Fishing & Boating News

Keenan, Spiegel Win Cabela's National Walleye Tour Event on Lake Erie

Tournament pays out over $402,000 to competitors

by: Greg Duncan, Blue Heron Communications

(Apr 29, 2016 - New Smyrana Beach, FL) Pro-angler Tom Keenan, of Hatley, Wisconsin, brought in a two-day total of 91.46 pounds of walleye to win the pro-angler category of the Lake Erie event for the Cabela's National Walleye Tour (NWT) at Sandusky, Ohio, on April 22.
The Lake Erie win was special to Keenan, as this is his first time to top the leaderboard in five years. After numerous close finishes and a trio of Angler-of-the-Year awards, Keenan finally shut thedoor on the field.
"It's been five years since I won a tournament," said Keenan. "I've had a little chip on my shoulder."
Keenan decided to head east of the launch while most of the field ran west. Keenan determined the fish were positioned deep and slow-trolled in water 26 to 32 feet deep. The technique paid off with a first day, five-fish limit of 45.83 pounds - good enough for second place.
"I trolled Rapala Husky Jerks (size 12) and 800 Series Reef Runners," said Keenan. "White was the key color - purple and white or pink and white. Purple and white was probably the best."
While Keenan didn't employ any secret techniques, he made critical and timely adjustments each day. On day two, Keenan found the fish in shallower water.
"Today was a little bit of the opposite," said Keenan. "I set up my first couple rods and before I had them all set, I had a double. So then I figured they were high."
By noon, Keenan and his co-angler John Terry only had two fish in the livewell. A much needed uptick in wind served as the needed catalyst to encourage the bite.
"The lake rippled up for about 20 minutes," said Keenan. "We immediately raised our baits, bringing them up to the 20-foot level. In the next five minutes, we caught three in a row that were over nine pounds. Those three probably weighed 28 pounds. As soon as the wind changed, they were easy to catch."
Keenan took home $15,000 and a fully rigged Ranger 620FS with a 250 HP Evinrude outboard for his first-place finish. His overall combined total of $87,420 in winnings pushed his career earnings past the $1,000,000 mark.
Wayne Van Dyke (second), Daniel Bodinger (third), Chris Gilman (fourth), Jason Przekurat (fifth), Bill Sutton (sixth), Chris Schmitt (seventh), Ed Stachowski (eighth), Ross Grothe (ninth) and Robert Cardenas (tenth) round out the top 10 pro-anglers.
John Spiegel, of Sherwood, Wisconsin, took first place in the co-angler category. Spiegel was paired with Wayne Van Dyke on day one and caught 47.61 pounds. His day two pairing with eventual fifth-place pro Jason Przekurat gave him 43.20 to retain the co-angler lead.
"Jason is a great guy to fish with, as was Wayne," said Spiegel. "I've never had two great pros like this back to back."
For his total weight of 90.81 pounds, Spiegel earned $6,500, plus another $1,111 in Anglers Advantage cash.
Brian Chandler (second), Jared Schaefer (third), Michael Olson (fourth), Douglas Anoman (fifth), John Wagner (sixth), Richard Carmack (seventh), Kevin Petersen (eighth), Dave Knieriemen (ninth) and Jimmy Cox (tenth) round out the top ten for co-anglers.
The next stop for the Cabela's National Walleye Tour is set for May 26-27 on Lake Winnebago at Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Registrations for the event are already being accepted online and by calling 612-424-0708. Anglers who are participating in any of the numerous contingency prize programs are encouraged to submit all pertinent information before the event to remain eligible for any potential bonus money.
Anglers that have fished all three regular-season events, in addition to the top points leaders, will qualify for the three-day, entry-fee championship. Two fully rigged Ranger boats are guaranteed for the championship event. The first-place finisher in the pro division will take home a new Ranger 619FS Fisherman, plus $15,000 cash for a total prize value of $79,000. In addition, the second-place pro receives a new Ranger 1880 Angler valued at $46,000. Both figures have the opportunity to go even higher with sponsor contingency. Likewise, the winner of the Co-Angler category will take home $6,000 cash, with the opportunity to nearly double with contingency money thanks to NWT sponsors.

2016 NWT scheduled events:

May 26-27 -Lake Winnebago (Oshkosh, Wis.)
June 23-24 - Green Bay (Sturgeon Bay, Wis.)

Championship - Aug. 3-5 - Lake Oahe (Mobridge, S.D.)

About Cabela's National Walleye Tour
Cabela's National Walleye Tour events are made possible through the sponsorship and continued support of these well-respected brands: Cabela's, Ranger Boats, Lucas Oil, Evinrude, RAM, Mercury, Motor Guide, Jimmy John's, Minn Kota, Triton Boats, Power-Pole, Amphibia, Arctic Ice, Stratos Boats, Lowrance, Protect the Harvest, BoatU.S., General Tire, SuperClean, Raymarine, Valley Fashions, T-H Marine, Atlas, G-Juice, Powertex Group.