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Reitan Leads Field Into Wal-Mart RCL Walleye Circuit Finals
Female angler poised to make history
Oshkosh, Wis., (May 31, 2002) — Tim Reitan of Sabin, Minn., will lead 10 Pro Division anglers into the final round of the $346,000 Wal-Mart RCL Walleye Circuit tournament on Lake Winnebago after landing six walleye weighing 20 pounds, 15 ounces Friday with co-angler Ike Rhodes of Harrogate, Tenn.
The duo’s catch was the result of jigging with leaches and handlining crankbaits off ledges in 15 to 22 feet of water. If Reitan can duplicate his performance Saturday, he stands to win more than $90,000 in cash and prizes, including a Ranger, Crestliner or Lund boat powered by Evinrude or Yamaha. Rhodes will be fishing for a top award of $15,000 cash.
“I feel good,” said Reitan, who is fishing his first full RCL season. “There is going to be more pressure from local anglers, but I don’t know if that will mess things up. I feel like I’ve got the program down to get the right fish.”
Pro Jamie Friebel of Roberts, Wis., and co-angler Jim Lovitz of Kaukauna, Wis., advanced to the final round in the No. 2 position with six walleye weighing 17 pounds, 15 ounces.
Rounding out the top five qualifiers are pro Tim Minnema of Markesan, Wis., and co-angler Keith Strauss of Syracuse, Ind., with six walleye weighing 17 pounds, 12 ounces; pro Pete Harsh of Sauk Centre, Minn., and co-angler Ed Parks Jr. of Webberville, Mich., with six walleye weighing 16 pounds, 6 ounces; and pro Jim Minnema of Randolph, Wis., and co-angler Michael Dutton of Kaukauna, Wis., with six walleye weighing 16 pounds, 2 ounces.
Jackie Perry of Milaca, Minn., the only female angler advancing to the finals, will make fishing history if she wins Saturday. No woman has ever won a national walleye tournament. Perry advanced to the finals in 10th place with six walleye weighing 12 pounds, 8 ounces.
Competition resumes at 7 a.m. Saturday at Pioneer Resort in Oshkosh followed by a 4 p.m. weigh-in at the Oshkosh Wal-Mart located at 2035 South Koeller Street. 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 fourth Wal-Mart RCL Walleye Circuit tournament will be held on Saginaw Bay in Bay City, Mich., June 26-29. Following the tournament, 200 pros and 200 co-anglers from the Wal-Mart RCL Walleye Circuit and other sanctioned tournament organizations and events will compete in the 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 or call 270-527-4125.
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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