Pundits’ Picks Walleye: Detroit River - Major League Fishing

Pundits’ Picks Walleye: Detroit River

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FLW Outdoors presents Pundits' Picks
April 5, 2007 • MLF • Uncategorized

Fishing fans, welcome to the first edition of Pundits’ Picks for Yankees. As the official title of the column is Pundits’ Picks Walleye, this Web site feature was designed specifically with walleye-loving Midwesterners in mind. Log on to FLWOutdoors.com the Friday before each FLW Walleye Tour event to see who the so-called experts like in the upcoming contest. We can’t promise accuracy, we can’t promise precision, but we can promise a little good-natured pretournament trash talking. The competition will pit pros v. staff throughout the season to see who qualifies for the pundit championship. After three regular-season events, each pundit will be seeded according to their record for the playoff round. Only three pundits advance from the playoff round to the championship, a winner-take-all affair that goes to the person who accumulates the most points.

Last thing, the disclaimer: The picks in this column in no way represent any sort of favoritism on the part of FLW Outdoors staff or its pro anglers. These are merely guesses – only arguably educated – as to who we think might do well at any given tournament.

Now, on to the picks. Drum roll please…

Brett Carlson

Tournament site

The first stop on the 2007 Wal-Mart FLW Walleye Tour will be significantly different than past years in that no Canadian waters are open to fishing. This means some prime big-fish areas have been eliminated and weights will likely drop. However, last year Lake Erie was entirely off-limits as competitors were restricted to the river only. This year, the Michigan waters of Lake Erie are in play. The lake is really the wild card here. If it clears up its mud-laden hue, it could be the winning area as the larger females are more common. But the river has big fish potential as well. Just ask the winner of last year’s event, Ross Grothe. The Northfield, Minn., pro caught a five-walleye limit on day three that weighed over 39 pounds. That stringer propelled Grothe to his first FLW Walleye Tour victory. So what’s the key to the Motor City? Being versatile with all techniques and knowing when to use them.

Wal-Mart FLW Walleye Tour stop No. 1

Detroit River, Trenton, Mich.

April 11-14

Rick LaCourse
FLW Walleye Tour pro
Port Clinton, Ohio

Record: 0-0
Points: 0

Mr. Operations, Mark Dorn Mark Dorn
Director of Operations
FLW Outdoors

Record: 0-0
Points: 0

1) TOM KEENAN.Fishing for Team Chevy this year, Tom has proven he is a consistent and versatile angler. He finishes strong in every tournament he enters. The first event of the year is a combination river/lake tournament, so Tom’s vast knowledge and experience on both systems will come into play. Expect another strong finish from this young gun.
2) DENNIS LANTZY.Team Folgers pro Dennis Lantzy is a seasoned Michigan angler who knows the Detroit River like the back of his hand. If his strong third-place finish at the recent FLW Walleye League tournament is any indication, we should see good things from Dennis next week.
3) JASON PRZEKURAT.The BP angler is one of the most versatile pros on the FLW Walleye Tour. This year, with Lake Erie available, it could be a player in this tournament. Look for Jason to unlock the early-season lake pattern, targeting migrating walleye from their early spawning areas.
4) NATHAN SEIFERLEIN.Nate is my dark horse. The Michigan teacher will have an entire classroom cheering him on next week. Nate has been a top finisher in all the events held on this system, and is by far one of the local favorites. Watch for good things from this up-and-comer.
5) TOMMY SKARLIS.Baseball has “Mr. October” in Reggie Jackson, and walleye fishing has “Mr. April” in Tommy Skarlis. April is Tommy’s month. He has won more tournaments in the month of April than anyone else. We think that cabin fever builds up in Tommy, and he let’s loose when he hits the water.
1) DAVID KOLB.The Bounty pro won the FLW Walleye Tour opener on Lake Erie a couple of years back and the Detroit River is his home water. Dave has all the presentations in his arsenal and is ready for another six-figure payday.
2) TOM KEENAN.Chevy pro Tom Keenan has won everything in sight in the “Wally World,” so any pick list that omits Keenan is playing for a long shot. You’d have to say this is strictly a defensive pick.
3) DENNIS LANTZY.Folgers pro Dennis Lantzy is another homer who just came off his best FLW Walleye Tour season, finishing runner up in the Land O’Lakes Angler of the Year race. Hasn’t had a tour-level win but has been improving at almost every event since his retirement as a detective on the Detroit Police Force. He is always a threat on the Detroit River and I believe it’s time for him to shine.
4) RICHARD NASCAK.He’s the reigning FLW Walleye Tour Champion and always performs well on river systems. Coming off his dominant win in October at Lake Oahe, Nascak will be approaching this competition from a different mental perspective. He has all the tools and now his recently acquired winning mindset should push him into the top-10 cut.
5) TOMMY SKARLIS.This is another defensive move. Tommy is always a threat, but put him on a river in the month of April and you can double the odds he’ll end up in the winners circle. In 2006, Tommy finished second to his roommate Ross Grothe at Detroit. Enough said.
Pete Harsh
FLW Walleye Tour pro
Sauk Centre, Minn.

