Oshkosh, Wisc. — October 7th, 2019 — Less than favorable weather and water conditions greeted the 76 anglers of the 2019 Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s Masters Walleye Circuit (MWC) World Walleye Championship (WWC) in Oshkosh, WI. October 3-5. The World Walleye Championship is the most sought-after title in all of walleye fishing, it is steeped in walleye history and the 35-year long list of winners is a virtual “Who’s Who” of the walleye world. Competition in the World Walleye Championship is elite, every team must earn their way in by finishing atop the pile on the Masters Walleye Circuit which is among the very best in the country. In this 35th annual, after three days of scratch-it-out fishing, the Lake City, MN team of Chris and Joe Kujawa found out what it meant to be crowned champions and add their names to that list of Champions.
Multiple inches of rain fell in the area that feeds the Winnebago system, Tuesday night into Wednesday, just before the start of the WWC, creating muddy fast water in the rivers and clarity issues in Lake Winnebago, fishing was brutally tough.
On Thursday, day 1 of the event, the east side of the lake was muddy, the water was rising fast and the water temps were dropping fast, in short, the walleye were not eating. The veteran team of Don Olsen Oak Grove, MN and Randy Carroll, Oswego, IL. lead the entire championship field by pulling 4 fish from the main lake that weighed 7-07, father son team of Mike and Kaiden Dorris, Madison, SD was right behind them with only 2 fish for 7-03 and the big fish of the day was caught by Tim and Tom Ahrens, Waterloo, IA. the 5-07 walleye was their only fish and still landed them in 5th place. Day 1 standings showed that only 29 fish were brought in. The Kujawa’s knew that after catching just one small fish on day 1 they were going to need a little luck on their side for the spot they were fishing to come around and make a run at the title.
On Friday, day 2 of the championship event, things starting clicking for the Kujawa’s. They caught the only limit of the day or of the event for that matter up to that point. Five walleyes that weighed 11-14 propelled them to the top of the standings. Mike and Kaiden Dorris brought in one fish but it was big fish of the day at 5-08 and enough to hold down their second-place spot. Kevin Day, Waupun, WI. and Keith Daniels, Fond Du Lac, WI. pushed 3 fish for 10-05 across the scales and jumped into the 3rd place spot and Olsen and Carrol had 1 fish which put them in 4th after day 2. The results were that in true championship fashion, the final day would tell the story. It was anyone’s game on day 3, either catch fish or lose your spot.
Saturday, day 3, was overcast with wind, and more rain. The Kujawa’s buckled down and sealed the deal.
“We were doing something that we have never done before, pulling flies shallow for these fish in the river” said Joe Kujawa after their win on Saturday. “We caught a legal fish there during pre-fishing, and that’s the only plan we had going in.” The brotherly duo spent a lot of time on the water getting ready for the event, not something out of the norm for these two.
The Kujawas are a fishing family. Growing up near Lake Pepin on the Mississippi River, Chris and Joe learned a lot from Dad and take pride in the amount of family time they get in the boat. As a premier team on the MWC for the last two seasons, the substitute anglers that Chris and Joe have use are still Kujawas, fishing hard and fishing well are in the blood.
Chris and Joe weighed a weighed 26-00 after three days of competition and rode home with $26,220 in cash and prizes, including the $20,000 first-place cash payout, $1,200 in custom championship rings, $500 Lowrance bonus, $500 AirWave certificate, Power Pole Pro II ($1,600), Motorguide XI5 ($1,600) and Lowrance Elite TI 7 ($820).
The rest of the top five teams:
2nd: Mike & Kaiden Dorris 18-15, $8,000 cash, Power Pole ($1,600), Ranger Cup Bonus ($1,000), TH Marine Loc R Bar ($259), $150 BPS/Cabela’s Gift Cards
3rd: Jeff Lahr & Tommy Skarlis 18-04, $5,000 cash
4th: Greg Whitson & mark Campeau 15-15, $3,000 cash
5th: Mark Lemke & Walter Price 15-00, $2,500 cash
All together the Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s Masters Walleye Circuit awarded $123,150 in cash and prizes in Oshkosh. Teams qualified for this opportunity to fish in the WWC by points while fishing the 2018 MWC regular season events across the country, including the Illinois River, Detroit River, Lake Francis Case, Lake McConaughy, Lake Erie, Lake of the Woods, St. Mary’s River and Cass Lake.
123 fish weighed a total of 278lbs- 03ozs during the three-day event. Dan Johnson and Larry Rhoads took home “Big Fish” honors with their 8-01 walleye on Friday. Members of the University of Wisconsin- Oshkosh fishing team presented the NPAA’s Youth and Family Fishing Clinic Friday afternoon, immediately following the weigh-in and gave away fishing rods to attendees.
Under the umbrella of The Walleye Federation (TWF), the Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s Masters Walleye Circuit is North America’s longest-running and undisputed leader in team walleye tournaments and as an inductee into the freshwater fishing hall of fame, has set the standard for competitive walleye fishing for 35 years and is open to avid walleye anglers from all walks of life. For more information visit masterswalleyecircuit.com.
Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s – The World’s Foremost Outfitters, are in their 18th season as title sponsor of the Masters Walleye Circuit. Official sponsors include: Lowe Equipment Attachments, Lowrance Electronics, Mercury Marine, Ranger Boats and The Walleye Federation. Associate sponsors include: AirWave Pedestals, Church Tackle, MotorGuide, Okuma, Power-Pole and T-H Marine. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call (580) 765-9031.