BISMARCK, N.D. – The weather during the opening round of the 2009 Walmart FLW Walleye Tour Championship was brutal. And, amazingly, it continues to deteriorate. This may sound like a broken record, but it’s a reality for the 10 pro and 10 co-angler finalists.
The temperature at takeoff Friday morning was a balmy 37 degrees. Accompanying the cold were showers and, of course, a stiff North Dakota breeze. For the third consecutive day, the wind will keep the field confined to the Missouri River as the long run south to Upper Oahe looks foolish if not dangerous. When the conditions are this bad, it sure is nice to have a six-figure payday dangling as motivation.
Despite all of this, opening-round leader Todd Riley still thinks the field is going to bring solid catches to the Bismarck Civic Center this afternoon.
“We’ve caught them all week, and we’re going to continue to catch them,” said Riley.
The general consensus among the anglers is that shad-style crankbaits are currently the best presentation. Live-bait rigging won last year’s championship, but the wind is making it extremely difficult to feel bites and stay on the sweet spot.
“I think you’re going to need somewhere in the neighborhood of 30 pounds to win this thing,” added Riley. “I’d like to get about 28 of it today.”
Hazelton Launch Ramp, located 31 miles south of Bismarck, just off Highway 1804, is hosting daily takeoffs at 8 a.m. Daily weigh-ins will be held at the Bismarck Civic Center, located at 315 S. 5th St., beginning at 4:30 p.m. The community is invited to attend takeoffs and weigh-ins as well as the Family Fun Zone, which opens at 2 p.m. Friday and noon Saturday. Saturday is free fishing rod and reel day at the Fun Zone, where the first 200 children 14 and under receive a free fishing rod and reel.
Anglers in both divisions start today from zero and co-angler competition concludes with the winner determined by the day’s heaviest catch. Pros carry their weights over to day four, and the winner is determined by the heaviest accumulated weight from days three and four.
On the Web
For walleye-fishing fans unable to attend the festivities in person, you can catch all the weigh-in action live at FLWOutdoors.com with FLW Live. Show time starts at 4:30 p.m. Central today.
Sunrise: 7:44 a.m.
Temperature at takeoff: 37 degrees
Expected high temperature: 49 degrees
Water temperature: 50-54 degrees
Wind: NNW at 24 mph
Maximum humidity: 83 percent
Day’s outlook: rain