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Roush, Heller Take Illinois Team of the Year Honors
By Steve Weisman
Gander Mountain GNWC Publicity Director
Using a fifth place finish on the Mississippi River at Albany on Sunday, the team of Rob Roush from Des Moines, IA and Mike Heller from West Des Moines, IA captured the Illinois Team of the Year honors on the Gander Mountain Grand National Walleye Cup (GNWC) circuit.
Roush and Heller brought a six-walleye limit weighing 11.32 pounds to the scale that sealed the Team of the Year honors. First place, however, went to another Iowa team, Cory Batterson from Pleasant Hill, IA and Mark Mussman from Comanche, IA. Their six-fish weight of 15.52 pounds earned them the winner's check of $1000.
Rick Holmes and Randy Reuter from Platteville, WI followed them in second place with a six-fish limit weight of 13.62 pounds and a check for $500.
Steve Lotz from Lena, IL and David Daughenbaugh from McConnell, IL cashed the third place check of $270 with a six-fish limit weight of 13.02 pounds.
Ron Mason from Estherville, IA and Jim Wahl from Eldridge, IA took home the $400 Berkley Big Fish Award in Berkley products for their 3.61-pound walleye.
"We hit the Mississippi at the right time," said Gander Mountain GNWC Tournament Director Dean Higgins. "We had several six-fish limits, and the walleyes were in good shape."
Mussman echoed those sentiments and added, "Thanks to the DNR for the slot limit."
Fishing presentations varied. Batterson and Mussman spent the day running and gunning from wing dam to wing dam, throwing shad colored Bombers off the face of the wing dams.
Holmes and Ruter also fished the ends of and the face of wing dams, but went with 3-way rigs and leeches and crawlers for bait. Holmes noted that they had their limit by 8:30 in the morning. "It was tough fishing. We had an early bite, and then things got really tough."
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 Dale Kruger and Art Lehrman in 4th place; Rousch and Heller in 5th place; and Terry Sparks and Chris Theis in 6th place.
Mason and Wahl won the Gander Mountain "Need More Stuff" drawing of $200 for a Gander Mountain Shopping Spree.
Next up will be the Illinois State Championship of Walleye Fishing on the Mississippi River at the Quad Cities on August 7-8.
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 the final qualifier or simply wanting more information on the GNWC circuit can call 1-800-890-FISH (3474), or they can email the GNWC at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.