|Koester & Rhodes Win Cabela’s Masters Walleye Circuit
World Walleye Championship on Lake Erie
Dundee, MI – Jeff Koester of Brookville, Indiana and
Scott Rhodes of Traverse City, Michigan were crowned Cabela’s
Masters Walleye Circuit World Walleye Champions on Saturday,
October 6th in Dundee, Michigan, cashing $25,000 for the honor.
The duo bested a field of 59 teams on a very cooperative Lake
Erie that provided three days of calm conditions.
Koester and Rhodes trolled the Canadian waters near Pelee Island
with spinners. Their three-day fifteen fish winning weight topped
the roster at 88.68 pounds, a 5.9 pound average. This was the
team’s second circuit victory as they won the Walleye
Madness Championship bracketed tournament in May of 2007, held
in Port Clinton, Ohio.
“Good thing we had that first day basket over 37 pounds,”
shared Rhodes after the honor was bestowed on the stage, just
outside the Cabela’s store in Dundee, Michigan. “We
ended up needing that extra room.” The new Champs managed
to retain the lead each day of the tournament, bringing in 22.43
pounds on day two and 28.60 pounds on day three. Their day one
weight 37.65 pounds was the largest basket of the tournament,
although fifteen other 30-plus pound baskets were brought in
over the three days. Their lead on day one was 7.83 pounds.
After the second day, however, the race tightened up and it
was still open for anyone to pull ahead, especially with the
quality and proliferation of the walleyes on Lake Erie.
The biggest fish of the tournament was a tie between the leaders
and Tim Waltz of Williamsport, Pennsylvania and George Barach
of Barryton, Michigan. Each brought in 10.39 pound walleyes
to earn big fish of the day with Koester and Rhodes big fish
coming on Thursday and Waltz and Barach besting the field on
Saturday. Friday’s big fish award went to Burt Willes
and Troy Saunders of Menasha, Wisconsin for their 9.60 pound
walleye. Each team received a $500 gift card from Cabela’s
for the honor.
David Kolb of Ada, Michigan and Dan Byers of Cedar Springs,
Michigan both bought new Toyota Tundra trucks this year –
and it paid off. They split the $5,000 bonus from Toyota for
being the highest finishing team in the tournament in a Toyota
Tundra. Kolb and Byers finished in 10th place with 75.29 pounds
and cashed $1,500 for the 10th place spot plus $5,000 from Toyota
Adam Rasmussen of Stevens Point, Wisconsin won the Ranger Cup
bonus of $1,000 for finishing highest in the Ranger Cup program.
Rasmussen and partner Brad Jakusz from Amherst, Wisconsin finished
in 5th place with 83.63 pounds.
Over $100,000 was paid out to the entire field. The Cabela’s
MWC World Walleye Championship has no entry fee. Teams earn
their way by invitation only into the event through fishing
the Cabela’s MWC season or the Cabela’s National
The anglers gathered on Saturday evening for a Champions banquet
and the sentiment flowed that this was an excellent site for
the tournament. The staff at the Dundee Cabela’s did a
wonderful job with the logistics, and many expressed their sincere
appreciation for their warm hospitality.
“I can’t tell you how much this means to Scott
and I,” shared Jeff Koester at the Champions banquet later
that evening. All the teams had taken their turn at congratulating
Jeff and Scott, with the Championship trophies poised and custom
MWC rings nearby. “We couldn’t have done it without
the hard work of our entire team – the guys we fish with
like Manz, Yarbrough, Davis, Gies, Robinson, Seyka, Seiferlein,
Johnson and Defibaugh,” continued Koester. “And
I give huge kudos to the MWC field, because on the final day
there were only the teams on our spot that were there on Thursday.
Everyone gave all of us in the lead a chance to fish our own
fish, and that speaks to the quality of professionalism of the
anglers in the MWC.”
Additional events were scheduled around the Championship, including
a Radiothon benefiting One Child Now and The Salvation Army
Outdoors. The Radiothon was held in conjunction with 106.7 The
Fox radio. TSAO is a faith-based initiative that provides youth
and families with engaging, educational outdoor experiences
through a diverse network of vested partners and friends. From
summer camps to after school programs and community recreation,
The Salvation Army Outdoors is all about Outfitting for Life.
To learn more or donate to the cause go to www.salvationarmyemich.org.
A Kids Fishing Derby was held on Saturday and as well as a
Youth and Family Fishing Clinic on Friday, in which kids attending
received their very own rod, reel and tackle box. Toyota donated
a brand new bike outfitted and ready to use to go fishing. The
lucky winner of the bike was Tyler Parker, age 7, from Monroe,
Michigan who excitedly showed off his brand new bike as his
father Paul Larner looked on.
The 2007 World Walleye Championship is the last stop in the
season. Here is the schedule for the 2008 Cabela’s MWC
March 29 & 30 – Spring Valley, IL – Illinois
May 17 & 18 – Marinette, WI/Menominee, MI –
Bay of Green Bay
June 21 & 22 – Oshkosh, WI – Lake Winnebago
April 25 – 27 – Port Clinton, OH – Lake Erie
(Also will be Walleye Madness Sweet Sixteen Bracket)
July 18 – 20 – Linwood, MI – Saginaw Bay
August 22 – 24 – Dunkirk, NY – Lake Erie
(We are building a blow day into all East division tournaments.
Rules meeting on Thursday night and we fish Friday if we can.
So tournaments could be done Fri/Sat or Sat/Sun or Fri/Sun or
possibly just one day if we get blown off two days
MWC West (Exhibition Tournament)
August 9 & 10 – Devils Lake, ND – Devils Lake
World Walleye Championship (invitation only)
October 1 – 4 – Dundee, MI – Detroit River
and Lake Erie
For more information please contact MWC headquarters at 877-893-7947
or by email at: email@example.com.
Cabela’s is the title sponsor for the Masters Walleye
Circuit. Official Sponsors are Lowrance Electronics, North American
Fishing Club, MotorGuide, Toyota Trucks, Mercury Motors, Ranger
Boats, Lowrance Electronics and Versus (Vs.) television network.
Associate sponsors are Tommy Docks, The Inhibitor, Food Source
Lures, Ice Armor and Farm & City Insurance Services.