Renner Leads FLW Tour on Cass Lake

Category: Tournament

 Jun 11th, 2008 by OutdoorsFIRST 

Modified Jun 11th, 2008 at 12:00 AM

Tony Renner on Day One (WalleyeFIRST Photo)

CASS LAKE, Minn. (June 11, 2008) – Pro Tony Renner of Hutchinson, Minn., and co-angler Josh Johnson of Fargo, N.D., caught five walleyes weighing 16 pounds, 14 ounces to lead day one of the Wal-Mart FLW Walleye Tour presented by Yamaha on Cass Lake in Cass Lake, Minn. The pair now holds a slim 8-ounce lead over their closest rivals in the nationally televised tournament that features 248 competitors from 23 states fishing for top awards of $100,000 in the Pro Division and $20,000 in the Co-angler Division.

During the first day of competition FLW anglers faced wind gusts up to 50 mph and temperatures as low as 45 degrees on Cass Lake. As for Renner, the weather was an advantage to getting him at the top of the leader board.

"The wind really helped us today," said Renner, who is fishing in his sixth season of FLW Walleye Tour competition. "When the wind picked up to 40 mph we caught our biggest fish. I hope the wind stays strong and it is rough out there tomorrow, it has helped the bite I am focusing in on."

On a day when large fish were few and far between, Renner's big fish measured more than 28 inches and anchored the team's bag.

"I was just looking for 15 pounds today," Renner said. "I defiantly overachieved. I had no idea that I would go beyond my expectations. Even with the large sack, I didn't go to my big fish areas. I have three key areas that I am hitting and tomorrow I won't even touch where I caught the big fish."

Renner estimated the team caught around nine fish during the course of the day. Renner said he and Johnson rigged crawlers, leeches and grubs in 6 to 24 feet of water to catch their fish.

"I am very excited to be leading on the first day of the tournament," Renner said. "This is my type of lake and the way I like to fish- with live bait and one rod in hand."

Rounding out the top five pros and co-anglers are Pete Harsh of Sauk Centre, Minn., and Larry Behsman of Elysian, Minn. (five walleyes, 16-06); Scott Steil of Richmond, Minn., and Bob Schultz of Marietta, Ga. (five walleyes, 15-06); Carl Adams Jr. of Blackduck, Minn., and Chuck Jones of Michigan City, Ind. (five walleyes, 15-00); and Reggie Thiel of Laporte, Minn., and Boyd Strissel of Billings, Mont. (five walleyes, 14-14).

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 during the three-day opening round for one of 10 final-round slots based on their three-day accumulated weight. Weights carry over to day four, with winners determined by the heaviest four-day weight.

Stony Point Resort in Cass Lake will host daily takeoffs each morning at 7. Thursday and Friday's weigh-ins will be held at Stony Point Resort beginning at 3 p.m. Saturday's final weigh-in will be held at the Wal-Mart store located at 2025 Paul Bunyan Drive N.W. in Bemidji, Minn. beginning at 4 p.m. The community is invited to attend daily takeoffs and weigh-ins, which are free and open to the public.

In addition to cash awards, anglers are competing for valuable points in the hope of qualifying for the $650,000 Wal-Mart FLW Walleye Tour Championship – the sport's richest event – in Bismarck, N.D., Sept. 24-27. The top 50 pros and top 50 co-anglers in the Land O'Lakes Angler of the Year points standings will advance to the Championship, where they will compete for top awards of $150,000 and $20,000, respectively.

Tournament pros aren't the only ones winning big this season. With the introduction of FLW Fantasy Fishing™, FLW Outdoors® offers anyone the opportunity to enter for their chance to land the catch of a lifetime with the opportunity to win $7.3 million in cash and prizes. Players can become a virtual pro angler by signing up for Player's Advantage, providing them with exclusive insider information that could guide them to a $100,000 victory at every Wal-Mart FLW Tour® stop and the Forrest Wood Cup. Player's Advantage will give them an edge over the competition and increase their shot for a $1 million cash grand prize that will be awarded to the FLW Fantasy Fishing cumulative points winner. Those who visit FantasyFishing.com today can sign up for Player's Advantage and FLW Outdoors will include a $15 Wal-Mart gift card.

Coverage of the FLW Walleye Tour stop on Cass Lake will be broadcast to 81 million FSN (Fox Sports Net) subscribers in the United States on Sept. 14 as part of the "FLW Outdoors" television program. "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 a distribution agreement with Matchroom Sport, making it the most widely distributed fishing program in the world. The program airs Sunday mornings at 11 Eastern time in most markets. Check local listings for times in your area.

Overall there were 480 walleyes weighing 933 pounds, 7 ounces caught by 124 boats Wednesday. The catch included 63 five-walleye limits.

FLW Outdoors, named after Forrest L. Wood, the legendary founder of Ranger Boats, is the largest fishing tournament organization in the world. In 2008 alone the organization is offering more than 90,000 anglers the chance to win over $40 million through 230 tournaments in 10 circuits targeting bass, walleye, redfish, kingfish and striped bass. FLW Outdoors is also taking fishing mainstream with the largest cash awards in the history of fantasy sports, $7.3 million.

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