Seelhoff Leads FLW at Lake Sharpe
May 7th, 2008 by OutdoorsFIRST
Modified May 7th, 2008 at 12:00 AM
PIERRE, S.D. (May 7, 2008) – Pro Ron Seelhoff of Burlington, Colo., and co-angler Mark Bucholz of Sioux Falls, S.D., caught five walleyes weighing 10 pounds, 7 ounces to lead day one of the Wal-Mart FLW Walleye Tour presented by Berkley tournament on Lake Sharpe in Pierre, S.D. The pair now holds a slim 9-ounce lead over their closest rivals in the nationally televised tournament that features 168 competitors fishing for top awards of $100,000 in the Pro Division and $20,000 in the Co-angler Division.
"I've fished here before, and it's no secret there are some nice fish up on this end of the lake," said Seelhoff, who is fishing in his eighth season of FLW Walleye Tour competition. "It was my plan to fish a couple a couple of hours out here and hopefully get a fish like the one we caught. And on my partner's third catch, he got the big fish."
On a day when large fish were few and far between, Bucholz's big fish measured more than 20 inches and anchored the team's bag.
"It was a big thrill that early in the morning to catch the big fish," said Bucholz. "It's amazing. Ron put us in a good spot and I got lucky. It made the whole day a lot more fun to have one like that in the hopper."
"We played around for a couple of hours and went for a limit a little further south on the lake," Seelhoff said. "There's some places downriver that it's no secret that there are a lot of fish. Trying to get those 18 ½- to 19-inchers is a major challenge."
While the majority of the field made long runs south, Seelhoff elected to start the day closer to the ramp for a big fish. Seelhoff estimated the team caught more than 50 fish during the course of the day. Seelhoff said he and Bucholz pitched minnows and jigs as well as trolled Rapala No. 7 Minnow Raps in 10 to 15 feet of water in the main river channel to catch their fish.
Rounding out the top five pros and co-anglers are Troy Walwood of Grand Haven, Mich., and Victor Wood of Rapid City, S.D. (five walleyes, 9-14); Brad Richards of Pierre, S.D., and Francis Beck of Saint Paul, Neb. (five walleyes, 9-5); and Jimmy Bell of Ham Lake, Minn., and Jim Feller of Blunt, S.D. (five walleyes, 9-3). Tied for fifth are John Campbell of Marco Island, Fla., and Terry Etzkorn of Pierre, S.D., Mark Courts of Harris, Minn., and Richard Myers of Pierre, S.D., and John Swanstrom of Superior, Wis., and Keith Strauss of Syracuse, Ind. (five walleyes, 9-1).
Overall there were 629 walleyes weighing 945 pounds, 11 ounces caught by 132 boats Wednesday. The catch included 117 five-walleye limits.
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.
Steamboat Park in Pierre will host daily takeoffs each morning at 7. Thursday and Friday's weigh-ins will be held at Steamboat Park beginning at 3 p.m. Saturday's takeoff will be at Downs Marina at 7 a.m. Saturday's final weigh-in will be held at the Wal-Mart store located at 1730 N. Garfield Rd. in Pierre 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 Lake Sharpe will be broadcast to 81 million FSN (Fox Sports Net) subscribers in the United States on Aug. 24 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.
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.
For more information about FLW Outdoors and its tournaments, visit FLWOutdoors.com or call (270) 252-1000. For more information about FLW Fantasy Fishing and Player's Advantage, visit FantasyFishing.com.
Awards are based on a full field of 150 boats in every tournament.