Fishing & Boating News

Top 53 pros and top 53 co-anglers invade Lake Erie

by: Dave Washburn, vp comm, FLW Outdoors

(Nov. 19, 2007 - MINNEAPOLIS, MN) Lake Erie is without a doubt the world's best walleye fishery. So it's only fitting that the world's best walleye anglers ended their season-long journey on its bountiful waters. In late September, Lake Erie hosted the no-entry-fee 2007 Wal-Mart FLW Walleye Tour Championship. Tune in Sunday, Dec. 2 to "FLW Outdoors" on FSN for complete coverage of the four-day tournament. The stories evolve and the suspense grows throughout the one-hour show until the final weigh-in results are announced and the winning pro claims a $150,000 cash prize. Unlike most tour-level walleye tournaments, the 2007 Walleye Tour Championship took place in Cleveland, a transition zone from the western basin to the central basin. While the fishing in Cleveland is good, it is particularly susceptible to high winds. On day two, Mother Nature flexed her muscles and produced 6- and 7-foot waves that made long runs grueling, if not impossible. On day three, the big pond turned to glass, allowing anglers to run wide open for the first time. At the conclusion of day three, BFGoodrich Tires pro Dustin Kjelden owns a commanding lead after catching a five-walleye limit that weighed 39 pounds, 3 ounces. To catch his fish, the Brookings, S.D., native is trolling spinners with night crawlers over a sand bar near the town of Vermilion, Ohio, three miles from the Canadian border. When he won the 2005 Walleye Tour qualifier on Devils Lake, Kjelden stormed back from seventh place. Kjelden also finished second at the season-opening 2007 FLW Walleye Tour event held on the Detroit River and Lake Erie. Catching 24 pounds on day four, Kjelden thought he had his second FLW Walleye Tour win wrapped up. He ultimately finished second, and now he's out for some Lake Erie revenge. Heading into the final day, he's in the driver's seat with a 6-pound, 6-ounce lead. Currently in second place is FLW Walleye Tour and PWT veteran Scott Fairbairn. On day three, Fairbairn had to make a major change in presentation. At noon, with only two fish in the box, the Hager City, Wis., native switched from trolling crankbaits to trolling spinners and night crawlers. He pulled the spinners at 1.3 to 1.5 mph along the bottom of the column in water 45 feet deep. The result was a limit weighing 32 pounds, 13 ounces, good enough for second with one day of competition remaining. Fairbairn is no stranger to second place, as he finished as the runner up at the 2006 PWT Championship on the Missouri River. Fairbairn also finished second at the 2007 PWT event on Lake Winnebago and third at the 2007 season-opening FLW Walleye Tour event on the Detroit River. While he would receive a nice payday for second, Fairbairn has his sights set on his first championship victory. If this was a contest of who caught the most walleyes throughout the week, then Folgers pro Dennis Lantzy would likely be the one with a commanding lead. Catching a plethora of 22- and 23-inch fish, he instead is third with one day left. After qualifying for the final round with a two-day total of 10 walleyes weighing 49 pounds, 12 ounces, Lantzy caught a five-fish limit weighing 24 pounds, 1 ounce on day three. Like others, the Warren, Mich., native is trolling spinners with night crawlers - targeting nomadic walleyes near the top of the water column. Tune in to see if a kicker can propel him to the top of the leaderboard and to a first-place prize of $150,000. FSN is the industry leader in providing the most up-to-date technology in TV production. FSN puts viewers in the boats with the pros, shadowing them from sunrise until the final weigh-in using innovative camera work that gives fishing fans the most intimate viewing experience available. FSN broadcasts "FLW Outdoors" Sunday mornings. Check local listings for show times and channels in your area. FLWOutdoors.com also provides an online guide listing upcoming episodes on "FLW Outdoors." FSN is broadcast to more than 81 million homes through its network of 20 regional sports channels. Established in 1996, FSN is the only cable network that supplies national, regional and local sports programming. FSN serves as the cable TV home to 62 of the 82 MLB, NHL and NBA teams based in the United States, and produces more than 4,500 live events each year. FSN has an extensive catalog of original national programs, including "Best Damn Sports Show Period" and "Beyond the Glory" documentary series, along with national packages of collegiate sports. Based in Los Angeles, FSN is part of the vast FOX Sports television family. For the latest up-to-the-minute sports news and opinions, visit the FOX Sports/FSN website at www.FoxSports.com . "FLW Outdoors" is also broadcast internationally to more than 429 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 service men and women 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 FLW Outdoors and its tournament programs, call (270) 252-1000.