Fishing & Boating News

Bays  De Noc Walleye Tour Event to Air Oct 12

Final qualifier highlights Michigan's Upper Peninsula

by: Jeff McCoy, PR dir, FLW Outdoors

(Oct. 06, 2008 - Minneapolis, MN) Tune in Sunday, Oct. 12, to "FLW Outdoors" on FSN for complete coverage of the Walmart FLW Walleye Tour event held on Lake Michigan's Bays de Noc in Escanaba, Mich. The fourth and final regular-season tournament concludes with the winning pro claiming a cash prize of $100,000. The stories evolve and the suspense grows throughout the one-hour show until the final weigh-in results are announced. 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 winners determined by the heaviest four-day weight. For this specific tournament, anglers are allowed to keep only two fish per day over 23 inches in length. Bays de Noc represents the final qualifying event of the season, meaning it is a make or break tournament for several anglers trying to reach the no-entry-fee $650,000 FLW Walleye Tour Championship on the Missouri River in Bismarck, N.D. In addition to qualifying for the championship, a handful of anglers are competing for the coveted Land O'Lakes Angler of the Year award. The AOY title, which rewards consistency, is given to the pro angler who accumulates the most points during the four qualifying events. Several anglers are still in prime position to capture AOY honors. Currently, pros Ted Takasaki and Ron Seelhoff are tied with 421 points over three events. Behind them is Cass Lake champion Scott Steil with 402 points and veteran pro Pete Harsh with 401 points. While AOY is looking like a photo finish, 27-year-old Josh Vanderweide has a 5-pound lead after accumulating a three-day total of 11 walleyes weighing 63 pounds, 2 ounces. Oftentimes open-water trolling tournaments resemble a game of bumper boats as anglers concentrate around select pods of active walleyes. That is not the case in this one. Vanderweide found his primary area a week before the tournament began and the fish never moved. That spot, which he has all to himself, is located at the beginning of Big Bay - roughly seven miles east of Peninsula Point and 20 miles east of Escanaba Harbor. The depth in the area varies anywhere from 16 to 30 feet, and Vanderweide is presenting his baits in the middle of the water column. Like most of the field, the 2007 University of Detroit Mercy dental school graduate is trolling at 1 mph with spinners and night crawlers. Under overcast conditions, he will use gold and copper blades. Under blue-bird skies, he prefers silver. On day four, the young pro will look to seal a $100,000 victory and begin paying off his education loans. In second place is 2007 PWT Rookie of the Year Chad Schilling from Akaska, S.D. A Lake Oahe expert, Schilling has an opening-round total of 58 pounds, 1 ounce. Despite his impressive weight, Schilling is only receiving a precious handful of bites each day. On day three, he caught only five fish total, but they were all quality fish and weighed 20 pounds, 12 ounces. The G3 pro is fishing a series of points and humps near the south end of the Ford River. He too is running a crawler-harness program and his best blade colors have been gold and silver. In third place with nine walleyes weighing 53 pounds, 14 ounces, is local pro Kim Papineau. Like Schilling and Vanderweide, Papineau is trolling. But unlike those two, he's using deep-diving crankbaits. Instead of presenting them at approximately 1 mph, Papineau is trolling into the waves at 2 mph with his cranks 80 feet back. Also in contention is Chevy pro Tom Keenan. Although he calls Hatley, Wis., home, Keenan grew up in Rapid River, Mich., and fishes the bays frequently. The 2006 Angler of the Year is working two areas - one is located near the Ford River, 11 miles south of the launch site and the other is Peninsula Point, located 10 miles east of the Ford River spot. Keenan has been catching quality slot fish all week but the overs have been a struggle. If he can pair two pigs with his 22-inchers he could make a serious run at a second Walleye Tour win. 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. FLW Outdoors, named after Forrest L. Wood, the legendary founder of Ranger Boats, is the largest fishing tournament organization in the world. In 2008 alone the organization is offering more than 90,000 anglers the chance to win over $40 million through 230 tournaments in 10 circuits. For more information about FLW Outdoors and its tournaments, call (270) 252-1000.