Stadler and Teske Troll to Victory on the Winnebago System
Jun 3rd, 2008 by OutdoorsFIRST
Modified Jun 3rd, 2008 at 12:00 AM
In tournament fishing the wind can be an angler's best friend, creating favorable fishing conditions, concentrating baitfish in a specific area or creating that perfect "Walleye Chop" that makes the fish turn on and aggressively bite. Conversely, the wind can quickly turn from friend to foe by muddying up the water and reducing visibility, eliminating fishing techniques, wreaking havoc on boat control and making driving difficult and dangerous. On May 31st the wind turned foe for the teams competing in the first Wisconsin Full Throttle Walleye Series event on the Winnebago system. Although the weather at take off was sunny, and the clouds and rain showers of the early morning hours had lifted, it was the wind which was on everyone's mind. Offshore westerly winds at more than 20 mph would make running the shoreline of Lake Winnebago comfortable, but the 40 minute run through the Fox River in Oshkosh, across Lake Buttes des Mortes, through Winneconne and then into Lake Poygan would be rough, very rough. Multiple teams had planned to make the long run to the West end of Poygan during the tournament where the bite had been going strong all week. It was decision time, an on-the-water call that for many would influence the course of the days fishing and ultimately the weigh in.
One of the teams making the long run to Poygan was Rich Stadler and Rob Teske, both of Oshkosh. Teske's 620 Ranger powered with a Mercury motor made the trip in short order, and before long the two were pulling boards on the west end of Lake Poygan. "Once we were able to find some flatter water and a depth of 5-8 feet we started catching fish," replied Stadler, owner of Innovative Marine Solutions. In a post tournament interview, he stated that one of the keys to their success was running their crankbaits 10-25 feet behind the boards and keeping the boat at 1.5-2 mph. Although the two failed to find that kicker fish they were looking for, they did find a pod of quality fish, five of which tipped the Full Throttle scales at 13.64 pounds, good enough to capture first place and best the remainder of the field. The two anglers took home $1507.50 for their solid 2.7 pound average limit of Walleyes. Series Director Chris Jones light heartedly joked with Teske that had he been Ranger cup qualified, he would have received an additional $250.00 bonus for wining the event. Teske replied with a smile that he'll be Ranger cup qualified for the next event in June. Congratulations on a solid limit of Walleyes on such a windy day!
In second place were Derek Navis and Korey Sprengel of Waupun who, like Stadler and Teske, pulled a limit of Walleye trolling crankbaits. The two commented on stage that, although they had planned to pitch jigs in cane beds, they quickly modified their plan due to the heavy winds and ground out a limit trolling the remainder of the day. Their limit of five Walleyes hit the scales at 9.13 pounds good enough for second place and a check worth $762.50.
Finishing in third was Jeff Schweitzer of Menasha and Joe Muthig of Greenville, who caught their limit weighing 8.84 pounds trolling crankbaits in the mouth of the river in Oshkosh. Schweitzer commented in a post tournament interview that, although they were trolling in 13-14 feet of water, one of the keys to their success was keeping their baits in about 10 feet of water. The two took home $549.00 for their day on the water.
In fourth were Tommy and Megan Ostertag, a father/daughter team fishing in their first tournament together. The two caught their fish pitching jigs tipped with leeches to rocky shorelines. They weighed in with 4 fish that locked in on the FTO scales at 8.67 pounds. Although the crowd noticed a proud father on stage with his daughter, what they likely didn't see was the tear in his eye as he watched his daughter tell everyone how much fun she had fishing with her dad. It was clearly one of those moments that remind us what fishing and Full Throttle is really about.
Rounding out the top five were brothers Trevor and Michael Schoerner of Plymouth who weighed in with a 7.85 pound limit. Older brother Trevor is no stranger to tournament fishing, and younger brother Michael, while still in elementary school, is no stranger to tournament fishing either, now adding a Full Throttle Walleye Series top five finish to his resume.
Big fish honors for the tournament went to Scott DuFrane and Jerry VanGrinsven who pulled a 3.93 pounder trolling south on Lake Winnebago near Fond du Lac. DuFrane commented on stage during the awards ceremony that like many of the teams fishing the event they too had to adjust their plan due to the rough water. A late day move to head south helped them cross paths with the Walleye that netted them $150.00. Great Job!
One of the highlights of the weigh in particular for Series Co-Director and "weighmaster" Mark Derricks was when Ranger Pro Bob Lauridsen of Oconomowoc took the stage to weigh his fish. Bob has fished all over the country and at every level of tournament fishing, and, although he weighed only one fish, his kind remarks regarding the "faith based" focus of the Full Throttle Walleye Series were very encouraging. He stated he is very excited to see where God is planning to take the Full Throttle Walleye Series.
By all standards the tournament was a great success with 20 teams participating in the event and many spectators watching the weigh in at Menominee Park in Oshkosh. The field was comprised of multiple family member teams, including four adult junior teams and two male female teams, all of which caught fish during the tournament.
One of the components of the Full Throttle weekend which makes it so unique is the Friday night pre-tournament meeting where anglers win door prizes, go over the tournament rules, find out information on sponsors and enjoy a free dinner. This event was highlighted with a Friday night fish fry presented by the Fox Valley F.O.C.A.S. Chapter. Series Co-Director and event MC Chris Jones talked about how Full Throttle Outdoors came to be and encouraged everyone to take some time and think about what's in your "spiritual livewell."
The Full Throttle Walleye Series would like to thank national sponsors Ranger Boats and Mercury marine for their gracious support! The Wisconsin Series would also like to thank The Binding Edge, Wolf River Outfitters, Artworks Unlimited, Calvary Bible Church and the Fox Valley F.O.C.A.S. chapter for their support. Full Throttle Walleye Series would also like to especially thank Walleyes for Tomorrow for the use of their release boat and Ron Levin for printing and donating brochures for our 2008 season. Next stop for the Wisconsin Series is another date with the Winnebago system on Sunday, June 29th.