PORT CLINTON, Ohio – The windy conditions that greeted anglers Thursday morning seemingly had no effect on walleye pro Rick Zachowski of Milwaukee, Wis., and his co-angler Jimmy Cox of Bono, Ark., for the first day of the National Guard FLW Walleye Tour on Lake Erie presented by Dr. Pepper. The competitors’ five best walleyes came in today weighing 42 pounds, 13 ounces, good enough to snatch the lead on day one of the second walleye event of the 2012 season being held in Port Clinton, Ohio.
The duo holds a respectable 1-pound, 8-ounce lead over their closest competitors. This walleye tournament features 123 pros and 123 co-anglers representing 18 different states along with Canada, where pros are fishing for a top award of $63,000 and co-anglers are shooting for an award of $10,500.
“This lake is just awesome,” said Zachowski, who has more than $66,000 in career FLW earnings. “Being allowed to cull out here and not having to make the tough decisions is great. Besides Michigan, this is the only other place where FLW visits that we are allowed to cull, and it makes for some big weights.
“Our morning started out a little rough,” Zachowski continued. “We went to my first spot where I had been catching a lot of 26- and 27-inchers in practice, but the fish were just not biting there. So I moved over to my second spot, which wasn’t too far away, and then it started happening really fast. On one pass through, we had our limit. On the second pass, I caught another 27-inch walleye and was able to cull. On our third pass, we didn’t catch anything, and I was considering moving to another spot but I figured we would make one more pass. I told my co-angler that if we could get another 27-incher out of there then we would leave, as I did not want to burn up all of my fish for day two. On our last pass we ended up getting a 311/2-incher, and I told Jimmy to box it up, we’re done.
“I didn’t get to that area until 9 a.m., and we were out of there right around noon,” Zachowski went on to say. “The females seem to be moving in from the reefs out east, and hopefully they’re moving in to where I’m at.”
Despite his day one success, Zachowski was hesitant to mention where and what techniques he was employing, but did give some insight on his strategy for tomorrow.
“I don’t want to talk about my technique too much. I know that there are a lot of our anglers that read the FLW website every night, and I do not want to give anything away right now,” he said. “However, my strategy for tomorrow will be to go back to that same spot and stay there pretty much all day unless the winds push me out. I’ve got around five different areas where I know fish are, so hopefully I’ll still be on top of the leaderboard tomorrow.”
Rounding out the top 10 pros and co-anglers after day one on Lake Erie are:
2nd: David Kolb, Rockford, Mich., and Philip Maher, Lincoln Park, Mich., five walleyes, 41-5
3rd: David Kleszyk, Oakbrook Terrace, Ill., and Mike Chutes, Sheffield Lake, Ohio, five walleyes, 40-11
4th: Kevin McQuoid, Isle, Minn., and Cody Armstrong, Devils Lake, N.D., five walleyes, 38-15
5th: Gregory Yarbrough, Port Clinton, Ohio, and Aaron Lochotzki, Sandusky, Ohio, five walleyes, 38-12
6th: Nathan Seiferlein, Chesterfield, Mich., and Tom Nevans, Strongsville, Ohio, five walleyes, 38-10
7th: Wayne Butz, Mosinee, Wis., and Jim Nightengale, Brook Park, Ohio, five walleyes, 38-2
7th: Brett King, Claremont, Minn., and Kevin Yancey, Newport, Mich., five walleyes, 38-2
9th: Walmart pro Dean Arnoldussen, Appleton, Wis., and Jeff Sass, Waupun, Wis, five walleyes, 37-14
10th: Alan Szoke, Grosse Ile, Mich., and Chris Augustyn, Holdredge, Neb., five walleyes, 37-7
For a full list of results visit FLWOutdoors.com.
Overall there were 594 walleyes weighing 3,398 pounds, 6 ounces caught by 123 boats Thursday. The catch included 113 five-walleye limits.
In Walleye Tour competition, pro and co-anglers are competing for valuable points in the hope of qualifying for a shot at the 2012 National Guard FLW Walleye Tour Championship which will be held on the Mississippi River in the Quad Cities Oct. 25-28. Anglers are also vying for the coveted Angler of the Year title, which earns them a place in the 2013 Walleye Tour Championship, as well as $10,000 for the pro and $2,500 for the co-angler.
Anglers will take off from the Nor’Easter Club located at 2801 Nor’Easter Cove Road in Port Clinton at 6:30 a.m. each morning. Friday’s weigh-in will be held at Waterworks Park in Port Clinton beginning at 3:00 p.m. Saturday’s final weigh-in will be held at the Walmart located at 2826 East Harbor Road in Port Clinton beginning at 4 p.m.
Fans will be treated to the FLW Expo at Walmart on Saturday from noon-4 p.m. prior to the final weigh-in. The Expo includes the opportunity to interact with professional anglers, a trout pond, and interactive games and activities. The NPAA will be offering a free Youth and Family Fishing Clinic beginning at 2:30 p.m. Prizes, including rods & reels, will be given away after the clinic. All activities are free and open to the public.
Coverage of the Lake Erie tournament will be broadcast in high-definition (HD) on NBC Sports Network when “FLW” airs October 7 from 1-2 p.m. ET. “FLW” is hosted by Chip Leer and is broadcast to more than 559 million households worldwide, making it the most widely distributed weekly outdoors-sports television show in the world.
For complete details and updated information visit FLWOutdoors.com. For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow us on Facebook at Facebook.com/FLWFishing and on Twitter at Twitter.com/FLWFishing.