Keenan Takes Early Lead in Walmart FLW Walleye Tour Event on Leech Lake

Category: press release

 Jun 10th, 2009 by OutdoorsFIRST 

Modified Jun 10th, 2009 at 12:00 AM

WALKER, Minn. (June 10, 2009) – Pro Tom Keenan of Hatley, Wis., and co-angler Darrell Martin of Forest Lake, Minn., brought in five walleyes weighing 19 pounds, 15 ounces to lead the Walmart FLW Walleye Tour presented by Berkley on Leech Lake in Walker, Minn. The pair holds a lead of 4 pounds, 5 ounces over their closest rivals in the nationally televised tournament that features anglers from 18 states and 3 Canadian provinces.

“We had a great day,” said Keenan. “We started out looking for big fish, but actually caught small ones. We were fortunate enough to catch two 17½-inch walleyes back to back, which are the perfect size under the protected slot (18 to 26 inches). Then we sorted through a million of the protected fish-23s, 24s and 25-inchers-until we got a 29. I barely got that fish in and my partner hooked a 29 as well.

“This fishery is awesome,” he added. “I’ve never been in a tournament where I’m angry catching 22- to 25-inch walleyes. The weather changed on us, and this was the first day I got the chance to fish in some wind. But we adapted and caught a bunch of walleyes, and I’m hoping to catch some decent ‘overs’ tomorrow, too.”

Rounding out the top 10 pros and co-anglers are Dennis Jeffrey of Garrison, N.D. and Larry Oleson of Wisconsin Rapids, Wis. (five walleyes, 15-10); Brian Brosdahl of Max, Minn. and Jeff Burns of Wabasha, Minn. (five walleyes, 15-4); Rick Olson of Mina, S.D. and Bruce Frevert of Centerville, Iowa (five walleyes, 14-13); Ted Takasaki of East Gull Lake, Minn. and Justin Steinke of Birnamwood, Wis. (five walleyes, 14-8); Chris Gilman of Chisago City, Minn. and Gerud Hetland of Maple Grove, Minn. (three walleyes, 14-6); Joe Whitten of Toledo, Ohio and Tim Renner of Spicer, Minn. (five walleyes, 14-2); Michael Kirkland of Welch, Minn. and Rory Jensen of Madison Lake, Minn. (five walleyes, 13-5); Toby Kvalevog of Brainerd, Minn. and Mike Taylor of Midland, Mich. (five walleyes, 12-12); Lynn Jurrens of Watertown, S.D. and Dan Soehren of New Ulm, Minn. (five walleyes, 12-2).

Brosdahl, a veteran local guide, noted that the bite started slow due to a stalled high-pressure system, but “the fish went crazy” when the wind picked up. “We had our two big fish by 10 o’clock and caught 70 or 80 walleyes today total.”

After winning the Walmart FLW Walleye Tour stop on the Mississippi River at Red Wing, Minn., in May and taking second at the Lake Erie event out of Port Clinton, Ohio, in April, Takasaki was elated with a strong Day One showing at Leech Lake. “It was an exciting day,” he grinned. “We caught our 28-incher with about 10 minutes left before we had to come in. That’s what tournament fishing is all about.”

Overall there were 364 walleyes weighing 664 pounds, 14 ounces caught by 93 boats Wednesday. The catch included 53 five-walleye limits.

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 winners determined by the heaviest four-day weight.

Blue Water Lodge & Marina, located at 7051 Wintergreen Trail in Walker, will host daily takeoffs each morning at 7 a.m. Thursday’s and Friday’s weigh-ins will be held at Walker City Park beginning at 3 p.m. Saturday’s final weigh-in will be held at the Northern Lights Casino located at 6800 Y Frontage Rd. MW in Walker beginning at 4 p.m. The community is invited to attend daily takeoffs and weigh-ins, which are free and open to the public.

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 Land O’Lakes Angler of the Year standings. The top 50 pros and 50 co-anglers in the standings will advance to the FLW Walleye Tour Championship in Bismarck, N.D., Sept. 30-Oct. 3 for a shot at top awards of $150,000 and $20,000, respectively. The prestigious championship, hosted by the Bismarck-Mandan Convention and Visitors Bureau, will also feature boater and co-angler points champions from each of four Walmart FLW Walleye League divisions. The no-entry-fee FLW Walleye Tour Championship is the most lucrative event in professional walleye angling, with cash awards for the entire field.

Coverage of the FLW Walleye Tour, hosted by the Northern Lights Casino, will be broadcast in high-definition (HD) on VERSUS, the network which brings anglers the best fishing programming on television featuring the most-trusted authorities on the water. The Emmy-nominated “FLW Outdoors,” will air Sept. 6 from 12:30 to 1:30 ET. “FLW Outdoors,” hosted by Jason Harper, is broadcast to approximately 500 million households worldwide, including internationally through agreements with WFN (World Fishing Network) and Matchroom Sport to such countries as Canada, 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.

FLW Outdoors, named after Forrest L. Wood, the legendary founder of Ranger Boats, is the largest fishing tournament organization in the world. FLW Outdoors has 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 for Player’s Advantage for only $10 to get your edge and win.

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