Hedquist Leads Walmart FLW League Finals on Lake Wissota
Sep 18th, 2009 by OutdoorsFIRST
Modified Sep 18th, 2009 at 12:00 AM
CHIPPEWA FALLS, Wis. (Sept. 18, 2009) – Boater Kirt Hedquist of Lakeville, Minn., caught 10 walleyes weighing 12 pounds, 14 ounces during the first two days of the Walmart FLW Walleye League Finals on Lake Wissota in Chippewa Falls, Wis., to secure a slim 7-ounce lead heading into the tournament’s final day of competition. If he holds on for the win, Hedquist will receive a $53,000 Ranger 621 powered by either an Evinrude or Yamaha outboard.
As was the case on day one, Lake Wissota’s restrictive slot limit made a large kicker fish crucial. Hedquist weighed the largest fish of the tournament thus far – a 26.75-incher that anchored his day-two weight of 9 pounds, 10 ounces. “That big one was the last fish of the day,” Hedquist said. “We were pulling crankbaits, and five minutes before we pulled the rods in, it bit. I thought it was probably a catfish at first, but then it flashed and I saw its scales. I about fell out of the boat.”
Like Hedquist, many anglers found success while trolling crankbaits, although others are anchoring over off-shore structure and rigging live bait. “Today was actually a little slower numbers-wise for me,” Hedquist said, “but I have the same game plan for tomorrow. These fish seem to be hitting in flurries between slow periods.”
Rounding out the top five boaters are Julian Jones of Andover, Minn. (10 walleyes, 12 pounds, 7 ounces); Bernie Neuhaus of Glencoe, Minn. (nine walleyes, 10 pounds, 10 ounces); Dusty Minke of Forest Lake, Minn. (eight walleyes, 10 pounds, 5 ounces); and Zack Kovar of Ottumwa, Iowa (10 walleyes, 9 pounds, 12 ounces).
In the Co-angler Division, Troy Zupke of Fond Du Lac, Wis., tops the leaderboard with a two-day total of 10 walleyes weighing 13 pounds, 3 ounces. Zupke holds a 13-ounce lead with one day to go. The co-angler winner will receive a $22,000 Ranger Reata 1760 that includes a Minn Kota trolling motor, Lowrance electronics and Ranger Trailer.
Zupke fished with Hedquist on day two. “It was a slow start to the day, but then we reeled that big one in,” he said. “You could hear us hooting and hollering all over the lake.”
Rounding out the top five co-anglers are Tom Laveque of Saginaw, Mich. (10 walleyes, 12 pounds, 6 ounces); Todd Rieder of Fond Du Lac (eight walleyes, 10 pounds, 4 ounces); Steve Beasley of Macomb, Mich. (four walleyes, 9 pounds, 13 ounces); and Roy Hammond of New Berlin, Wis. (10 walleyes, 9 pounds, 10 ounces).
A total of 337 walleyes weighing 266 pounds, 10 ounces were caught Friday, including 47 five-fish limits.
Boaters and co-anglers who finished in the top 30 in final points standings after three qualifying events in each FLW Walleye League division advanced to this no-entry-fee tournament.
Anglers will take off from Chippewa Rod & Gun Marina at 16160 74th Ave. in Chippewa Falls Saturday morning. Saturday’s final weigh-in will be at the Walmart store located at 2786 Commercial Blvd. in Chippewa Falls beginning at 4 p.m. The community is invited to attend the free takeoff and weigh-in festivities.
Boaters and co-anglers are randomly paired each day of the event and fish for a combined boat weight that carries over from day to day. Boaters compete against other boaters, and co-anglers compete against other co-anglers. The winners are determined by the heaviest three-day accumulated weight, with only the top 10 boaters and top 10 co-anglers fishing on day three.
The Walmart Walleye League Finals is hosted by the Eau Claire Area Sports Commission and Chippewa Rod & Gun Marina. Ranger Cup bonuses are guaranteed and awards are based on a 100-boat field in each qualifying event.
FLW Outdoors, named after Forrest L. Wood, the legendary founder of Ranger Boats, is the largest fishing tournament organization in the world and is broadcast in high-definition (HD) on VERSUS each Sunday at 12:30 p.m. ET. FLW Outdoors has also taken fishing mainstream with FLW Fantasy Fishing, offering the largest awards possible in the history of fantasy sports, $10 million in cash and prizes. Sign up at FantasyFishing.com for the 2010 season.
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.