www.mybaycity.com May 27, 2018
Outdoors Article 11264

Proud anglers display their walleye catches from a Cabela's tour event on Lake Erie at Port Clinton, Ohio.

WALLEYE TOUR: Cabela's Event Slated June 14-15 in Saginaw Bay

May 27, 2018
By: Dave Rogers

Bay City and Saginaw Bay will host Cabela's National Walleye Tour June 14-15 that will be televised nationally on NBC Sports.

"The National Walleye Tour has never visited Saginaw Bay in its five-year existence," said a spokesperson for the Great Lakes Bay Regional Convention and Visitors Bureau. "The timing, however, is perfect as Saginaw Bay's walleye population is steadily on the rise."

Take off is at 7:00 AM and weigh in starts at 3:00 PM at Wenonah Park in Bay City on June 14.

Free fishing clinic to follow the weigh in.

Cabela's National Walleye Tour offers premier, tour-level competition for walleye anglers across the North. About 115 anglers are expected to compete here.

The Cabela's National Walleye Tour is the largest, most prestigious and lucrative walleye fishing series in the nation, with over a million dollars in cash and prizes on the line during the season.

"The show covers the tour qualifying events and then culminates with a three-day Championship event where we crown the National Walleye Champion," said NBC-TV host Chip Leer.

The Bay City stop will be the second for the tour this season. The tour opener planned for the Mississippi River at Red Wing, Minnesota, was canceled and rescheduled for Lake Winnebago at Oshkosh, Wisconsin.

A tour spokesperson said: "Korey Sprengel, who has been tearing up the Cabela's National Walleye Tour ever since its inception in 2013, was the Oshkosh winner. In those five years alone, his accolades include four wins, starting at the inaugural NWT event on the Mississippi River. While he's proven to be successful on every type of fishery, Lake Winnebago has been especially good to him. In 2014, he won the NWT Championship on Wisconsin's largest inland lake, and today he clinched yet another pro-am win in impressive fashion.

"The 2018 season opener was originally scheduled for the Mississippi River near Red Wing, Minn., but historic April snow led to flood conditions and ultimately a change in venue. Sprengel was pleased with the switch, but at the time, felt largely unprepared to tackle his dynamic home water."

"I had to fish this one on the fly," explained the Ranger-Mercury pro. "I told my co-angler on day one that I didn't exactly have a game plan, but that we'd eventually come across some fish." Sprengel won the 2018 NWT season opener with a two-day total weight of 35.33 pounds.

"On Winnebago, you know real quick if it's going to happen. I would spend 10 minutes on each spot and then move if they weren't there. I threw back a lot of 18- and 19-inchers. I threw back skinny 20s, just to get a fat 19-incher."

For claiming the 2018 season opener, Sprengel earned a Ranger 620FS with a 150-horsepower Mercury outboard, $15,000 cash, and another $2,635 in Anglers Advantage cash. His winning purse totaled $82,635.

"This one is right under the other Winnebago tournament (championship). I've never focused so hard as I did in 2016. I don't know that that one will ever be beat. This one I came in so laid back; I didn't know what to expect."

Sheboygan, Wis. pro, Russell Gahagan, sat in third place after catching a 16.34-pound limit Thursday. On Friday, he demonstrated remarkable consistency and caught another 16.02 to finish second with 32.36 pounds. Gahagan earned $18,506.

"I'm very pleased with the finish," he said. "I'm mainly a salmon fisherman. To be able to compete with the best walleye fishermen in the world, I'm pleased."


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