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2006 WC Winter Get Together by Brian Stangel

3rd Annual Walleye Central Winter Get Together February 18-19, 2006

Elephant Butte, NM

This years GT was more than a challenge when it came to the fishing side, but with the great group of people we had, we still managed to have a great weekend, excellent fish fry (walleye) and the usual socializing that comes with every GT...which is why we enjoy this event so much.

The fishing has been slow at the Butte for months now and there are all the usual “myths” associated with why, but the dredging project (which is needed in the big picture) and a shad population of epic proportions have made the fishing tough. Both of these events are good for the fishery, but not necessarily the fishermen. We have been spoiled by years of excellent striper fishing and now it is time to pay our dues…and we did.

Good Times Hangman drove the big rig in from MN again and we left Thursday night for the Butte. Arriving at the EB Inn in plenty of time to enjoy a cocktail and get the boat in the water we were excited to get out on Friday. After a good nights sleep we got out and headed north from Marina del Sur and ended up north of Black Bluffs to start a variety of presentations. The fish were thick and we offered a variety of Reef Runners, Captain Mack Urigs and some Fergie’s just to round out the buffet. After a full day of covering most of the water from Black Bluffs all the way to the dam…we had been skunked, short of one strike on a Fergie.

Saturday all the boats were out and everyone was trying something a little different, the spirit of cooperation was the only chance we had as a collective to find a pattern. The radios were active early and then quickly quieted by mid morning. Nothing to be had and that was hard to believe considering the amount of boats and variety of tackle being presented. Mike Alvarado was the only person that day to get a bump on bait near Kettle Top. As the afternoon went on…the wind decided to test us again (Friday the wind only blew 30) and by 2PM we were off the lake…too much wind. We headed back to Marina del Sur and after parking the rig (putting my first scratch in the new paint) I felt like we had been whooped again by the stripers…and everything else.

With not much in the confidence category, we watched as the kids fishing opposite us from the dock were whooping it up on the cats. After some deliberation we decided “When in Rome…”. Didn’t take long to rig up some cat rigs with shad and get comfortable. Not long after we had our first, then our second, then a third…etc. Russell Spahr and his crew joined us and soon we had our own little dock party going at the slips. Richard Gilcrease’s crew as well as Kooser also came to join the party…we all had enough wind for the day and it was a blast hanging out at the marina and telling fish stories.

It was time for dinner and we headed back to the Butte Inn for the fish fry. Having gathered up the scraps people were willing to donate…we were rewarded for our efforts as Mack from the Inn had planned a backup for us and we had walleye! After setting up our tables with all the wonderful door prizes that were donated again this year we enjoyed our sponsored walleye fish fry thanks to Lance Sloan and his crew at Dynamic Communications. Lance has become a fixture at the GT and his company has been nothing short of generous in their contributions to make sure everyone gets to enjoy the fish fry.

Ms. Jennifer again volunteered to keep track of people for the dinner and hand out door prize tickets, which was a huge help, THANK YOU. Hangman and I worked on the door prize table (again) and got everything out from the sponsors. We had lots of prizes to give away thanks to all the great sponsors Dynamic Communications Inc. (sponsoring the dinner), ReelBait Tackle, Walleye Central, Reef Runner, Elephant Butte Inn, Marina Del Sur, Offshore Tackle, Los Arcos Steak and Lobster and Mack’s Lure.

Mack (EB Inn Chef) did a phenomenal job preparing the walleye, both fried and Cajun blackened. During dinner we did the drawing for all the prizes and we were able to get everyone attending something for their efforts.

Thanks again to James and Jennifer Pecherski for helping me put all this together, Gerald, Suzie, Mack, Becka and everyone else at the Elephant Butte Inn and for all the people who traveled to come fish Elephant Butte with us. We’ll see you next year…

Be sure to check out the photos from the Get Together.

Tight lines,



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