October 1, 2005 by Brett Carlson
MOLINE, Ill. - A relatively monotonous 2005 Wal-Mart FLW Walleye Tour Championship did a complete turnabout on day four, courtesy of some big-fish drama from pros Shannon Kehl and Robert Lampman. After riveting the Quad Cities crowd with two giant walleyes, Kehl reached into his bag once more, but this time it was empty. In winning the FLW Walleye Tour Championship on the Mississippi River, Lampman not only claimed his first Walleye Tour victory, he also walked away with a check for a cool $125,000.
The multitasker from De Soto, Wis., savored his championship triumph.
"I can't find the words to describe it," Lampman said. "It's the greatest thing that has ever happened to me."
Lampan's steady pattern of bringing two fish each day ended on day four.
"I started out two fish, two fish, two fish; well now, at least I have three fish." Lampman said. "I thought I had enough weight to be in the top three. These guys were bringing in consistent weights. I went to one spot this morning and worked it, worked it and worked it, but only caught one small fish by 10:30.
"I thought, `man, this isn't going to work,' so I decided to go to a trolling bite. When I got there, the weeds were so bad I knew it wouldn't work. I decided to go back to what got me here, and in 15 minutes, I put two nice fish in the boat."
Lampman finished the final round with a two-day weight of 21 pounds, 6 ounces and said he caught his fish on Pool 14 by dragging willow cats over the tops of wing dams.
Kehl blames weeds, finishes second
Shannon Kehl looked like the man to beat heading into the final day. He and his Pool 14 partner, Rick Olson, had consistently pulled big fish out of their spot all week. On day four the big fish bit, just not enough of them, as Kehl's come-from-behind bid ended a few pounds short.
"I couldn't get bit up there today," said Kehl. "The weeds were really bad; you could hardly even troll."
Kehl then reflected on his performance and said, "I've never really done that well on the Mississippi River. These willow-cat guys are tough, especially him. I just needed one more good bite."
The Menoken, N.D., native's final-round weight was 17 pounds, 12 ounces, which earned him a check for $55,000.
Goligowski zeroes, remains third
Kevin Goligowski was the beneficiary of a tough bite for the remaining eight anglers. Despite failing to boat a walleye, the Maplewood, Minn., pro remained in third place with 6 pounds, 13 ounces and cashed a check for $20,000.
"I was casting crankbaits upstream, which was a little different than everyone else," said Goligowski. "I pulled a 28-incher in practice."
Fluekiger boats two, takes fourth
Finishing in fourth place was Jarrad Fluekiger of Alma, Wis. Fluekiger caught two walleyes Saturday, bringing his final-round total to 6 pounds, 1 ounce.
"I had a great year and a great tournament," he said. "I had the bites the last two days, I just dropped them. I was sweeping the wing dams with willow cats, just like I do back home. The walleyes use the wing dams to ambush baitfish."
Fluekiger's fourth-place finish earned him $17,500.
Carl Grunwaldt of Green Bay, Wis., earned $20,000 and finished in fifth place with a final-round weight of 4 pounds, 11 ounces.
"Anytime you've made it to Wal-Mart, you've had a good tournament," he said. "A few more degrees and these fish would have put the feeding bag on."
Rest of the best
Rounding out the top 10 pro finalists at the FLW Walleye Tour Championship on the Mississippi River:
6th: Rick Olson of Mina, S.D., two walleyes, 4-1
7th: Aaron McQuoid of Isle, Minn., one walleye, 2-2
8th: Dan Stier of Pierre, S.D., one walleye, 1-15
9th: Ross Grothe of Northfield, Minn., one walleye, 1-3
10th: Jeff Ryan of Lake View, Iowa, zero walleyes, 0-0