Gilman leads FLW Walleye Tour on Bay de Noc
Jul 11th, 2007 by OutdoorsFIRST
Modified Jul 11th, 2007 at 12:00 AM
ESCANABA, Mich. – Pro Chris Gilman of Chisago City, Minn., along with his partner, Dale Todd of Anderson, Ind., caught five walleyes weighing 20 pounds, 3 ounces to lead day one of the Wal-Mart FLW Walleye Tour event presented by Evinrude on Bays de Noc in Escanaba, Mich., the final 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 phenomenal,” said Gilman, who is also currently leading the Land O’Lakes Angler of the Year race as well. “I just feel really fortunate to be where I am today. I don’t even care where I place in this tournament. I just want to win Angler of the Year. To win Angler of the Year is nearly everyone’s goal and a very tough thing to accomplish. Under normal circumstances, I would already have it wrapped up but Jason Przekurat just wont let up. I’ve got my fingers crossed and going to do a lot of praying over the next two days.”I feel very comfortable with this open-water trolling pattern,” he said. “I made a lengthy run this morning and found two good fish. I came back north and fished a few different areas and was able to scratch out enough slot fish to fill my limit. My plan for tomorrow is to just go do it all over again and hope for the best.”Gilman was trolling spinners with a number of different bead and blade color combinations on offshore structure.Rounding out the top five pros are Paul DeVoss of Bagley, Wis. (three walleyes, 20 pounds, 1 ounce); Steve Vande Mark of Linwood, Mich. (five walleyes, 18 pounds, 11 ounces); Jason Kerr of Holly, Mich. (three walleyes, 18 pounds, 8 ounces); and Gregory Yarbrough of Port Clinton, Ohio (five walleyes, 18 pounds, 6 ounces).Dale Todd of Anderson, Ind., leads the co-angler division. “I feel really fortunate to be paired with Chris Gilman as my day one partner,” said Todd, who has two career top-10 finishes with FLW Outdoors. “I’m on the bubble right now to qualify for the championship and Chris really helped me out today. I think if I can maintain a good weight the rest of the week I should be able to break the top-50 and qualify for the championship.”Pros and co-anglers fish for a combined boat weight. Rounding out the top five co-anglers are David Musch of Minocqua, Wis., Dennis Buechel of Fond Du Lac, Wis., Phillip Milliser Jr. of Plymouth, Ind., and James Plummer of Fairborn, Ohio.The Bays de Noc Convention and Visitors Bureau is hosting the event. Anglers launch daily at 7 a.m. from Escanaba Harbor located at Loren W. Jenkins Memorial Drive. 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 601 North Lincoln Road in Escanaba 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 Bays de Noc will be broadcast to 81 million FSN (Fox Sports Net) subscribers in the United States on Oct. 7 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.