Bill Ortiz Wins Again at Bull Shoals

Category: Tournament

 Jun 27th, 2008 by OutdoorsFIRST 

Modified Jun 27th, 2008 at 12:00 AM

A bittersweet win for Ortiz (WalleyeFIRST Photo)

Returning to the winner's circle, Wisconsin's Bill Ortiz claimed another victory at Bull Shoals Lake. He scored a convincing win in the Outdoor Channel Pro-Am, presented by MinnKota, June 25-27.

This is his third In-Fisherman Professional Walleye trail top finish. He won at Bull Shoals in 2005. He is now eighth on the all-time PWT money list with $359,782 in winnings. He was one of only three anglers to weigh a 5-fish limit each day for 45.84 pounds. He won $21,266.

This was especially memorable for Ortiz, who fished and traveled with PWT winner and Angler of the Year Shannon Kehl, who was killed in a car accident last week. Kehl's funeral was Friday, the final competition day, which Ortiz described this way, "My day went great; didn't miss any fish; and I know someone was looking down on my boat. It was tough to lose a friend, especially in the prime of his life. This win was for Shannon."

Ironman Todd Riley finishes second (WalleyeFIRST Photo)

Also racking up 5-fish limits were second place angler Todd Riley with 39.86 pounds for $7,008, and third place angler Dave Andersen. He brought 38.25 pounds to the scales and netted $5,075. Both pros are from Amery, Wisconsin. Top amateur/co-angler honors including a Lowrance LCX-37C sonar/GPS unit went to Norb Belz, Nixa, Missouri. PWT amateurs/co-anglers fish with three different pro anglers and use the pro's tackle in the best learning/educational seminar in the fishing world.

All amateurs/co-anglers won merchandise from PWT sponsors. The complete list of winners, pros and amateurs, is posted on the PWT web site, www.professionalwalleyetrail.com. Their monetary or merchandise prize values are also listed. Five amateurs won bonus Mercury rebate gift certificates for Mercury outboards in the amounts of $1,500, $1,200, $1,000, $800, and $500.

Pros winning the top incentives from Lund included fourth place pro Jim Muzynoski, Bozeman, Montana, $12,000; Mark Brumbaugh, Arcanum, Ohio, fifth place, $5,000; and ninth place finisher Jim Orcutt, Ely, Minnesota, $3,000. The top place Mercury owner, Andersen will collect $12,000.

Leading the Starcraft Marine Angler of the Year race is Ortiz, followed by Riley and Muzynoski. The winner at the end of the season wins a Starcraft STX 2050 boat rigged with a Mercury outboard on a tandem deluxe trailer and Lowrance electronics valued at $44,000.

With Bull Shoals up more than 40 feet from average levels, shoreline trees and brush proved the winning ticket. Walleyes (and most game fish) were in the trees, from the bottom all the way to the uppermost branches, about 20 feet under the surface. "The key for me," said Ortiz, "Was to fish crankbaits or spinners and crawlers through, around, over and in the trees. Keep snags to a minimum, but sacrifice lures and rigs, and haul out the fish." The patterns were explained in detail on stage to the many walleye fans, and will be illustrated on the PWT television series shows in early November on the Outdoor Channel. They will also be described in an upcoming issue of the Walleye In-Sider magazine.

A special award was delivered to Mark Jones, chair of the Resort Owners Committee and a Chamber of Commerce board member, recognizing all the assistance and volunteer help they provided. Another achievement award went to Ricky and Steve Eastwold, co-owners of the Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock, for their amazing support.

Pros and amateurs/co-anglers lauded the fishery, the numbers of walleyes they caught, said the future would be fantastic, and couldn't wait to fish it when the water dropped. The minimum size limit is 18 inches. If it had been 15 inches like many other waters, almost all anglers would have weighed limits. Gary Parsons, 3-time PWT Angler of the Year, said, "I really enjoy fishing here, and this will be a world-class walleye water soon. I will be back."

The next PWT event is the CAN-AM Super Pro, an artificials-only event in Dryden, Ontario, in August. Two Minn Kota Pro-Am series tournaments follow in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, and Hudson, Wisconsin.

The PWT is an integral element of the In-Fisherman Communications Network headquartered in Baxter, Minnesota, and InterMedia, America's leading producer of targeted media. PWT promotional partners include: Berkley, Lowrance Electronics, Optima Batteries, Minn Kota, Realtree, Outdoor Channel, Starcraft Marine, Northland Fishing Tackle, Fin-Tech Tackle, StowMaster, Reef Runner, Yo-Zuri Quality Lures, Smooth Moves Seat Mounts, Kwik Pfyt Mud Flaps, Yellow Bird Planer Boards, Live Target, Allstar Graphics, Ram Mounts, Element Edge, Pflueger, Plano Tackle Systems, Cannon, Bull Shoals Boat Dock (870.445.4424), Bel' Arco Resort (870.4454242), Resort Owner's Committee (870.405.0830) and White River Chamber of Commerce (870.445.4443).

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