MARINETTE, Wis. – While the wind changed directions from the southeast to the northwest on day three of the 2017 Cabela’s National Walleye Tour Championship, it only increased in intensity, causing the National Weather Service to issue a small craft warning. Therefore, tournament operations staff made the prudent decision to postpone the final day of competition to Saturday, where the full field will fish in calmer conditions.
With the safety of the anglers as his top priority, Tournament Director Anthony Wright informed the field shortly before 7 a.m.
“It’s all about safety,” said Wright. “I went 5 miles out with the DNR, all the way to Chambers Island and there were 4- and 5-footers when we got there. By the time we left, there was another 6 or 8 inches of growth. The wind is predicted to keep growing and blowing until noon. There was no way I could send them out.”
For the second consecutive day, the leaderboard in both divisions remains unchanged. Leading the Pro Division is Tommy Kemos with 46.49 pounds, followed by Chase Parsons with 42.79 and Joe Okada with 42.49.
“We all see ourselves as macho, tough guys,” said Kemos. “The reality is that this bay is nothing to play around with. No matter how much I want that championship title, I have to think about that person sitting next to me, my co-angler. I’m in charge of his safety too. I think it was a great decision.”
“Any time officials error on the side of safety, I’m OK with it,” Parsons explained. “It sounds like tomorrow is supposed to be a beautiful day. That means the winner of the championship will really come down to who has the best pattern and the best spots. I’m extremely pleased with it.”
In addition to the lucrative championship purse, anglers are vying for the coveted Lucas Oil Angler of the Year award. Coming into the event, Robert Blosser led with 569 points. After day one, Korey Sprengel has unofficially taken a 1-point lead over Eric Olson and a 4-point lead over Blosser.
The final day of competition on Green Bay begins as the full field takes off from Menekaunee Harbor in Marinette at 7 a.m. Central time Saturday. The final weigh-in, also located at Menekaunee Harbor, is slated for 3 p.m. The National Professional Anglers Association (NPAA) will also host a “Future Angler” program for children after Saturday’s weigh-in at approximately 4 p.m. The youth event features an educational seminar and includes a free rod/reel combo or “Future Pro” t-shirt for the first 150 children who attend.