Kolb, Fallaw Lead FLW Walleye Tour Championship
Sep 27th, 2007 by OutdoorsFIRST
Modified Sep 27th, 2007 at 12:00 AM
CLEVELAND (Sept. 27, 2007) – Bounty pro David Kolb of Ada, Mich., and co-angler Joe Fallaw of Wonder Lake, Ill., caught five walleyes weighing 37 pounds, 5 ounces to lead day one of walleye fishing’s most lucrative event – the Wal-Mart FLW Walleye Tour Championship – on Lake Erie in downtown Cleveland. One hundred and six anglers representing 15 states and Canada are competing for top awards of $150,000 in the Pro Division and $22,000 in the Co-angler Division. The field was greeted by 4-foot waves on the big waters of Lake Erie, which has been known to humble anglers with its fierce conditions. The giant body of water remained relatively calm throughout the day, however, allowing anglers to make long runs. Under these conditions, the field showed exactly why Lake Erie in Cleveland is one of the country’s most prized walleye fisheries. “I didn’t even fish yesterday, I think I had it figured out,” said Kolb, who had a enormous bag of walleyes anchored by two that were around the 9-pound mark and a giant that weighed in at 10 pounds even. “I was surprised to get those big fish today. I haven’t seen any that big since I have been here. I thought I could get around 20 to 25 pounds. We just had three big fish and two little ones. It was a good day, and a great catch. I’m not complaining.”Kolb and Fallaw found that the fish were really low in the water column early in the morning. As the day progressed, however, the schools would become more aggressive and rise to shallower water. “This morning we started out trolling nearly on the bottom, around the 40-foot mark. I knew if and when the fish ever started to come up the column, the bite was going to be on. We caught nearly 20 fish throughout the day with seven coming from the first pass,” Kolb said.While the choppy water slowed some competitors, Kolb said it didn’t affect him. “I probably fished more today than anyone else,” he said. “I run hard and go after it. We were boat 51 going out this morning, and before we reached our spot, we had nearly caught the No. 2 boat. I live for this kind of stuff.”Rounding out the top five pros and co-anglers are John Gillman of Freeland, Mich., and Gary Session of Rapid City, S.D. (five walleyes, 31-05); Ross Grothe of Northfield, Minn., and Richard Ness of Ruthton, Minn. (five walleyes, 30-06); Mark Courts of Harris, Minn., and Mike Zawistowski of Wonder Lake, Ill. (five walleyes, 29-02); and Jeff Vereeke of Grand Rapids, Mich., and Ryan Kelly of Ortonville, Minn. (five walleyes, 28-11).The team of Grothe and Ness claimed the day’s Snickers Big Walleye Award, earning the team an additional $1,000.Overall, there were 216 fish caught by all 106 anglers with a total weight of 906 pounds, 2 ounces. The catch included 32 five-fish limits. Voinovich Bicentennial Park, located at 800 E. Ninth St. in Cleveland, will host daily takeoffs at 7:30 a.m. Daily weigh-ins will be held at the Cleveland Convention Center, located at 500 Lakeside Ave. E., beginning at 4 p.m. The community is invited to attend takeoffs and weigh-ins as well as the Family Fun Zone, which opens at 2 p.m. Friday and noon Saturday and Sunday. Friday is Solar Bat Sunglasses day, where the first 100 children 14 and under visiting the Family Fun Zone receive a free pair of Solar Bat Sunglasses similar to those that many of the pros wear. Saturday is free fishing rod day at the Fun Zone, where the first 200 children 14 and under receive a free fishing rod, and Sunday is free fishing reel day, where the first 200 children 14 and under receive a free fishing reel.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 Thursday and Friday and then is cut to the top 10 pros and top 10 co-anglers for Saturday. Anglers in both divisions will start from zero Saturday, and co-angler competition will conclude with the winner determined by the day’s heaviest catch. Pros will carry their weights from Saturday over to Sunday, and the winner will be 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.