Tradition Continues as the Masters Walleye Circuit Readies for Big Stone Lake Presented by Ranger Boats

Tradition Continues as the Master’s Walleye Circuit Readies for Big Stone Lake

Presented by Ranger Boats

Ponca City, Okla. — April 13, 2021 — For generations of Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s Masters Walleye Circuit (MWC) anglers, many stories start with “This one year at Big Stone…” In this 2021 MWC season, the tradition continues of an early spring event along the southern shore of the 12,000-acre lake. Presented by Ranger Boats, this year’s event and its participants looks to leave a mark at this historic venue.  

While driving around Ortonville, a stop on the must-see list is the large granite stone that stands in honor of the long-time connection between Ortonville, Big Stone Lake, and the MWC. Listed on the stone are winners from tournaments past. The late great Tommy Skarlis, Terry and John Oakes, Steve Lotz, and others have their names engraved forever on the large rock, which also bares a previously used MWC logo and a salute to Sonny Arndt, the local tournament director, from 1991-1998.

President of the Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s Masters Walleye Circuit, Robert Cartlidge, spoke about what makes this location a traditional location for early-season events. “One unique thing about fishing Big Stone lake, besides its central location and the way Ortonville has welcomed MWC anglers to town for years, is the fact that since it is a border water with South Dakota. It opens earlier than anything else in Minnesota to walleye fishing, so we can hold an event there earlier than anywhere else in Minnesota.”

With winter-weary anglers ready to drop boats in the water, this tournament opportunity gives those in the “great white north” a springboard into a bountiful season on one of the Midwest’s most popular fishing destinations.

Each MWC event has a lucrative payout which is based on the number of teams entered into that event and is awarded to 20% of the field, providing more inspiration to sign up and join the fun. In addition, to a hefty check, the first-place team also earns a $1,000 Bass Pro Shops/Cabela’s National Team Championship (NTC) prize package including paid entry, travel stipend, team jerseys, and plaques. Additionally, the big-fish pot, option pot, and sponsor bonuses of up to $7,000 from Ranger Cup, a $1,000 Lowrance bonus, Okuma Fishing reels, Berkley Fishing Big Fish package, Lowe Equipment Cash up to $500, and T-H Marine Atlas Awards adds more for distribution among the field.

Qualified teams from the 2021 season earning points in at least three qualifiers compete for coveted berths in the 2022 World Walleye Championship, set for October 2021 on the bay of Green Bay in Oconto, WI. Those earning points in at least four qualifiers compete for Team of the Year honors, including a $10,000 sponsorship package and thousands more in cash and prizes to the top 10 teams in the final “best of 4” final standing each year.

Daily live weigh-ins will be held at Ortonville City Park beginning at 3:00 pm both days April 23-24.  We encourage you to watch the weigh-ins live, online, at masterswalleyecircuit.com, or on our Facebook page facebook.com/MastersWalleyeCircuit. Immediately following the weigh-in on Friday, April 23rd, the MWC and National Professional Anglers Association (NPAA) will host a Kids & Family Fishing Clinic, with free fishing rods available for 50 children in attendance.

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 the 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 37 years. MWC is open to walleye anglers from all walks of life. The 2021 schedule includes seven qualifiers in six states, plus the 2021 Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s MWC World Walleye Championship. Registration is now open for all events, and the registration deadline for the Big Stone Lake tournament is close of business Monday, April 19th. Visit masterswalleyecircuit.com for full details.

Bass Pro Shops & Cabela’s – The World’s Foremost Outfitters, are in their 20th season as title sponsor of the Master’s Walleye Circuit. Official sponsors include; Lowe Equipment Attachments, Lowrance Electronics, Mercury Marine, Ranger Boats, and The Walleye Federation. Associate sponsors include; Church Tackle, Berkley Fishing, Okuma, Power-Pole, Soft Steel, and T-H Marine. For more information, email info@masterswalleyecircuit.com, or call (580) 765-9031.

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All Eyes on Erie As the Next Stop for the 2021 Masters Walleye Circuit Presented by Lowe Equipment Attachments

All Eyes on Erie As the Next Stop for the 2021 Masters Walleye Circuit

Presented by Lowe Equipment Attachments

Ponca City, Okla. — March 25, 2021 — Hot off the drama that unfolded on the scales at the first event of the 2021 Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s Masters Walleye Circuit (MWC) season, the anglers turn their attention to what may be a record-shattering weigh-in on the shores of Lake Erie, Port Clinton, OH. Presented by Lowe Equipment Attachments, this two-day team event will send participants from across the country out on the lake some call the greatest walleye water in the world April 16-17.   

