Sunne, Hartman Win Cabela’s Masters Walleye Circuit Big Stone Lake Qualifier
Presented by Okuma
Ortonville, Minn.—May 16, 2015—South Dakotans Dan Sunne and Jim Hartman rallied to score a comeback victory at the Cabela’s Masters Walleye Circuit’s Big Stone Lake qualifying tournament presented by Okuma May 15-16.
After landing in 11th place on day one with an 11-pound, 11-ounce 5-fish limit, the pair vaulted into the winner’s circle on the wings of a 20-pound, 15-ounce basket that gave them a 32-pound, 10-ounce total weight. The win earned them $9,300 in cash along with the $1,000 Ranger Cup contingency and $200 Okuma bonus. They also collected $2,800 in cash from the option pot, and a $1,000 Cabela’s National Team Championship Prize Package, including paid entry into the 2016 NTC, travel stipend, team jerseys and plaques.
Because all 2015 Cabela’s MWC tournaments are also designated as “State Championship Qualifying Events,” Sunne and Hartman, both of Milbank, also earned the title of South Dakota State Walleye Champions. Besides bragging rights, they claimed a $1,000 prize package including custom champions’ rings from Tight Lines Jewelry, marble plaques, decals and a spot on the MWC website’s Wall of Fame.
“We’re pretty excited,” said Sunne. “This is our fifth time fishing the MWC’s Big Stone tournament and we’ve taken a couple thirds and a seventh, but never a win.” Hartman, who was likewise elated at the victory, explained the team pitched jigs tipped with minnows to shallow rock piles about six miles from the Ortonville landing in 3 to 5 feet of water. They also pulled slip bobbers and leeches behind the boat, but jigging proved the most productive tactic.
In second place, Troy Morris and Corey Heiser brought in nine fish weighing 28 pounds, 15 ounces to collect $4,650 in cash, plus $2,100 from the option pot and the $500 Lowrance Electronics bonus.
Rounding out the top five were:
3rd: Brian Steichen and Shawn Carl, 28-07, $3,150 cash
4th: Artie Arndt and Mike Frisch, 25-07, $2,400 cash plus $1,400 from the option pot
5th: Paul Weber and Russle Borstad, 24-02, $1,900 cash
Big-fish honors went to Kelly Stattelman and Monty Athey in 14th place for their 10-pound, 2-ounce walleye, which earned them the $200 Zippo Hot Hand Award. They also claimed $700 for taking fourth place in the option pot standings.
In all, the Cabela’s MWC awarded a total payback of $44,330.00 in cash and prizes.
Weigh-ins were held at Lake Side Park in scenic Ortonville. The 60-team field, representing 10 states, brought a total of 285 walleyes weighing 760 pounds, 5 ounces to the scale during the event, including 18 five-fish daily limits. The Cabela’s MWC, National Professional Anglers Association, Pure Fishing and Zippo Outdoor Brands presented a Youth & Family Fishing Clinic immediately after the day-one weigh-in, with participating youths receiving rod-and-reel combos courtesy of the NPAA.
Under the umbrella of The Walleye Federation (TWF), the Cabela’s MWC is open to avid walleye anglers from all walks of life. The 2015 schedule spans nine states and includes 11 regular-season qualifiers plus the 2015 World Walleye Championship.
Cabela’s, the World’s Foremost Outfitter for hunting, fishing and outdoor gear, is in its 14th season as title sponsor of the MWC. Official sponsors include: Berkley Gulp!, Abu Garcia, Lowe Equipment Attachments, Lowrance Electronics, Mercury Marine, Ranger Boats, The Walleye Federation and Zippo Outdoor Brands. Associate sponsors include: Yellow Bird Fishing Products, Okuma, T-H Marine and Tight Lines Jewelry. For more information, visit masterswalleyecircuit.com, email [email protected], or call (580) 765-9031.