Tournament pays more than $370,000 to competitors
NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla. (June 27, 2016) – Pro-angler Daniel Woodke, of Gillett, Wisconsin, brought in a two-day total of 74.94 pounds of walleye to win the pro-angler category of the Cabela’s National Walleye Tour (NWT) event at Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, on June 24.
Sturgeon Bay is home to one of the best walleye fisheries on the planet, but a flourishing alewife population made for an inconsistent bite. A lack of wind on day two furthered the tough bite. Woodke worked the familiar west shore and relied on a crankbait tossed to large rock piles in 10 to 15 feet of water for more consistent production.
First-place co-angler Dan Niece (L) and pro-angler Daniel Woodke display their respective trophies at the Cabela’s National Walleye Tour event at Sturgeon Bay, WI, June 24.
“They weren’t hungry; there were plenty of alewives around,” said Woodke. “It was strictly a reaction bite. I don’t know why else they would bite. I think the key was literally putting that bait in front of their face and making them bite it.”
The angler brought in 36.71 pounds on day one, which was good enough for third place going into the final day. Anglers were not allowed to cull but could keep up to six fish and only weigh their heaviest five. This leaves anglers with the tough decision of whether to keep or release a fish.
“My first fish this morning was a 22-incher and I couldn’t let it go,” said Woodke. “My next fish was a very heavy 28-incher. Then I struggled for a while. I had two fish at 9:30, so I left and went to plan B. I ended up popping the last four fish within an hour of each other. I was done fishing at 12:30 p.m.”
In addition to $15,000, the angler was upgraded to a fully rigged Ranger 620FS with a 250 HP Evinrude outboard by participating in the Ranger and Evinrude contingency programs. The angler tacked on $2,047 in Anglers Advantage cash for a combined purse of $87,047.
Tom Keenan (second), Jason Przekurat (third), Karl Wenckebach (fourth), Chris Gilman (fifth), Jim Carroll (sixth), Joe Okada (seventh), Korey Sprengel (eighth), Nick Schertz (ninth), and Bill Sutton (tenth) round out the top 10 pro-anglers.
Dan Niese, of Louisville, Ohio, took first place in the co-angler category. Niese was paired with pro-angler Randy Gaines on day one for 31.49 pounds. His day-two pairing with eventual 10th-place pro Bill Sutton gave him 28.27 pounds to clench the win and a purse of $6,500.
“This is only my second event as a co-angler and I could not have drawn better partners,” said Niese. “This has been I blast. I just came up here to fish and have some fun. I never thought I would win. This definitely will not be my last tournament.”
Tim Newman (second), Brian Chandler (third), Kara Wattunen (fourth), Jerry Reyburn (fifth), Rick Bonk (sixth), Michael Bertrand (seventh), Carson Axness (eighth), Scott Stueber (ninth) and David Woyak (tenth) round out the top 10 for co-anglers.
The next stop for the Cabela’s National Walleye Tour is the upcoming championship set for August 3-5 on Lake Oahe at Mobridge, South Dakota.
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:
Championship – Aug. 3-5 – Lake Oahe (Mobridge, S.D.)