Feb. 2, 2012—Minnetonka, MN—Following the lead of generations of American pioneers, the Cabela’s Masters Walleye Circuit is bringing its team-format trail further westward in 2012, to the shores of Lake Pueblo, Colorado.
“We’re excited about introducing Circuit regulars to the great fishing on this 4,600-acre Arkansas River impoundment, as well as welcoming more western walleye fans to the Cabela’s MWC family of anglers and sponsors,” said Dan Johnson, Executive Director.
Set for April 27-29 the Circuit’s third qualifying tournament of the season will offer two days of competition for great cash prizes, with one day reserved in case of bad weather. Headquartered in scenic Lake Pueblo State Park, the event is open to all two-person teams regardless of sponsor or club affiliation.
The Pueblo tournament marks the Cabela’s MWC’s first excursion into the Centennial State, where the Circuit has already forged an exciting new partnership in its efforts to promote western walleye fishing—the Colorado Walleye Association. Dedicated to “Encouraging family, friendships and fun through education and competitive angling, while conserving our walleye resources,” the CWA will host the tournament and provide logistical support.
“Our main goal is promoting the sport of fishing, so we’re excited to welcome the MWC to Colorado,” said CWA President Barry Cundiff. Given the late-April tournament timeframe, Cundiff expects anglers to enjoy great fishing on a wide variety of tactics, from live-bait rigging and trolling to casting and jigging.
“Unlike some western systems, Pueblo has something for everyone,” he explained. “And because the bite isn’t wind-dependent, your fish don’t move from day to day. I think we’ll see trophies in the 8- to 10-pound range, plus a lot of 17- to 24-inchers. With teams allowed to weigh their best five fish each day, it could take 30 pounds to win.”
Cabela’s MWC tournament payouts are based on the number of teams entered in each event. A full field of 200 boats would yield a $30,000 first-place paycheck and more than $100,000 in cash to the top 20 percent of the field. Overall in 2011, the MWC paid back more than 120 percent of entry fees in payouts, team of the year awards and winnings in the no-entry-fee Cabela’s MWC World Walleye Championship.
Registration is $650 per two-person team, and anglers have until midnight Sunday, April 22 to sign up for the Pueblo tournament. However, teams that sign up for three or more Cabela’s MWC tournaments before noon (CST) on February 15 enjoy added perks. Considered “Premier Teams,” these earlybird entries have great odds of earning a free entry into the $100,000 World Walleye Championship, as Premiers are allotted 25 of the 45 total points-based berths (and are eligible for all 45). Premiers are also allowed to use convenient installment billing options, enjoy priority entry in all events, and qualify for the Okuma Premier Contingency, which awards $1,000 in great Okuma tackle packages at each qualifier. For details, visit masterswalleyecircuit.com, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Walleyes are winners in the equation as well. Since 1984, the Cabela’s MWC has donated more than $300,000 to fisheries conservation efforts through the MWC Conservation Fund, and will continue that tradition at Pueblo, donating $15 per boat to the CWA to benefit the group’s many worthy projects.
The public is invited to the weigh-ins, which begin at 3 p.m. daily at Lake Pueblo State Park. The MWC and National Professional Anglers Association will present a Youth & Family Fishing Clinic immediately after the first day’s weigh-in. The first 50 youths will receive rods and reel combos courtesy of the NPAA.
Adding to the excitement, weigh-ins and on-the-water action will be filmed for national airing on the NBC Sports Television Network as part of the Cabela’s MWC TV series.
Via the Circuit’s parent company, North American Media Group, tournament coverage also extends to North American Fisherman magazine—which serves more than 3 million readers, including 500,000 members of the North American Fishing Club—as well as 50,000 Fishing Club Facebook fans and a host of other media outlets. “This is a great chance to show the world the great fishing, community support and fantastic anglers the Pueblo area and the Western walleye scene have to offer,” Johnson added.
This is the third of nine Cabela’s MWC qualifying tournaments on the 2012 schedule, which includes the Illinois River at Spring Valley, Illinois March 24-25; Detroit River at Trenton, Michigan, April 13-15; Lake Pueblo at Pueblo, Colorado, April 27-29; Lake Erie at Huron, Ohio, May 18-20; Mille Lacs Lake at Isle, Minnesota, May 31-June 1; Lake Winnebago at Oshkosh, Wisconsin, June 29-July 1; Lake Oahe at Pierre, South Dakota, July 28-29; 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.
Founded in 1984, the Cabela’s MWC is the oldest team tournament circuit in the walleye world. It has a rich history of intense competition on top destinations, plus youth outreach and a lasting legacy of conservation. Cabela’s, the World’s Foremost Outfitter for hunting, fishing and outdoor gear, is entering its 11th season as title sponsor of the MWC. Official sponsors include: Berkley Gulp!, Ranger Boats, Mercury Marine, MotorGuide, Lowrance, NBC Sports Television Network and the North American Fishing Club. Associate Sponsors include: Berkley Trilene, Okuma, O2 Marine Technologies, Reflections, Worldwide Marine Insurance, The Walleye Federation and RPM Outdoor Sports.