Team Wins Green Bay Tournament and the Yamaha Outboards Team of the Year Honors
Jul 31st, 2005 by OutdoorsFIRST
Modified Jul 31st, 2005 at 12:00 AM
Throwing caution to the wind, the team of Michael Gengalo, JR, from Wausau, WI and Michael Gengalo, SR, from Pelican, WI, went for the big fish and the win at Sunday’s qualifier on the Wisconsin Region of the Grand National Walleye Cup (GNWC) at the Green Bay Oconto Tournament held on Sunday, July 31. The gamble paid off, and they came away a five-fish limit weight of 30.49 pounds and the $1400 first place check. They also took home the coveted Wisconsin Yamaha Outboards Team of the Year honors by finishing the year with 25 points, 28 points ahead of their nearest competitor. Second place and a check for $700 went to the team of Brian Barnett from Stratford, WI and Steve Isenberg from Marshfield, WI with a five-fish limit weight of 25.33 pounds. The team of Jon Ohnesorge from West Bend, WI and Josh Berken from DePere, WI weighed three fish for 24.17 pounds to take the $550 third place award. The father-son team of Bob and Nick Woodke from Gilett, WI earned the Cabela’s Big Fish Award of a $200 Cabela’s shopping spree and $380 in cash for winning the optional Big Fish pot with their 9.04 pounder. The Gengalo duo knew they had to make a decision early on Sunday. “We knew we had some smaller fish if we headed south, but we also knew there were bigger fish if we headed north,” said Michael, JR. So, they headed north, but the wind continued to pick up, and they stopped trying to decide whether they should go on or not. “We sat there, and I said, ‘we’ve come this far,’ and we took off again,” noted Gengalo. Doubts began to re-surface, though, as the waves grew larger, and after they had open water trolled through two of their pre-fishing spots with no luck. Then at the third spot, they caught their first fish, a 22-inch walleye. “That helped a lot, and then the wind started to drop to just a nice chop, and the next hour was chaos!” The winners found their fish both suspended and near the bottom in 20-32 feet of water. They trolled crawler harnesses with silver hatchet blades working the best. They attached planer boards to their lines and used 1-ounce snap weights on the outer lines and 2-ounce snap weights on the inner lines. “We actually started fishing for fish suspended about 15-feet off the bottom but had no luck, so we reeled up to 10 feet, and that is where we caught three of our fish,” added Gengalo. Instead of heading north, Barnett and Stratford chose to head south and work shallow rocky structures and humps. “We had a spot up north, too, but with the wind, we felt better heading south,” said Barnett. It was a wise decision, because they had their limit by 10:30. Their success came on 1/8-ounce chartreuse/white jigs tipped with a nightcrawler. “It was funny, though,” said Barnett. “They didn’t want half of a nightcrawler. They wanted the entire nightcrawler.” Although they only caught three fish, their 8.96-pound kicker fish moved Ohnesorge and Berken solidly into third place. They fished with crawler harnesses and found the firetiger Colorado blade to work best. “We found the fish to be 10-18 feet down in 30-40 feet of water. We would concentrate on the open water humps and found the fish to be suspended out from the humps in the deeper water,” added Barnett. The Yo So Close Award, provided by AMFYOYO, manufacturer of the innovative stowable folding landing net, went to the four teams just finishing out of the money. They include John Geiger from Neenah, WI and Dale Howard from Larson, WI in 11th place; Jon Lafontaine from Oshkosh, WI and Scott Hill from Beloit, WI in 12th place; and Dale Helgeson from Delavan, WI and Greg Karch from Oshkosh, WI in 13th place. “This was a tournament filled with really interesting twists. Lots of decisions were made on the water that had a huge impact on how things ended up,” said GNWC Executive Director Bernie Barringer. “Our regular season is now over for the Wisconsin Region. Now, it’s on to the Regional Championship for the top 30 teams. They will meet on the Minoqua Chain, September 10-11.” Barringer added, “It’s an exciting time of the year for the GNWC, and I encourage folks to check out all the current news on our website at www.walleyecup.com.” For those interested in learning more about the GNWC, call 1-800-890-FISH (3474), or email the GNWC at [email protected] Major national sponsors for the GNWC include Skeeter Boats, Yamaha Outboards, Lowrance Electronics, YoNet Folding Nets by AMFYOYO, Aqua-VU, Aqua Innovations, Cabela’s and UpNorthOutdoors.com. National championship sponsors are Towtector Shield and the FoodSource Lure Company.