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Versatility and Teamwork Trigger Barfknecht Victory at Petenwell

By Steve Weisman GNWC Publicity Director Versatility! That's what propelled the team of Mike Barfknecht from Baraboo, WI and Bob Barfknecht from Waterford, WI to victory at the Grand National Walleye Cup (GNWC) Lake Petenwell Tournament held on Sunday, May 15. "We tried four different places and caught fish at three of them," said Mike Barfknecht. The winners brought in five walleyes weighing 6.81 pounds and took home the $1800 first place check. Second place and a check for $900 went to the team of Bill Koval from Middleton, WI and Jack Niemann from Son Prairie, WI with three fish weighing 3.94 pounds. Craig Swatek from Wisconsin Rapids, WI and Scott Swatek from Lone, WI took home the third place check of $600 with three fish weighing 3.64 pounds. The Cabela's big Fish Award of a $200 Cabela's shopping spree went to Tor Millonzi from Jackson, WI and Dean Natzke from West Bend, WI with a 2.73-pound walleye. The also won $420 in the optional Big Fish pot. "The cold front really made things tough," said GNWC Tournament Site Director Cheri Barringer. "There was a lot of rain and cold weather this past week, and it certainly affected fishing." Still, the winners were able to overcome the blustery weather and showed that versatility and teamwork made the difference. They went with live bait and crawler harnesses. Mike noted, "We knew it was going to be a tough day, but we also knew that everybody would be trying to make things work for them. So, we worked the south end of the lake for an hour, where we caught our first legal fish. We tried to anchor, but it was just too windy. So, we moved to a point on the west side and caught a second legal fish." However, it was the move toward the north where they caught three more legal fish that made the difference. Mike said, "We used our electronics to find the fish and worked the channel edge of the breakline in about 10 feet of water. That's where we found the schools of baitfish with the arcs beneath them." It was here that the teamwork came into play as they battled the wind and the snags. According to Mike, it seemed that they were constantly re-rigging as they encountered snag after snag. "We were really glad we weren't losing crankbaits!" joked Mike. Meanwhile Koval and Niemann went to the river and used jigs tipped with half of a nightcrawler to catch their fish. They caught all three of their legal fish after mid-day and went through several sub-legal fish. They also found the fish to be lethargic and used a slow presentation to trigger their bites. The Yo So Close Award, provided by AMFYOYO, manufacturer of the innovative stowable folding landing net, went to the two teams just finishing out of the money. They include Jon Ohnesorge from West Bend, WI and Kevin Behrens from Loyal, WI in 13th place and Bill Needles and Tim Bartels from Neceda, WI in 114th place. Next up on the Wisconsin Region will be the Lake Winnebago Tournament on Sunday, June 5. With the Wisconsin Region at the halfway point of the season, the team of John Bella and Joe Besiada from Stevens Point, WI have taken the lead in the race for the Wisconsin Region "Yamaha Team of the Year" honors with 11 points. The team of Robert Blosser and Gary Thomlinson from Poynette, WI is close behind with 13 points. For those interested in entering this or any of the remaining qualifiers, call 1-800-890-FISH (3474), or email the GNWC at info@walleyecup.com. Executive Director Bernie Barringer added, "I encourage people to check out our website at www.walleyecup.com. We have exciting races going on in all seven regions of the GNWC." Major national sponsors for the GNWC include Skeeter Boats, Yamaha Outboards, Lowrance Electronics, YoNet Folding Nets by AMFYOYO, Aqua-VU, Aqua Innovations, Cabela's and UpNorthOutdoors.com. National championship sponsors are Towtector Shield and the VIB"E" Lure Company.


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