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home : outdoors : outdoors   April 29, 2016

4/25/2014 4:30:00 PM
Crappie bite starts
Michigan walleyes: Wow
13-pound, 4-ounce walleye wins big fish award at Detroit River

Trenton, Mich.-April 19, 2014-Wisconsin's Tony Kobriger and Dan Zwick charged from a three-way tie for 28th place on Day One all the way to the winner's circle at the Cabela's Masters Walleye Circuit's Detroit River and Western Lake Erie tournament April 18-19.

"It's an unbelievable feeling," said Zwick, of Wrightstown, adding that the chance to catch trophy-class walleyes made the experience even sweeter. "These are the biggest walleyes I've ever caught jigging," he said. "There's nothing like getting bit by fish so huge they don't even budge when you set the hook."

"This is awesome," added Kobriger, of Chilton. He explained that they focused on the Detroit River, where their go-to tactic was fishing �-ounce jigs tipped with 3-inch Berkley Gulp! Alive! Ripple Shads on both sides of a rocky point in 14 to 17 feet of water.

After bringing a five-walleye limit weighing 39 pounds, 1 ounce to the Cabela's MWC stage at scenic Elizabeth Park in Trenton on Day One, they added a 48-pound, 2-ounce limit on Day Two for an 87-pound, 3-ounce total that not only won the event, it shattered the Circuit's longstanding two-day basket record of 86.38 pounds. It also marked Kobriger and Zwick's fourth MWC Circuit victory. They won the Green Bay qualifier out of Oconto in 2013, the Cabela's MWC World Walleye Championship on the Mississippi River at Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin, in 2011 and the Cabela's MWC World Walleye Championship a second time in 2013 at Escanaba, MI.

For their latest win, the team collected the $14,400 first-place cash payout, plus the $1,000 Ranger Cup contingency, $500 Berkley Baits bonus, $500 Lowrance HDS Gen2 Touch and Elite 7 contingency, and a $1,000 Cabela's National Team Championship Prize Package including paid NTC entry, travel stipend, team jerseys and plaques. In second place, the Gibraltar, Michigan, team of Charlie and Nicholas Borg pocketed $6,600 for their 86-pound, 2-ounce total. Grosse Ile, Michigan's Michael and Gary Rahn claimed the $200 Optima True Blue award in third place. In all, the top 20 percent of the field shared $68,560 in cash and prizes, with last place in the money receiving $1,000 as will be the case for the final place in the money for all 2014 MWC events.

The Detroit River and western Lake Erie produced 1,050 fish weighing a total of 6,970 pounds, 6 ounces during the catch-and-release event. Big fish was a 13-pound, 4-ounce behemoth caught by Jerry Fox, Jr. and Kenneth Fox, both of Algonac, Michigan. Besides earning them the $250 Zippo Hot Hands Big Fish Award and $1,375 from the Big Fish Pot, the giant fish tied the Circuit's all-time walleye record held by the father-and-son team of John and John Murphy of Imlay, Michigan.

The Cabela's MWC, National Professional Anglers Association, Pure Fishing and Zippo Outdoor Brands presented a Youth & Family Fishing Clinic immediately after Friday's weigh-in. Participating youths received rod and reel combos courtesy of the NPAA.

Under the umbrella of The Walleye Federation (TWF), the Cabela's MWC is open to avid walleye anglers from all walks of life. The 2014 trail includes 10 stops spread across seven states in the Walleye Belt. Teams showcase their skills-and sponsor products-at world-class venues such as the Illinois, Detroit and Mississippi rivers, Green Bay, Big Stone Lake, Kinzua Reservoir, Cass Lake and Lake Erie.

Along with great payouts at each event, teams fishing three or more tournaments battle for coveted berths in the 2015 Cabela's MWC Championship, set for October 2015 on Lake Erie out of Huron, Ohio. Teams fishing at least three qualifiers also compete for Team of the Year awards, including a $25,000 "Living the Dream" sponsorship package, which includes fully paid entries to the Cabela's National Walleye Trail as a pro and co-angler, use of a 600 series Ranger boat, travel stipends and more.

Cabela's, the World's Foremost Outfitter for hunting, fishing and outdoor gear, is in its 12th season as title sponsor of the MWC. Official sponsors include: Berkley Gulp!, Lowe Equipment Attachments, Lowrance Electronics, Mercury Marine, MotorGuide, Ranger Boats, The Walleye Federation and Zippo Outdoor Brands. Associate sponsors include: Berkley Trilene, Church Tackle, Lindy Legendary Fishing Tackle, Optima Batteries, Rockstar Hitch Mounted Mud Flaps, T-H Marine and Sea Grant.

Entry fees are $650 per tournament, of which more than 100 percent is returned to anglers at the qualifiers, World Championship and Team of the Year races. Registration closes at 10 a.m. on Monday prior to each tournament. For more information, visit, email, or call (580) 765-9031.  

