UPCOMING EVENT: TOYOTA SERIES - 2020 - Lake Norman

Byle busts loose

Byle busts loose
Pro Pat Byle and co-angler Pete Stasney caught five walleyes Thursday weighing 19 pounds, 13 ounces.

ESCANABA, Mich. - Pat Byle has been walleye fishing for the better part of three decades, and he considers Bays de Noc his favorite place to wet a line. That's somewhat odd considering four dozen pros zeroed on the same body of water Thursday. While most of the anglers are struggling, Byle continues to put walleyes in the boat - taking the overall lead at the halfway point in the tournament.

As expected, day two of the final Wal-Mart FLW Walleye Tour qualifier saw a change in wind from north to south. But the winds were light in the morning and early afternoon. This helped some anglers and hurt others. But one thing is clear - the bite is steadily improving and day three promises to be a shootout.

Bucking the trend, the fishing was actually tougher for Byle today than yesterday. On day one, he caught a total of nine walleyes and today he barely squeaked in with five. His weights were consistent however - 20 pounds, 1 ounce Wednesday and 19 pounds, 13 ounces on day two. In a tournament where only 11 total limits have been registered, Byle has accounted for two of them.

"This is my favorite place to fish," said Byle, who won an MWC event on Bays de Noc in 1995. "I love the country up here - the water is beautiful and clear. I've been coming here since the late-80s and early-90s."

Byle took fifth at the Walleye Tour event here last year by trolling spinners near Chamber's Island. This year he says he is fishing both different areas and different patterns.

"The program has some subtle differences. Today we covered 54 miles of water and spent some time in both Big Bay and Little Bay. I got fortunate. When I realized the fish had moved I went looking and luckily found a few schools."

Byle's biggest fish today was only 25 inches in length.

"In prefishing I was getting a lot of 7- and 8-pounders, but I have yet to connect in the tournament. Considering I never got a big bite, I'm real happy with 20 pounds."

Schilling slips to second

G3 pro Chad Schilling slipped from first to second place after catching four walleyes weighing 15 G3 pro Chad Schilling and co-angler Cal Van Cleve bring their fish to the bump tanks.pounds, 1 ounce. His total weight now stands at 37 pounds, 5 ounces - 2 pounds, 9 ounces behind Byle.

Schilling started day two in the same area he fished yesterday. He quickly picked up two fish, but then the bite slowed. With an hour left, he picked up two more fish and that was all he could muster. He did catch an additional 24-inch fish, but tournament rules call for only two fish over 23 inches so it had to go back.

"I had a tough day," said the Akaska, S.D., guide. "I figure I'm going to have a bad day each tournament and I came away from this one unscathed."

Schilling says the wind was starting to pick up just as it was time to go in.

"If I had another half hour I would have at least another 4 or 5 pounds. I was in the wrong flight."

With higher winds in the forecast tomorrow, Schilling thinks he has the potential for a banner day.

"I had a good day on day one, not a great day. Tomorrow will be a great day. Today I just dodged a bullet. I'm very satisfied with having an off day and still being in the hunt."

Dr. Vanderweide up to third

Grand Rapids, Mich., dentist Dr. Joshua Vanderweide had another successful day hog hunting on Bays Josh Vanderweide used these two hogs to move up to third place on the pro side.de Noc. After catching three fish for 16-10 on day one, Vanderweide caught three more pigs that weighed 20 pounds, 7 ounces. His two-day total weight is 37 pounds, 1 ounce - a very impressive number for only six walleyes. Each of his two overs on day two weighed nearly 9 pounds.

Vanderweide will be one to watch as the tournament unfolds. He is sharing water with his father, Thomas, who caught 19-14 on the second day. Other than that, they are all by their lonesome.

"The last couple of days it's been tough for the slots," said the third-place pro. "It's all about the big fish. We had another 23 1/2 today that we barely had to let go."

Vanderweide and his co-angler partner, Rick Stoegbauer, wasted little time getting going this morning. As soon as they dropped their boards in the water they were hooked up.

"The first board went out and my partner says he's got one. We reeled it in and it was a 25-incher. We didn't end up keeping it but talk about a good way to start the day."

Papineau rises to fourth

Leading the local contingent is fourth-place pro Kim Papineau. After catching only 11 pounds, 2 ounces Pro Kim Papineau is in fourth place after two days of competition.on day one, Papineau responded today with the heaviest limit of the tournament - a five-fish catch weighing 23 pounds, 11 ounces. With one day left in the opening round, the Escanaba, Mich., native has a total weight of 34 pounds, 13 ounces.

"Those are the fish we've been catching in prefishing," said the man commonly referred to as Chief. "The south wind makes a big difference."

Papineau's day could have been a lot worse. With four fish in the livewell, he decided it was time to head back. Then he saw two boards go back simultaneously.

"We reeled them both in, threw one in the box and made it in with five minutes to spare. What a way to end the day."

Keenan fifth

In fifth place was Chevy pro Tom Keenan of Hatley, Wis., who brought in five walleyes on day two that Chevy pro Tom Keenan caught a 12-pound limit and slipped to fifth.weighed 12 pounds, 14 ounces and pushed his total weight to 33 pounds, 6 ounces. Despite catching consecutive limits, Keenan isn't exactly satisfied with his performance thus far.

"We had an OK day but I would like to team up with some of the guys who are on big fish," said Keenan, who is working Little Bay and Minneapolis Shoals. "I can catch slots, but I've been terrible with big fish."

Keenan had boxed two 20-inchers within the first hour of the day and then targeted big fish for nearly three hours. It proved fruitless and he had to scramble back and catch three more slots within the last hour and a half.

"I know where they're catching them and I've been out there but I can't get a big bite. It is coming; the fish are going to start biting. That wind is just a must. I need one good bite tomorrow to go with the slots."

Rest of the best

Rounding out the top 10 pros on day two at Bays de Noc:

6th: Pete Harsh of Sauk Centre, Minn., 32-13 (unofficial AOY leader)
7th: Nick Heelein of Genoa City, Wis., 28-13
8th: Lynn Hanisko of Escanaba, Mich., 28-9
9th: Jesse Buechel of Fond du Lac, Wis., 27-9
10th: Mark Courts of Harris, Minn., 25-4

Miller moves to the front

In the Co-angler Division, Jerry Miller of Lowell, Ind., took the lead with a two-day total weight of 39 Pro Thomas Vanderweide and co-angler Jerry Miller caught a 19-pound, 4-ounce limit on day two. pounds, 15 ounces. On day one Miller was paired with Heelein and the two caught five walleyes weighing 20 pounds, 11 ounces. On day two, Miller fished with the elder Vanderweide and the two combined for five walleyes weighing 19 pounds, 4 ounces.

"That's really good," said Miller, a second-year co-angler who has never led a tournament before. "I've got to thank my partner - he knew exactly where to fish. I guess it was the Tom and Jerry show out there today. We really had a good time. Now I'm nervous for the next two days. I've tried to not be so nervous but there's no way you can't be."

Rounding out the top five co-anglers on day two at Bays de Noc:

2nd: Kim Knudson of Glendive, Mont., two-day total of 36-6
3rd: Heath Fremstad of Mondovi, Wis., 32-7
4th: Pete Stasney of New Prague, Minn., 31-5
5th: Fred Gordon of Willmar, Minn., 31-2

Day three of FLW Walleye Tour competition on Bays de Noc begins as the field of 124 boats takes off from Escanaba Harbor at 7 a.m. Eastern time Friday for the final day of the opening round.

Tags: brett-carlson  headline-story  2008-07-23-bays-de-noc 

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