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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Gazvoda Leads Field Into Wal-Mart RCL Walleye Circuit Finals
Taylor, Mich., (April 5, 2002) — Ron Gazvoda of Lakewood, Colo., will lead 10 Pro Division anglers into the final round of the $346,000 Wal-Mart RCL Walleye Circuit season opener on the Detroit River after landing five walleyes weighing 31 pounds, 14 ounces Friday with co-angler Thomas Nordyke of Newport, Mich.
The duo’s impressive catch, which outweighed second place by more than 5 pounds, was the result using minnow tipped jigs near a warm water discharge upstream of the takeoff. If Gazvoda can duplicate his performance Saturday, he stands to win $50,000 cash and a Ranger, Crestliner or Lund boat powered by Evinrude or Yamaha. Nordyke is fishing for a top award of $15,000 cash.
“I found a little cut holding nice fish late in the day,” said Gazvoda, whose biggest tournament payday to date is $5,000. “It’s a little off the beaten path, so it may prove to be a key spot. We fished with the crowd [Friday] and went for a three-hour stretch with only four fish in the boat. When that happens, all sorts of bad things start going through your mind. Then they started hitting again.”
Pro Tom Dinneweth of Dearborn Heights, Mich., and co-angler Denny Eldredge of Stanton, Mich., advanced to the final round in the No. 2 position with five walleyes weighing 26 pounds, 1 ounce.
Rounding out the top five qualifiers were pro Rick Cole of Elwood, Ind., and co-angler Tom Harrison of Naperville, Ill., with five walleyes weighing 23 pounds, 13 ounces; pro Jeff Russell of Grand Haven, Mich., and co-angler Ron Schropp of Omaha, Neb., with five walleyes weighing 23 pounds, 11 ounces; and pro Danny Plautz of Muskego, Wis., and co-angler George Hanson of Midland, Mich., with five walleyes weighing 19 pounds, 3 ounces.
Overall, 69 walleyes weighing 267 pounds, 11 ounces were caught Friday, including nine limits. All the walleye were released alive.
Competition resumes at 7 a.m. Saturday at Lake Erie Metropark in Brownstown, Mich., followed by a 4 p.m. weigh-in at the Wal-Mart Supercenter located at 7555 Telegraph Road in Taylor. Catch weights will be cleared with the winners determined by the weight of Saturday’s catch alone.
Directed by FLW Outdoors and named after Wal-Mart and boat manufacturers Ranger, Crestliner and Lund, the Wal-Mart RCL Walleye Circuit is the world’s most lucrative walleye fishing series. The circuit features four regular season tournaments each with a $346,000 cash purse and a championship with a $1.4 million cash purse. Cash payments are presented through 50th place.
The second Wal-Mart RCL Walleye Circuit tournament is May 1-4 on Lake Sharpe in Pierre, S.D., followed by events on Lake Winnebago in Oshkosh, Wis., May 29-June 1 and Saginaw Bay in Bay City, Mich., June 26-29.
After four regular season tournaments, 200 pros and 200 co-anglers from the Wal-Mart RCL Walleye Circuit and other sanctioned tournament organizations and events will compete in the $1.4 million Wal-Mart RCL Walleye Championship for a top pro award of up to $400,000 cash and a top co-angler award of up to $150,000 cash. The championship will be held on the Mississippi River near Red Wing, Minn., Oct. 2-5. Green Bay hosted the Wal-Mart RCL Championship last season when Dean Arnoldussen of Kaukauna, Wis., won $400,000 and instantly joined the sport’s top all-time money winners.
Entry fees for regular season tournaments are $1,250 for pros and $500
for co-anglers. A limited number of co-angler spots are still available
in each tournament. To enter, visit FLWOutdoors.com or call 270-362-5259.
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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