Graves Wins National Guard FLW Walleye Tour Event on Lake Erie
PORT CLINTON, Ohio, May 14, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — Pro Jeff Graves of Chagrin Falls, Ohio, and co-angler Ed Szymczak of Osceola, Ind., caught five walleyes weighing 34 pounds, 13 ounces to win the National Guard FLW Walleye Tour tournament on Lake Erie. Graves had a three-day catch of 15 walleyes weighing 117-6. He won by 1 pound, 1 ounce over his closest competitor. Graves took home $50,000 for his efforts.
“This is fabulous; it’s a dream come true,” Graves said. “I just wanted to get close in a tournament and I can’t believe I got close in this one.
“I was quite worried today,” Graves added. “Day one and day two I pulled over 40 pounds both days and I knew I didn’t have 40 today. I thought we had about 32 pounds and we would be a little shy of Tom (Keenan) … I knew it was going to be a close match.”
Graves said he and Keenan began the day fishing the same area but Keenan quickly got his limit and left. Graves said his last keeper didn’t come until about 11:30 a.m.
“I knew Keenan was hunting and culling,” Graves said. “We had to do a lot of work to catch that fifth fish.”
Graves said he caught the majority of his seven keepers Saturday on Reef Runner 800 Series deep-diving crankbaits.
“Those baits basically brought it home for us today,” Graves said.
Graves said weather did play a role in his fishing Saturday. A fog lingered on Erie most of the day, but Graves said when the sun came out the fish turned on.
“It was an interesting day of fishing,” Graves said.
Rounding out the top 10 pros are:
2nd: Tom Keenan, Hatley, Wis., 15 walleyes, 116-5, $22,500 3rd: Danny Steffens, Oxford, Wis., 14 walleyes, 106-5, $11,000 AMP Energy/Diet Mountain Dew pro John Balla, Bartlett, Ill., 15 4th: walleyes, 98-11, $11,500 5th: Shawn Ritchie, Spencer, Ohio, 14 walleyes, 94-8, $7,000 6th: Scott Geitgey, Canton, Ohio, 14 walleyes, 94-4, $6,000 7th Mark Brumbaugh, Arcanum, Ohio, 15 walleyes, 91-5, $5,000 8th Keith Kavajecz, Kaukauna, Wis., 12 walleyes, 81-5, $4,000 9th: Jeff Vereeke, Grand Rapids, Mich., 14 walleyes, 80-6, $4,500 10th Mark Gwizdala, Kawkawlin, Mich., 10 walleyes, 66-9, $4,000
A complete list of results can be found at FLWOutdoors.com.
Szymczak earned the victory in the Co-angler Division and took home $6,000. His three-day weight totaled 98 pounds, 9 ounces.
Rounding out the top 10 co-anglers are:
2nd: Daniel Leach, Linwood, Mich., 15 walleyes, 97-9, $3,000 3rd: Todd Rairigh, Sheffield Lake, Ohio, 14 walleyes, 93-6, $1,800 4th: Tim Depooter, Rock Island, Ill., 13 walleyes, 91-4, $1,200 5th: John Spiegel, Appleton, Wis., 12 walleyes, 88-4, $1,000 6th: Mike Taylor, Midland, Mich., 12 walleyes, 87-12, $900 7th: Jim Milewsky, Bondurant, Iowa, 14 walleyes, 86-8, $800 8th: Tyrone Larson, Amherst, Wis., 13 walleyes, 76-13, $700 9th: Mike Bentz, Brookville, Ind., 11 walleyes, 68-9, $600 10th: Dale Janota, Gillette, Wyo., nine walleyes, 61-13, $500
Overall there were 42 walleyes weighing 270 pounds, 8 ounces caught by 10 boats Saturday. The catch included seven five-walleye limits.
In Walleye Tour competition, pro and co-anglers are also competing for valuable points in the hope of qualifying for a shot at the 2011 National Guard FLW Walleye Tour Championship held on the Missouri River in Bismarck, N.D., Sept. 22-25. Anglers are also vying for the coveted Angler of the Year title, which earns them a place in the 2012 Walleye Tour Championship, as well as $10,000 for the pro and $2,500 for the co-angler.
The National Guard FLW Walleye Tour on Leech Lake will be the next tournament and will be held June 9-11 in Walker, Minn. The event will be hosted by the Northern Lights Casino and boats will launch from Walker City Park in Walker. For a complete schedule, visit FLWOutdoors.com.
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SOURCE FLW Outdoors