OCONTO, Wis. – Pro Ryan Dempsey of Oneida, Wis. and co-angler Boyd Strissel of Billings, Mont., brought in five walleyes weighing 30 pounds, 10 ounces Thursday to lead day one of the National Guard FLW Walleye Tour tournament on Green Bay. The pair holds a very narrow 1-ounce lead over their closest rivals in an event featuring 141 pros and 141 co-anglers representing 17 states and Canada fishing for top awards of $63,000 in the Pro Division and $10,500 in the Co-angler Division.
“It was a pretty tough day,” said Dempsey, who is fishing in his first FLW Walleye Tour event. “We only caught six walleyes all day long and we didn’t lose any. I am a little surprised there weren’t any heavier sacks brought in.
“Two of our big fish came pretty early and then we smacked a double about noon,” continued Dempsey. “The four biggest fish were all 27 1/2 to 28 inches The smallest fish, about 22 inches, came just before we had to check in. We busted every line today and re-tied my last three spinners in order to get that last fish. I am going to have to spend the night re-rigging all my lines. They are a mess.”
Dempsey who is a part-time guide on Green Bay said that he fishes the Bay three or four days a week. He plans on going to the same area tomorrow and believes that he can’t bring in anything less than 24 inches in order to make the top-10 cut. Unlike most of the anglers who are looking forward to cooler temperatures for tomorrow, Dempsey believes that the cool weather will only hinder him. He expects some monster bags to be brought to the scales tomorrow if temperature drop and the wind picks up.
Rounding out the remainder of the top 10 pros and co-anglers after day one at Green Bay are:
2nd: Gil Mollet, Jefferson, S.D., Joe Ebel, Waukesha, Wis., five walleyes, 30-9
3rd: Marianne Huskey, Shawano, Wis., Andy Walsh, Muscoda, Wis., five walleyes, 30-5
4th: Walmart pro Dean Arnoldussen, Appleton, Wis., Richard Lendosky, Peshtigo, Wis., five walleyes, 29-14
5th: Gary Parsons, Glidden, Wis., Eric Marone, Mosinee, Wis., five walleyes, 29-0
6th: Ryan Jirik, Rhinelander, Wis., Wallace Carter Jr., Lawrenceburg, Ky., five walleyes, 28-14
6th: John Schneider, Shawano, Wis., Brian Speckmann, Downers Grove, Ill., five walleyes, 28-14
8th: Paul Meleen, Isle, Minn., Edward Mucha, Shabbona, Ill., five walleyes, 28-8
9th: Leslie Vietz, Bismarck, N.D., Todd Rieder, Fond du Lac, Wis., five walleyes, 27-14
10th: Lynn Jurrens, Watertown, S.D., Christopher Behm, Maple Lake, Minn., five walleyes, 27-10
10th: Stephen Paulsen, Peshtigo, Wis., Leroy McCoy, Fridley, Minn., five walleyes, 27-10
Overall there were 499 walleyes weighing 2,189 pounds, 12 ounces caught by 141 boats Thursday. The catch included 61 five-walleye limits.
In Walleye Tour competition, pro and co-anglers are also competing for valuable points in the hope of qualifying for a shot at the 2011 National Guard FLW Walleye Tour Championship held on the Missouri River in Bismarck, N.D., Sept. 22-25. Anglers are also vying for the coveted Angler of the Year title, which earns them a place in the 2012 Walleye Tour Championship, as well as $10,000 for the pro and $2,500 for the co-angler.
Anglers will take off from Breakwater Park & Marina located on Harbor Road in Oconto at 7 each morning. Weigh-in’s will also be held at the marina beginning at 3 p.m. on Friday and Saturday’s final weigh-in will begin at 4 p.m. Fans will have the opportunity to interact with professional anglers, ride Ranger boat simulators, enjoy interactive games, activities and giveaways provided by sponsors, and learn more about the sport of fishing. All activities are free and open to the public. Prior to the final weigh-in, there will be a free Family Fishing Clinic where children can get free rod and reels while supplies last, plus other great giveaways.
Coverage of the Green Bay tournament will be broadcast in high-definition (HD) on VERSUS. “FLW Outdoors” will air Aug. 28 from 1 to 2 p.m. ET. “FLW Outdoors,” hosted by Chip Leer, is broadcast to more than 500 million households worldwide.
For complete details and updated information visit FLWOutdoors.com/mc. For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow the Walleye Tour on Facebook at Facebook.com/FLWWalleyeTour and on Twitter at Twitter.com/FLWOutdoors.
About FLW Outdoors
FLW Outdoors is the best in fishing, on and off the water. Anglers worldwide can compete for millions over the course of 191 tournaments in 2011. FLW Outdoors has taken fishing mainstream with the world’s richest fantasy sports game, FLW Fantasy Fishing presented by Straight Talk, where competitors can play for free as well as sign up for Player’s Advantage to gain an edge. For more information about FLW Outdoors and FLW Fantasy Fishing, browse FLWOutdoors.com or visit FantasyFishing.com.