Hedquist wins Walmart FLW Walleye League Finals on Lake Wissota
Sep 19th, 2009 by OutdoorsFIRST
Modified Sep 19th, 2009 at 12:00 AM
CHIPPEWA FALLS, Wis. (Sept. 19, 2009) – Boater Kirt Hedquist of Lakeville, Minn., caught 14 walleyes weighing 16 pounds, 8 ounces during three days of competition in the Walmart FLW Walleye League Finals on Lake Wissota in Chippewa Falls, Wis., to secure a $53,000 victory Saturday by 10 ounces over his closest competitor. Hedquist earned a Ranger 621 powered by an Evinrude or Yamaha outboard.
On Thursday, Hedquist caught five walleyes weighing 3 pounds, 4 ounces. He added another five walleyes weighing 9 pounds, 10 ounces to his total Friday, then he capped off his win Saturday with four more walleyes weighing 3 pounds, 10 ounces.
“This is just an incredible feeling,” Hedquist said after winning the event. “I basically stuck to the same program that I’ve been doing the last three days, and we had an awesome start. We had three fish in the box during the first hour, but then it slowed way down. We caught our 18-inch kicker around 10 a.m., but we struggled the rest of the day to get that last fish.”
Hedquist has been trolling an array of shad-style crankbaits on leadcore line to catch the majority of his walleyes this week. “We’ve basically just been contour trolling along a breakline,” he said. “We’ve used several crankbaits, and a burnt-orange type color has been the best for me.”
Other anglers have been relying on different patterns this week, including second-place finisher Julian Jones of Andover, Minn. Jones caught a three-day total of 15 walleyes weighing 15 pounds, 14 ounces. “I’ve been pulling nightcrawlers, fathead minnows and leeches on floating jigheads all week,” Jones said. “Most of my fish have come from one little hump in 16 to 18 feet of water.” Jones earned $2,500 for his finish.
Rounding out the top five boaters were Dusty Minke of Forest Lake, Minn. (11 walleyes, 15 pounds, 6 ounces, $1,750); Bernie Neuhaus of Glencoe, Minn. (12 walleyes, 13 pounds, 9 ounces, $1,000); and Paul Devoss of Bagley, Wis. (15 walleyes, 12 pounds, 10 ounces, $750).
Troy Zupke of Fond Du Lac, Wis., won the Co-angler Division with a three-day total of 14 walleyes weighing 16 pounds, 13 ounces. His effort earned him a $22,000 Ranger Reata 1760 that includes a Minn Kota trolling motor, Lowrance electronics and Ranger Trailer.
Zupke fished with Hedquist on days two and three. “I’m very excited,” he said. “But I was sweating at the end of the day today when we didn’t have that fifth fish. I was incredibly nervous at the weigh-in because I knew it would be close.”
Rounding out the top five co-anglers are Tom Laveque of Saginaw, Mich. (15 walleyes, 15 pounds, 13 ounces, $1,250); Steve Beasley of Macomb, Mich. (seven walleyes, 14 pounds, 14 ounces, $875); Todd Rieder of Fond Du Lac (11 walleyes, 13 pounds, 3 ounces, $500); and Roy Hammond of New Berlin, Wis. (14 walleyes, 12 pounds, 5 ounces, $375).
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.
Boaters and co-anglers were randomly paired each day of the event and fished for a combined boat weight that carried over from day to day. Boaters competed against other boaters, and co-anglers competed against other co-anglers. The winners were 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.