Erhard leads FLW Walleye Tour on Devils Lake
Jun 6th, 2007 by OutdoorsFIRST
Modified Jun 6th, 2007 at 12:00 AM
DEVILS LAKE, N.D. – Pro Ron Erhard of Wellsville, Kan., along with his partner, Henry Juntunen of Minot, N.D., caught five walleyes weighing 25 pounds, 4 ounces to lead day one of the Wal-Mart FLW Walleye Tour event on Devils Lake in Devils Lake, N.D., the third regular-season event of the 2007 FLW Walleye Tour. With a $2.71 million total purse, including the no-entry-fee $675,850 Wal-Mart FLW Walleye Tour Championship on Lake Erie at Cleveland, Ohio, Sept. 27-30, and television coverage on FSN (Fox Sports Net), the FLW Walleye Tour is bigger and better than ever.With a full field of 150 pros and 150 co-anglers, anglers are competing for their share of a $509,300 purse, including as much as $100,000 for the winning pro and $18,000 for the winning co-angler.”Today was a great day. It actually should have been better than what it was though,” said Erhard, who had a great practice and found this monster-producing, honey hole about a half an hour before the off-limits time went into effect on Tuesday. “I actually lost a few key fish that held my weigh back some. I think I am around enough fish to at least keep me around the top-10.”The bite was a little slow. We only had six bites all day. We really had to work for these fish in these conditions. If the weather holds tomorrow, I am going to make another long run and hopefully scratch out a good limit again. My plan for this week is to at least weigh-in a limit everyday. I’m mainly just relying on catching a big kicker fish everyday.”Erhard also said that he was fishing the Pelican Bay area, tying up to trees and slip-bobber fishing in 3 to 6 feet of water looking for his big bites. He added that if he doesn’t have a limit by noon, he will then back off and throw an array of crankbaits around the partially submerged trees to fill what’s left of his five-fish weighable limit. Erhard also said that the weather will dictate what he does on a daily basis on this body of water.Rounding out the top five pros are Dennis Jeffrey of Garrison, N.D. (five walleyes, 24 pounds, 15 ounces); Larry Smith of Berlin, Wis. (five walleyes, 23 pounds, 11 ounces); John Renschen of Red Wing, Minn. (five walleyes, 22 pounds, 10 ounces); and Brad Ertel of Hudson, Wis. (five walleyes, 22 pounds, 8 ounces).Henry Juntunen leads the co-angler division. “This has been a great experience so far,” said Juntunen, who is fishing in his first FLW Walleye Tour event. “We had some rough water and weather out there today but Ron knows what he is doing and put us on some good fish. Ron is a great guy and an outstanding fisherman. Seems like every time I would turn my back on him he would yell for the net again. Overall, it was a really fun day.”Pros and co-anglers fish for a combined boat weight. Rounding out the top five co-anglers are Philip Zimpel of Plummer, Minn., Jeff Trana of Devils Lake, N.D., Larry Oleson of Wisconsin Rapids, Wis. and Ryan Kelly of Willmar, Minn.The Spirit Lake Casino and Resort is hosting the event. Anglers launch daily at 7 a.m. from the Spirit Lake Resort Marina located at 7889 Highway 57 in St. Michael, N.D. Thursday and Friday’s weigh-ins will also be held at the marina beginning at 3 p.m. Saturday’s weigh-in will be held at the Wal-Mart store located at 210 Highway 2 W. in Devils Lake beginning at 4 p.m. The community is invited to attend daily takeoffs and weigh-ins, which are free and open to the public.Pros and co-anglers are randomly paired each day and fish for a combined boat weight. Pros compete against other pros, and co-anglers compete against other co-anglers. The full field competes during the three-day opening round for one of 10 final-round slots based on their three-day accumulated weight.Weights carry over to day four, with the winner determined by the heaviest four-day weight.Every angler who receives weight credit in a tournament earns points, with 150 points awarded to the winner, 149 to second, 148 for third, and so on. These points determine angler standings. The top 50 pros and 50 co-anglers based on year-end points standings will advance to the 2007 FLW Walleye Tour Championship.The FLW Walleye Tour Championship is the most lucrative event in professional walleye angling, with guaranteed cash awards for the entire field. A guaranteed cash award of $100,000 plus potential sponsor bonuses totaling $50,000 will go to the FLW Walleye Tour Championship winner for a total pro award of $150,000. The champion co-angler will win a guaranteed cash award of $11,000 plus potential sponsor bonuses totaling $11,000 for a total co-angler award of $22,000.Coverage of the FLW Walleye Tour event on Devils Lake will be broadcast to 81 million FSN (Fox Sports Net) subscribers in the United States on Aug. 19 as part of the “FLW Outdoors” television program. “FLW Outdoors” airs Sunday mornings at 11 a.m. Eastern. “FLW Outdoors” is also broadcast internationally to more than 350 million households in such countries as Germany, China, South Africa, Australia, Malaysia, Russia, Hungary and the United Kingdom, making it the most widely distributed weekly outdoor-sports television show in the world. Additionally, FLW Outdoors is proud to provide tournament coverage to more than 800,000 servicemembers stationed around the world in 177 countries and aboard Navy ships through broadcasts on the American Forces Network.Named after the legendary founder of Ranger Boats, Forrest L. Wood, FLW Outdoors administers the Wal-Mart FLW Tour, Wal-Mart FLW Series, Stren Series, Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League, Wal-Mart Texas Tournament Trail presented by Abu Garcia, Ranger Owners Tournament Championship Series, Wal-Mart FLW Walleye Tour, Wal-Mart FLW Walleye League, Wal-Mart FLW Kingfish Tour, Wal-Mart FLW Kingfish Series, Wal-Mart FLW Redfish Series and Wal-Mart FLW Striper Series. These circuits offer combined purses of nearly $43 million through 241 events in 2007.Wal-Mart and many of America’s largest and most respected companies support FLW Outdoors and its tournament trails. Wal-Mart signed on as an FLW Outdoors sponsor in 1997 and today is the world’s leading supporter of tournament fishing. For more information about Wal-Mart, visit Walmart.com.For more information about FLW Outdoors and its tournaments, browse FLWOutdoors.com or call (270) 252-1000.