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Friebel Wins Wal-Mart RCL Walleye Circuit Tournament
Oshkosh, Wis., (June 1, 2002) — Pro angler Jamie Friebel of Roberts, Wis., landed more than $90,000 in cash and prizes, including a Ranger boat powered by Evinrude, Saturday on Lake Winnebago after catching six walleye weighing 14 pounds, 2 ounces. His partner, co-angler Michael Dutton of Kaukauna, Wis., reeled in $15,000 cash.
“It’s unbelievable,” said Friebel, who also earned a $1,000 bonus from GARMIN for using a fixed-mount GARMIN GPS/Sounder. “It hasn’t sunk in yet. I thought it would take at least 15 or 16 pounds, and I didn’t even think we had 14 pounds coming in.”
While many competitors had to contend with increased fishing pressure from recreational anglers, Friebel and Dutton found an isolated gravel bar in less than 2 feet of water that was holding the winning combination of fish. “We fought for everything we got,” Friebel said. “But it turned out to be enough. And fortunately, we had it all to ourselves.”
Their lures of choice were 1/8-ounce Lindy jigs tipped with leaches.
Friebel qualified for the final round of 10 pros in second place after landing six walleye weighing 17 pounds, 15 ounce Friday with co-angler co-angler Jim Lovitz of Kaukauna, Wis. Dutton qualified for the final round of 10 co-anglers in fifth place after landing six walleye weighing 16 pounds, 2 ounces Friday with pro Jim Minnema of Randolph, Wis. This was Friebel’s second RCL tournament and Dutton’s first.
The third tournament of the $2.9 million 2002 Wal-Mart RCL Walleye Circuit season began Wednesday with 290 anglers from the United States and Canada taking off from Pioneer Resort in Oshkosh. The field was cut to the top 20 anglers in each division after Thursday’s weigh-in and trimmed to the top 10 anglers in each division after Friday’s weigh-in. Weights were cleared for all anglers Friday and Saturday.
Pro Pete Harsh of Sauk Centre, Minn. ($25,000) and co-angler Jim Lovitz of Kaukauna, Wis. ($7,500) placed second with five walleye weighing 11 pounds, 1 ounce. Harsh also took second at the Lake Sharpe RCL tournament last month.
Pro Rick Olson of Mina Lake, S.D., ($20,000) and co-angler Richard Clark of Mukwonago, Wis., ($6,000) placed third with six walleye weighing 9 pounds, 11 ounces. Pro John Campbell of Walker, Minn., ($15,000) and co-angler Keith Strauss of Syracuse, Ind., ($5,000) placed fourth with three walleye weighing 8 pounds, 7 ounces. Pro Tim Reitan of Sabin, Minn. ($12,500) and co-angler Ed Parks Jr. of Webberville, Mich., ($4,000) placed fifth with four walleye weighing 7 pounds, 6 ounces.
Co-angler Jackie Perry of Milaca, Minn., the only female angler in the final round, finished sixth with Minnema. The pair caught two walleye weighing 5 pounds, 14 ounces. Perry earned $3,000 for the catch, and Minnema earned $10,000.
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 the next tournament. To enter, visit FLWOutdoors.com or call 270-362-5259.
Sponsors of the 2002 Wal-Mart RCL Walleye Circuit are Wal-Mart, Castrol,
Conseco, Crestliner, Energizer, EverStart Batteries, Evinrude, Faded Glory,
Garmin, Kellogg’s, Lund, Minn Kota, Newell Rubbermaid, Poulan, Ranger Boats,
Snickers, Stanley, Weed Eater and Yamaha Outboards. Associate sponsors
are Abu Garcia, Berkley, Eagle Claw, Laker, Plano and Solar Bat
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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