Professional Walleye Trail Published April 27, 2007
Veteran In-Fisherman Professional Walleye Trail pro Gary Parsons, Glidden, Wis., claimed the $60,000 first place prize at the Johnsonville Brats Pro-Am, April 25-27, 2007. He was competing in the PWT Regional series event, presented by MotorGuide. Unlike the other 119 pros, he headed to Lake Winnebago's eastern shoreline.
He landed a limit each day with his amateur/co-angler partners, weighing 34.51 pounds. On the final day, fishing with co-angler Brent Long, Youngsville, PA, the northwest wind created severe boat control challenges. Long, casting a Berkley Flicker Shad, a lure designed by Parsons and his business partner Keith Kavajecz, caught all the walleyes. The catch counts for both under the "boat-weight" format, and Parsons said, "It was great fishing with Brent."
Long finished in second place on the amateur side, and also earned a Mercury outboard rebate. Placing first was amateur Jeff Roberts, New London, Wis., who earned a Mercury-powered walleye boat valued at $19,000.
Other veteran pros at the top included Scott Fairbairn, Hager City, Wis., with 33.45 pounds. He won $18,000 for jigging near Fremont, then moving to Lake Winneconne where he trolled Shad Raps. Just a whisker back was Pat Neu, Forestville, Wis., with 33.32 pounds, good for $13,000. The pros netted $216,500 and the amateur/co-anglers won more than $50,000 in prizes and merchandise.
The Coleman Big Fish, 6.01 pounds paid $1,500 to pro Barry Walker, Big Springs, Neb., and amateur Kevin Stobb, Ripon, Wis., who won $500. Pro John Zirzow, Eagle River, Wis., advanced 69 places to win the Coleman Cool Under Pressure award, while amateur Clyde Brown, Onsted, Mich, moved up 79 places to claim his special Coleman Cool Under Pressure honors.
Most anglers fished Lakes Poygan, Winneconne and Butte des Morts, within an easy boat ride of tournament headquarters in downtown Winneconne. The community opened its arms and doors to the touring anglers. The new Critter's Bait Shop and Woodeye Restaurant received the PWT Superior Award for their tremendous support and assistance during tournament week.
Water temperatures dropped from 59 degrees on the first morning to 53 degrees on Friday, and affected the big-fish bite. "This system is in prime shape and will be for years to come," Parsons said. A huge influx of tourists will be in Winneconne for walleyes and the fabled white bass run in the next several weeks.
Results and photos are featured on the PWT website, www.professionalwalleyetrail.com, along with entry blanks for the only PWT tournament with amateur/co-angler openings at Escanaba, Mich, Aug. 8-10. The next tour stop is on Minnesota's famous Mille Lacs Lake, May 29-June 1.
The PWT is an integral element of the In-Fisherman Communications Network headquartered in Baxter, Minnesota, and INTER-MEDIA, America's leading producer of targeted media. PWT promotional partners include: Mercury Marine, Lund Boats, Berkley, Lowrance Electronics, Optima Batteries, Minn Kota, Realtree, MotorGuide, Johnsonville Brats, Outdoor Channel, Coleman, Northland Fishing Tackle, StowMaster, Reef Runner, Yo-Zuri Quality Lures, Smooth Moves Seat Mounts, Kwik Pfyt Mud Flaps, Yellow Bird Planer Boards, Allstar Graphics, Ram Mounts, Element Edge, Pflueger, Plano Tackle Systems, Aikens Lake Wilderness Lodge, E-Cell, Cannon, Fin-Tech Tackle, Do-It Molds, Winneconne Village 920.582.4851 and the Chamber of Commerce 920.582.4775.