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RED WING, Minn. (May 5, 2006) - Pro Jeff Ryan of Lake View, Iowa, caught a three-day total of 15 walleyes weighing 81 pounds, 2 ounces to carry his lead on day three of the Wal-Mart FLW Walleye Tour event presented by Yamaha on the Mississippi River near Red Wing, Minn. Ryan's catch already shatters the previous four-day weight record for an FLW Outdoors walleye event on the Mississippi River. The previous record weighed 55 pounds, 5 ounces, and was caught by Bruce Samson of Minnetrista, Minn., in the 2002 Wal-Mart FLW Walleye Tour Championship, which also launched out of Red Wing.
With a full field of 150 pros and 150 co-anglers, anglers are competing for their share of a $503,300 purse, including as much as $100,000 for the winning pro and $18,000 for the winning co-angler.
At the end of day two, Ryan had a lead of more than 14 pounds, enough for an entire quality limit. On day three, he increased his lead to nearly 24 pounds after catching his largest limit thus far - five walleyes weighing 28 pounds, 2 ounces.
It will definitely be a stretch for second-place pro Scott Allar of Welch, Minn., who has a three-day total of 15 walleyes for 57 pounds, 8 ounces, to catch Ryan.
Allar himself has more than an 8-pound lead over third-place pro Kevin McQuoid of Isle, Minn. McQuoid caught four walleyes on day three weighing 10 pounds, giving him a three-day total of 49 pounds, 1 ounce.
All week, Ryan has been catching his walleyes out of one sweet honeyhole. He's been slowly presenting live bait to his fish and hasn't been catching them on every cast. The walleyes he's hooked, however, have been big, and near flawless execution of each bite throughout the week has led to his success.
"I made a switch to a different bait yesterday, and it really paid off today," Ryan said. "Our smallest walleye today was 23 inches long. It just feels unreal to put three days like this together."
Regarding his area, Ryan said tons of fish gather just upstream of it to spawn, and he's found a place where they rest after as they trickle down. Ryan caught three of his walleyes on day three, while his co-angler partner, John Herrmann of Birnamwood, Wis., caught the other two. Herrmann just missed the cut in the Co-angler Division, finishing in 13th place. He took home a check for $800.
Many big bags of walleyes breaking the 20-pound mark were carried to the scale on day three. Land O'Lakes pro Eric Olson of Red Wing caught a fine limit weighing 22 pounds, 10 ounces to jump from 64th place into ninth place with a three-day total weight of 40 pounds, 1 ounce. Olson fished with co-angler Cary Lodl of Scribner, Neb., on day three, and their largest walleye, one pushing the 9-pound mark, managed to bite in half a No. 9 Rapala Floating Minnow. Lodl made the cut in the Co-angler Division in ninth place as well.
Also in the top-10 was 2005 Angler of the Year and Castrol pro Nick Johnson of Elmwood, Wis. Johnson has a three-day total of nine walleyes weighing 40 pounds.
All told, pros in the top 10 have a total of 26 FLW Walleye Tour top-10 finishes and five wins between them.
Rounding out the top five pros are Chuck Dube of Brooklyn Park, Minn. (13 walleyes, 44 pounds, 3 ounces); and Jason Kerr of Holly, Mich. (12 walleyes, 43 pounds, 10 ounces).
Gary Engberg of Mazomanie, Wis., leads the Co-angler Division. Engberg fished with Kerr on day three, and together they brought in a limit of five walleyes weighing 25 pounds, 5 ounces. Engberg has a three-day total of 15 walleyes weighing 59 pounds, 7 ounces.
Engberg and Kerr were handlining for their walleyes in deep water. "I've had great partners each day," Engberg said. "I haven't done the same thing on any day I've been out."
Rounding out the top five co-anglers are Kristine Szczech of St. Paul, Minn. (13 walleyes, 58 pounds, 14 ounces); Dave Dugall of Highland, Mich. (15 walleyes, 51 pounds, 5 ounces); Jerry Cassell of Lawton, Mich. (15 walleyes, 47 pounds, 2 ounces); and Randy Mumm of Clear Lake, Iowa (15 walleyes, 44 pounds, 14 ounces).

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