By Steve Weisman
Gander Mountain GNWC Publicity Director
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Rob Roush from Des Moines, IA and Mike Heller from West Des Moines, IA swept both the top honors and the Berkley Trilene Big Fish Award Sunday, May 2 at Lake Shelbyville.
In the second stop for the Illinois Region of the Gander Mountain Grand National Walleye Cup, Roush and Heller's winning weight of 6.05 pounds earned them the $1000 first place prize and the $400 big fish award in Berkley products for their 3.88-pound walleye.
Second place and a check for $270 went to Ron Mason from Estherville, IA and Jim Wahl from Eldridge, IA with a weight of 4.25 pounds. Meanwhile, John Mannerino from Chicago, IL and Mike Potaniec from Palatine, IL took third place with a 3.55 pound weight for their two walleyes.
According to Gander Mountain GNWC Tournament Director Dean Higgins, it was a tough bite. "Weather again played a major factor in this tournament. Timing is always critical for these tournaments, and I think we were just a little bit too early for the good fishing that anglers anticipate will come."
Presentation for the top teams came down to trolling with Shad Raps. However, the color choice and methods were the subtle differences. Roush and Heller trolled #5 crawdad Shad Raps in the Finley Bridge area near a rock hump in 3 foot of water, while Mason and Wall trolled #5 black and silver Shad Raps in 8-12 foot of water.
Both teams echoed the same sentiments. They were glad to bring the weight they did to the scales. As Heller noted, "We're definitely happy to win, and we found the lake and the conditions to make for very challenging fishing."
Mason felt the same but added, "With these conditions, we were tickled to pull two fish."
Special awards include the following. The "Yo So Close" award of a Yo Net folding net valued at $80 was awarded to the three teams that placed out of the money. Those teams include John Mannerino from Chicago, IL and Mike Potaniec from Palatine, IL in 3rd place; Chad Benson from Bemidji, MN and Nicholas Lange from Grant Park, IL in 4th place; and Don Kenik and Tom Desmond from Antioch, IL in 5th place.
Kenik and Desmond also won the Gander Mountain "Need More Stuff" drawing of $200 for a Gander Mountain Shopping Spree.
The race for the Illinois Gander Mountain GNWC Team of the Year is really heating up. Higgins noted, "We now have a two-way tie for first place between Roush and Heller and Mason and Wahl. They both have 11 points, which will make things really exciting over the final two tournaments."
Next up for the Illinois teams will be the Fox Chain on Sunday, May 23. Complete results of this tournament or any tournament on the Gander Mountain GNWC can be found at www.walleyecup.com.
Anglers interested in signing up for a future qualifier or simply wanting more information on the GNWC circuit can call 1-800-890-FISH (3474), or they can email the GNWC at email@example.com.
Title Sponsor for the GNWC is Gander Mountain. Other major national sponsors include Skeeter Boats, Yamaha Outboards, the Sportsman Channel, Berkley, Aqua Innovations, YoNet Folding Nets by AMFYOYO, VIB"E" Lure Company, TowTector Shield and UpNorthOutdoors.com.