Minnetonka, MN – June 6, 2010 – All eyes were on Oshkosh, Wisconsin, June 5-6 when 362 two-person teams faced off on the legendary Lake Winnebago system in a dual tournament of world-record proportions.
A combination of the Cabela’s National Team Championship and Cabela’s Masters Walleye Circuit’s Lake Winnebago Central Division Qualifier, the event offered more than $350,000 in cash and prizes, including a pair of Evinrude E-Tec powered Ranger 619 boats. It was also set for recognition by Guinness World Records as history’s largest fishing tournament.
With legendary lakes Winnebago, Poygan, Butte de Morts and Winneconne, and the fabled Fox and Wolf rivers all fair game, NTC and MWC anglers had a world of walleye options at their disposal. The walleye-rich system did not disappoint either, as the throngs of spectators who packed the weigh-in site at scenic Menominee Park (as well as those watching streaming video online) were treated to a steady supply of healthy baskets crossing the
When the dust settled, hometown heroes Michael Galligan and Stuart Wells, both of Oshkosh, were crowned NTC champions with a 10-fish limit weighing 26.24 pounds. “It’s unbelievable,” said Galligan, who grew up in the area and cut his teeth on Winnebago. “I don’t have any words for it,” added Wells. “It doesn’t get any better than this.” The team was awarded $30,000 for first place plus one of the boats.
The team pitched shoreline weeds and rocks with Northland Fishing Tackle Weed Weasels, tipped with either a half nightcrawler or full leech. “We caught our biggest fish along rocky banks, while the average fish were in the weeds,” said Galligan, who noted that they also caught at least one “decent” fish trolling ‘Bago’s midlake mud each day.
The Cabela’s NTC draws anglers from more than 60 sanctioned grassroots walleye clubs across the United States. The Wisconsin team of Dan Zwick, of Wrightstown, and Tony Kobringer, of Chilton, nabbed second with 25.44 pounds worth $12,500 plus the second boat for being the highest-placing Ranger Cup team. Total payout was $141,000 in cash and gift cards, plus the Rangers, valued at more than $50,000 apiece.
On the MWC side, Greg DeKalb and Joe Ebel captured top honors and a $27,060 first-place paycheck in the season’s second Central Division qualifier with 10 fish weighing 28.63 pounds. “It’s an unbelievable feeling to win an event like this against so many great anglers,” said DeKalb, a 6-year MWC veteran. “It’s something I’ll cherish forever.” Although DeKalb regularly teams up with his wife, Kathy, he partnered with Ebel for the Winnebago tournament.
The pair pulled crawler harnesses with hammered copper blades 1.2 to 1.3 mph over Winnebago’s mud flats. “We got our fish both high and low in about 19½ feet,” said Ebel, who was fishing his first MWC event.
Wisconsinites Greg Gustin, of Neshkoro, and Thomas Binkowski, of Redgranite, took second with 27.89 pounds, good for $9,700. In all, the top 35 teams shared a $100,360 dollar cash purse plus $1,000 in Ranger Cup cash, $500 Lowrance HDS bonus, $500 Cabela’s Angler Cash, and $200 U2 Oxygenator bonus.
Both tournaments were filmed for the Versus Television Network to air on Americana Outdoors and the Cabela’s Masters Walleye Circuit. Check versus.com for airtimes.
The MWC and National Professional Anglers Association presented a Youth & Family Fishing Clinic immediately after Saturday’s weigh-in. Over 60 youths received rods and reels donated by Cabela’s and Berkley, and tackle packages courtesy of Northland Fishing Tackle.
In addition, both the venue and dates for the 2011 Cabela’s National Team Championship were announced on stage. The event will be held August 6-7 on Bays de Noc out of Escanaba in Delta County, Michigan. The fishery has been a popular stop on the MWC for years, and is a past host of NTC festivities as well.
Cabela’s, the World’s Foremost Outfitter for hunting, fishing and outdoor gear, is entering its ninth season as title sponsor of the MWC. Official sponsors of the MWC include: Berkley, Ranger Boats, Mercury, MotorGuide, Lowrance, Fishouflage, Versus (Vs.) Television Network and North American Fishing Club. Associate Sponsors include: O2 Marine Technologies, 3-IN-ONE No Rust Shield, Abu Garcia, Fin-tech, Northland Fishing Tackle,
Ryjus and Reflections. Cabela’s NTC sponsors include Geico, Evinrude, Famous Dave’s, Ranger Boats and Pepsi.
For more information on the Cabela’s MWC or to view the 2010 schedule, visit: www.masterswalleyecircuit.com. Questions – email: [email protected]