UPCOMING EVENT: TOYOTA SERIES - 2020 - Lake Eufaula

Ryan rises above

Ryan rises above
Pro Jeff Ryan (left) of Lake View, Iowa, and co-angler Jeff Jandl of Minnesota City, Minn., grabbed a decisive lead on day one of the Wal-Mart FLW Walleye Tour Championship with a five-walleye limit weighing 16 pounds, 9 ounces.

MOLIINE, Ill. - Day one of the Wal-Mart FLW Walleye Tour Championship came full circle as competition began under warm sunshine and ended with high winds and hammering rain. Those who were able to finagle a few walleyes likely did so in the early morning before the violent weather completely shut down the bite. Only 81 walleyes were brought to the scale Wednesday, and five of those were caught by day-one leader Jeff Ryan.

Ryan was one of the few competitors who had a successful practice, and his noticeable confidence carried over to day one. Even so, he was still somewhat surprised with his stellar performance.

"I caught more fish today than I did in prefishing," said the first-year pro. "We had three real nice ones, and we culled three others."

Ryan's impressive limit weighed 16 pounds, 9 ounces, giving him an unthinkable 5-pound, 10-ounce lead heading into day two. The Lake View, Iowa, native was understandably quiet about his presentation, allowing only that he is fishing shallow water and keying on wing dams.

"A lot of our fish came early this morning. It slowed after that, and I think part of it was weather," he said. "We had a couple other boats in our area, but I think my presentation is a little different than the others. I had a boat move me off, but I'm letting the tournament officials handle it."

Fluekiger, Stier tied for second

Tied for second place was Alma, Wis., pro Jarrad Fluekiger and Pierre, S.D., resident Dan Stier. While each of the anglers weighed in 10 pounds, 15 ounces, Fluekiger did so while boating only four fish compared to Stier's five.

"We fished wing dams on Pool 14 with live bait," said Fluekiger. "We had our four fish in the boat by 10:30 a.m."

Stier employed entirely different tactics than Fluekiger yet wound up with the same weight. The South Dakota angling veteran said he was trolling crankbaits with leadcore line in Pool 16. He caught 15 fish total, six of which were keepers. Of his five-fish limit, two were walleyes and three were saugers.

"There is a secondary current coming in, meaning they have twice as much bait in one area," Stier said. "There were about 10 of us in there today. Depending on the pressure, they should hold up and replenish themselves. Tomorrow is going to be a tougher day, especially in the morning. The first day of a cold front is usually the toughest."

Olson fourth

In fourth place was Rick Olson, who brought in five walleyes that weighed 9 pounds, 1 ounce. Olson, peculiarly disappointed with his performance, said he trolled Shad Raps to tempt his fish.

"I only fished for about three hours," said the Mina, S.D., pro. "I've been catching fish consistently in practice, and I'm surprised it wasn't better. In practice, for every two fish I'd catch, I would get one good one. I didn't even get one good one today. There's a lot of nice fish in the system."

About the prospects for day two, Olson said, "I still think 15 or 16 pounds will be needed to make the cut. But I don't know about this weather."

Goligowksi takes fifth

Pro Kevin Goligowski of Maplewood, Minn., weighs in a walleye for the big-fish award. He placed fifth Wednesday with a two-walleye weight of 8 pounds, 5 ounces.Maplewood, Minn., native Kevin Goligowksi finished the day in fifth place with two burly walleyes that weighed 8 pounds, 5 ounces.

Rest of the best

Rounding out the top 10 pros on day one on the Mississippi River:

6th: Ross Grothe of Northfield, Minn., four walleyes, 7-10
7th: Aaron McQuoid of Isle, Minn., four walleyes, 7-9
8th: Scott Fairbairn of Hager City, Wis., three walleyes, 7-0
9th: Danny Plautz of Muskego, Wis., four walleyes, 6-6
10th: Kevin McQuoid of Isle, Minn., three walleyes, 6-3

Jeff and Jeff hook up for first

On the co-angler side, Jeff Jandl partnered with pro leader Jeff Ryan and caught 16 pounds, 9 ounces on day one.

"I'm shaking; this feels so awesome," said the Minnesota City, Minn., angler. "I can't believe I dropped a fish on stage. It was enjoyable the first couple hours, and then the bite just shut off. I think it's going to get worse tomorrow."

Second place on the co-angler side was a tie between veteran walleye angler John Hight and Syracuse, Ind., resident Keith Strauss. Both anglers cleared 10 pounds, 15 ounces on day one.

Coincidentally, Hight was paired with pro Dan Stier, and the two Pierre, S.D., natives fished well together.

"Let's face it, I did a lot of praying and it worked," said Hight. "It's nice to have a partner from the same area, and we have contrasting styles. But we're getting a cold front coming in, and that could change everything."

Marty Barski of Crystal Lake, Ill., took fourth with five walleyes that weighed 9 pounds, 1 ounce.

Bono, Arkansas' Jimmy Cox, president of Mizmo Bait Company, finished day one in fifth with two walleyes that weighed 8 pounds, 5 ounces.

Rounding out the top 10 co-anglers on day one on the Mississippi River:

6th: Mike Zawistowski of Wonder Lake, Ill., five walleyes, 7-10
7th: Roger Hoffman of Jefferson, Iowa, four walleyes, 7-9
8th: John Solek of Indianapolis, Ind., three walleyes, 7-0
9th: Dewey Watson of Twin Falls, Idaho, four walleyes, 6-6
10th: Heath Fremstad of Mondovi, Wis., three walleyes, 6-3

Day two of the FLW Walleye Tour Championship on the Mississippi River begins as the field of 50 boats takes off from Sunset Park at 7 a.m. Central time Thursday for the final day of the opening round.

Tags: brett-carlson  headline-story  2005-09-28-mississippi-river 

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