Vandemark Walks Away with FLW BDN Title

 Jul 15th, 2007 by OutdoorsFIRST 

Modified Jul 15th, 2007 at 12:00 AM

ESCANABA, Mich. – Pro Steve Vande Mark of Linwood, Mich., caught a four-day total of 15 walleyes weighing 76 pounds, 3 ounces to win the Wal-Mart FLW Walleye Tour event on Bays de Noc in Escanaba, Mich., the fourth and final regular-season event of the 2007 FLW Walleye Tour. Vande Mark took home $100,000 in prize money for his impressive week of fishing in tough conditions that were present on this fishery all week long.”This is like a dream come true,” said Vande Mark, who reveled today on the weigh-in stage that last week a fire had claimed his home and most of his belongings. “Life doesn’t get any better than this. Last week was probably one of the lowest points in my life. Winning this and all of the money is great way to turn things around. This money is definitely going to go to good use.”I wasn’t really concerned about the weather that was present all week. I am actually fishing an area that is nearly land locked and very protected. My water temperature stayed consistent and this spot kept holding fish. I think the warm water was the key to my victory. We only had about three hours of fishing time with the water conditions to and from our spot. We caught four good sized walleyes and ended up culling two more over 23 inches and came back in.”I have competed in many different tournament circuits and have one FLW Walleye League win under my belt but this is the ultimate win.”Vande Mark fished the Garden Peninsula area of Bays de Noc all week. Today, with the overcast conditions, he was trolling bottom bouncer rigs with spinners in the bottom part of the water column. He was targeting off-shore structure with grass in 20 to 25 feet of water. He credited most of his success to figuring out the right color blade and bead combinations to coax these finicky walleyes into biting.Rounding out the top five pros are Kelly Klemm of Beardsley, Minn. (11 walleyes, 58 pounds, 10 ounces, $40,000); Troy Morris of Bismarck, N.D. (16 walleyes, 54 pounds, 1 ounce, $25,000); BP pro Jason Przekurat of Stevens Point, Wis. (16 walleyes, 52 pounds, 7 ounces, $18,000); and Pat Byle of Colgate, Wis. (11 walleyes, 52 pounds, 7 ounces, $13,000).At the conclusion of Saturdays weigh-in, BP pro Jason Przekurat claimed the title of 2007 FLW Walleye Tour Land O’Lakes Angler of the Year for the second time in his career. The race is usually decided by now, but it came down to two fierce competitors who scratched and clawed all the way to the end, Przekurat and Chris Gillman of Chisago City, Minn.”I wasn’t worried about winning this tournament at all. I just wanted to win angler of the year,” said Przekurat, who had his whole family on hand to see him be crowned. “The first one was great but getting the title a second time is much sweeter. It’s ultimately every angler’s goal at the begging of the season to win the angler of the year crown but it takes a lot of luck and great skill. I give all my success as a pro angler to the support that my family gives me. Without them I wouldn’t be where I am today.”This has been an unbelievable season. I got a tour win at Red Wing, Minn., crowned angler of the year and now all that’s left is a championship win. My confidence is on a high right now and I think I could do it.”Not to mention, with the almost perfect season Przekurat has laid out this year, he has also made the top-10 cut in three of the four qualifying tournaments this season.Trent McLaughlin of Hays, Kan., wins the co-angler title and $10,000 with 16 walleyes weighing 63 pounds, 10 ounces.”Something must have been lucky with me,” said McLaughlin who was lucky enough to draw the first, third and fourth place pros all during this event. “I tired to keep my expectations low but nothing could bring me down. This is the first time I have ever fished an FLW Outdoors event and I will remember this forever. It was awesome and I will be back to fish another one again someday.”Pros and co-anglers fish for a combined boat weight. Rounding out the top five co-anglers are John Hammond of New Berlin, Wis. (nine walleyes, 50 pounds, 5 ounces, $7,500); Jim Plummer of Fairborn, Ohio (12 walleyes, 47 pounds, 2 ounces, $7,000); Kevin Kerkvliet of Maplewood, Minn. (nine walleyes, 45 pounds, 4 ounces, $2,500); and Larry Booghier of Lakeview, Ohio (11 walleyes, 44 pounds, 3 ounces, $3,000).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 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 Land O’Lakes Angler of the Year 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.

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