Yarbrough, Seyka Take GNWC Title
Oct 11th, 2005 by OutdoorsFIRST
Modified Oct 11th, 2005 at 12:00 AM
Vermilion, OH – With a small craft advisory in effect for both Friday and Saturday, the three-day Grand National Walleye Cup (GNWC) National Championship became a single day high stakes shootout based on Thursday’s Day I weigh-in. The 2005 GNWC National Championship presented by Skeeter Boats and Yamaha Outboards brought the top 108 walleye fishing teams from 14 states to the fertile big-walleye waters of Lake Erie on the outskirts of Vermilion, OH.Based on Thursday’s weights, the team of Greg Yarbrough from Port Clinton, OH and Jeff Seyka from Milford, MI weighed a five-fish limit weight of 35.27 pounds and captured the first place prize of two WX 1880 Skeeter boats rigged with Yamaha 4-stroke 150 hp outboards, Minnkota electric trolling motors and batteries, and Lowrance Electronics. With a retail value of $35,000 per rig, this brings the first place purse for Yarbrough and Seyka to $70,000. “Mother Nature just didn’t cooperate with us,” said GNWC executive director Bernie Barringer. “Even though it became a single day shootout, it still gave us an opportunity to showcase the top teams on the GNWC.”Barringer added, “Lake Erie is an incredible fishery. It’s just that the water temperature is still in the upper 60s, and the big fish are a long ways away from Vermilion. Regardless, the community of Vermilion really rolled out the red carpet for us, from the tremendous banquet meal to the great volunteer help at the take-offs and weigh-in. Their hospitality was second to none.” Second place and a check for $10,000 went to the team of Matt Davis from Marion, OH and Kelly Buchenroth from Kenton, OH with a five-fish weight of 20.65.The third place team of Alan Szoke from Grosse Ile, MI and John Szoke from Bloomfield Hills, MI also broke the 20-pound barrier with a five-fish weight of 20.44 pounds. They pocketed $6,000 for their efforts.The fourth place team of Michale Gengalo, Jr., from Wausau, WI and Michael Gengalo, Sr., won $4,000 for their five-fish weight of 18.62 pounds. A total of 27 teams received checks. Day I was a day of decisions for the 108 teams: take a chance and run, run, run…as far as 60 miles to the big fish, or stay closer, catch a limit of fish and hope and pray for one kicker fish. However, those who fished close found the big kicker fish tough to come by. For Yarbrough and Seyka, their run north to the Canadian border was profitable, especially when late in the day, they found a pod of big fish and popped their 9.42 pounder. Key to their success was finding active suspended walleyes in 26-28 feet of water. They found the fish suspended as high as eight feet from the surface. Their pre-fishing strategy of popping a couple of fish and then leaving them alone paid big dividends. “The Lowrance 104-C was very important, because we could run at 25 mph as we searched for fish. It helped us cover a lot of water,” said Yarbrough. Seyka added, “We had great help when we broke down during pre-fishing from both Lowrance and Johnson Moore. We really appreciated their help!”The winners used in-line weights, pulling Northland holographic spinners and Walleye Unlimited spinner blades tipped with nightcrawlers. Davis and Buchenroth also ran north and pulled gold spinners and harness rigs tipped with nightcrawlers. They, too, targeted the active, suspended fish. Davis said, “It’s too bad we only got to fish one day. Teams fishing Erie for the first time did not get a true picture of how good fishing can be for big walleyes.” According to Buchenroth, “These fish are moving constantly, so we moved all day and found most of our fish suspended 20-30 feet down.”The third place team ran 26 miles northeast. “We had fish going 62 miles away in 65 feet of water, but we were afraid that we couldn’t make the run, so we looked for 65 feet of water closer to town,” said Alan Szoke. “We pulled one-ounce inline sinkers, crawler harnesses and gold spinners.” Ironically enough, the fourth place team fished the entire day within sight of the break wall. According to Michael, Sr., “We found a point with an inside turn. The walleyes were suspended out off the end of the point.”For them, key lures were spoons and crankbaits. “By then end of the day we had switched to using only clown colored Reef Runners,” said Michael, Jr. Special awards were given out at the Championships including the Cabela’s Big Fish Award of a $200 shopping spree and $687 in cash for the three big fish of the tournament. They include the team of Greg Yarbrough and Jeff Seyka with their 9.42-pound walleye; Robert Blosser and Gary Tomlinson from Poynette, WI with their 8.40-pound walleye; and Alan Szoke and John Szoke with their 7.84-pound walleye. The Skeeter Boats award of an extra $1,000 for the top-finishing Skeeter owner went Robert Blosser, who with his teammate Gary Tomlinson finished in seventh place. YoNet Folding Nets by AMFYOYO offered the Yo So Close Award of an $80 folding net to the three teams finishing just out of the money. They include Mark Hull from Youngstown, OH and Steve Bartolone from Westerville, OH in 28th place; Frank Wood from Mason City, IA and Lance Thoe from Clear Lake, IA in 29th place; and Brad Berens and Dave Andera from Sioux Falls, SD in 30th place. TowTector, maker of the premium boat protector on the market for towing vehicles, awarded two Towtector Shields to Mike Latimer from Westmont, IL and Hal Cary from Montgomery, IL.The FoodSource Lure Company of $200 in FoodSource Lures went to the team of Alan and John Szoke as the top placing family team. Teams that did not catch fish had names put in a drawing for $200 in Mack’s Lure products. The winner of the Mack’s Lure Catch More Fish With Mack’s Award was the team of Brian Murray from Farmington, PA and Troy Bungard from Millsboro, PA. Those interested in learning more about the GNWC circuit can call 1-800-890-FISH (3474) or access the GNWC website at www.walleyecup.com. For those wanting to take a look at the Vermilion area, check out their website at vermilionohio.com. The GNWC National Championship is presented by Skeeter Boats and Yamaha Outboards. Major national sponsors for the GNWC include Lowrance Electronics, YoNet Folding Nets by AMFYOYO, Aqua-VU, The Oxygenator, Cabela’s and UpNorthOutdoors.com. National championship boosters are Towtector Shield, MinnKota, Mack’s Lure and the FoodSource Lure Corporation.