Ryan Leads FLW Walleye Tour at Red Wing
May 3rd, 2006 by OutdoorsFIRST
Modified May 3rd, 2006 at 12:00 AM
RED WING, Minn. (May 3, 2006) – Pro Jeff Ryan of Lake View, Iowa, along with his partner, Kristine Szczech of St. Paul, Minn., caught five walleyes weighing 26 pounds, 5 ounces to lead day one of the Wal-Mart FLW Walleye Tour event presented by Yamaha on the Mississippi River near Red Wing, Minn., the second event of the 2006 FLW Walleye Tour season. With a $2.69 million total purse, including the no-entry-fee $675,000 Wal-Mart FLW Walleye Tour Championship on Lake Oahe near Pierre, S.D., Oct. 4-7, and television coverage on FSN (Fox Sports Net), the FLW Walleye Tour is bigger and better than ever. With a full field of 150 pros and 150 co-anglers, anglers are competing for their share of a $503,300 purse, including as much as $100,000 for the winning pro and $18,000 for the winning co-angler. Anglers launched in blue-bird skies on day one, with air temperatures around 50 degrees and climbing into the high 60s later in the day. Water temperatures have been ranging from 56 to 60 degrees in areas, and fish are being caught from Pools 3, 4 and 5. A variety of patterns have proven effective for pros in practice, including trolling, three-way rigging with live bait and crankbaits, casting crankbaits, jigging and even handlining. Rising water and debris have threatened many fishing patterns, and some pros are reporting that the fishing could’ve been much better had the water not been on the rise. That’s not to say plenty of fish weren’t caught. Anglers weighed in 506 walleyes on day one, most of which were solid keeper-sized fish, but several trophies were weighed in as well, such as a 9-pound, 10-ounce giant caught by pro Victor Stolcers of Round Lake Beach, Ill., and co-angler Dana Delp of Lansing, Mich. Stolcers and Delp had a total of three walleyes weighing 18 pounds, 4 ounces, putting them in third place. Ryan and Szczech landed some big walleyes as well, their largest pushing the 9-pound mark. “I hadn’t caught anything that size prefishing,” Ryan said. “But I made a few adjustments from my practice and that made the difference. We were locating postspawn fish around structure, and we just had to be patient. We caught five keepers and lost one other one, so I think there will be more fish left in my area for tomorrow.” Ryan was understandably secretive about his exact presentation, but he didn’t mind revealing that he is fishing a live-bait presentation very slowly. In second place were Mitch Jerowski of Winona, Minn., and co-angler Greg Engberg of Mazomanie, Wis. They caught a five-walleye limit weighing 23 pounds, 6 ounces. “We were fishing leeches and crawlers on wing dams,” Jerowski said. “We were anchoring near them and casting Lindy rigs to catch them. Some were right up in the rocks, and some were out above them a little ways.”Rounding out the top five pros are Steve Vande Mark of Linwood, Mich. (five walleyes, 17 pounds, 9 ounces); Greg Darsow of Billings, Mont. (five walleyes, 16 pounds, 12 ounces); and tied with Darsow is John Renschen of Red Wing (five walleyes, 16 pounds, 12 ounces). Szczech leads the co-angler division. “Jeff was amazing,” Szczech said of her pro partner. “He was very patient. Our fish were spread out throughout the day, but we just stuck around in our spot and hit it hard.”Pros and co-anglers fish for a combined boat weight. Rounding out the top five co-anglers are Dave Dugall of Highland, Mich.; Stephen Gaston of Montegut, La.; and Jason Treptau of Becker, Minn. The Red Wing Visitors and Convention Bureau is hosting the event. Covill Park in Red Wing will host daily takeoffs each morning at 7. Thursday and Friday’s weigh-ins will also be held at the marina beginning at 3 p.m. Saturday’s weigh-in will be held at the Wal-Mart store located at 295 Tyler Road in Red Wing beginning at 4 p.m. The community is invited to attend daily takeoffs and weigh-ins, which are free and open to the public. 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 the winner determined by the heaviest four-day weight.Every angler who receives weight credit in a tournament earns points, with 150 points awarded to the winner, 149 to second, 148 for third, and so on. These points determine angler standings. The top 50 pros and 50 co-anglers based on year-end points standings will advance to the 2006 FLW Walleye Tour Championship.The FLW Walleye Tour Championship is the most lucrative event in professional walleye angling, with guaranteed cash awards for the entire field. A guaranteed cash award of $100,000 plus potential sponsor bonuses totaling $50,000 will go to the FLW Walleye Tour Championship winner for a total pro award of $150,000. The champion co-angler will win a guaranteed cash award of $11,000 plus potential sponsor bonuses totaling $11,000 for a total co-angler award of $22,000.Coverage of the FLW Walleye Tour event on the Mississippi River will be broadcast to 81 million FSN (Fox Sports Net) subscribers in the United States on June 11 as part of the “FLW Outdoors” television program. “FLW Outdoors” airs Sunday mornings at 11 Eastern time. “FLW Outdoors” is also broadcast internationally to more than 350 million households in such countries as Germany, China, South Africa, Australia, Malaysia, Russia, Hungary and the United Kingdom, making it the most widely distributed weekly outdoor-sports television show 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.Following the Mississippi River tournament, the FLW Walleye Tour will visit Devils Lake in Devils Lake, N.D., for the third regular-season event June 7-10, and the regular season will come to a close with an event presented by Evinrude July 12-15 on Green Bay in Green Bay, Wis. 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, Stratos Owners’ 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. These circuits offer combined purses exceeding $36.9 million through 241 events in 2006. FLW Outdoors also recently announced the addition of a striped bass circuit, which will debut in May. For more information about FLW Outdoors and its tournament programs, visit FLWOutdoors.com or call (270) 252-1000.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 Wal-Mart.com.