Tournament pays more than $375,000 to competitors
NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla. (June 1, 2016) – Pro-angler Robert Bruegger, of Wabasha, Minnesota, brought in a two-day total of 42.53 pounds of walleye to win the pro-angler category of the Lake Winnebago event for the Cabela’s National Walleye Tour (NWT) at Oshkosh, Wisconsin, on May 27.
Thunderstorms and high winds made fishing conditions extremely tough for the Lake Winnebago event with only four 20-pound bags weighed in on day one. Bruegger weighed in an impressive 24.61 pounds the first day and 17.92 pounds on day two, which gave the angler a 2.43-pound edge over second place.
“Fishing these national tournaments gets me out of my comfort zone and forces me to fish more water,” said Bruegger. “It’s an amazing feeling to win at this level. It leaves you without words.”
A die-hard river fisherman, Bruegger has made his mark fishing for walleye on the Mississippi in his home state of Minnesota. His inclination of heading towards the river to fish in this tournament could have cost him the win. Bruegger had been fishing an area a mile or so east of the river mouth and, when the bite slowed, the angler almost left the area.
“I caught a 17-incher fairly early this morning and a couple of hours later a caught a 16-incher,” said Bruegger. “I was preparing to run to the river when it just started pouring rain and all of a sudden the bite turned on. I caught a bunch of fish in 15 minutes, including a 26-incher and a 25-incher.”
Bruegger spent both days trolling spinners with night crawlers in the area where he and his traveling partner had located fish before the tournament.
“I would let out 20 feet of line and then put the board on,” said Bruegger. “I was using a ½-ounce weight and would troll 1 to 1.1 mph. I used bigger crawlers with a three-hook harness.”
Bruegger took home $15,000, and by participating in the Ranger and Evinrude contingency programs, the angler was upgraded to a fully rigged Ranger 620FS with a 250 HP Evinrude outboard. The angler added $2,235 Anglers Advantage cash for a combined purse of $87,235.
John Gillman (second), Scott Cisewski (third), Karl Wenckebach (fourth), Jim Hughes (fifth), Dan Stier (sixth), David Anderson (seventh), Wayne Van Dyke (eighth), Mike Gofron (ninth), and Jacob LaPine (tenth) round out the top 10 pro-anglers.
Jake Bradach, of Gilbert, Minnesota, took first place in the co-angler category. Bradach was paired with Mike Gofron on day one and caught 19.81 pounds. His day two pairing with eventual fourth-place pro Karl Wenckebach gave him 22.10 to retain the co-angler lead.
“This has been a satisfying week,” said Bradach. “When your competitive juices get flowing, it takes fishing to a whole new level. I fished with two great pros and they both taught me so much.”
For his total weight of 41.91 pounds, Bradach earned $6,500, plus another $1,014 in Anglers Advantage cash.
Robert Loose (second), Matt Noordyk (third), Matt Hanken (fourth), Josh Bruce (fifth), Steve Kuchenberg (sixth), Jerry Reyburn (seventh), Bill Vojak (eighth), Gabe Outtrim (ninth) and Rodney Blackwell (tenth) round out the top ten for co-anglers.
The next stop for the Cabela’s National Walleye Tour is set for June 23-24 on Green Bay at Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin. Registrations for the event are already being accepted online and by calling 612-424-0708. Anglers who are participating in any of the numerous contingency prize programs are encouraged to submit all pertinent information before the event to remain eligible for any potential bonus money.
Anglers that have fished all three regular-season events, in addition to the top points leaders, will qualify for the three-day, entry-fee championship. Two fully rigged Ranger boats are guaranteed for the championship event. The first-place finisher in the pro division will take home a new Ranger 619FS Fisherman, plus $15,000 cash for a total prize value of $79,000. In addition, the second-place pro receives a new Ranger 1880 Angler valued at $46,000. Both figures have the opportunity to go even higher with sponsor contingency. Likewise, the winner of the Co-Angler category will take home $6,000 cash, with the opportunity to nearly double with contingency money thanks to NWT sponsors.
For more details, anglers are encouraged to call 612-424-0708 or check out the website at www.nationalwalleyetour.com. From here, site visitors can learn more about the NWT, view the TV schedule and learn more about what’s in store for 2016.
2016 NWT scheduled events:
June 23-24 – Green Bay (Sturgeon Bay, Wis.)
Championship – Aug. 3-5 – Lake Oahe (Mobridge, S.D.)