OCONTO, Wis. – Pro Stephen Paulsen of Peshtigo, Wis., and co-angler Joe Ebel of Waukesha, Wis., caught five walleyes weighing 32 pounds, 6 ounces to win the National Guard FLW Walleye Tour tournament presented by Evinrude on Green Bay. Paulsen had a three-day catch of 15 walleyes weighing 92-5. He won by more than 11-pounds over his closest competitor, Danny Plautz, in event featuring anglers from 17 states and Canada. Paulsen took home $55,000 for his efforts.
“This is a dream come true,” said Paulsen, who was fishing in his first ever FLW Walleye Tour event. “I really wasn’t doing anything special. Like everyone else I was pulling crawler harnesses. The one thing that helped me was that I didn’t see a single boat in my area for three days. That really kept the pressure off the fish and I didn’t have to worry about guys beating me to my spot.
“I was fishing humps mid lake,” Paulsen went on to say. “I really needed the wind to get them to bite in my area so have just been prayin’ hard all week for wind.
“I was trolling at about 1.2 to 1.3. The fishing wasn’t fast or furious for me the entire week. Today we only caught about six or seven fish. I use Tommy Harris custom blades in green and gold,” Paulsen continued. “I am also a fan of snap weights. I think they act a little like shock absorbers and really get the bite going.”
While most of the field played it safe going south to fish, Paulsen took the gamble and went northeast where the fish are known to be bigger but can be elusive this time of year. According to Paulsen the bigger fish are just starting to move north where typically it is a late summer/early fall bite.
Many of the anglers who fished the tournament spent some time practicing north and northeast but couldn’t get a bite so played it safe and stayed south. Paulsen didn’t get a single bite during his practice either but being a guide on the bay he knew that if the wind kicked in so would the bite.
Rounding out the top 10 pros are:
2nd: Danny Plautz, Milwaukee, Wis., 15 walleyes, 80-13, $15,000
3rd: Ryan Jirik, Rhinelander, Wis., 15 walleyes, 79-11, $10,000
4th: David Andersen, Amery, Wis., 15 walleyes, 78-1, $8,000
5th: Nick Schertz, Tomahawk, Wis., 14 walleyes, 76-13, $9,500
6th: Tom Keenan, Hatley, Wis., 15 walleyes, 74-1, $8,500
7th: Paul Meleen, Isle, Minn., 14 walleyes, 71-6, $7,500
8th: Castrol pro John Campbell, Marco Island, Fla., 14 walleyes, 68-12, $5,000
9th: Rob Nickels, Norway, Mich., 12 walleyes, 60-9, $5,000
10th: National Guard pro Mark Courts, Harris, Minn., 11 walleyes, 51-5, $5,500
Joe Ebel of Waukesha, Wis., earned the victory in the Co-angler Division and took home $6,000. His three-day weight totaled 86 pounds, 8 ounces. He fished with Gil Mollet, Thursday, JD Carr, Friday and Stephen Paulsen, Saturday to earn his victory.
“I couldn’t have asked for better partners,” said Ebel, who made his first top-10 appearance. “Today fishing was a lot slower than it has been all week for me. We only had eight or nine bites all day and we brought six in the boat. This has just been an incredible tournament and I am so excited to have finally made a top-10 finish.”
Rounding out the top 10 co-anglers are:
2nd: Daniel Leach, Linwood, Mich., 15 walleyes, 79-12, $3,000
3rd: Master Sgt. Leroy McCoy, Fridley, Minn., 15 walleyes, 78-15, $1,800
4th: Edward Mucha, Shabbona, Ill., 15 walleyes, 78-11, $2,450
5th: Wallace Carter Jr., of Lawrenceburg, Ky., 15 walleyes, 75-1, $1,000
6th: Shane Frevert, Centerville, Iowa, 15 walleyes, 73-9, $900
7th: John Spiegel, Appleton, Wis., 14 walleyes, 71-0, $800
8th: Boyd Strissel, Billings, Mont., 14 walleyes, 70-0, $700
9th: Buck Gehm, Crivitz, Wis., 12 walleyes, 59-13, $600
10th: Edward Piekutowski, Moorhead, Minn., 11 walleyes, 53-0, $1,000
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.
FLW Outdoors, in conjunction with the NPAA, hosted a free Family Fishing Clinic where 250 kids received free rods and reels. Fans of all ages had the opportunity to interact with professional anglers, ride Ranger boat simulators, enjoy interactive games, activities, and learn more about the sport of fishing. For more information and photos of the event go to NPAA.net.
The fourth and final National Guard FLW Walleye Tour event of the 2011 season will be held on Lake Oahe Aug. 25-27 in Pierre, S.D. The event will be hosted by the Pierre Area Chamber of Commerce and boats will launch from Spring Creek Resort & Deep Water Marina in Pierre, S.D.
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 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.