking for them. When they finally marked fish out deep and tight to they were able to slowly pick away.
They were fishing 35 miles south near the Cedar River area in 14-20 feet of water with harnesses. Depending on the time of day and conditions, the fish moved throughout the water column. At times they could even see them swimming just under the surface.
They earned their spot in the NTC through the Midwest Walleye Series and also entered the MWC Escanaba tournament. They will take home $48,500 in cash, multiple sponsor contingencies, plus two new Evinrude powered Ranger 621’s valued at $60,000 each.
The morning started off great for Chad Schilling and Cale Corbin of South Dakota. On their second pass their caught their biggest fish of the tournament. Then came the grind, as they didn’t get their next bite until 11am. It was 1pm when they put their second fish in the boat. It was a 23 incher that they would have tossed back yesterday.
Purple was the hot color for the team who was pulling harnesses by the shoals, while yesterday color didn’t seem to matter. The key was to make short passes when they got on active fish and spin right back on them. They ended up in second place in both tournaments with 62.63lbs.
The team of Wayne Van Dyke and Bruce Mueller were leading the tournament going in to today, but only managed to get three bites. Just fifteen minutes into their day they got a 28 inch fish. A couple hours later got a 26 incher and right at the end got a 27 incher.
They were fishing Whaleback Shoal in 17 to 23 feet of water. The team was working a point making 200 yard passes pulling 1oz inline weights and spinners 25 feet back. Color didn’t seem to make a difference. Their total weight was 57.64 pounds, making them 3rd in the NTC and 4th in the MWC.
While Bill Shimota and Dusty Minke promised to remain patient today, three passes in dead calm water with no fish to show for it was enough to make them break that promise. They made a move and ended up spreading the boards way out from the boat to fish shallow humps. Once that area became too crowded with boat traffic they went on the move again. They ended up where they started and managed to upgrade a couple fish.
The Minnesota team was pulling spinners with one ounce and half ounce inline sinkers, along with Northland Live Forage and Holographic spinners. They were working 15-22 feet of water with baits in the bottom five foot range. Their main target was the top of the humps going .8 – 1.2 on short passes. They finished with 55.27lbs of fish and took 5th in the MWC and 4th in the NTC.
Locals Glenn and Carol Chenier were optimistic when they got to their first spot and saw they were the only ones there. That feeling quickly turned to disappointment when all they caught was a 16 inch walleye and a sheepshead. After making a move to a new spot they had a limit by 10am. After that it was time to go prefishing again.
They followed a shallow water program, fishing less than 15 feet of water. Much of the time they were in 8-10 feet. The used a lot of purple spinners with just a split shot hovering over bottom. It was crucial to keep the boat at the right speed because they second the bait hit bottom it would be full of weeds or slime. They ended up catching 54.64lbs of fish to take 6th place in the MWC and 5th place in the NTC.
In addition to the Ranger boats, sponsor contingencies, and $20,000 in Cabela’s gift cards, over $190,000 of cash was awarded this weekend.
The 2012 NTC will be held in Isle, MN on June 1-3 next year on Mille Lacs. It will be a two day tournament with a blow day built in. Isle residents Kevin and Karen McQuoid are excited for the tournament to come to Mille Lacs. They said that the fishing is even better than the last time the NTC was there. The tournament is being held during one of the prime weekends of the year for catching walleye. Between that and the slot expanding since the last time the NTC made a stop there, they feel it will be a great event.