Skarlis Wins 150K at the FLW Walleye Tour Finals
Sep 27th, 2008 by OutdoorsFIRST
Modified Sep 27th, 2008 at 12:00 AM
BISMARCK, N.D. (Sept. 27, 2008) -Pro Tommy Skarlis of Waukon, Iowa, caught five walleyes weighing 13 pounds, 10 ounces Saturday to post a two-day winning catch of 10 walleyes weighing 29 pounds, 7 ounces in the sport's most lucrative event – the Walmart FLW Walleye Tour Championship – on the Missouri River in Bismarck. Not only does Skarlis have the prestigious title of champion, he also grabbed an industry leading payday of $150,000.
"It is absolutely amazing to come out here to the Missouri River and win against this stiff competition," said Skarlis, who finished ninth in last year's championship. "The competition on this tour is extremely tough. Everyone in the top-10 deserved to be here. They are all amazing anglers. To come out number one is just incredible."
Skarlis has four PWT wins, a PWT Angler of the Year award, and four top-10 finishes on the FLW Walleye Tour. Today, he reached a milestone in his career by winning his first FLW Walleye Tour event.
"I know that this is the biggest accomplishment of my career," Skarlis said. "I can't even express how I am feeling right now. This will never get old and when it does I will quite."
Skarlis explained that one of the major changes on the final day of competition was fishing without a co-angler. In the Walleye Tour Championship the full field competes for two days and then is cut to the top 10 pros and top 10 co-anglers for day three. Anglers in both divisions start from zero on day three, and co-angler competition concludes with the winner determined by the day's heaviest catch. Pros carry their weights over to day four, and the winner is determined by the heaviest accumulated weight from days three and four.
"I had one of the most tremendous co-anglers with me yesterday," Skarlis added. "I was luckily enough to fish with David Anderson on day three of competition. Without him in the boat today I had two or three harsh net jobs but was luckily enough not to lose any fish.
"I hope that I don't ever lose this feeling because it feels absolutely amazing."
Rounding out the top five pros were Robert Blosser of Poynette, Wis. (10 walleyes, 23-15, $65,000); Todd Frank of Pulaski, N.Y. (10 walleyes, 23-07, $17,000); Ross Grothe of Northfield, Minn. (10 walleyes, 22-13, $22,500); and Chris Gilman of Chisago City, Minn. (10 walleyes, 22-12, $18,500).
Co-angler competition ended Friday in dramatic fashion, as David Anderson of Sauk Rapids, Minn., chalked up an impressive win in just his first complete season on tour. He earned $15,000 for the victory.
"I feel unbelievable," he said. "This has been an outstanding year. I finished third at Cass Lake and won here. It's just unreal. You dream of something like this happening and when it actually happens it is surreal."
Rounding out the top five co-anglers are Del Ringling of Valley, Neb. (five walleyes, 14-03, $13,500); Nate Brunz of Madison Lake, Minn. (five walleyes, 14-01, $6,500 ); Patrick Bertelsen of Jackson, Minn. (five walleyes, 12-15, $3,500); and Scott Woodward of Glendive, Mont. (five walleyes, 12-02, $5,000).
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.
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Coverage of the FLW Walleye Tour Championship on the Missouri River will be broadcast to 81 million FSN (Fox Sports Net) subscribers in the United States on Nov. 30 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. FLW Outdoors also took 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.