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Practice, precise presentations keys to success for Samson
2002 RCL Championship Notes:
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RCL 2002 On-Line Entry Form
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RCL 2002 tournament Rules
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Priority registration for Operation Walleye events to commence January 14,2002
General RCL registration begins January 16,2002
RCL 2002 Championship Schedule lodging, dining, camping, bait shop launch and more information
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RCL Pro angler 2002 entry fee and purse
RCL Co-angler 2002 entry fee and purse
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2002 Wal-Mart RCL Walleye Circuit Championship format
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2002 RCL Championship Notes: Mississippi River, Day Four by Gary Mortenson - 5.Oct.2002
Samson survives … After pulling off a stunning victory with a 15-pound, 5-ounce stringer during the finals, pro Bruce Samson of Minnetrista, Minn., admitted that he has had his eye on the prize – the 2002 RCL Championship – for more than a year. In fact, Samson had worked so hard for this day that he could hardly believe his good fortune when he was finally handed his first-place check totaling $300,000.“This is just wonderful. It was a great week,” he said. “I had been working all year toward this goal and everything went according to plan. I started practicing in August and I spent plenty of time on the Mississippi River trying to prepare for this tournament. It came together slowly, but it worked out in the end.” Clearly, his dedication paid off. After putting in months of practice on the Mississippi River, Samson ultimately beat out 233 fellow competitors to walk away with the top prize. However, it wasn't easy. “It was really a nerve-wracking experience,” he said. “I just wanted to go out there and catch a limit. I figured that with the bite being as tough as it was, a (five-fish) limit might just be enough to win the championship. But when I came back in, I found out that Mike Gofron also had a limit. For the next two hours, I really had to sweat it out.” Although the contest was close, Samson had a sign things might be going his way earlier that afternoon. “I had two lines in the water and I had four fish in the livewell,” he said. “And then, suddenly, I had two fish hooked at once. I had a double. I've never done that before in my life.” Although it turned out that he only needed one of those fish, it was clearly the critical bite that put him over the top. “It's amazing,” he said. “This is the biggest tournament I've ever won.”
So close, yet so far … Pro Mike Gofron could be excused for feeling a sense of déjà vu during today's finals. In 2000 , Gofron made it to the final day of the RCL Championship only to come in fifth place. Today, Gofron – on the strength of a 12-pound, 15-ounce catch – had to settle for the runner-up position. However, while many anglers would have been extremely disappointed by the result, Gofron said he was pleased with his overall performance. “(Samson) and I were both in early and both of us had five-fish limits,” he said. “It turns out that his fish were just a little bit bigger than my fish. That's the way it goes. Overall, I'm really excited about what I did here. I have no regrets.” Gofron, a resident of Antioch, Ill., won $65,000 for his efforts.
Franklin puts on a show … Although Richard Franklin of Louisburg, Kan., failed to finish in first place despite leading the tournament for the past two days, he definitely turned in one of the day's most entertaining performances. With videotape of his day's outing rolling, the crowd watched as Franklin hooked a fish, then broke his line. Thinking that he had lost the fish for good, Franklin threw a new line back in the water and started fishing all over again. However, within 15 to 20 minutes, Franklin hooked something else. But what was it this time? “I threw out a jig and I realized that I caught my old line that had snapped off,” he said. “As I started pulling the (old) line in by hand, I realized that the fish was still on the other end. I couldn't believe it. It turned out to be my biggest fish of the day.” Amazingly, Franklin managed to land the 5-pound, 11-ounce walleye by hand. Although Franlkin provided arguably the greatest highlight of the day, his performance – a three-fish, 11-pound, 11-ounce stringer – was only good enough for third place and a check for $32,500. “I had been catching them all week, but today I missed too many fish. Overall, though, it sure was a great year.” Not bad for a rookie.
Stay tuned ... The 2002 RCL Championship is scheduled to air on the Outdoor Life Network Oct. 12 at 10:30 a.m. CST.
By the numbers:
1.4 million: Total purse offered at 2002 RCL Championship.
300,000: Total first-place prize money awarded to pro Bruce Samson for winning the championship.
12,000: Minimum amount of prize money awarded to a pro angler during the finals.
3,015–13: Weight, in pounds and ounces, of total fish caught during RCL Championship.
1,107: Total number of fish caught after four days of competition.
51–2: Weight, in pounds and ounces, of fish caught during the final day of RCL competition.
15–5: Weight, in pounds and ounces, of championship stringer.
2: Total number of five-fish limits caught during the final day of RCL competition.
“I went to the RCL Championship two years ago and I was sitting in the
stands watching everything. I told my wife right then that someday I was
going to be fishing in the championship.”
“My goal all year was to make this championship. It's been great. I
just didn't get the bites today.”
“Walleye fishing is going to grow in the next three years like you can't
“I've been a nervous wreck for the last two hours.”
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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