Olson, Jandl Lead FLW Walleye Tour Championship
Sep 29th, 2005 by OutdoorsFIRST
Modified Sep 29th, 2005 at 12:00 AM
MOLINE, Ill. (Sept. 29, 2005) – Pro Rick Olson of Mina, S.D., caught eight walleyes weighing 22 pounds, 6 ounces in the two-day opening round of the $650,000 Wal-Mart FLW Walleye Tour Championship on the Mississippi River in Moline to lead the charge toward a potential $125,000 payday in the world’s most lucrative walleye-fishing tournament. “I was surprised the fishing was as good as it was after the cold front,” said Olson, who has earned three FLW Walleye Tour top-10 finishes since 2001. “We have a spot where we get small fish and a spot where we get big fish. I only made two passes through the big fish spot, and I only fished the whole area for about an hour and a half today. There is nobody fishing there but me and my buddy Shannon (Kehl), so one of us is going to do okay. I have a good feeling about it.” On Wednesday, Olson caught one of only three five-walleye limits while fishing with co-angler Marty Barski of Crystal Lake, Ill. The catch weighed 9 pounds, 1 ounce and put Olson in fourth place. He then added three walleyes weighing 13 pounds, 5 ounces to his total Thursday while fishing with co-angler Peggy Severson of Fort Pierre, S.D., to secure a 4-pound, 11-ounce lead over his closest rival. Weights will be zeroed for the 10 final-round contenders, however, so Olson will have to continue catching quality fish to secure his first FLW Walleye Tour victory Saturday afternoon. Olson and Shanon Kehl of Menoken, N.D., practice together and appear to be zeroing in on a winning pattern. The men accounted for two of six five-fish limits caught during the opening round, including the overall biggest walleye – 6 pounds, 10 ounces – and the second heaviest one-day catch – 13 pounds, 15 ounces. The men say they’ve caught all of their fish on Rapala Shad Raps while trolling in Pool 14. The key, according to Olson, is a newly introduced color, which he declined to describe just yet. Olson and Severson earned $500 each from Snickers for the 6-pound, 10-ounce walleye they caught Thursday. Advancing as the No. 2 seed in the Pro Division is Jarrad Fluekiger of Alma, Wis., with a total catch of six walleyes weighing 17 pounds, 11 ounces. Like Olson and Kehl, Fluekiger is fishing Pool 14. “The River is coming up and pushing walleyes into areas of lesser current,” Fluekiger said. “They are relating to structure more, so the bite should continue to improve.” Despite blanking on day two, opening-day leader Jeff Ryan of Lake View, Iowa, advanced as the No. 3 seed on the strength of Wednesday’s five-walleye, 16-pound, 9-ounce catch – the heaviest limit of the tournament. Ryan is fishing Pool 16. Dan Stier of Pierre, S.D. (eight walleyes, 16 pounds, 6 ounces) and Kehl (six walleyes, 14 pounds, 12 ounces) round out the top-five Pro Division finalists. Nick Johnson of Elmwood, Wis., the defending champion and 2005 Angler of the Year, finished 27th with three walleyes weighing 4 pounds, 4 ounces. Leading the Co-angler Division with a two-day total of six walleyes weighing 18 pounds, 7 ounces is Jeff Jandl of Minnesota City, Minn. Jandl landed five walleyes weighing 16 pounds, 9 ounces Wednesday while fishing with Ryan and added one walleye weighing 1 pound, 14 ounces to his total Thursday while fishing with Patrick Neu of Forestville, Wis. Like the pros, co-angler weights are zeroed for the final round. Co-angler competition ends Friday afternoon. “I’ve walleye fished for about 10 years, but this is my first year fishing the FLW Walleye Tour,” Jandl said. “I’ve learned so much riding with these guys. I’m thrilled to be in this position. It hasn’t really sunk in yet.” Co-angler Jimmy Cox of Bono, Ark., another FLW Walleye Tour rookie, caught five walleyes weighing 15 pounds, 3 ounces to advance as the No. 2 seed. Interestingly, Cox is a veteran bass angler on the Wal-Mart FLW Tour. Severson, who has earned three top-10 finishes in the Wal-Mart FLW Walleye League since 2003, jumped from last place to the No. 3 qualifying position thanks to three walleyes weighing 13 pounds, 5 ounces. John Solek of Indianapolis (seven walleyes, 12 pounds, 11 ounces) and Keith Strauss of Syracuse, Ind. (five walleyes, 12 pounds, 4 ounces) round out the top-five Co-angler Division finalists. Sunset Park on 18th Ave. in Rock Island will host Friday and Saturday’s takeoffs at 7 a.m. Weigh-ins Friday and Saturday will be held at the Wal-Mart store located at 3930 44th Ave. in Moline beginning at 5 p.m. The community is invited to attend takeoffs and weigh-ins as well as the Family Fun Zone, which opens at 3 p.m. Friday and 1 p.m. Saturday outside the weigh-in tent in the Wal-Mart parking lot. The Family Fun Zone features interactive games, product samples and activities for the entire family. All activities are absolutely free. 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 of 50 pros and co-anglers representing 18 states and Canada fished Wednesday and Thursday for 10 final-round slots based on the heaviest two-day accumulated weights. Weights are cleared for the final round, with the winning pro determined by the heaviest total weight from Friday and Saturday. The co-angler champion will be crowned Friday based on the day’s heaviest catch. Named after the legendary founder of Ranger Boats, Forrest L. Wood, FLW Outdoors administers the Wal-Mart FLW Walleye Tour and eight other national tournament circuits offering more than $32 million in purses through 230 events in 2006. The 27-year-old organization is the purveyor of America’s largest and most prestigious fishing tournaments, including the Wal-Mart FLW Tour, Stren Series, Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League, Wal-Mart Texas Tournament Trail, Wal-Mart FLW Walleye Tour, Wal-Mart FLW Walleye League, Wal-Mart FLW Kingfish Tour, Wal-Mart FLW Kingfish Series and Wal-Mart FLW Redfish Series. Wal-Mart and many of America’s largest and most respected companies support FLW Outdoors and its tournament trails. Wal-Mart signed on as title sponsor of the FLW Tour in 1997 and today is the title sponsor of all FLW Outdoors events. For more information on Wal-Mart, visit Wal-Mart.com. For more information about the Wal-Mart FLW Walleye Tour Championship hosted by the Quad Cities Convention and Visitors Bureau, visit FLWOutdoors.com or call (270) 252-1000. For more information about the Quad Cities, go to Visitquadcities.com.