|Walleye Race Tightens at PWT Lake Erie Tournament; Leaders Average 8 Pounds|
|Dunkirk, New York....PWT 2-time winner Tommy Skarlis, Walker, Minn., eased into the MinnKota Northeastern Pro-Am tournament lead at Dunkirk, New York. Fishing on Lake Erie's deep eastern basin, the In-Fisherman Professional Walleye Trail (PWT) contestants used all the trolling tactics imaginable to reach walleyes as deep as 80 feet.|
Skarlis, with a PWT victory each of the past two years, and a regular Championship contender every year since turning pro, racked up 40.53 pounds today, July 10, to go with 41.12 pounds on day one. His 81.65 total is about a pound more than second and third place pro anglers, Dave Kraft, Bismarck, ND, and Gary Gray, Oshkosh, Wis. Both Kraft and Gray are past PWT winners, also. Day one leader Ernie Olson, Foley, Minn., slipped to fourth place with 80.66 pounds. Pro-Am partners could weigh five walleyes daily.
The leading amateur in the PWT Pro-Am format is Greg Linder, Fredonia, NY, just down the street from tournament headquarters. Day one amateur leader Mike Baker, North East, Penn., is in second place. The catch was down slightly from day one when 593 walleyes crossed the stage, compared to
The weather received much of the blame. An easterly breeze blew seas up to three feet by mid-morning, then died to one-foot swells by mid-afternoon.
Three hours of rain (2 p.m. to 5 p.m.) did not deter walleye fans, who indicated they'd return Friday for the stage show and weigh-in ceremonies.
After the final tournament day, pro anglers will reveal what worked, where they fished and share their Lake Erie secrets. The top 40 pros and top 40 amateurs win nearly $300,000 in cash and merchandise prizes. Friday's weigh-in starts at 3 p.m., with the awards ceremonies starting about 5:30 p.m.
The Miller Big Fish on day two, worth $1,000, was caught by pro Dave Truett, Valparaiso, Ind., and amateur Kevin Gredes, Fairhaven, Mich. They will split the cash award for their 10.72-pounder. The MinnKota Northeastern Pro-Am is the fourth event of the season, with remaining tournaments set the end of July in Mobridge, South Dakota, and the third week of August in Escanaba, Mich. The Mercury Championship occurs in September in Houghton, Mich, where anglers could win a $1,000,000 prize if the Michigan state record walleye comes to the scales. Mercury Marine will pay $250,000 to the Angler of the Year if he also wins the Championship. This is in addition to a purse that pays all 50 Championship contenders; the winner nets at least $100,000.
The PWT is an integral element of the In-Fisherman Communications Network headquartered in Brainerd, Minnesota, and PRIMEDIA, America's leading producer of targeted media. PWT sponsors include: Mercury Marine, Lund, Berkley Gulp!, Trilene, PowerBait, Realtree, Miller High-Life, Nissan, Frenzy, Lowrance, MinnKota, Optima Batteries, Gander Mountain, Blue Fox, Northland Fishing Tackle, Lindy Legendary Fishing Tackle, Coleman, Storm, Eagle Trailers, Raymarine, Rapala, Matzuo, Pflueger, Ram rod holders, Drift Control, DeeZee, Cotton Cordell, Seal Skinz, Aqua-Vu, IMCO, Plano, KeepAlive, Stowmaster.net, Quantum Performance Tuned rods & reels and the Chautauqua County Visitors Bureau 800.242.4569.
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|Great Walleyes; Great Weather for PWT Tour on Great Lake Erie, NY|
|Dunkirk, New York...."This is a great fishery," said Ernie Olson, Foley, Minn., leader after day one of the MinnKota Northeastern Pro-Am today. He averaged better than eight pounds, and leads the In-Fisherman Professional Walleye Trail (PWT) tournament on Lake Erie's eastern basin. His 42.33 pounds for five walleyes places him slightly ahead of Jim Carpenter, Maple Grove, Minn., with 42.27 pounds.|
Many anglers limited, and all enjoyed a "flat" Lake Erie. Some even hesitantly suggested a bit of a breeze would be welcome. Olson said, "Never wish for wind on the Great Lakes; I will take another day just like this." The leading amateur is Mike Baker, North East, PA.
Under the Pro-Am format, amateurs fish with the world's best walleye anglers, and share the pro's boat, gear, tackle and spots. They fish together for the maximum weight, which counts for both anglers. The top 40 pros and amateurs after three days win $300,000 in cash and merchandise prizes.
John Kolinski, Greenville, Wis., is in third with 41.69 pounds. He was the 2002 PWT Angler of the Year. Rookie pro Marc Hudson, Fremont, Ohio, is in fourth with 41.65 pounds. Half the contestants are within 10 pounds of the lead. The average walleye weighed 6.43 pounds, and most were donated to the western New York churches for their soup kitchens to feed the needy.
The Miller High Life big fish went to pro Dwight Niemi, Woodbury, Minn., and amateur Adam Fernell, Canton, Ohio, with a 12.03-pounder. They will split at least $1,000 cash. A total of 11 walleyes in excess of 10 pounds came to the scales.
Most anglers are employing varieties of trolling tactics to take lures and spinners as deep as 70 feet. Anglers are fishing approximately 15 miles either side of Dunkirk to the United States/Canadian line.
Days two and three take place from Chadwick Bay Marina, with daily weigh-in festivities and stage show starting at 3 p.m. Thursday and Friday.
The action-packed fun is free and walleye fans are encouraged to attend.
The site is located adjacent to the Ramada Inn in Dunkirk.
The PWT is an integral element of the In-Fisherman Communications Network headquartered in Brainerd, Minnesota, and PRIMEDIA, America's leading producer of targeted media. PWT sponsors include: Mercury Marine, Lund, Berkley Gulp!, Trilene, PowerBait, Realtree, Miller High-Life, Nissan, Frenzy, Lowrance, MinnKota, Optima Batteries, Gander Mountain, Blue Fox, Northland Fishing Tackle, Lindy Legendary Fishing Tackle, Coleman, Storm, Eagle Trailers, Raymarine, Rapala, Matzuo, Pflueger, Ram rod holders, Drift Control, DeeZee, Cotton Cordell, Seal Skinz, Aqua-Vu, IMCO, Plano, KeepAlive, Stowmaster.net, Quantum Performance Tuned rods & reels and Chautauqua County Visitors Bureau.
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