UPCOMING EVENT: PHOENIX BASS FISHING LEAGUE - 2020 - Sam Rayburn Reservoir

Przeku‘rat’ leads the charge

Przeku‘rat’ leads the charge
Jason Przekurat and Kenneth Brenner caught a five-walleye limit weighing 23-12.

RED WING, Minn. - Weather-wise, day one of the Wal-Mart FLW Walleye Tour event on the Mississippi River was absolutely perfect. With a high temperature of 70 degrees and just a slight breeze, anglers were fishing in comfort. Basically, it was a complete 180 from the season-opening qualifier in Detroit.

Not only was the weather better, the fishing was also much improved from practice. Just ask pro Jason Przekurat how good the bite was. He had seven fish in the box at 9 a.m. and spent the rest of the day defending his spot and enjoying the beautiful weather. Although Przekurat isn't technically a local river rat, he fished like one today, weighing a 23-pound, 12-ounce limit. Once you get past the very top of the leaderboard, traditional river rats such as Scott Allar, Nick Johnson and Scott Fairbairn take over with weights in the high teens.

2003 AOY in control

Przekurat, the BP-sponsored pro, drew boat No. 5 this morning, meaning no one would beat him and his Ranger-Evinrude to his best spot.

"What a morning," said the Stevens Point, Wis., native. "We were done fishing at 9 a.m. Believe it or not, we actually kept a few shorter fish that we shouldn't have."

BP pro Jason Przekurat holds up his two biggest walleyes from day one on the Mississippi River.When the pro leader refers to shorter fish, he refers to a 17-incher and a 21-incher. Most of the 150 pros competing in this tournament would beg for those two "shorter" fish. The five he weighed were all in the 4- to 6-pound range.

Przekurat said his day-one honeyhole is tiny. Because of that, he wouldn't divulge any specifics about his location or presentation, other than that he is fishing with live bait.

"All I can tell you is that it's a small spot adjacent to a backwater lake that is filtering into the river system.

"I knew the potential of this spot. But you always wonder when the tournament comes around if it's going to be one of those here-yesterday-gone-tomorrow deals."

After finishing 13th at the Detroit River, Przekurat is already thinking about another Land O'Lakes Angler of the Year title. Last season, he narrowly missed becoming the first Walleye Tour pro to own two AOY titles.

"I'm absolutely thinking about Angler of the Year. I'm always thinking about Angler of the Year. But there's a time when you have to gamble. I'm gambling this tournament to win. If I get two bites in there tomorrow, I'll stay there all day."

That's a gutsy decision because the fish, especially the larger females, are moving every day. Przekurat is sharing his water with pro Nate Provost, who caught 17 pounds, 11 ounces for seventh. Although both anglers caught hefty weights, Przekurat said there is no room for any additional boats.

"I just hope I get the professional courtesy that Jeff Ryan received last year."

Kjelden back in second

Pro Dustin Kjelden and co-angler Darrell Archey finished the day second in their respective divisions.Pro Dustin Kjelden quickly returned to his familiar second-place spot. Just three weeks ago he finished second at the season-opening Detroit River event, narrowly missing his second Walleye Tour win. Today he caught a five-walleye limit weighing 20 pounds, 13 ounces.

"I'm having a little bit of a lucky streak and I just hope it continues," said the Brookings, S.D., native. "Everything went according to plan. And believe me, its not often that everything goes to plan."

Although anglers are allowed to keep seven fish and weigh their best five with no culling, Kjelden never put his seventh fish in the box. That would be surprising for most, but not for the BFGoodrich Tires pro, a notoriously dicey fisherman.

He caught his fish today in Pool 4 by trolling leadcore line with crankbaits. As the female walleyes migrate, Kjelden is trying to intercept them en route. Today he had his entire area to himself.

"I am worried about my fish moving on me, though. I have a few areas where females are holding, but they're just constantly moving."

If he executes for two more days, this could be Kjelden's third consecutive top-10 finish. Before finishing second at Detroit, he placed seventh at the 2006 FLW Walleye Tour Championship.

"I'm just hoping to bring in 13, 14 pounds a day from here on out."

Schoenecker stays hot

Ken Schoenecker is third with five walleyes that weighed 19 pounds, 5 ounces.In third place is Nabob, Wis., native Ken Schoenecker, who caught five walleyes that weighed in at 19 pounds, 5 ounces. Like Kjelden, Schoenecker could possibly qualify for his third consecutive regular-season top-10 finish. Unlike Kjelden, Schoenecker stubbed his toe at the 2006 championship, which is why it would be a regular-season streak. The third-place pro took seventh on the Detroit River and third last year at Green Bay.

"At 1:24 p.m. we put our seventh fish in the box," he said. "We made all the right decisions about what to keep."

Schoenecker left his first area in Pool 4 this morning with five keepers in the box. With two slots left for upgrading, he went hog hunting and successfully upgraded. His presentation consists of pulling four lines of crankbaits on leadcore.

"I feel like I can come in with five fish again tomorrow."

Burns fourth

Pro Chris Burns and co-angler John Parker show off their big fish from day one. Finishing the day in fourth place, Chris Burns boated five walleyes that weighed 18 pounds, 11 ounces. This is only Burns' second Walleye Tour event of his young career.

"We hit it hard, we hit it early, and we were done fishing by 1 p.m.," said the Davenport, Iowa, pro.

Crow fifth with four pigs

Pro Robert Crow and co-angler Sally Blain hold up their walleyes from day one.Robert Crow of Patterson, Wash., brought in a sack weighing 18 pounds, 1 ounce, which was good enough for fifth place in the Pro Division. Amazingly, Crow achieved that catch with only four walleyes.

Rest of the best

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

6th: Gregory Yarbrough of Port Clinton, Ohio, five walleyes, 18-0
7th: Provost of Green Bay, Wis., five walleyes, 17-11
8th: Kurt Turner of Kasson, Minn., five walleyes, 17-9
9th: Greg Schenecker of Watertown, S.D., five walleyes, 16-5
10th: Nick Johnson of Elmwood, Wis., five walleyes, 16-4

Brenner reunites with Przekurat

In the first tournament of his Walleye Tour career, co-angler Kenny Brenner was paired with Przekurat, one of the most talented pros in the business. That event was held back in 2004 on the Illinois River. Brenner finished 25th in his division, but more importantly, his fire for competitive walleye angling was lit.

Since then, Brenner has been a mainstay on the Walleye Tour, fishing a total of 14 tournaments. Last weekend at the Walleye League event, he dabbled on the boater side for the first time in his career. The Moline, Ill., native finished in fourth place, earning a check for $2,050.

He returned to the Co-angler Division this weekend and reunited with Przekurat.

"The lord was shining on me today," said Brenner. "I have never been leading one of these before. I have a couple of top-10s, but this is great to have the lead. Today was great. We caught just what we needed.

"My pro tomorrow says that he is on fish. I am staying hopeful, and I am going to give it my all and see what happens."

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

2nd: Darrell Archey of Great Falls, Mont., five walleyes, 20-13
3rd: Kevin Bruer of Robbinsdale, Minn., five walleyes, 19-5
4th: John Parker of Kingsley, Mich., five walleyes, 18-11
5th: Sally Blain of Hopkins, Mich., four walleyes, 18-1

Day two of FLW Walleye Tour competition on the Mississippi River begins as the field of 150 boats takes off from Bay Point Marina in Red Wing at 7 a.m. Central time Thursday for the second day of the opening round.

Tags: brett-carlson  headline-story  2007-05-02-mississippi-river 

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