Newly seated MWC tournament director Jeff Kelm said of the expected large catch rate and weight “If you’re going to fish walleyes on a competitive level, you have to do it here, and this event can be a lucrative place to start. I have no doubts that if the anglers find the right fish, we will see over 100 lbs. of fish brought to the scale.” In as recent as 2018 a weight of 89 lbs. was brought in for the two-day event and Jeff believes that it could be pushed higher. “There is a lot of fish in the system and we should be near these large schools at the right time to see something magical.”

For the second year in a row, the MWC has combined efforts with the Lake Erie Walleye Trail (LEWT) at Lake Erie to allow anglers from both far and wide to win some incredible money and prizes. “Bringing the best Lake Erie circuit (LEWT) and the best national circuit (MWC) together in the walleye capital of the world is a tournament angler’s dream!” said LEWT Tournament director Jason Fischer, “Can’t wait to see what Port Clinton will bring.”

With thousands of dollars already set to be awarded at every Masters Walleye Circuit event, new contingencies for the 2021 MWC season will be an additional opportunity to make the trip pay off. With the all-new Ranger Cup program, a $1,000 Lowrance bonus, up to a $500 Lowe Equipment Attachment bonus and Berkley Fishing Big Fish package, adding to the already incredible payback tournament participants have come to expect.

Each MWC event has a lucrative payout which is based on the number of teams entered into that event, and is awarded to 20% of the field, providing more inspiration to sign up and join the fun. In addition, to a hefty check, the first-place team also earns a $1,000 Bass Pro Shops/Cabela’s National Team Championship (NTC) prize package including paid entry, travel stipend, team jerseys and plaques. Additionally, the big-fish pot, option pot and sponsor bonuses from Ranger Cup, Lowrance, Okuma, Berkley Fishing, Lowe Equipment and T-H Marine Atlas Awards add thousands more for distribution among the field.

Qualified teams from the 2021 season earning points in at least three qualifiers compete for coveted berths in the 2022 World Walleye Championship, set for October 2021 on the bay of Green Bay in Oconto, WI. Those earning points in at least four qualifiers compete for Team of the Year honors, including a $10,000 sponsorship package and thousands more in cash and prizes to the top 10 teams in the final “best of 4” final standing each year.

Daily live weigh-ins will be held at the Jefferson Street Pier beginning at 3:30pm both days April 16-17.  We encourage you to watch the weigh-ins live, online, at masterswalleyecircuit.com or on our Facebook page facebook.com/MastersWalleyeCircuit.

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 37 years. MWC is open to walleye anglers from all walks of life. The 2021 schedule includes seven qualifiers in six states, plus the 2021 Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s MWC World Walleye Championship. Registration is now open for all events, and the registration deadline for the Lake Erie tournament is close of business Monday, April 12th. Visit masterswalleyecircuit.com for full details.

Bass Pro Shops & Cabela’s – The World’s Foremost Outfitters, are in their 20th 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: Church Tackle, Berkley Fishing, Okuma, Power-Pole, Soft Steel and T-H Marine. For more information, email info@masterswalleyecircuit.com, or call (580) 765-9031.

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Jack Baker Steps Aside as MWC Tournament Director; MWC Anchor Jeff Kelm to fill out the 2021 season.

Northfield Minnesota’s Jack Baker has served as the MWC Tournament Director since February of 2017 and was well on his way to the 2021 season opener at Spring Valley, Ill when an opportunity from his past as a golf pro surfaced. Unknown to many MWC anglers, Jack Baker was a professional in the golf industry for years and as it happened the golf facility in Bemidji Minnesota found itself in need of just such a professional and reached out to Jack with a once in a lifetime opportunity.

“It was a tough decision to make.” Jack lamented. “I thoroughly enjoy both sports and while I will miss seeing all the anglers and friends that I have made on the MWC circuit, the opportunity and timing to move to Bemidji were right for myself and my family. It all came together very fast and it quickly became clear that Spring Valley would be my last event. But, in the end, I knew MWC was in good hands so it was the right move to make.”

Jack came to us in 2017 with experience as a tournament director in the ice fishing world to take on MWC. He stepped up and filled the role and earned the angler’s respect. I can’t ask for more than that from our tournament directors”, stated Robert Cartlidge, President at the Federation National Office. “We are thankful for Jack’s dedication to the sport and his service to MWC. While we will certainly miss him, we wish him all the best in his new position.”

