MARINETTE, Wis. – With the safety of the anglers in mind, the Cabela’s National Walleye Tour staff canceled day two of the year-end championship on Green Bay. Early Thursday morning, thunderstorms roared through the Marinette area carrying potentially dangerous southeast winds.
Tournament Director Anthony Wright sampled the conditions firsthand and reported that they were simply “too dangerous.”
“I went out about 2 miles with the DNR this morning,” said Wright. “We never cancel based on a forecast. We wait to see the conditions ourselves and this was the safest decision. Safety is our main priority.”
Weather permitting, the full field fishes Friday. With no weigh-in Thursday, the leaderboard from day one for both the pros and co-anglers 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.
“I thought it was a really good decision to cancel,” Kemos said. “We are responsible not only for ourselves, but also for our co-anglers. Also, you can’t send television cameras out in that weather and that takes away from our exposure. I thought it was a great call; you don’t play around with the Great Lakes.”
Fourth-place pro Korey Sprengel respectfully disagreed with the cancellation.
“I wanted to fish,” said the 2014 NWT Championship winner. “It was a little bouncy, but the winds weren’t horrible and part of being a pro is having a back-up built into your game plan. That’s the name of the game. I wanted a three-day tournament, not a two-day tournament, because then you’ve got more time to separate yourself from the pack.”
When competition resumes, Kemos plans to put all his eggs into one basket – his primary area, located “a long run” north of the takeoff in Marinette.
“I’m committed to going back up and fishing those fish,” said Kemos, who employed a Shiver Minnow to amass his early lead. “I know if I can get up there and get four hours of fishing, I can win the tournament. I feel I have to weigh another 40 pounds to win the tournament, and that’s the place to do it.”
Day three of the championship on Green Bay begins as the full field takes off from Menekaunee Harbor in Marinette at 7 a.m. Central time Friday. The final weigh-in, also located at Menekaunee Harbor, is slated for 3 p.m.