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Kansas pro pops into first place at Red Wing
Crestliner pro Rick Franklin of Louisburg, Kan., started off day two of the 2002 Wal-Mart RCL Walleye Circuit Championship solidly in second place. As he headed out toward his fishing hole near the Red Wing nuclear power plant, hethought today would go much like yesterday – wrong!
He was asked to leave the area by security workers near the plant. Franklin kept his composure and fished several other spots he had located during practice to weigh in a limit of walleyes. The sack ended up giving him a two-day total of 33 pounds and 9 ounces,enough to lead the pro field going into Friday's semifinal round.
"I really did not get very frustrated when I was told to move out of the area," said Franklin. "I was confusedsince I received permission to fish the area from the people at the nuclear plant, but fortunately, I had about four other spots that I knew were holding fish." Hard work paid off for Franklin. "I just had to work a little harder today than yesterday," said Franklin. "I had to fish a variety of methods today to get my fish. Tomorrow I will head back to the spots I fished today."
Franklin used a variety of fishing techniques today including rigging, jigging and trolling crankbaits. Finishing in the second position was Ranger pro Joe Wilson of Rolling Stone, Minn., who will head into the semifinal round with 33 pounds and 3 ounces. Wilsonhad no problem with crowds today.
"I am fishing the river, but not in the crowded areas," said Wilson. "I have been fishing away from the crowd. I figure I will be fishing by myself tomorrow." Ranger pro Jeff Taege of Rhinelander, Wis., accomplished his goal today."I thought I needed to weigh in about the same weight I weighed in yesterday to make the cut," said Taege. "I basically doubled my weight from yesterday. If I can do it again tomorrow, I will have a good chance of making it to the finals." Taege's total for two days was 31 pounds and 12ounces. Holding on to the fourth spot was day-one leader and Ranger pro Mark Brumbaugh of Arcanum, Ohio, who will head into the semifinal round with 31 pounds and 1ounce. Brumbaugh had a tough day fishing BuffaloSlough. "There must have been 120 boats in there today," said Brumbaugh. "We were playing bumper boats all day.There were definitely more boats in there today thanyesterday. I really had to work hard for the two fish I caught today." Brumbaugh plans on sticking to his game plan for the semifinal round. "I will go back again to the same area tomorrow," said Brumbaugh. "I am really looking forward to fishing the area with no crowd. I feel all of the boats in the area had an effect on how good the fishing was. Hopefully, tomorrow the fishing will improve." At the end of day two, fifth place went to Ranger pro Rick LaCourse of Port Clinton,Ohio, who reeled in a two-day total of 31 pounds. LaCourse was satisfied with today's outcome. "I felt the bite was tough today," said LaCourse. “I tookwhat was given to me today. I will be right back in the same area tomorrow."The 12 pro anglers will be fighting Saturday for one ofthe final six spots and a chance to win a first-place prize potentially worth $400,000 cash.The co-angler leader after day two was Tim Lessila of New Berlin, Wis., He is excited about his prospects for tomorrow. "You bet I am excited," said Lessila. "I am fishing forthe big bucks tomorrow. I can't wait for it to start."Heading into the final round in third place is co-angler Tim Williams of Oregon, Ohio. Williams is enthusiasticabout making it to the final round. "Somebody slap me," said Williams. "I am very excited about making it to the finals. I have learned a lot fishing the RCL this year. It is a great organization." Rounding out the top five co-anglers are, in second, Hans Halvorson of Grafton, N.D.; in fourth, G.W. Kadow of Mishicot, Wis.; and, in the fifth spot, Mike Abrahamson of Brainerd, Minn. The Wal-Mart RCL Walleye Circuit co-angler champion will be decided tomorrow. The first-place finisher will receive a minimum of $75,000 cash and have thepotential to win $150,000 cash.Tomorrow's takeoff is at 7 a.m. at the Treasure Island Resort and Casino Marina, (800) 222-7077, located at 5734 Sturgeon Lake Road in Red wing, Minn. The semifinal and final round weigh-ins will be at theWal-Mart store located at 225 33rd St. W., Hastings, Minn. Bring the family along and check out the Family Fun Zone as well as the display of sponsors including Ranger, Crestliner and Lund boats.
To register for competition or for more information about the Wal-Mart RCL
Walleye Circuit, visit www.operationwalleye.com or call 270-362-5259. Entry
fees for the championship are $1,500 for pros and $750 for co-anglers.
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