KJELDEN, SWANK LEAD WAL-MART FLW WALLEYE TOUR
PIERRE, S.D. (Oct. 4, 2006) - The most lucrative walleye-fishing
tournament in the nation is officially under way on Lake Oahe
with 51 pros and 51 co-anglers representing 18 states and Canada
searching for the right combination of fish to win top awards
of $150,000 and $22,000, respectively.
Many of the anglers competing in the $675,000 Wal-Mart FLW Walleye
Tour Championship opted to run north from the launch site at
Spring Creek Resort to the Highway 212 bridge on opening day
Wednesday, but not BFGoodrich Tires pro Dustin Kjelden of Brookings,
S.D., and co-angler Flow Swank of Pierre, S.D. Instead, the
pair opted to fish away from the pack in an area of the lake
only three other boats were fishing. They did plenty of running,
though, as they burned an estimated 45 gallons of fuel combing
through several key areas before returning with a tournament-leading
catch of five walleyes weighing 19 pounds, 3 ounces that gave
them a solid 2-pound, 5-ounce lead over their closest competitors,
Ranger pro Kevin McQuoid of Isle, Minn., and co-angler Adam
Adler of Oconto Falls, Wis.
"The bite slowed down a bit today compared with practice,
but we were fortunate to catch a few quality fish," said
Kjelden, who weighed in the day's biggest fish, a 26-inch, 6-pound,
3-ounce walleye. "I was confident I could catch at least
15 pounds, but the big fish was a surprise. It's the biggest
fish I've caught since I've been here."
His big bite might have been the result of some good fortune,
but Kjelden is no stranger to the leaderboard. He won the 2005
FLW Walleye Tour stop on Devils Lake and entered the championship
this season ranked 18th. With so much money on the line, however,
he and Swank were tight-lipped about their productive pattern.
It is no secret, though, that the two dominant patterns coming
into the tournament were vertical presentations with live bait,
such as creek chubs or night crawlers, and trolling with crankbaits.
Each pair of anglers is allowed to weigh five walleyes per day
and all but two of the fish must be between 14 and 20 inches
in length. Two fish over 20 inches may be weighed, and culling
is not allowed.
"I'm excited about the opportunity to do well in front
of a hometown crowd," said Swank, who has earned two career
top-10 finishes, including a second-place showing on Green Bay
earlier this year. "It's a little unsettling, too."
Rounding out the top five pros and co-anglers Wednesday were
McQuoid and Adler (five walleyes, 16 pounds, 14 ounces); Scott
Allar of Welch, Minn., and Keith Strauss of Syracuse, Ind. (five
walleyes, 15 pounds, 7 ounces); Troy Morris of Bismarck, N.D.,
and Boyd Strissel of Billings, Mont. (five walleyes, 15 pounds,
7 ounces); and Scott Fairbairn of Hager City, Wis., and Darrell
Martin of Forest Lake, Minn. (four walleyes, 13 pounds, 15 ounces).
An overall catch of 147 walleyes weighing 369 pounds, 5 ounces
crossed the stage Wednesday and were weighed in using new state-of-the-art
system that minimizes potential stress factors on fish by virtually
eliminating the need to handle them out of water for all but
a few seconds.
Spring Creek Resort, located on Highway 1804 in Pierre, will
host daily takeoffs at 7:30 a.m. Daily weigh-ins starting at
4:30 p.m. will be held at the Wal-Mart store located at 1730
North Garfield Road in Pierre. The community is invited to attend
takeoffs and weigh-ins as well as the Family Fun Zone, which
opens at 3 p.m. Friday and 1 p.m. Saturday outside the weigh-in
tent at Wal-Mart. The Family Fun Zone features interactive displays,
product samples and games for the entire family.
During each day's weigh-in, fans can register for the chance
to win an 1850 Ranger Reata powered by a 175 horsepower Evinrude
E-Tec outboard. One lucky fan will be drawn during the final
weigh-in Saturday and given the chance to cast a lure at an
8-inch target. If the lure lands in the target, the fan wins.
Participants must be present during Saturday's weigh-in to qualify.
Additionally, Ranger and Evinrude will offer test rides in the
latest models from Ranger Boats on Saturday from 10 a.m. to
1 p.m. at Oahe Marina located at 20439 Marina Loop Road in Ft.
Pierre, S.D. All activities throughout the week are free.
Pros and co-anglers are randomly paired each day and fish for
a combined boat weight. Pros compete against other pros, and
co-anglers compete against other co-anglers. The full field
competes during the two-day opening round for one of 10 final-round
slots based on their two-day accumulated weight. Weights are
cleared for the final round, with the winning pro determined
by the heaviest two-day total weight from days three and four.
The co-angler winner is determined on day three based on the
weight of that day's catch.
National television coverage of the FLW Walleye Tour Championship
will be provided by FSN (Fox Sports Net) on November 5. "FLW
Outdoors" airs Sunday mornings at 11 Eastern time on FSN,
which is broadcast to 81 million U.S. households. "FLW
Outdoors" is also broadcast internationally to more than
350 million households in such countries as Germany, China,
South Africa, Australia, Malaysia, Russia, Hungary and the United
Kingdom, making it the most widely distributed weekly outdoor-sports
television show in the world. Additionally, FLW Outdoors is
proud to provide tournament coverage to more than 800,000 servicemembers
stationed around the world in 177 countries and aboard Navy
ships through broadcasts on the American Forces Network.
The Pierre Chamber of Commerce is hosting the 2006 FLW Walleye
Tour Championship on Lake Oahe. For more information, call 1.800.962.2034.
Named after the legendary founder of Ranger Boats, Forrest L.
Wood, FLW Outdoors administers the Wal-Mart FLW Tour, Wal-Mart
FLW Series, Stren Series, Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League, Wal-Mart
Texas Tournament Trail presented by Abu Garcia, Stratos Owners'
Tournament Trail, Wal-Mart FLW Walleye Tour, Wal-Mart FLW Walleye
League, Wal-Mart FLW Kingfish Tour, Wal-Mart FLW Kingfish Series,
Wal-Mart FLW Redfish Series and Wal-Mart FLW Striper Series.
These circuits offer combined purses exceeding $37.9 million
through 249 events in 2006.
For more information about FLW Outdoors and its tournaments,
visit FLWOutdoors.com or call (270) 252-1000.
Wal-Mart and many of America's largest and most-respected companies
support FLW Outdoors and its tournament trails. Wal-Mart signed
on as an FLW Outdoors sponsor in 1997 and today is the world's
leading supporter of tournament fishing. For more information
about Wal-Mart, visit Wal-Mart.com