The Masters Walleye Circuit just kicked off the ’21 tournament season with the largest season opener field it has had in a number of years and 2021 registrations look to keep that momentum going. So, MWC has tapped someone who will provide a smooth transition and who the anglers already know and trust. That person will be Jeff Kelm the MWC Emcee and tournament manager for the last four years. Kelm will fill out the 2021 season starting with the April 16-17 event presented by Lowe Equipment at Port Clinton.

  “Jeff is as solid as they come and knows what it takes to run MWC already, he does a great job for us now and will in the future.” Cartlidge stated. “Jeff has also competed at the very highest levels in the ice fishing world earning multiple spots on Team USA representing the US in international competitions across the globe. This means as a former top-level competitor himself he “gets it” from an angler perspective too which is an asset.”

“I have been blessed to get to do some incredible things in my life and this opportunity to lead the MWC will sit at the top of that list.” Kelm Stated. “I have loved the circuit from the second I arrived at Spring Valley in 2017 and I look forward to taking it far into the future. I thank Jack for his leadership and mentoring in the last four seasons and wish him all the best. Now it’s time to get to work alongside the Toughest Anglers on Planet Earth!”

Kelm will lead MWC and continue to emcee events as the National office is already at work filling out a team and tournament staff positions to support him. He can be reached via email at jeff@federationangler.com and on the tournament hotline at 580.716.4291

 

Johnson and Ploch Take the Trophy in Spring Valley with a One Ounce Win

Ponca City, Okla. — March 22, 2021 — After the field of 92 teams at the Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s Masters Walleye Circuit’s (MWC) first event came to terms with a forecasted water level rise, they set out to find the most consistent bite they could, should the forecast come to fruition. Fortunately for Grand Ridge and Tonica Illinois’ residents Tyler Johnson and Cade Ploch, the eventual small change in water levels didn’t affect the one bite they had going for them all week long.     

“This was the only bite we could count on. We had to go there and stay in that ½ mile stretch.” mentioned Tyler Johnson after the big win, in which the duo pocketed over $15,550 in cash and prizes, including $200 Okuma reels and a $1,000 Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s National Team Championship Prize Package, including paid entry into the Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s NTC, travel stipend, team jerseys and plaques.

Teammate Cade Ploch told the crowd, while on stage clutching a trophy, that the team trolled crank baits real slow and found fish to be finicky both days of the tournament. Tyler and Cade found a way to squeak by the team that had the heaviest bag on the first day of the event by weighing in 13-00 on the first day and 12-07 on day two for a total of 25-07.

Michael and Joe Perez, having weighed 18-15 on day one of the two-day tournament, only needed their day-two catch of five fish to weigh 6-08 to win the title on Saturday, but came just one ounce shy when the scales locked in giving the team a total weight of 25-06. Those in attendance could feel the tension as the fish were placed on the scales and witnessed the heartbreak as the call was made. Graciously, Michael and Joe congratulated the winners for their efforts. For their second place finish the Perez’s earned $6,050 in second-place winnings as well as cashing the first-place option pot bonus of an additional $4,296, for a total haul of $10,346

Rounding out the top-five remaining teams:

3rd: Dan Johnson & Larry Rhoads 24-11, $4,000 cash and 2nd place option pot bonus worth $3,100, plus the $1,000 Lowrance bonus, walked away with $8,100.00

4th:  Ryan Feldott & Brandon Samolitis 23-13, $3,100 cash

5th: Steven & Jeremy Skupien 23-06, $2,600 cash and 3rd place option pot bonus of $2,000

8th place of Mark Lemke and Walter Price won $1,000 with the new Ranger Cup bonus.

The 765 fish weighed a total of 1406 lbs. 04 oz. during the event. In one of the longest running conservation partnerships in all of walleye fishing each year MWC partners with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources at Spring Valley in a large conservation project. Illinois DNR takes all the sauger caught by MWC anglers back to the state’s fish hatchery to be spawned under ideal, controlled conditions to further the brilliantly successful Illinois River sauger stocking program.

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 37 years. MWC is open to walleye anglers from all walks of life. The 2021 schedule includes seven qualifiers in six states, plus the 2021 Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s MWC World Walleye Championship. Registration is now open for all events, and the registration deadline for the Illinois River tournament is close of business Monday, March 15th. Visit masterswalleyecircuit.com for full details.

Bass Pro Shops & Cabela’s – The World’s Foremost Outfitters, are in their 20th 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: Church Tackle, Berkley Fishing, Okuma, Power-Pole, Soft Steel and T-H Marine. For more information, email info@masterswalleyecircuit.com, or call (580) 765-9031.

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