Kjelden Wins 2007 FLW Walleye Tour Championship
Sep 30th, 2007 by OutdoorsFIRST
Modified Sep 30th, 2007 at 12:00 AM
CLEVELAND (Sept. 30, 2007) – BFGoodrich Tires pro Dustin Kjelden of Brookings, S.D., caught five walleyes weighing 22 pounds, 13 ounces Sunday to post a two-day winning catch of 10 walleyes weighing 62 pounds in the sport’s most lucrative event – the Wal-Mart FLW Walleye Tour Championship – on Lake Erie in downtown Cleveland. Not only does Kjelden have the prestigious title of champion, he also grabbed an industry leading payday of $150,000.Kjelden’s catch also set a new FLW Walleye Tour Championship two-day winning weight record, shattering the old record of 28 pounds set last year by Richard Nascak of Winona, Minn., on Lake Oahe in Pierre, S.D. In fact, the catch shattered the final two-day weight record for any FLW Walleye Tour Championship, including the 31-02 caught by Dean Arnoldussen of Appleton, Wis., in 2001 on Green Bay. At the time, however, weights were zeroed for the final day, so Arnoldussen’s two-day total is unofficial. Anglers were able to fish the massive body of water with relative ease Saturday and Sunday, as the high winds, rough water and scattered showers seen on days one and two subsided. This allowed the finalists to key in on the monster walleyes that make Cleveland and Lake Erie one of the nation’s top walleye destinations. To prove that fact, the top-10 anglers hauled in another impressive overall catch of 48 fish weighing 240 pounds, 6 ounces Sunday. The catch included nine five-fish limits. “It is absolutely amazing to come out here to Erie and win against this stiff competition,” said Kjelden, who finished seventh in last year’s championship. “The competition on this tour is extremely stiff. Everyone in the top-10 deserved to be here. They are all amazing anglers. To come out number one is just incredible. When Scott Fairbairn brought out his first two fish, I had a gut feeling I had won.”Kjelden found that the more aggressive fish were up higher in the water column earlier in the week. After that, he keyed in on specific schools and caught quality fish with an array of spinners. The fish hit willow leaf blades trolled about 10 feet down in 45 feet of water near the Canadian border. “One thing that I think was key to this win was that I am always looking for a pattern of where the fish are going, not where they are now,” Kjelden said. “I am a very driven person. I don’t like to lose and want to be in the top-10 every stop. If I do something, I give it 100 percent. Fishing out there today by myself was tough. I lost a few fish, and it was just frustrating. Overall I had a tough day and a long week.” Rounding out the top five pros were Scott Fairbairn of Hager City, Wis. (10 walleyes, 49-07, $75,000); Robert Crow of Paterson, Wash. (10 walleyes, 48-12, $30,000); Folgers pro Denny Lantzy of Warren, Mich. (10 walleyes, 47-09, $25,000); and Jim Preissner of Hastings, Minn. (10 walleyes, 47-04, $20.000).Co-angler competition ended Saturday in dramatic fashion, as the last angler to weigh in, Mike Zawistowski of Wonder Lake, Ill., chalked up an impressive win in just his third complete season on tour. He earned $11,000 for the victory.”It was an incredible day,” he said. “This has been an outstanding year. I made the top-10 at Detroit and won here. It’s just unreal. I’ll probably use this money to pay some bills and go have some fun.”Rounding out the top five co-anglers were Adam Adler of Oconto Falls, Wis. (five walleyes, 32-13, $15,000); Patrick Bertelsen of Jackson, Minn. (five walleyes, 24-01, $5,000 ); Dewey Watson of Twin Falls, Idaho (five walleyes, 23-12, $5,500); and Nate Brunz of Madison Lake, Minn. (five walleyes, 23-05, $3,000).Pros and co-anglers were randomly paired each day and fished for a combined boat weight. Pros competed against other pros, and co-anglers competed against other co-anglers. The full field competed Thursday and Friday and then was cut to the top 10 pros and top 10 co-anglers for Saturday. Anglers in both divisions started from zero Saturday, and the co-angler winner was determined by the day’s heaviest catch. Pros carried their weights from Saturday over to Sunday, and the winner was determined by the heaviest accumulated weight from both days.Coverage of the FLW Walleye Tour Championship on Lake Erie will be broadcast to 81 million FSN (Fox Sports Net) subscribers in the United States on Dec. 2 as part of the “FLW Outdoors” television program. “FLW Outdoors” airs Sunday mornings at 11 a.m. Eastern. “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 Matchroom Sport, making it the most widely distributed fishing program 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.