VandeMark leads FLW Walleye Tour on Bay de Noc
Jul 12th, 2007 by OutdoorsFIRST
Modified Jul 12th, 2007 at 12:00 AM
ESCANABA, Mich. – Pro Steve Vande Mark of Linwood, Minn., along with his partner, Scott Robak of Suamico, Wis., caught three walleyes weighing 17 pounds, 13 ounce to lead day two of the Wal-Mart FLW Walleye Tour event presented by Evinrude on Bays de Noc in Escanaba, Mich. Vande Mark now has a two-day catch of eight walleyes weighing 36-8. He now holds a 2 pound, 13 ounce lead over the second place finisher going into the third day of competition.With a $2.71 million total purse, including the no-entry-fee $675,850 Wal-Mart FLW Walleye Tour Championship on Lake Erie at Cleveland, Ohio, Sept. 27-30, and television coverage on FSN (Fox Sports Net), the FLW Walleye Tour is bigger and better than ever.With a full field of 150 pros and 150 co-anglers, anglers are competing for their share of a $509,300 purse, including as much as $100,000 for the winning pro and $18,000 for the winning co-angler.”It was a little rough out there today but overall it was pretty good,” said Vande Mark, who has one tournament win and amassed more than $40,000 in career earnings with FLW Outdoors. “Obviously, the bite is really tough right now with all the bug hatches and stuff. It seems like the fish were eating in 20 minute intervals and there was only two periods today when we caught fish. We went on about a three hour dry spell then, bang, we caught two nice fish in a matter of minutes. Yesterday, in this same area, we were catching all slot fish and today, it was all pigs.”I’m going to go back to the area again tomorrow and just grind it out. If those slot fish come back in there, I’ll be all set.”Rounding out the top five pros are BP pro Jason Przekurat of Stevens Point, Wis. (10 walleyes, 33 pounds, 11 ounces); Patrick Byle of Colgate, Wis. (eight walleyes, 33 pounds, 6 ounces); Troy Morris of Bismarck, N.D. (10 walleyes, 33 pounds, 5 ounces); and Chris Gilman of Chisago City, Min. (eight walleyes, 31 pounds, 9 ounces).At the conclusion of Thursdays weigh-in, it left BP pro Jason Prezkurat and Chris Gilman, who are both in the top-five, tied for first in the Land O’Lakes Angler of the Year race. The next two days of competition will decide who will be crowned the 2007 Angler of the Year.Trent McLaughlin of Hays, Kan., and Jim Fetzik of Pengilly, Minn., are tied for the lead in the co-angler division with a two-day weight weighing 29-1. “I’m really happy to be where I am,” said Fetzik, who has one top-10 finish with FLW Outdoors. “We had a few problems this morning but we survived. I’m really looking forward to tomorrow. I’d like to have a limit but I will be happy with what I get.”Pros and co-anglers fish for a combined boat weight. Rounding out the top five co-anglers are James Plummer of Fairborn, Ohio (seven walleyes, 27-4), John Hammond of New Berlin, Wis. (nine walleyes, 26-14) and Stephen Smithberger of Union, Ill. (five walleye, 26-13).The Bays de Noc Visitors and Convention Bureau is hosting the event. Anglers launch daily at 7 a.m. from Escanaba Harbor located at Loren W. Jenkins Memorial Drive in Escanaba. Friday’s weigh-ins will also be held at the marina beginning at 3 p.m. Saturday’s weigh-in will be held at the Wal-Mart store located at 601 North Lincoln Road in Escanaba beginning at 4 p.m. The community is invited to attend daily takeoffs and weigh-ins, which are free and open to the public.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 the winner determined by the heaviest four-day weight.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 angler standings. The top 50 pros and 50 co-anglers based on year-end points standings will advance to the 2007 FLW Walleye Tour Championship.The FLW Walleye Tour Championship is the most lucrative event in professional walleye angling, with guaranteed cash awards for the entire field. A guaranteed cash award of $100,000 plus potential sponsor bonuses totaling $50,000 will go to the FLW Walleye Tour Championship winner for a total pro award of $150,000. The champion co-angler will win a guaranteed cash award of $11,000 plus potential sponsor bonuses totaling $11,000 for a total co-angler award of $22,000.Coverage of the FLW Walleye Tour event on Bays de Noc will be broadcast to 81 million FSN (Fox Sports Net) subscribers in the United States on Oct. 7 as part of the “FLW Outdoors” television program. “FLW Outdoors” airs Sunday mornings at 11 a.m. Eastern. “FLW Outdoors” is also broadcast internationally to more than 350 million households in such countries as 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. Additionally, FLW Outdoors is proud to provide tournament coverage to more than 800,000 servicemembers stationed around the world in 177 countries and aboard Navy ships through broadcasts on the American Forces Network.Named after the legendary founder of Ranger Boats, Forrest L. Wood, FLW Outdoors administers the Wal-Mart FLW Tour, Wal-Mart FLW Series, Stren Series, Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League, Wal-Mart Texas Tournament Trail presented by Abu Garcia, Ranger Owners Tournament Championship Series, Wal-Mart FLW Walleye Tour, Wal-Mart FLW Walleye League, Wal-Mart FLW Kingfish Tour, Wal-Mart FLW Kingfish Series, Wal-Mart FLW Redfish Series and Wal-Mart FLW Striper Series. These circuits offer combined purses of nearly $43 million through 241 events in 2007.Wal-Mart and many of America’s largest and most respected companies support FLW Outdoors and its tournament trails. Wal-Mart signed on as an FLW Outdoors sponsor in 1997 and today is the world’s leading supporter of tournament fishing. For more information about Wal-Mart, visit Walmart.com.For more information about FLW Outdoors and its tournaments, browse FLWOutdoors.com or call (270) 252-1000.