WELCH, Minn. – Sgt. Mogan of Fairbault, Minn., and Sgt. Bonzer of Winona, Minn., won the FLW Walleye National Guard Soldier Appreciation Tournament held on the Mississippi River Tuesday. The team, fishing with pro Bill Shimota of Lonsdale, Minn., caught three walleyes for a total of 10 pounds, 12 ounces to take the title and bragging rights among their peers.
“It was a good day and we caught a bunch of fish,” said pro Bill Shimota, who enjoyed his day on the water with Bonzer and Halan. “I purposely used a lot of different techniques today to teach these guys what it was all about. I can’t thank these guys enough. Every time you have the chance we need to thank these guys as we would not be here without the National Guard.”
“The whole day was exciting. Normal guys like me don’t get the chance to fish with pro fisherman like this,” said Sgt. Mogan, who has served one tour of duty in Iraq. “It was a learning experience and a blast. I wish I could go out with [Shimota] every week.”
“It was awesome on the water today,” said Sgt. Bonzer, who has been serving in the National Guard for a year-and-a-half. “I have gone fishing before, but not like this. His [Shimota] two Lowrance monitors were as big as my television at home. [Shimota] knows his business and he is good at what he does.”
Each of the participants in the National Guard Soldier Appreciation Tournament are members of the Minnesota National Guard and most have had at least one tour of duty in Iraq or Afghanistan. In this tournament, FLW Walleye pro anglers take teams of two, which consist of members of the National Guard, fishing to compete amongst their peers. Each team is allowed to bring in three walleyes. FLW Outdoors is operating the tournaments in conjunction with the National Guard to show appreciation to our service members of the National Guard.
2nd: Sgt. Cooper, Rochester, Minn., & Sgt. Rume, Willmar, Minn., 8-11
3rd: Col. Kulzer, Minneapolis, Minn., & Col. Sauver, Pierze, Minn., 8-6
4th: Sgt. Berg, New Ulm, Minn., & Sgt. Resdoefer, Marshall, Minn., 7-9
5th: Master Sgt. Adricula, Hastings, Minn., & Sgt. Lunning, Hastings, Minn., 6-13
6th: Sgt. Amiot, Elk River, Minn., & Sgt. Smitz, St. Cloud, Minn., 4-10
7th: Sgt. Saxton, Sauk Center, Minn., & Sgt. Watczaic, Duluth, Minn., 4-5
8th: Master Sgt. Motz, Lino Lakes, Minn., & Sgt. Rivira, Minneapolis, Minn., 1-14
9th: Sgt. Rogers, West St. Paul, Minn., & Sgt. Rosenburg, Cedar Street, Minn., 1-9
10th: Sgt. Ganson, Mankato, Minn., & Sgt. Rieves, Montivideo, Minn., 0-0
Sgt. Dathan Gazelka of Bemidji, Minn., and Sgt. Daniel Halan of Winona, Minn., will participate as co-anglers in the FLW Walleye Tour Western Division which will be on the Mississippi River Pool No. 3 in Welch, Minn., May 20-22 for the first of three stops in the Western circuit. Hosted by the Treasure Island Casino and Resort, the tournament will feature as many as 300 top walleye anglers casting for top awards up to $35,000 in the Pro Division and $7,500 in the Co-angler Division.
Anglers will take off from Treasure Island Resort Marina located at 5636 Sturgeon Lake Rd. in Welch at 7 each morning. Thursday and Friday’s weigh-ins will also be held at the marina beginning at 3 p.m. Saturday’s final weigh-in will be held at the Treasure Island Casino parking lot located at 5734 Sturgeon Lake Rd. in Welch beginning at 4 p.m.
About FLW Outdoors
FLW Outdoors, named after Forrest L. Wood, the legendary founder of Ranger Boats, is the largest fishing tournament organization in the world offering anglers worldwide the opportunity to compete for millions over the course of 189 tournaments in 2010. FLW Outdoors has also taken fishing mainstream with FLW Fantasy Fishing awarding the largest prizes in the history of fantasy sports. FLW Outdoors memberships are available featuring numerous benefits including Player’s Advantage. For more information about FLW Outdoors and its tournaments, visit FLWOutdoors.com or call (270) 252-1000. For more information about FLW Fantasy Fishing, visit FantasyFishing.com.