NPAA Members Shine at FLW Walleye Tour Winnebago Tournament
Jul 22nd, 2009 by OutdoorsFIRST
Modified Jul 22nd, 2009 at 12:00 AM
National Professional Anglers Association members brought home top honors at the Walmart FLW Walleye Tour presented by Berkley event on Lake Winnebago in Oshkosh, Wis. The four-day event ran July 15-18 and featured numerous lead changes as many of the 106 pros struggled to stay in tune with the big lake’s wandering ‘eyes.
Berkley Pro – Kevin McQuoid of Isle, Minn. won the tournament with a four-day catch of 20 walleyes weighing 50 pounds, 5 ounces, good for $70,667 in prize money and sponsor incentives.
“It’s an awesome feeling,” McQuoid beamed after the weigh-in. “Our plan worked flawlessly fr days in a row, which doesn’t happen often. I couldn’t have asked for a better tournament.”
McQuoid scored his second career FLW win with a one-two punch of casting crankbaits in shallow weeds, and trolling cranks over offshore mud. “The weed fish held up through the tournament, and each day I got lucky and got one nicer fish out on the mud. Having the combination of the two was key.”
His weed pattern involved straining the salad, starting at the deep edge of thick weedbeds, then working his way in. “I had to clean my baits a lot,” he said. “I started out by casting size 5 Rapala Shad Raps to areas just outside where the weeds topped out at the surface, in about 7 feet of water, then moved farther in looking fish that had been pushed into the weeds.”
Most of McQuoid’s bites came on perch-pattern baits in five feet of water, he noted, adding that, “Short casts and fast, steady retrieves were critical.” He credited his 8-pound-test Berkley FireLine Crystal mainline, tied directly to a snap, for helping slice through the vegetation.
Fellow NPAA member and Evinrude Pro, Chris Gilman of Chisago City, Minn. placed fifth at Winnebago, clinching the FLW Walleye Tour’s Land O’Lakes Angler of the Year title with 554 points. Gilman edged out challenger Pat Byle of Colgate, Wis., who finished the regular season with 543 points. Ted Takasaki of East Gull Lake, Minn., had led the AOY race heading into Winnebago but fell to eighth in the AOY race with a total of 491 points. Gilman wins his entry fee’s paid for the 2010 FLW Walleye Tour.
“I’m humbled by the experience,” said Gilman, who has finished high in the FLW standings numerous times. “I’ve worked so hard for this for so long. I’ve been close so many times that it’s great to get the trophy. It’s a remarkable day in my life.” Gilman adds his new FLW title to the accomplishment of winning Angler-of-the-Year honors on the now-discontinued In-Fisherman Professional Walleye Trail (PWT). “It puts me in a pretty elite group,” he said.
Sonny Reynolds, FLW Director of Walleye Operation, commented on how well the live release went at Lake Winnebago, and emphasized the team effort from the anglers on the water, to the equipment and staff they use to nurture the fish. Day one release rate was 72.7%, day two was 80%, and day three was 85.2%
In all, NPAA Members claimed five of the top 10 places-an impressive showing considering the number of local anglers who threw their hats in the ring at this event.
Top 10 FLW finishers with their NPAA number are:
1. Kevin McQuoid #510
3. Rick Olson #4
4. Brad Davis #7
5. Chris Gilman #60
9. Pat Neu #7
Next stop on the FLW Walleye Tour is the Walleye Championship on the Missouri River at Bismarck, North Dakota, September 30-October 3. For more information, visit www.flwoutdoors.com The NPAA is dedicated to improving and bringing professionalism to the sport of walleye fishing. Membership is open to all anglers wishing to become affiliated and learn more about tactics, sponsorships, the industry, youth events, and to help grow fishing participation. NPAA supporting partners who share the same goals include Northland Fishing Tackle, Navionics, Mercury Marine, Evinrude Outboards, Lund Boats, Ranger Boats, Off-Shore Tackle, Fin-tech Tackle, Bartness Fishing Tackle, Berkley, Walleye’s Inc., Greater Insurance Services, Masters Walleye Circuit, Anglers Insight Marketing, and FLW Outdoors. To learn more about the NPAA and its members go to www.npaa.net