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Quick Bites: RCL Championship, Day 2

Quick Bites: RCL Championship, Day 2
Pro Steve Lotz of Lena, Ill., who placed 11th, and co-angler Robert Hix of Aurora, Colo., caught this monster weighing 8-10. Hix (holding fish) was the one who hooked it.

2003 Wal-Mart RCL Walleye Championship
Mississippi River, Red Wing, Minn.
Opening round, Thursday

Big-fish day ... While five-fish limits were even harder to come by on day two than they were on day one - there were 26 limits Wednesday and 18 Thursday - the walleyes seemed to get a little bigger today. A remarkable number of walleyes in the 6-, 7- and even 8-pound range came across the scale on the banks of the Mississippi. The largest, caught by pro Chris Bahl of Sidney, Neb., weighed in at a hefty 8 pounds, 12 ounces. "We were on our first spot for 20 minutes when I got that first big fish," said Bahl, who finished the tourney in 51st place. "It made me feel really good after that delay. I lost two other ones that felt real heavy, but I keep telling myself they were drum." Pro Steve Lotz of Lena, Ill., who placed 11th, and co-angler Bob Hix of Aurora, Colo., caught one weighing 8-10. "I was shaking so bad that it took me about five minutes to recover," said Hix, who hooked the monster. But by far the most impressive sack belonged to pro Sam Anderson of Inver Grove Heights, Minn., and co-angler Richard Volkman of St. Paul, Minn., who both made the top-12 cut into the semifinals (Volkman leads the co-anglers and Anderson placed third). They caught just three walleyes, but they weighed in at an enormous 22-2 - by far the largest stringer of the day. Their two biggest fish respectively weighed 8-1 and 7-6 by themselves. "It was awesome," Anderson said. "I just fished my big-fish spots today." Interestingly, they didn't catch the two big ones until late in the day - one came at 2 p.m. and the biggest came right under the wire at 3:30.

On the other hand ... Two pros qualified for the semifinals on the strength of their day-one weights alone. Douglas Vandersteen of Lundar, Manitoba, who led Wednesday, and Steve Lamb of Nashville, Tenn., both made the cut after posting zeroes Thursday.

Doc's return to the scene ... Pro Bruce "Doc" Samson of Minnetrista, Minn., failed in his bid to repeat as RCL champion on the Mississippi River. The 2002 RCL Championship winner nailed a limit Thursday, but could only muster a 28th-place finish for the tournament even though he fished much the same water in Pool 3 that helped him win last year. The difference? A 20-degree drop in water temperature and a strong north wind didn't help. Still, Samson didn't flinch. "I was one big bite away," he said. "I'm just happy to be here and have the opportunity to go at it again. It's fun to come back after you've won because it's nice to have fishing as a job." No kidding. After winning $300,000 here last season, he retired from his longtime gig as a family practitioner.

Local flavor ... Watch out for pros Scott Allar of Welch, Minn., and Tom Keenan of Hatley, Wis. Both have a solid track record on the RCL Tour and at the championship. Keenan led a day at the 2001 championship and finished in the top six. Allar, who finished 22nd here on the Mississippi River in 2002, has returned to his home waters with a vengeance this year and qualified for the semifinals in second place. "Actually, pre-fishing was really pretty tough," Allar said. "But now that the fish are starting to turn on and move into their fall pattern, it's helped me. Anytime you're a local, it'll help your chances no matter where it is."

It wasn't just the fog and the delay stifling everyone's hopes Thursday morning. RCL anglers were greeted by record low temperatures as they hit the water at dawn.October chill ... It wasn't just the fog and the delay stifling everyone's hopes Thursday morning. RCL anglers were greeted by record low temperatures as they hit the water at dawn. The air temp in Red Wing was in the low 20s, but a bone-chilling early October mark of 13 degrees was recorded in International Falls, Minn., located a ways up the road on the Canadian border. Local newspapers touted record lows all over Minnesota Thursday.

And the ladies ... Congrats to Susan Hugill of Pine City, Minn., and Audrey Robb of Dryden, Ontario. The two women qualified for the co-angler finals in sixth and seventh place, respectively.

Sound bite

"You know, everybody's always saying I should retire. But when you retire, you go fishing. I already retired and went fishing."
- Legendary walleye pro Gary Roach

Quick links, Day 2:

Photos
Results
Tomorrow's pairings

Tags: jeff-schroeder  quick-bites  2003-10-01-mississippi-river 

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Breaking Down the Cup Field

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FLW Live Schedule for Lake Cumberland

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Quick Bites: Forrest Wood Cup, Lake Lanier, Day 4

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