PWT Pro Bill Ortiz Leads at Bull Shoals

Category: Tournament

 Jun 27th, 2008 by OutdoorsFIRST 

Modified Jun 27th, 2008 at 12:00 AM

Bull Shoals is so good to me that I just might move here, said Outdoor Channel Pro-Am leader Bill Ortiz.  The Richland Center, Wisconsin In-Fisherman Professional Walleye Trail pro angler fishing the series presented by Minn Kota, weighed another limit Thursday, June 26, for a total of 31.55 pounds.

Ortiz won the PWT tournament on Bull Shoals Lake in 2005, and scored a 16th in 2004.  With the third and final day set for another 90-degree scorcher Friday, Ortiz said he adjusted his program for pulling walleyes from flooded trees and hopes it holds.  He will explain his secrets, his locations and tricks on Friday afternoon from the PWT stage at the Bull Shoals Lions Park.  So will the other top-rated walleye pros competing on all corners of this massive White River reservoir that straddles the Arkansas-Missouri border.

His lead is nearly five pounds ahead of day one leader Jim Orcutt, Ely, Minnesota.  Ohio pro Mark Brumbaugh is another pound back for third, while Pro Jon Thelen, Crystal, Minnesota is fourth one pound behind Brumbaugh.  Todd Riley and Dave Andersen, both from Amery, Wisconsin are fifth and sixth within a quarter-pound of Thelen.  Leading the amateur/co-angler race is Al Denninger, Theodosia, Missouri.  One-third of the amateur field hails from either Arkansas or Missouri, and they are learning the tactics that will make them better anglers on their home lake.

Bull Shoals Lake expanded back into the trees and shoreline brush with heavy spring rains.  “So did the fish,” Orcutt said, “Now it’s a matter of finding and catching them.”  Many pros wrestled with and had tug-of-wars with big walleyes that dug into the trees, snagging lines.  In those cases, the walleyes usually gained their freedom.

The pros and their co-anglers lauded the efforts of the community and the volunteers for making the weigh-in ceremony work despite the conditions.  The launch ramps are open; boating is safe and easy; and in addition to walleyes, the PWT anglers caught about everything that swims in Arkansas (except trout).

Three anglers weighed 15 pounds for their 5-fish limits each day.  Ortiz’ walleyes pushed the scale to 17.17 pounds; Dave Anderson, Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota, had 17.38 pounds; and Mike McMaken, Cedarville, Michigan, had 16.37 pounds on day two.

This is the second stop on the PWT tour, with Pro-Am tournaments set for Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, and Hudson, Wisconsin in September and October.  A special artificials-only CAN-AM Super Pro is set for Dryden, Ontario in August.

The PWT web site is loaded with photos, results, statistics, and more information that may be utilized by media.  That site is www.professionalwalleyetrail.com.

The PWT is an integral element of the In-Fisherman Communications Network headquartered in Baxter, Minnesota, and InterMedia, America's leading producer of targeted media. PWT promotional partners include: Berkley, Lowrance Electronics, Optima Batteries, Minn Kota, Realtree, Outdoor Channel, Starcraft Marine, Northland Fishing Tackle, Fin-Tech Tackle, StowMaster, Reef Runner, Yo-Zuri Quality Lures, Smooth Moves Seat Mounts, Kwik Pfyt Mud Flaps, Yellow Bird Planer Boards, Live Target, Allstar Graphics, Ram Mounts, Element Edge, Pflueger, Plano Tackle Systems, Cannon, Bull Shoals Boat Dock (870.445.4424), Bel’ Arco Resort (870.4454242), Resort Owner’s Committee (870.405.0830) and White River Chamber of Commerce (870.445.4443).

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