Field of 187 Teams Takes Up the Next MWC Challenge on Lake Winnebago

Category: Tournament

 Jun 4th, 2008 by OutdoorsFIRST 

Modified Jun 4th, 2008 at 12:00 AM

Minnetonka, MN  —  The Cabela’s Masters Walleye Circuit will host 187 teams in Oshkosh, Wisconsin for the third and last stop in the Central Division on June 21st and 22nd.  Hard to believe that the end of the season is already upon us for MWC Central Division Team of the Year honors.  Over $8,223 will be paid out in cash prizes to the top five teams in points.  Currently, Jack Neuman of Naperville, Illinois and Brad Obermeier of Ankeny, Iowa are in the lead for points.
“Jack and I talked about this after our tournament up at Marinette-Menominee,” shared Obermeier.  He and his cousin have really enjoyed the new partnership created with the team format.  They started the year well with a 16th place finish at the Illinois River and added a 2nd place finish on the Bay of Green Bay. “It does put a lot more pressure on this next tournament at Lake Winnebago, but we don’t want to get too far ahead of ourselves, either. When you look at the quality of the competition in this national circuit – to be poised at the top heading into the last Central event is thrilling, exciting and yet…quite a bit humbling, too.”
But the race is tight.  In second place, local Wisconsinites Wayne Butz of Hobart and Don Frederick of Appleton are nipping at their heels, only 3 points out. Wayne and Don work together at a papermill about 3 miles from the lake.  They consider Lake Winnebago to be home waters – as do nearly half the competitors!  Does that give the locals an advantage?  “There are a lot of good fishermen from the area,” shared veteran MWCer, Butz. “They know they can compete with just about anybody.”  The conditions will play a big part in the tournament as Lake Winnebago is shifting and changing this time of year.  “Right now the mayfly hatch is done and it was a good one. The water clarity is a good five feet which means the shore bite is good and the reefs are coming on,” added Butz.  But several weeks from now the mud flats could turn on as has been the predominant location for hunting up bigger fish the last weekend in June.  Such was the case when Steve Stein and Kenny Ludwig, both of Leavenworth, Kansas, won it the last time the MWC was on Lake Winnebago in 2005.  Definitely not locals — they pulled off the win for over $28,000 with spinners over the mud flats 25-40′ behind the boards.
“We won’t go into this event with a closed mind about what we did last time,” shared Stein.  “Lake Winnebago is such a unique place to fish, we will have to keep an open mind on what to do and where to go.”  Making the right decisions at just the right time is what wins tournaments, noted Stein.  “There’s not a better feeling than when you’ve made all the right decisions for a tournament and your program comes together for a win.”
The field of 187 teams will pay out 32 places for a total of $104,720.  First place will pay $27,500 on down to $1,000 for 32nd.   Space is still available, however, there are late fees within the last 30 days.  The entry fee is currently $750 until June 7th, then $800 on June 8th through the 14th and on June 15th it jumps to $1200. The maximum size of the field is 220 teams.
A number of MWC sponsors have added contingency bonuses into the program.  Some pay out for the top finishing team in their category – whether it is a win, 10th place or 50th place!
Mercury – $500 bonus for winning team if they are powered with a Mercury Motor
Ranger Cup/Mercury combo bonus of $500 for the top finishing team in Ranger Boat’s Ranger Cup owners program that is running a Mercury Motor
Toyota Tundra –  $1,000 bonus for the top finishing team towing their boat with a Toyota Tundra
Ranger Cup – $1,000 bonus for the top finishing team in Ranger Boat’s Ranger Cup owners program
FCIS – $250 bonus for the top finishing team on Team FCIS
Oxygenator – $200 bonus for the top finishing team with an Oxygenator system in their livewell
NPAA – $200 bonus for the top finishing two NPAA members ($100 each)
Cabela’s, the world’s foremost outfitter for hunting, fishing and outdoor gear, is entering their seventh season as the title sponsor of the Masters Walleye Circuit.  Official sponsors include Mercury, Lowrance Electronics, Toyota Trucks, Ranger Boats, MotorGuide, Versus (Vs.) Television Network and North American Fishing Club.  Associate sponsors are Farm & City Insurance Services, The Inhibitor, O2 Oxygenator and Sticker Dude.
On Saturday the MWC and NPAA will co-host a Youth & Family Fishing Clinic at Menominee Park in Oshkosh.  Kids are invited to come down to watch the weigh-in and immediately following the anglers will host a clinic teaching the kids to rig up their very own fishing rod and reel. “Our sponsors have graciously donated funds so that we can bring rods, reels and tackle boxes for the kids,” shared Frank Pilney, NPAA #920 that has organized the clinics.  “We teach the kids – and their parents – the basics with the hope that the whole family will learn to enjoy fishing.” Plus, kids can win a mountain bike, donated by Toyota, fully rigged to carry the new fishing equipment to the lake.  This kid’s ultimate fishing machine will be awarded to one lucky winner in a random drawing immediately following the clinic.
The weigh-ins are open to the public and free to attend.  Menominee Park (Millers Bay area) in Oshkosh will stage the event.  Bring the family down and see some of the big fish that will be brought to the scale, beginning at 2:45 pm Saturday and Sunday. This is a catch and release tournament.
While this tournament is the end of the Central division, there are still tournaments in the East and West divisions.  The remaining 2008 schedule is:
June 21 & 22  Lake Winnebago out of Oshkosh, Wisconsin
July 18 – 20   Saginaw Bay out of Linwood, Michigan
August 9 & 10  Devils Lake out of Devils Lake, North Dakota
August 22 – 24    Lake Erie out of Dunkirk, New York
October 1-4, 2008  Lake Erie out of Dundee/Monroe, Michigan

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