Swanstrom Edges Smith to Win 100K on Erie
Apr 19th, 2008 by OutdoorsFIRST
Modified Apr 19th, 2008 at 12:00 AM
PORT CLINTON, Ohio (April 19, 2008) – Pro John Swanstrom of Superior, Wis., caught five walleyes weighing 21 pounds, 7 ounces Saturday to win $100,000 in the Wal-Mart FLW Walleye Tour season opener presented by Yamaha on Lake Erie in Port Clinton, Ohio, with a four-day total of 20 walleyes weighing 143-07. “I’m going to put the $100,000 away and go on some fishing trips,” said Swanstrom, who is making a name for himself on the Walleye Tour in his first FLW tournament. “The biggest thing is fishing against all these guys that do it for a living. To be able to come out on a body of water that isn’t your home water and pull off a win is the best feeling in the world.”Swanstrom’s four-day total weight ranks fourth on the all-time heaviest total tournament weight in a Walleye Tour event in the FLW Outdoors record books.”I woke up this morning knowing that I couldn’t expect to have more weight than I did yesterday, but I really felt that if I had 25 pounds that I could wrap it up,” Swanstrom added. “Luckily, the fish I scratched up today was enough to win.”Swanstrom explained that the major differences in the fishing today were the water clarity and boat traffic on Lake Erie. “It was difficult to get to my spots with so many boats on the water. The boat traffic really picked up today,” Swanstrom said. “It was a totally different day of fishing for me. “With an hour left to go we upgraded our last fish a 3-pounder to a 5-pounder on our third spot.”Swanstrom trolled crankbaits and spinners at speeds of .8 to 1 mph to catch his fish. His crankbait of choice was a 700 Series Lights Out Reef Runner. He caught most of his bigger fish on cranks but caught all his fish on spinners the final day of competition. His primary area was located northwest of North Bass Island.Swanstrom opened the tournament Wednesday in 12th place with five walleyes weighing 34 pounds, 14 ounces. He jumped to first place Thursday with five walleyes weighing 41-05 that boosted his two-day total to 10 walleyes weighing 76-03. On Friday, Swanstrom caught five walleyes weighing 45-13 to advance to the final day of competition in first place with a three-day total of 15 walleyes weighing 122-00. Rounding out the top 10 pros were Larry Smith of Berlin, Wis. (20 walleyes, 142-13, $27,500); Erik Furseth of East Lansing, Mich. (20 walleyes, 138-15, $25,000); Bob Henton of Spartansburg, Pa. (19 walleyes, 137-03, $15,000); Rick Franklin of Bemidji, Minn. (18 walleyes, 136-07, $8,000); Dan Stier of Clearwater, Minn. (20 walleyes, 133-15, $10,000); Chad Schilling of Akaska, S.D. (20 walleyes, 133-14, $9,000); David Frey of Avon Lake, Ohio (20 walleyes, 131-03, $5,000); Kevin Michnicki of Cleveland, Ohio (19 walleyes, 129-04, $5,500) and Pete Harsh of Sauk Centre, Minn. (18 walleyes, 121-12, $5,000).John Kopcok of Bellriver, Ontario, won the Co-angler Division and $10,000 with a four-day total catch of 20 walleyes weighing 145 pounds followed by Ike Rhodes of Harrogate, Tenn., in second place with 20 walleyes weighing 139-01 worth $5,000. Kopcok opened the tournament in seventh place Wednesday with five walleyes weighing 37-11 while fishing with pro Nate Provost of Green Bay, Wis. On Thursday he fell to eighth place thanks to a five-walleye catch weighing 24-06 while fishing with Kevin Larkins of Greenwood, Neb., that bumped his two-day total to 10 walleyes weighing 62-01. Friday he caught five walleyes weighing 44-00 while fishing with Mark Schuitema of Jenison, Mich., to advance to the final day of competition in second place with a three-day total of five walleyes weighing 106-01. He wrapped up his win Saturday with a five-walleye catch weighing 38-15 while fishing with Smith.”I felt like I had a good chance to win,” said Kopcok, who also fishes the FLW Tour and Stren Series as a co-angler. “Lake Erie is pretty much my home waters and going into today I had a good feeling. Starting out today I was 6 pounds behind but I was confident that I could come back to take it all.”I had a lot of great pros this week that taught me a lot. They are all top-notch and without them I wouldn’t have won.” Rounding out the top 10 co-anglers were Ike Rhodes of Harrogate, Tenn. (20 walleyes, 139-01, $5,000); Jason Copeland of Olathe, Kan. (20 walleyes, 133-02, $3,000); Larry Behsman of Elysian, Minn. (17 walleyes, 132-10, $2,500); Randy Seidl of Appleton, Wis. (20 walleyes, 131-07, $4,250); Bruce Frevert of Centerville, Iowa (19 walleyes, 129-13, $2,000); Kenny Henexson of Thornton, Colo. (20 walleyes, 129-03, $1,750); Nate Brunz of Madison Lake, Minn. (19 walleyes, 126-04, $1,500); Jeff Sather of Montevideo, Minn. (20 walleyes, 123-14, $1,250) and Marty Barski of Crystal Lake, Ill. (17 walleyes, 121-14, $2,000).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. 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.In addition to cash awards, anglers were 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 Erie will be broadcast to 81 million FSN (Fox Sports Net) subscribers in the United States on June 1 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 49 walleyes weighing 320 pounds, 3 ounces caught by 10 boats Saturday. The catch included nine five-walleye limits. The next FLW Walleye Tour stop will be held on Lake Sharpe in Pierre, S.D., May 7-10. Cass Lake in Cass Lake, Minn., will host the third regular-season event June 11-14 followed by the final event at Bays de Noc in Escanaba, Mich., July 23-26.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.