UPCOMING EVENT: T-H Marine BFL - 2020 - Sam Rayburn Reservoir

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

RCL semifinal answers

RCL semifinal answers
Pro Randy Carroll (right) of Oswego, Ill., hauled in a two-day total of 10 walleyes weighing 31 pounds, 11 ounces to lead the 12 pros who advanced to Friday’s semifinal round of the four-day, $1.4 million Wal-Mart RCL Walleye Championship on the Mississippi River. He fished with co-angler Darrell Archey of Great Falls, Mont., Thursday.

RED WING, Minn. - Multiple choice question: How do you make the demanding top-12 cut out of 220 pro-and-co teams in the Wal-Mart RCL Walleye Championship on the Mississippi River? Answers: A) with consistency over two days; B) with a big first day followed by a zero the next; C) with a monstrous second-day performance after a few pounds the first; and D) all of the above.

The final answer is D, all of the above, with a mix of two-day performances deciding the semifinalists who go on to fish Thursday. Besting the rest of the top 12 before starting over with zero on day three is pro Randy Carroll of Oswego, Ill., who delivered his second consecutive five-fish limit, weighing 17 pounds, 15 ounces for a two-day total of 31 pounds, 11 ounces.

Shad here, trolling there

Even after a two-hour fog delay, Carroll benefited from a key spot not far from the launch in Pool 3, where the cold weather and record low overnight temperatures of 19 degrees might have turned the tide for Carroll when they punished everyone else.

"One of the hard things is that you have shad all through the system," Carroll says. "The fish are moving in, moving out. The cold weather might be funneling the shad into the backwaters."

Carroll says such a funnel area near a backwater might be a secret to his success.

Likewise keying on consistency is Ranger pro Scott Allar of Welch, Minn., about five miles from the river. Allar has been trolling crankbaits on leadcore line to come up with 12 pounds, 13 ounces on day one and 15 pounds, 4 ounces on day two, putting him in second place with 28 pounds, 1 ounce.

In the funky, difficult bite on the river, Allar says he trolled in order to pick off scattered walleyes on key depth contours.

"My idea is to cover a lot of water," Allar says. "I'm pulling crankbaits, and it seems to me the crankbaits are working better than bait."

Grand slam

Meanwhile, after a disappointing first day of 4 pounds, 13 ounces, Ranger pro Sam Anderson of Inver Grove Heights, Minn., swung for the fences and slugged a grand slam - 22 pounds, 2 ounces, the biggest bag of the day, with just three fish. Anderson concentrated on key rocks, casting crankbaits there after abandoning the backwaters that failed to deliver a day earlier.

"The fish are there and have been there," Anderson says. "Getting them to hit is a matter of patience."

After getting a 5-pounder right off the bat, Anderson left for a spell before returning later in the afternoon, stroking two fish, one of them a 29-incher.

"I decided I needed big fish," Anderson says. "Small fish weren't going to make the cut."

The big fish not only made the cut for Anderson's co-angler, Richard Volkman of St. Paul, Minn., but also propelled him into first with 31 pounds, 11 ounces. Volkman, an electrician by trade, out of necessity is cutting work on Thursday.

"Tomorrow the boys at work are going to wonder why I'm not there," Volkman says.

Two straight days vs. two big day-two zeros

Finishing in fourth place after day two was an angler without the drastic highs and lows, jigging maestro Mike Lacher of Bismarck, N.D., a proficient river fisherman who put together two straight days of limits: 11 pounds, 1 ounce and 15 pounds, 2 ounces.

"I was done yesterday at 11:30 because I didn't want to burn the fish," Lacher says. "Today, within seven minutes, I had a 7-pounder in the boat. Eight minutes later we had two in the boat. Then we went two hours without a bite."

Lacher jigged with patience and precision to come up with consistency in a treacherous bite, watching fish on his electronics in 17 feet of water he couldn't get to bite - but he knew they would if he could do it right and got some wind to compensate for the lack of current.

"With all the cold fronts coming through, the fish want the jig moving slow," Lacher says. "What gets the spot going is that I have to have wind to create some current. Without current, I'm looking for the wind to come up and move some water. That seems to be the key."

So, too, is Lacher's deft and dexterous jigging, which impressed his second-day co-angler, John Tennessen of Monticello, Minn., who netted Lacher's fish instead of catching any of his own.

"He is a great finesse jigger," Tennessen says. "He's hot. He told me the whole program and what he was doing. He said, `I jig fish, and that's it.'"

Despite second-day zeros, Douglas Vandersteen of Lundar, Manitoba, and Steve Lamb of Nashville, Tenn., made the cut by dint of their first-day performances - 22 pounds, 6 ounces and sixth place for Vandersteen; 19 pounds, 1 ounce and 12th place for Lamb.

Now, in a change from the first two days, all of the top 12 will need a measure of consistency to fish again in the finals, which, of course, is easier said than done when the Mississippi so often foils best-laid plans.

Thursday's takeoff starts at 7 a.m. Central time at Treasure Island Resort & Casino.

Click here for a preview of day three.

Day-two links:

Photos
Pro results
Co-angler results
Day-three pairings
'Quick Bites: RCL Championship, Day 2'
Press release

Tags: dave-scroppo  headline-story  2003-10-01-mississippi-river 

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