Big weights expected at Cabela’s National Walleye Tour event on Green Bay

Category: News Release

 Jun 6th, 2016 by OutdoorsFIRST 

Modified Jun 6th, 2016 at 12:00 AM

Big weights expected at Cabela’s National Walleye Tour event on Green Bay
by Brett Carlson
STURGEON BAY, Wis. – The Cabela’s National Walleye Tour returns to eastern Wisconsin June 23-24 for stop No. 3 of the 2016 season. After a tightly-contested tournament on inland Lake Winnebago, the best walleye anglers in the world will explore the vast waters of Lake Michigan’s Green Bay. While the Winnebago system is shallow and fertile, Green Bay is deeper and clearer, especially on the north end. Winnebago and Green Bay are widely considered the top two walleye fisheries in the state, but the weights at Green Bay are expected to far exceed the 42 pounds needed to win on Winnebago.
“It’s transition time on Green Bay,” said Raymarine pro Pat Neu, who lives in nearby Forestville, Wis. “The bite should be pretty good, except if we get a bunch of warm weather. That could trigger the alewife spawn and it could get tough.”

Pat Neu pictured at the NWT Sandusky, OH event

“There are resident fish everywhere,” explained Neu. “The masses of fish are south, but guys will run both north and south. I think the biggest variable is the no-cull restriction. It’s one of those things where you can beat yourself. But if you want to win, you can’t keep 3-pounders. Overcoming the no-cull (rule) is all about strategy and confidence.”
Freeland, Mich., pro John Gillman is known as one of the best trollers on tour. Fresh off a second-place finish at Winnebago, Gillman will likely be trolling spinners and night crawlers again on Green Bay. But even he acknowledges other techniques will impact the tournament.
“Casting will play a role,” he said. “Guys are now catching them on Shiver Minnows, on paddle-tail swimbaits, on Rippin’ Raps and on Clackin’ Raps. Walleye fishing has changed with all this casting. But that bite is dictated by the number of fish on specific spots. Are they consolidated enough where you can catch them casting? You have to have the spots.”
While the entire walleye world was exposed to casting in 2014 when Keith Kavajecz and Gary Parsons took first and second on the Shiver Minnow, Neu said a select group of anglers has been casting covertly for a long time.
“Now everyone has started doing it and it works, especially in clear water. It very well could be won casting. I’d say there’s a 50-50 chance.”
Like Neu, Gillman believes the field will spread out as anglers run in opposite directions.

John Gillman, pictured at the NWT Oshkosh event where he took home more than $23K in prize money!

“Green Bay is a very weather-driven system,”
said Gillman. “The biggest fish in the system are typically north. If you go south, you’ll typically catch more fish. Weather may dictate where we can realistically run. When you run north to places like Green Island and Chambers Island, you don’t have to make decisions; you get big fish. You don’t catch 21- and 22-inchers like you do down south. But you also might not get a limit. If you go north, you’ve got to get bit.”

Leading the Lucas Oil Angler of the Year race with 392 points is Mercury pro Wayne Van Dyke.
“It’s exciting and it’s humbling at the same time,” said Van Dyke, a retired high school math teacher. “There are a lot of tremendous anglers on tour. To be leading at this point is an honor, but we’re only halfway through the season. I’m an old basketball coach, and I know they never give out trophies for leading at halftime.”
Ironically, Van Dyke was in this exact same position a year ago – leading the AOY race heading into the Green Bay event.
“I remember I was tied with Mark Courts at the same point. Then I had a bad first day on Green Bay and you simply can’t have a bad day. It’s a really hard thing to be so consistent for four tournaments. That’s why Angler of the Year is so coveted.”
Van Dyke considers this to be a rare second chance.
“I like it at Green Bay. I’m a troller so I think I’ll be pulling spinners and crawlers. But there are endless possibilities; that’s what makes it a challenge.”
To take home the hardware and the lucrative first-place prize package, which includes a boat, motor and $15,000, Gillman believes the winning pro will need 33 to 35 pounds per day. Neu agreed and set the bar right at 70 pounds.
“Green Bay has everything – mud, weeds and rock structure,” concluded Van Dyke. “It’s just a matter of finding the consistent pattern. You can find good fish prefishing, but then sometimes they’re gone the next day. Somebody is going to get over 30 pounds each day. Somebody could come in with over 40 pounds. There are fish everywhere.”
Anglers will take off each day at 7 a.m. Central time from The Lodge at Leathem Smith, located at 1640 Memorial Dr. in Sturgeon Bay. The daily weigh-ins will also take place at The Lodge at Leathem Smith, beginning at 3 p.m. The full field fishes each day with the winner in each division being determined by the heaviest cumulative weight.
The National Walleye Tour consists of three regular-season events and a year-end championship. Each regular season event is a two-day, pro-am tournament and delivers over a 100 percent payback. Pros compete against other pros, and co-anglers compete against other co-anglers.
Registration is ongoing for the Green Bay event. The deadline for guaranteed entry (by signing up with a pro or co-angler) is TODAY. Registration can be taken over the phone at 501-794-2064 or online by visiting www.nationalwalleyetour.com/tournaments/register/. For more information on rules and tournament payouts, visit www.nationalwalleyetour.com.

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