Ponca City, Okla.—Feb. 25, 2016—Winter weary walleye and sauger anglers have a chance to enjoy one of competitive fishing’s oldest rites of spring March 18-19 when the Cabela’s Masters Walleye Circuit kicks off its 2016 tournament season on the Illinois River at Spring Valley, Illinois.
The event offers two-person teams the chance to compete for thousands of dollars in cash and prizes in a professionally run format, and is timed to allow competitors to enjoy great fishing.
“The Illinois River is a world-class fishery that has set the stage for many exciting MWC tournaments over the years, and this is prime time to be there,” explains Cabela’s MWC Senior Tournament Director Dan Palmer. “In addition to big numbers of saugers—with a shot at trophy fish topping 5 pounds—there are also plenty of walleyes around to keep everyone on their toes.”
A variety of presentations hold water on the Illinois River, allowing teams to play to their strengths. In March of 2015, Mark Meravy and Terry Carr won the tournament and nearly $18,000 with a 10-fish limit of 30 pounds, 4 ounces. They put together the winning weight by focusing on an area holding large female saugers, fishing ¼- to 3/8-ounce jigs tipped with soft-plastic trailers sprayed with Berkley Gulp! Alive! attractant.
The Cabela’s MWC offers lucrative payouts, which are based on the number of teams entered in each event. Plus, the MWC Big Fish Pot, MWC side pot payouts, along with sponsor bonuses including Ranger Cup, Abu Garcia, Lowrance Electronics and Okuma add thousands more to the total. Additional bonuses can push the tally even higher. As an added incentive, the first-place team will win a $1,000 Cabela’s National Team Championship Prize Package including paid NTC entry, travel stipend, team jerseys and plaques.
Inspections and weigh-ins will be held at the Spring Valley Boat Club. Teams will be allowed to weigh five walleyes, saugers or saugeyes measuring 14 inches and over each day, and the team with the heaviest two-day total weight will be crowned the tournament champions.
Weigh-ins are free, open to the public and begin at 4 p.m. As a bonus to budding tournament fans, the Cabela’s MWC, National Professional Anglers Association and Pure Fishing will present a Youth & Family Fishing Clinic immediately after the day-one weigh-in. The first 50 youths will receive rods and reel combos courtesy of the NPAA.
Cabela’s MWC qualifiers also serve as “State Championship Events” which adds more excitement to every event. All teams fishing the event are eligible for the State Champions title in that state, and any event with more than 10 teams registered from any state where MWC is not holding a qualifier that year will offer a State Champions title for that state as well.
Besides bragging rights, state champions will earn, at minimum, custom state champions’ prizes and awards, a berth in the Cabela’s NTC, and a spot on the MWC website’s Wall of Fame.
Along with great payouts at each event, teams fishing three or more tournaments in 2016 will battle for coveted berths in the 2017 Cabela’s MWC World Walleye Championship, set for September on Minnesota’s Cass Lake out of Stony Point Resort. Teams fishing at least four qualifiers compete for Team of the Year awards, including thousands in cash and Cabela’s Cash cards, as well as fully paid entries into a full season of great walleye action.
Under the umbrella of The Walleye Federation (TWF), the Cabela’s MWC is open to avid walleye anglers from all walks of life. Deadline to register for the Illinois River tournament is Monday, March 14.
In all, the 2016 schedule includes seven qualifiers in six states and includes a diverse selection of the Walleye Belt’s finest rivers, inland lakes and big-water fisheries.
Cabela’s, the World’s Foremost Outfitter for hunting, fishing and outdoor gear, is entering its 15th season as title sponsor of the MWC. Official sponsors include: Berkley Gulp!, Abu Garcia, Lowe Equipment Attachments, Lowrance Electronics, Mercury Marine, Ranger Boats and The Walleye Federation. Associate sponsors include: AirWave Pedestals, G-Juice, MotorGuide and Okuma. For more information, visit masterswalleyecircuit.com, email [email protected], or call (580) 765-9031.