Record: 0-0
Points: 0

The lovely Sharon Reynolds Sharon Reynolds
Tournament administrator
FLW Outdoors

Record: 0-0
Points: 0

1) DENNIS LANTZY.Coming off a second-place finish in the Angler of the Year race and fishing very familiar water, Dennis Lantzy has got to be one of the favorites. Lantzy should be able to react to changing conditions when anglers less experienced with fishing the Detroit River fail.
2) RICK LACOURSE.If the Detroit River muddies up, expect handlining guru Rick “Big Foot” LaCourse to stroke his way to the top. Rick is overdue for a big payday.
3) ERIC OLSON.The same goes for handliner Eric Olson. If the water muddies up, handlining may be the key. Olson should be in it to the very end and no, I am not just trying to butter Eric up with this pick.
4) TOMMY SKARLIS.Capable of winning on any water. Jigging is his best game. Given relatively stable weather and fairly clear water, Tommy Skarlis should have us hearing from him before this event is over.
5) SCOTT FAIRBAIRN.As good as there is with a jig. Like Skarlis, Fairbairn is capable of winning on any water. Scott could be due to win his first FLW event if the jig bite is hot. Well that only leaves 145 competitors who could be dark horses. One of them may just sneak in under the radar and put this one to bed. Should be a great show.
1) DEAN ARNOLDUSSEN.My money is on the man Dean. Dean lead the tournament last year on days two and three and I think Dean is coming back to Detroit to collect his payday. Dean is going to use what happened last year to his advantage. Yes, Dean will be jigging just like a lot of the other guys, because if you are not jigging or handlining you are not fishing on the Detroit River.
2) TOMMY SKARLIS.Mr. Movie Star himself, very consistent last year at this tournament. Did a little looking back from last year and saw that Tommy was in the top 10 all three days before we made the cut. Tommy will be jigging, I guarantee it. You will see him in the top five on that final day and he will be looking good as always.
3) TROY MORRIS.Troy is another top angler on the Detroit River. Very strong both with a jig and with handlining. Troy again was in the top five all three days last year. Don’t count Morris out yet guys, I think he still has something up his sleeve for you.
4) PAUL FALLAW.Paul will be doing a lot of handlining at this tournament. Last year Paul had a bad first day but came back on day two with an attitude. Again I feel Paul will use what he learned last year to his advantage. So when you see that yellow bumble bee Ranger coming, give it some room or you might just get stung.
5) PATRICK BYLE.Pat is a great fisherman and looking back again on last year’s results Pat too was very consistent. I think Pat will do the very same thing he did last year with maybe just a few changes. But one thing is for sure, Pat will be handlining, won’t you Pat?
Eric Olson
FLW Walleye Tour pro
Red Wing, Minn.

