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KOLB LEADS $675,850 WAL-MART FLW WALLEYE TOUR CHAMPIONSHIP ON LAKE ERIE
Kelly leads Co-angler Division
CLEVELAND (Sept. 28, 2007) – Bounty pro David Kolb of Ada, Mich., and co-angler Chris Pluntz of Maple, Wis., caught five walleyes weighing 31 pounds, 5 ounces Friday to give Kolb a two-day total of 10 walleyes weighing 68-10 in the sport’s most lucrative event – the Wal-Mart FLW Walleye Tour Championship – on Lake Erie in downtown Cleveland. The impressive catch, which outpaced his closest competitor by 13 pounds, 3 ounces, advanced Kolb to the all-important final round of 10 pros as the No. 1 seed. Weights zero Saturday, however, so Kolb will have to turn in a repeat performance to win the tournament’s $150,000 top award.
In the Co-angler Division, Ryan Kelly of Ortonville, Minn., advanced to the final round as the No. 1 seed with 10 walleyes weighing in at 50 pounds, 2 ounces. Kelly and the rest of the co-angler contenders will wrap up competition Saturday with the winner earning as much as $22,000.
After a relatively calm start to the tournament Thursday, the field faced some of Lake Erie’s worst conditions Friday, as high winds produced punishing 5 to 6 foot waves. The conditions pushed anglers to their limits, both mentally and physically, but the sport’s best from 15 states and Canada took to the water and hauled in another great catch of 135 fish weighing 547 pounds, 3 ounces. The catch included 21 five-fish limits.
“It was a little choppy out there this morning,” said Kolb, who won the 2003 FLW Walleye Tour stop on Lake Erie out of Port Clinton, Ohio. “We went ahead and made the long run again this morning. It took us a little over an hour and a half, but as soon as we started putting out the lines, we were catching fish. We probably caught about seven before we ever got completely set up. We caught so many fish over the last two days. Its incredible, I love it.”
Kolb and Pluntz found that the fish were aggressive first thing in the morning. As the day went on, the bite seemed to slow down but picked up again around noon, right before the team decided to make the long run in.
“This weather has kind of played into my favor. I think I am around enough fish in my area to keep me right up in this. I have a lot of confidence on this water and the school of fish I’m working,” Kolb said. “I’ m going to make the run back to the same area tomorrow. It’s a huge school, I found them in practice last Friday, and I think they are replenishing themselves everyday. The only thing is that the other people who weren’t able to make the runs the last couple of days will be able to if the weather dies like they are calling for. I’ve won here before. We will just have to see and play it by ear.”
Rounding out the top five pros are BFGoodrich Tires pro Dustin Kjelden of Brookings, S.D. (10 walleyes, 55-07); John Gillman of Freeland, Mich. (10 walleyes, 50-14); Folgers pro Denny Lantzy of Warren, Mich. (10 walleyes, 49-12); and Yamaha pro Ross Grothe of Northfield, Minn. (10 walleyes, 48-12).
Also clearing the top-10 weight of 41-09 are Coleman pro Tommy Skarlis of Waukon, Iowa; Scott Fairbairn of Hager City, Wis.; Jim Preissner of Hastings, Minn.; Jason Kerr of Holly, Mich.; and Robert Crow of Paterson, Wash.
The team of Kjelden and Brunz claimed the events Snickers Big Walleye Award with a 10-pound, 12-ounce fish, earning the team an additional $1,000.
“This is awesome,” said Kelly, who is leading the Co-angler Division after fishing with pro Robert Lampman of De Soto, Wis. “Being only 19 and in college, this is great. It was really good to be able to fish with a past champion (Lampman). We didn’t really run that far today. It was only about nine miles. I was the net man today. I didn’t trust myself to reel. In my prefishing, I never got a fish in the boat. It’s going to be nice to fish with David Kolb.”
Rounding out the top five co-anglers are Mike Zawistowski of Wonder Lake, Ill. (10 walleyes, 48-11); Jerome Chwierut of Lake Villa, Ill., (10 walleyes, 47-8); Patrick Bertelsen of Jackson, Minn. (10 walleyes, 47-5); and Pluntz (10 walleyes, 46-14).
Also clearing the top-10 cut weight of 42-15 are Darrel Martin of Forest Lake, Minn.; Adam Adler of Oconto Falls, Wis.; Nate Brunz of Madison Lake, Minn.; Sally Blain of Hopkins, Mich.; and Dewey Watson of Twin Falls, Idaho.
Voinovich Bicentennial Park, located at 800 E. Ninth St. in Cleveland, will host daily takeoffs at 7:30 a.m. Daily weigh-ins will be held at the Cleveland Convention Center, located at 500 Lakeside Ave. E., beginning at 4 p.m. The community is invited to attend takeoffs and weigh-ins as well as the Family Fun Zone, which opens at noon Saturday and Sunday. Saturday is free fishing rod day at the Fun Zone, where the first 200 children 14 and under receive a free fishing rod, and Sunday is free fishing reel day, where the first 200 children 14 and under receive a free fishing reel.
Pros and co-anglers are randomly paired each day and fish for a combined boat weight. Pros compete against other pros, and co-anglers compete against other co-anglers. The full field competes Thursday and Friday and then is cut to the top 10 pros and top 10 co-anglers for Saturday. Anglers in both divisions start from zero Saturday, and co-angler competition will conclude with the winner determined by the day’s heaviest catch. Pros will carry their weights from Saturday over to Sunday, and the winner will be determined by the heaviest accumulated weight from both days.
Coverage of the FLW Walleye Tour Championship on Lake Erie will be broadcast to 81 million FSN (Fox Sports Net) subscribers in the United States on Dec. 2 as part of the “FLW Outdoors” television program. “FLW Outdoors” airs Sunday mornings at 11 a.m. Eastern. “FLW Outdoors” is also broadcast in Canada on WFN (World Fishing Network) and to more than 429 million households in the United Kingdom, Europe, Russia, Australia, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East through Matchroom Sport, making it the most widely distributed fishing program in the world. Additionally, FLW Outdoors is proud to provide tournament coverage to more than 800,000 servicemembers stationed around the world in 177 countries and aboard Navy ships through broadcasts on the American Forces Network.
Named after the legendary founder of Ranger Boats, Forrest L. Wood, FLW Outdoors administers the Wal-Mart FLW Tour, Wal-Mart FLW Series, Stren Series, Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League, Wal-Mart Texas Tournament Trail presented by Abu Garcia, Ranger Owners Tournament Championship Series, Wal-Mart FLW Walleye Tour, Wal-Mart FLW Walleye League, Wal-Mart FLW Kingfish Tour, Wal-Mart FLW Kingfish Series, Wal-Mart FLW Redfish Series and Wal-Mart FLW Striper Series. These circuits offer combined purses of nearly $43 million through 241 events in 2007.
Wal-Mart and many of America’s largest and most respected companies support FLW Outdoors and its tournament trails. Wal-Mart signed on as an FLW Outdoors sponsor in 1997 and today is the world’s leading supporter of tournament fishing. For more information about Wal-Mart, visit Walmart.com.
For more information about FLW Outdoors and its tournaments, visit FLWOutdoors.com or call (270) 252-1000.