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JOHNSON, BLANCHARD LEAD WAL-MART RCL WALLEYE
SPIRIT LAKE, N.D. (May 27, 2004) – Nick Johnson of Elmwood, Wis., and
co-angler Ryan Boehm of Bismarck, N.D., landed a five-walleye limit weighing
21 pounds, 14 ounces Thursday to give Johnson the Pro Division lead heading
into Friday’s semifinal round of the four-day, $401,750 Wal-Mart RCL Walleye
Tour stop on Devils Lake with a two-day total of 10 walleyes weighing 50
pounds, 4 ounces. The catch also boosted Boehm from 98th place into 34th
in the Co-angler Division with a two-day total of seven walleyes weighing
30 pounds, 15 ounces.
Weights are cleared Friday for the top 20 pros and
top 20 co-anglers who made the cut. The top 10 pros will advance to Saturday’s
final round based on Friday’s catch for a shot at $90,000 in cash and prizes,
including a Ranger, Crestliner or Lund boat powered by Evinrude or Yamaha,
and the top 10 co-anglers will fish Saturday for a top award of $15,000
cash. The winners in each division are determined by the heaviest two-day
“We did a lot of jumping around, picking structure
apart,” said Johnson, who entered Thursday’s competition as the No. 1 seed
after catching five walleyes weighing 28 pounds, 6 ounces on opening-day
with co-angler John Blanchard of Crystal, Minn. “It’s fun to be on top,
but it’s also scary. Everyone else is looking up, hoping to knock you off.
I’m shooting for another consistent catch in the mid-20s so that I can
Johnson and Boehm caught their fish Thursday on
leeches while fishing trees and brush in 6 to 9 feet of water. The pair
hit seven or eight key spots in four different areas that were less than
two miles apart.
Rounding out the top five pros are Bruce Hill of
Forest Lake, Minn. (10 walleyes, 49 pounds, 10 ounces); Kevin McQuoid of
Isle, Minn. (10 walleyes, 47 pounds, 15 ounces); Phillip Milliser Jr. of
Plymouth, Ind. (10 walleyes, 47 pounds, 13 ounces) and Tim Reitan of Sabin,
Minn. (nine walleyes, 47 pounds, 11 ounces).
Blanchard held on to the co-angler lead with a two-day
total of 10 walleyes weighing 49 pounds, 12 ounces. He and pro Robert Lampman
of Desoto, Wis., caught five walleyes weighing 21 pounds, 6 ounces Thursday
to compliment Blanchard’s five-walleye catch weighing 28 pounds, 6 ounces
that he hauled in Wednesday with Johnson.
“We hit one spot until 11:30 and didn’t have a single
fish,” said Blanchard, an RCL League boater in the Minnesota Division who
is fishing his third RCL Tour event. “Then we moved to a new location and
caught three northerns in five minutes. After that, we caught 10 walleyes
in about an hour and a half.”
Blanchard and Lampman’s hotspot was a nondescript
area of submerged brush in about 10 feet of water. “At a glance, you would
never think to stop and fish it,” Blanchard said. Like Johnson and Boehm,
Blanchard and Lampman used slip bobbers and leeches.
Rounding out the top five co-anglers are Brad Barth
of Plymouth, Minn. (10 walleyes, 48 pounds, 7 ounces); David Kerzee of
Elida, Ohio (10 walleyes, 43 pounds, 8 ounces); Conrad Johnson of Fargo,
N.D. (nine walleyes, 42 pounds, 14 ounces) and Herbert Stanford of Oregon,
Wis. (10 walleyes, 42 pounds, 8 ounces).
Overall, 164 boats representing 21 states and Canada
weighed in 587 walleyes Thursday, including 75 five-walleye limits. The
day’s catch totaled 2,042 pounds, 7 ounces.
Anglers take off each morning at 7 from Spirit Lake
Casino and Resort, which is located at 7889 Highway 20/57 in Spirit Lake.
Friday and Saturday’s weigh-ins start at 3 p.m. at the Wal-Mart store located
at 210 Highway 2 W. in Devils Lake. The community is encouraged to attend
daily takeoffs and weigh-ins.
Pros and co-anglers fish for a combined boat weight
and are randomly paired each day. Anglers compete in four regular-season
tournaments in their quest to qualify for the $1.4 million Wal-Mart RCL
Walleye Championship in Moline, Ill., Sept. 29-Oct. 2 where the world’s
top pros will fish for as much as $400,000 cash and co-anglers will chase
as much as $150,000 cash. Cash awards are presented to the top 60
anglers in each division at every regular-season tournament.
The RCL Tour is administered by FLW Outdoors and
named after boat manufacturers Ranger, Crestliner and Lund. FLW Outdoors,
the world’s leading marketer of competitive fishing, is named after the
legendary founder of Ranger Boats, Forrest L. Wood. Other FLW Outdoors-sanctioned
tournament trails include the Wal-Mart RCL Walleye League for weekend anglers;
the Wal-Mart FLW Tour, the world’s most lucrative bass-tournament series;
the EverStart Series, designed as a pathway to the FLW Tour; the Wal-Mart
Bass Fishing League for weekend anglers; and the Wal-Mart Texas Tournament
Wal-Mart and many of America’s most respected companies
support FLW Outdoors and its six tournament trails. Wal-Mart has been the
title sponsor of FLW Outdoors since 1997.
For more information about the Wal-Mart RCL Walleye
Tour, visit FLWOutdoors.com or call (270) 252-1000.