Record: 0-0
Points: 0

Yours truly, Brett Carlson Brett Carlson

Record: 0-0
Points: 0

1) DEAN ARNOLDUSSEN.What can you say about Dean that hasn’t been said? He’s good, but what makes him good? Versatility. He’s got the ability and skill to excel in all bites. With the lake in play, prefishing decisions and limited prefish time due to poor weather will be key. Consistent catches will keep you in it, and remember, you can’t win it on the first day but you can lose it. Deciding between jigging and trolling the lake may be tough. I think the Pepcid may come in handy for Dean in this one.
2) SCOTT STEIL.A strong finish in the Angler of the Year race and a year-ending top-10 at the championship will boost Scott’s confidence. He’s got the talent and the willingness to try different techniques. Look for big things in 2007 for Scotty. If the river bite is good he’s got the nod, but if the lake is going for someone and the wind is right, Scotty will have a tougher time. Cold weather may change things as I see Scotty having to trade in his trademark Ranger visor for something warmer.
3) JASON PRZEKURAT.Knowing Jason and his drive personally makes him an easy pick in any tourney. Talented, cool under pressure, no real weaknesses make any scenario (lake or river) a possibility with Jason. Intangible is his ability to take chances at the right time and having them pay off. Educated guesses make the difference on the water and Jason is a scholar of the fishes. The BP boy will be a strong contender in this one as his jigging skills are top notch, as are his handlining skills and trolling ability. He just needs things to go his way to log a win.
4) NICK JOHNSON.Having river experience since he was a kid plays to Nick’s strength in this one. Nineteenth in last year’s event was not indicative of his river prowess. Confidence and ability will hold him to spots most would leave for greener waters. Look for the green machine to have better success this time around. Again, the lake could throw a wrench in this as larger fish could put anyone on the map.
5) JOHN CAMPBELL.A solid veteran who is no newcomer to the Detroit River. John knows how to deal with challenging conditions and understands the tendencies of the river – a definite plus in a river that can dirty at the drop of a hat. Rough conditions tend to give the vets an advantage. Jigging Lindy Fuzz-E-Grubs is his forte. The water clarity in the lake will make or break those thinking of the open-water big bite. To run or not to run is the question.
1) JOE WHITTEN.Whitten always seems to do well when the weather is cold and the conditions are miserable. Not sure why, maybe the guy already has ice in his veins. A Toledo, Ohio, resident, Whitten is no stranger to Lake Erie and the Detroit River. If the Michigan waters of the lake clear up and become a factor, Whitten will be one to watch. And he’s due for a big tournament – he’s too good not to win one of these things eventually.
2) TROY MORRIS.This guy has the most comfortable handlining seats in the business. Seriously, Morris has custom seats near the back of his Ranger that are specifically designed with handlining in mind. If the river turns to mud and pulling wire becomes popular, I expect Morris to land comfortably in the top 10.
3) SCOTT ALLAR.Young Allar is absolutely on fire recently, having finished second at both the FLW Walleye Tour Championship and on his home waters of the Mississippi River near Red Wing. He didn’t do too shabby last year on the Detroit River either. Simply put, if it’s a river system, then Allar is as good as it gets. Plus, the Welch, Minn., pro has the guts to go for the gusto rather than settling for a small limit. With that big-fish strategy, he may zero at times but it at least he goes down swinging. Allar has finished second numerous times, but his first victory won’t come until stop No. 2 on this year’s schedule.
4) SCOTT STEIL.I liken Steil to the Dave Lefebres of the bass fishing world. This young kid is full of talent and full of confidence. It won’t be long before Steil breaks out much the way Lefebre has the past two seasons. His coming out party may have already started in fact, as Steil finished sixth at the 2006 FLW Walleye Tour Championship and seventh in the points race. I hereby advise my fellow pundits not to be late to the Steil party. Almost forgot, Steil made the cut here last year adjusting to the conditions and getting better each day.
5) DENNIS LANTZY.Here’s the only true local of my five picks. Coming off his best year on the FLW Walleye Tour, the Warren, Mich., native got off to a strong start in 2007 with a third-place finish at FLW Walleye League event on the Detroit River. Conditions can change, but Lantzy is already on good fish, and there’s no substitution for being on tournament-winning fish. Apologies to Hollywood Skarlis and Bill Ortiz, who narrowly missed making the list.