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Benson, Edlund Overcome Strong Winds to Win Minnesota Championship
Walleye Fishing Title
By Steve Weisman
Gander Mountain GNWC Publicity Director
With winds whipping to 40 mph, the team of Chad
Benson and Joe Edlund
from Bemidji, MN made the best of the tough fishing conditions on Sunday
take the $4500 payday and the Minnesota State Championship of Walleye
Fishing title held on Big Stone Lake, September 18-19.
Benson and Edlund, who won the 2003 Minnesota Team
of the Year title,
were in second place after Day I but ended up with a three-fish weight
6.84 pounds to take the championship.
Second place and a check for $2050 went Matt Hogness
and Jeremy Zemlicka
from Spring Lake Park, MN. Their 6.61 pound walleye gave them the lead
Saturday and even though they weren't able to bring another keeper
scales on Sunday, they were still able to hang on to second place.
also gave them the Berkley Big Fish Award of $400 in Berkley product
additional $460 in cash.
Third place and a check for $1000 went to
Scott Whipps from Ham Lake,
MN and Rick Enright from Kasson, MN with a two-fish weight of 6.16
The Minnesota State Championship of Walleye Fishing,
which is the eighth
of such tournaments on the Gander Mountain Grand National Walleye Cup
circuit, was, according to Gander Mountain GNWC Executive Director
Barringer, a tough tournament. "The bite has been almost non-existent,
with a south wind at 30 mph yesterday and up to 40 mph today, the fishing
conditions were really tough. However, I take my hat off to these Minnesota
teams. They never gave up and kept working right to the end. That wind
right up the chute, and we had teams using two and even three drift
trying to slow themselves down."
Benson and Edlund went with a game plan that proved
to be the game
winner. They anchored off the end of the peninsula on a rock hump and
in 8' to 10' of water, working jig and minnow combinations.
"Chad and Joe were bouncing around out there, and
even though they only
weighed three fish, that game plan to anchor off the peninsula brought
the title," said Barringer.
Several other special awards were presented at Sunday's
The "Yo So Close" award of a Yo Net folding
net valued at $80 and the
VIB"E" Lure award of two six-piece lure sets valued at $40 went to
that placed just out of the money. They include Ron Swanson and Bran
from Osceola, WI in 9th place; Tim Hinrichs from Bemidji, MN and Jeff
from Dassel, NN in 10th place.
The Towtector Comeback Award of a Towtector boat
protector valued at
over $250 went to the team advancing the most places from the first
the second day. This award went to Bob Gotch from Maplewood, MN and
Gotch from St. Paul, MN. They caught no fish on Saturday but came back
a 5.07 pounder on Sunday that put them in 4th place and also earned
check for $750.
The winner of the Gander Mountain "Need More
Stuff" drawing of $200 for
a Gander Mountain Shopping Spree went Jim Harken from Oak Park Heights,
and Jeff Harken from Inver Grove Heights, MN.
"Although we had a tough bite, we know that Big
Stone Lake is a
tremendous walleye fishery. I would like to thank the Madison Bottling
Company and the Big Stone Chamber of Commerce for sponsoring the
Championship banquet on Friday night and the community of Ortonville
welcoming the GNWC teams to the area," added Barringer.
The Walleye Wisdom camera crew was also on hand
to film footage of the
Championship. "The Walleye Wisdom camera crew is at all of the State
Championships to capture the excitement of the tournament action. The
highlights of these State Championships and the National Championships,
along with some great walleye fishing tips will appear on our 13-week
Walleye Wisdom television program," noted Barringer.
Those interested in checking out the standings,
reading the releases
about any of the eight regions or simply learning more about the circuit
access the Gander Mountain GNWC website at www.walleyecup.com.
Title Sponsor for the GNWC is Gander Mountain. Other
sponsors include Skeeter Boats, Yamaha Outboards, the Sportsman Channel,
Berkley, Aqua Innovations, YoNet Folding Nets by AMFYOYO, VIB"E" Lure
Company, TowTector Shield and UpNorthOutdoors.com.