Ponca City, Okla.—April 19, 2018—Competitive walleye anglers are in for a high-stakes, Wild West walleye shootout when the Cabela’s Masters Walleye Circuit visits legendary Lake Francis Case out of Platte, South Dakota, for a two-day, team-format tournament April 27-28, 2018.
“It’s going to be a lot of fun,” says Mike Dorris, a veteran walleye tournament competitor and former MWC World Walleye Champion hailing from Madison, South Dakota. “Lake Francis Case probably has the healthiest walleye population of the all state’s reservoirs right now. The fish are aggressive and like to bite, so catching limits shouldn’t be a problem, whether you’ve fished here for 50 years or just rolled into town.”
Plus, thanks to the lake’s abundance of hard-bottom areas, Francis Case walleyes are easy to spot on sonar. “They mark really well against the hard bottom,” says Dorris, who runs Lowrance HDS Carbon units on his Ranger fishing platform. “This makes scouting easy. You just need to trust what your sonar is telling you.”
Walleyes and saugers will both be fair game for anglers competing in the tournament. Teams will be allowed to bring their best five fish to the scale each day, and the team with the highest two-day total weight will be crowned Lake Francis Case champions. Dorris expects to see plenty of hefty daily limits in the lower teens. “A good basket of 14 to 17 pounds each day should put you in the hunt for a top-10 finish, and I think it will take at least 35 pounds to win,” he says.
The tournament’s late April timing will give MWC anglers a chance to fish a variety of tactics and areas. “Everywhere from the Platte area all the way up to the head of the lake will produce fish,” Dorris says. “The trick will be finding larger fish that haven’t spawned yet.” He notes that during spring tournaments based farther up the lake in Chamberlain, anglers commonly run down to the Platte area in search of large fish. “It will be interesting to see what happens when we launch close to these big-fish spots,” he says. On the tactical front, Dorris believes trolling shad-bodied crankbaits on lead-core line will be a top presentation, as will fishing jigs tipped with minnows or soft-plastic bodies.
Besides enjoying great walleye fishing and the thrill of competition, teams will vie for hefty payouts. The Cabela’s MWC offers anglers lucrative payouts based on the number of teams entered in each event and paid to the top 20 percent of the field. In addition, the MWC big-fish pot, option pot payouts and sponsor bonuses including Ranger Cup, Lowrance Electronics, Okuma, AirWave and T-H Marine Atlas Awards add thousands more to the total. Plus, the first-place team wins a $1,000 Cabela’s National Team Championship Prize Package including paid NTC entry, travel stipend, team jerseys and plaques.
Teams fishing three or more tournaments also compete for coveted berths in the championship, which is comprised of the top point-accumulating teams from the previous year’s season and offers payouts based on the previous year’s participation. Teams that qualify in 2018 will fish the 2019 championship, set for October 3-5, 2019 on Wisconsin’s incomparable Lake Winnebago System.
Teams fishing at least MWC four qualifiers also compete for Team of the Year awards, including a $10,000 sponsorship package and thousands more in cash and Cabela’s Cash cards, as well as fully paid entries into a full season of great walleye action.
As an added bonus, Official Sponsor Lowe Equipment Attachments offers all Cabela’s MWC anglers a 25 percent discount off the MSRP on all its auger, trenching and grapple products available through Midwest Attachments, LLC. For information on that program, visit masterswalleyecircuit.com/tournaments/contingencies.
Adding to the excitement, weigh-ins typically draw a large crowd of walleye fans. Select MWC events are also filmed for national airing on Federation Angler TV. Plus, the Cabela’s MWC and National Professional Anglers Association will present a Youth & Family Fishing Clinic immediately after the day-one weigh-in. The first 50 youths will receive rod-and-reel combos courtesy of the NPAA.
North America’s longest-running and undisputed leader in team walleye tournaments, the Cabela’s MWC has set the standard for competitive walleye fishing since 1984. Operated under the umbrella of The Walleye Federation (TWF), the Cabela’s MWC is open to avid walleye anglers from all walks of life. The 2018 tournament schedule includes eight qualifiers in seven states, plus the 2019 Cabela’s MWC World Walleye Championship. Registration for 2018 events is now open, and the deadline for registering for the Lake Francis Case tournament is Monday, April 23 at 4 p.m. Visit masterswalleyecircuit.com for updates, official rules and registration information.
Cabela’s, the World’s Foremost Outfitter for hunting, fishing and outdoor gear, is entering its 17th season as title sponsor of the MWC. Official sponsors include: Bass Pro Shops, 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 email@example.com, or call (580) 765-9031.
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