Harsh Wins FLW Angler of the Year

Category: Tournament

 Jul 27th, 2008 by OutdoorsFIRST 

Modified Jul 27th, 2008 at 12:00 AM

Harsh is the 2008 FLW AOY (WalleyeFIRST Photo)

MINNEAPOLIS (July 26, 2008) – Completing an incredible 2008 season, Sauk Centre, Minn., native Pete Harsh won the Land O'Lakes Angler of the Year award on the Wal-Mart FLW Walleye Tour with 544 points over four qualifying events.

Those points also qualified Harsh, known in the industry as Mr. Tiller, for the no-entry-fee Wal-Mart FLW Walleye Tour Championship on the Missouri River in Bismarck, N.D. He was followed by pro Ted Takasaki of East Gull Lake, Minn., with 538 points, pro Rick Franklin of Bemidji, Minn., with 519 points, pro Chris Gilman of Chisago City, Minn., with 509 points and rookie pro John Swanstrom of Superior, Wis., with 499 points.

With five tour-level victories to his name, Harsh is one of most accomplished anglers in competitive walleye fishing. In June 2007, he claimed his first and only Walleye Tour win on Devils Lake in Devils Lake, N.D. At that tournament, Mr. Tiller claimed an $85,000 payday. Proving his consistency, Harsh has seven top-10 finishes in his seven-year career on the Walleye Tour. In 2002, Harsh finished second in the Land O'Lakes Angler of the Year race to pro Tim Minnema. His biggest payday in 2008 was on Cass Lake in Cass Lake, Minn., where he took fourth and earned $10,582. He will have a chance for an even bigger payday in Bismarck as the No. 1-seeded angler at the $650,000 Walleye Tour Championship.

"Winning this award means everything to me and it is something that I have always wanted," Harsh said. "I have been tournament fishing for many years and it feels good to finally win the title."

Harsh started the Walleye Tour season off with a 10th-place effort on Lake Erie in Port Clinton, Ohio. After the Lake Erie event, he then finished 38th on Lake Sharpe in Pierre, S.D. His success continued at Cass Lake in Cass Lake, Minn., where Harsh earned his second top-10 finish, completing the tournament in fourth place. He wrapped up the qualifying season with an eighth place finish on Bays de Noc in Escanaba, Mich.

"I was extremely focused going into the last qualifying event on Bays de Noc," Harsh said. "On day three of the tournament with a few minutes to spare I caught a quality fish that sealed the deal. If it hadn't been for that last fish I might not have had enough weight to make the cut and get the points I needed to win."

Jeff Bowman of Dodge Center, Minn., won the 2008 Co-Angler of the Year title with a total of 490 points out of a possible 600. Bowman placed 43rd to start off the season on Lake Erie and placed 46th at the second stop of the Walleye Tour on Lake Sharpe. At Cass Lake he took 12th place and ended the season with a 13th place finish on Bays de Noc. 

Coverage of Harsh's Land O'Lakes Angler of the Year win on Bays de Noc will be broadcast to 81 million FSN (Fox Sports Net) subscribers in the United States on Oct. 10 as part of the "FLW Outdoors" television program. "FLW Outdoors" is also broadcast in Canada on WFN (World Fishing Network) and to more than 429 million households in the United Kingdom, Europe, Russia, Australia, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East through a distribution agreement with Matchroom Sport, making it the most widely distributed fishing program in the world. The program airs Sunday mornings at 11 Eastern time in most markets. Check local listings for times in your area.
The Land O'Lakes Angler of the Year title is determined by the total accumulated points from four regular-season events. One hundred fifty points are awarded for a win, 149 for second, 148 for third, and so on.

Tournament pros aren't the only ones winning big this season. With the introduction of FLW Fantasy Fishing™, FLW Outdoors® offers anyone the opportunity to enter for their chance to land the catch of a lifetime with the opportunity to win $7.3 million in cash and prizes. Players can become a virtual pro angler by signing up for Player's Advantage, providing them with exclusive insider information that could guide them to a $100,000 victory at every Wal-Mart FLW Tour® stop and the Forrest Wood Cup. Player's Advantage will give them an edge over the competition and increase their shot for a $1 million cash grand prize that will be awarded to the FLW Fantasy Fishing cumulative points winner. Those who visit FantasyFishing.com today can sign up for Player's Advantage and FLW Outdoors will include a $15 Wal-Mart gift card.

Land O'Lakes, Inc. (www.landolakesinc.com) is a national, farmer-owned food and agricultural cooperative with annual sales of more than $8 billion. Land O'Lakes is a Fortune 500 company which does business in all 50 states and more than 50 countries. It is a leading marketer of a full line of dairy-based consumer, foodservice and food ingredient products across the United States; serves its international customers with a variety of food and animal feed ingredients; and provides farmers and ranchers with an extensive line of agricultural supplies (feed, seed, and crop protection products) and services. Land O'Lakes also provides agricultural assistance and technical training in more than 25 developing nations.

FLW Outdoors, named after Forrest L. Wood, the legendary founder of Ranger Boats, is the largest fishing tournament organization in the world. In 2008 alone the organization is offering more than 90,000 anglers the chance to win over $40 million through 230 tournaments in 10 circuits targeting bass, walleye, redfish, kingfish and striped bass. FLW Outdoors is also taking fishing mainstream with the largest cash awards in the history of fantasy sports, $7.3 million.

For more information about FLW Outdoors and its tournaments, visit FLWOutdoors.com or call (270) 252-1000. For more information about FLW Fantasy Fishing and Player's Advantage, visit FantasyFishing.com.

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