Stier wins at Trenton, Mich.
MOUNTAIN HOME, Ark. (APRIL 28, 2014) - Pro-angler Dan Stier brought in a two-day total of 84.67 pounds of walleye to win the pro-angler category of the season-opening event for the Cabela's National Walleye Tour (NWT) at Trenton, Mich. on April 25-26.

First-place pro-angler Dan Stier (left) and first-place co-angler John
After a strong showing on day one, Stier went into day two in second place and fought off the competition to take home a total of $73,780 in cash and prizes. Heading back to Lake Erie and the same productive water he fished on day one, Stier endured a 37-mile ride in 4- and 5-foot waves to the North Bass Island area. Stier and his co-angler partner tried a few spots unsuccessfully before they found the winning fish along the north reef.

"We caught 18 fish over seven pounds and six over 28 inches in a matter of about an hour," said Stier. "Yesterday all the fish were set up on the south reef. Today they were tucked up against the north reef."

With years of experience on Lake Erie, Stier knew the walleyes were biting on spinners. He focused his efforts on 18 to 22 feet of water with spinner rigs set 25 to 35 feet back.

"The spinner bite was so strong I stuck with it all week. The key for me was that I was going super slow - like .7 to .8 mph. If I went over 1 mph I wouldn't hardly get bite," Stier said.

First-day leader Brian Bjorkman brought in a disappointing 34.43-pound bag of fish on day two to fall back to ninth place. Stier took home over $73,000 in cash and prizes, including a new Ranger 620VS with a 250 hp Evinrude motor.

Second-place finisher on the pro side, Ronnie Rhodes, of Sheffield, Ohio, moved up from seventh place with his day two bag of 42.85 pounds, earning him $17,124. Fishing on the west side of North Bass Island, Rhodes ran crankbaits 20 and 22 feet over 32-35 feet of water.

"I used Off Shore planer boards and had 80 feet out on the outside boards and 120 feet out on the inside boards," said Rhodes. "Eighty would get me down to 20 feet and 120 would get me to 22. On both days speed was everything. I trolled faster with my crankbaits - 1.3 to 1.5 mph."

Known for his abilities to fish river systems, Bill Shimota, of Northfield, Minn., opted instead for the big waters of Lake Erie. The angler's second stringer of 42.75 pounds propelled him from eighth place to a final day third-place finish. The angler added Ranger and Evinrude contingency winnings for a combined total of $16,959.

Brett King (fourth), Bob Henton (fifth), Rick Olson (sixth), Tom Kemos (seventh), Pat Byle (eighth), Brian Bjorkman (ninth) and Nick Schertz (tenth) round out the top 10 pro-anglers.

After signing up late to the event and being put on the waiting list, first-place co-angler John Hoyer, of Orono, Minn., received a call from the NWT to let him know he could compete. Competing in his first NWT event, Hoyer paired up with Ryan Buddie for the first day and brought 43.34 pounds to the scales.

Day two, Hoyer paired with pro-angler Steve Miller. Their weight of 42.58 was enough for Hoyer to eclipse the 84.92 mark set by second-place co-angler Chris Hammond. The angler took home $7,085 and a quite a bit more experience.

"Winning is great, but I think I doubled my walleye knowledge with four days of pre-fishing and two days of tournament fishing," said Hoyer. "You would just never learn this much if you're not in a tournament scenario. I got to pre-fish with Dusty Minke, Korey Sprengel and Bill Shimota. Watching them put it all together was fun."

Chris Hammond (second), Chuck Jones (third), Chuck Jones (fourth), Jeff Felhaber (fifth), Joshua Olson (sixth), Richard Landerschier (seventh), Bret Rogers (eighth), Jason Maraskine (ninth) and Chris Schmitt (tenth) round out the top 10 co-anglers.

The next stop for the Cabela's National Walleye Tour is the Missouri River event at Mobridge, S.D., June 27-28. Registrations for the event are already being accepted online and by calling 612-424-0708. Anglers who are participating in any of the numerous contingency prize programs are encouraged to submit all pertinent information before the event to remain eligible for any potential bonus money.

For more details, anglers are encouraged to call 612-424-0708 or check out the new website at From here, site visitors can learn more about the NWT, view the TV schedule and learn more about what's in store for 2014.

2014 Remaining Scheduled Events

- June 27-28 - Mobridge, S.D. - Missouri River/Oahe

- Aug. 29-30 - Escanaba, Mich. - Bays De Noc

Championship - Sept. 18-20 - Oshkosh, Wis. - Winnebag

NT Staff

While some of the guys with boats and trailers were heading to the Pecatonica and Detroit rivers in search of lunkers, panfish enthusiasts were starting to have some fun on local waters.

The crappie bite was starting on the Hennepin Canal last weekend, and a lot of local fishermen were taking short road trips to Evergreen Lake northwest of Normal to catch crappie in the past few days, said Flic Sobkowiak at Time on the Water Outdoors in Spring Valley.

While a lot of the sauger fishermen were out of the area, the sauger still were biting some this past week and the white bass fishing was starting to heat up, according to Cajun's bait on the south side of Utica.

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