-Presented by Berkley
July 29, 2012—PIERRE, SD—The father-and-son team of Kendall and Kyle Strutt, both of Belleville, Kansas, finished strong to win a world-class shootout among 91 two-person teams at the Cabela’s Masters Walleye Circuit’s Lake Oahe tournament out of Pierre, South Dakota.
After a great start of 12.87 pounds on Day One, a 12.91-pound Day Two basket gave them a 25.78-pound total weight. The win earned them the $14,400 first-place cash purse, plus the $500 Lowrance HDS Bonus, U2 Bonus worth $60 in U2 product, and $500 of Berkley products for being the highest-finishing team using Berkley Baits.
“We started out trolling spinnerbaits in the trees, but when that pattern fell apart we used our Lowrance HDS to locate walleyes holding in deeper water, and put together a successful trolling run,” Kendall explained. Their winning program hinged on pulling fluorescent-orange Berkley Gulp! Pinched Crawlers, rigged Slow Death-style, behind 3-ounce bottom bouncers.
The second-place team, fellow Kansans Todd Kaniper and Troy Hemmy, took home $6,300 plus the $1,000 Ranger Cup contingency. Zach and Steve Axtman of Rugby, North Dakota, finished fourth, pocketing $3,100 plus the $100 Oxygenator contingency and a pair of Okuma Dead Eye rod-and-reel combos worth $350.
In sixth place, another Kansas team, Jim Perry and Aaron Wagner, added a $1,000 Cabela’s gift card from the Cabela’s Angler Cash Program to their $2,200 share of the payout. In all, the top 18 teams shared more than $56,000 in cash, sponsor bonuses and Big Fish Pot winnings.
Set for July 28-29, the tournament offered two days of competition on Oahe’s world-class walleye fishery, in conjunction with the Cabela’s Regional Walleye Championship. The championship was a collaboration between state walleye tournament organizations including The Fishing Crew (South Dakota), Colorado Walleye Association, Kansas Walleye Association, Nebraska Walleye Trail, Wyoming Walleye Stampede and Texas Walleye Association. Top teams from each organization received invitations to the championship, which paid out more than $38,000 in cash and prizes including $10,000 to first place.
A total of 1,311 walleyes weighing 2,277 pounds crossed the scale in the two tournaments. Big fish was a 7.27-pound behemoth brought in by Tom “Doc” Johnson of Denver, Colorado, and Ronald Lowry of Aurora, Colorado. The Cabela’s MWC donated $15 per boat, for a total of $1,365, to the Delta Waterfowl organization to aid efforts to protect the local environment. In turn, the group supplied an army of volunteers to assist with tournament operations. Since 1992, the MWC Conservation Fund has donated more than $300,000 to outdoor-enhancement projects.
Weigh-ins were held on the shores of Lake Oahe at Spring Creek Resort & Marina in Pierre, South Dakota. Following Saturday’s weigh-in, the Cabela’s MWC, National Professional Anglers Association, Pure Fishing and Zippo Outdoors presented a Youth and Family Fishing Clinic, giving away free rod-and-reel combos, tackle and a Zippo Outdoor Family Camping Pack.
This was the seventh of nine Cabela’s MWC qualifying tournaments in 2012. Open to diehard anglers regardless of club or sponsor affiliation, the remaining schedule includes the St. Mary’s River at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, August 24-26; and Cass Lake, Minnesota, out of Stony Point Resort, Sept. 14-16.
Registration costs $650 per tournament per two-person team, and remains open through the Sunday prior to each event. Payouts are based on the number of teams fishing each event. Overall in 2011, the Circuit paid back more than 120 percent of entry fees in cash payouts, team of the year awards, sponsor contingencies and winnings in the no-entry-fee Cabela’s MWC World Walleye Championship. To register or for details, or visit masterswalleyecircuit.com.