Cabelaís 2008 NTC Walleye Tournament is underway
By Dan Carlson
June 13, 2008
Mobridge, S.D. Ė When a fisherman gets up in the morning and there are already whitecaps on the water before dawn, you know a challenging day lies ahead. Thatís what NTC teams faced this morning on the shores of Lake Oahe. Even before the first rim of the sunís orb cleared the eastern horizon winds a meteorologist on the scene measured sustained northwest winds at 15mph with gusts to 20 mph. By the time the tournament got underway at 8:00 am, sustained winds of 20-25 mph with higher gusts had whipped the lakes surface into a rolling mass of white-capped swells.
Boat inspection started promptly at 5:00 am. Once a boat got the go-ahead, it launched in the west bay of Indian Creek Recreation Area. One team member took the boat over to the east bay boat launch where the other member parked the vehicle and trailer. That member was then picked up by the team boat from a very tippy floating dock that made every angler walking like he or she had started the day with a few drinks. A few team members treated spectators to some unusual gymnastics as they entered their boat.
A total of 197 teams were officially registered for this yearís NTC Tournament. While the teams that checked in early waited for the 8:00 start time, many members took advantage of the chance to catch a nap or do some last minute line rigging. Then, when the start time approached, what one local resident described as ďa small navyĒ began to form up into a loose formation around the boat in from which tournament director, Matt Kettler, announced the starting order.
One by one, the boats throttled up and rocketed out of the relative shelter of the bay into some of the most challenging water conditions any walleye angler would ever want to face. Huge swells seemed to engulf some boats as they turned into the wind. Others seemed to rocket out of the water and over the whitecaps. Once into the rough stuff, about half of the teams headed south, the other half headed north and a very few headed for the west shore of Lake Oahe. Some teams decided not to risk fighting the huge waves in open water and hugged the shoreline where small points offered a bit of shelter from the blustery conditions.
All the teams must be off the water by 4:00 this afternoon. As of 1:00, one team had already checked in with their five fish for the day. Their total weight was 11.64 lbs. With three hours left to go in day one of the 2008 NTC Tournament and only one team ashore, itís clear that we have some hearty teams are willing to brave big waves for a chance to bring home big bucks. Weíll see who gets lucky on this very windy Friday the 13th in Mobridge.