Takasaki Takes Lead at Walmart FLW Walleye Tour Event on Mississippi River

Category: press release

 May 8th, 2009 by OutdoorsFIRST 

Modified May 8th, 2009 at 12:00 AM

RED WING, Minn. (May 8, 2009) – Pro Ted Takasaki of East Gull Lake, Minn., along with co-angler Victor Wood of Rapid City, S.D., caught five walleyes weighing 29 pounds, 6 ounces to propel Takasaki into the lead of the Walmart FLW Walleye Tour presented by Berkley on the Mississippi River in Red Wing, Minn. Takasaki now has a three-day catch of 15 walleyes weighing 72-10 and a 7 pound, 7 ounce lead over second place going into the final day of competition of the nationally televised tournament. Anglers from 19 states and Canada are fishing for top awards of $66,667 in the Pro Division and $13,331 in the Co-angler Division.

Lund/Mercury Pro Ted Takasaki takes a seven pound plus lead going into Day 4 at Red Wing (Photo Courtesy of WalleyeFIRST)

“I have been coming to the Mississippi River for many years and have never experienced a tournament like this,” said Takasaki. “I didn’t realize there were so many big fish in this river. I am very fortunate, kind of a lucky day. But I guess it was my day to have a lucky day”

Takasaki said he was scrambling until around noon and was starting to worry about the rest of the day. “I decided to hit one little spot that I had not been to yet. I fished it in pre-fishing and thought maybe they are up there. I got [to the spot] and there was another guy on the point and he caught a six-pounder and I said, ‘All right, they are here.'”

“With the wind blowing [tomorrow], it should make the spot even better. I have a couple different patterns working and several different spots, so hopefully any one of them can turn on at any point. In these tournaments, you look forward to being in the top 10 and putting yourself in a position to win it and at least compete.”

Rounding out the top 10 pros are Nick Johnson of Elmwood, Wis. (14 walleyes, 65-3); Rich Zachowski of Milwaukee, Wis. (14 walleyes, 63-11); Barry Walker of Big Springs, Neb. (15 walleyes, 62-4); Perry Good of Brainerd, Minn. (15 walleyes, 61-0); Randy Stevens of Hager City, Wis. (13 walleyes, 60-2); Chris Gilman of Chisago City, Minn. (15 walleyes, 59-11); Pat Byle of Colgate, Wis. (15 walleyes, 58-3); Scott Fairbairn of Hager City, Wis. (15 walleyes, 56-10); and Brian Bjorkman of Fargo, N.D. (12 walleyes, 52-9).

Gary Speicher of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, leads the co-angler division with a three day weight and 14 walleyes weighing 60-5. Speicher fished with Tommy Skarlis on Day One, Chris Gilman on Day Two and Nick Johnson on Day Three.

“I have fished about 52 of these tournaments going back to 1997 and of all those events, this is probably the best three pro anglers on a river that I could have drawn,” said Speicher.

Rounding out the top 10 co-anglers are Chad Niemann of Rochester, Minn. (15 walleyes, 59-2); Todd Dankert of Anoka, Minn. (15 walleyes, 56-3); Larry Oleson of Wisconsin Rapids, Wis. (15 walleyes, 56-1); Jerry Miller of Lowell, Ind. (15 walleyes, 54-5); Steve Berg of Hudson, Wis. (13 walleyes, 54-1); Darrell Martin of Forest Lake, Minn. (14 walleyes, 51-10); Robert Brunz of Madison Lake, Minn. (15 walleyes, 51-2); Del Ringling of Valley, Neb. (15 walleyes, 49-7); and David Hosek of White Bear Lake, Minn. (15 walleyes, 49-4).

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.

Overall there were 412 walleyes weighing 1,220 pounds, 4 ounces caught by 100 boats Friday. The catch included 67 five-walleye limits.

Co-angler John Grahek, Jr. of Grand Forks, N.D., was fishing with his pro partner Steve Vandemark of Linwood, Mich., when Grahek, who has suffered from epileptic seizures since childhood, fell into the water following a seizure.

“I was three-way rigging, I set the hook and brought the fish up and then I was dazed and they were helping me back into the boat,” said Grahek. “I just want to thank my counterparts Steve and Al [Szoke] for their selfless act on the water. They displayed great sportsmanship and showed their true character.”

Vandemark, who was helping Grahek, said if it weren’t for Szoke, he and Grahek would not have made it. Szoke, in a boat down river, was able to get there and help them both to shore.

Grahek, who was at the weigh-in cheering on the anglers, is anxious to get back out on the water and is doing fine.

Bayport Marina, located at 1429 Levee Rd. in Red Wing, will host the takeoff Saturday morning at 7 a.m. Saturday’s final weigh-in will be held at the Walmart store located at 295 Tyler Rd. South in Red Wing beginning at 4 p.m. The community is invited to attend the takeoff and weigh-in, which are free and open to the public.

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 Land O’Lakes Angler of the Year standings. The top 50 pros and 50 co-anglers in the standings will advance to the FLW Walleye Tour Championship in Bismarck, N.D., Sept. 30-Oct. 3 for a shot at top awards of $150,000 and $20,000, respectively. The prestigious championship, hosted by the Bismarck-Mandan Convention and Visitors Bureau, will also feature boater and co-angler points champions from each of four Walmart FLW Walleye League divisions. The no-entry-fee FLW Walleye Tour Championship is the most lucrative event in professional walleye angling, with cash awards for the entire field.

Coverage of the FLW Walleye Tour, hosted by the Red Wing Business Community, will be broadcast in high-definition (HD) on VERSUS, the network which brings anglers the best fishing programming on television featuring the most-trusted authorities on the water. The Emmy-nominated “FLW Outdoors,” will air Aug. 9 from 12:30 to 1:30 ET. “FLW Outdoors,” hosted by Jason Harper, is broadcast to approximately 500 million households worldwide, including internationally through agreements with WFN (World Fishing Network) and Matchroom Sport to such countries as Canada, 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.

FLW Outdoors, named after Forrest L. Wood, the legendary founder of Ranger Boats, is the largest fishing tournament organization in the world. FLW Outdoors has taken fishing mainstream with FLW Fantasy Fishing, offering the largest awards possible in the history of fantasy sports, $10 million in cash and prizes. Sign up for Player’s Advantage for only $10 to get your edge and win.

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