UPCOMING EVENT: TOYOTA SERIES - 2020 - Lake Norman

Harsh hones in on AOY

Harsh hones in on AOY
Day three of the final Walleye Tour qualifier began under cloudy skies.

ESCANABA, Mich. - It has been a long and trying season for veteran walleye pro Pete Harsh. He's battled mechanical issues and Lyme's disease but has persevered and is one step away from claiming the Land O'Lakes Angler of the Year title on the Wal-Mart FLW Walleye Tour.

Harsh entered the tournament in fourth place in the AOY race with 401 points. But the Sauk Centre, Minn., pro wasn't exactly oozing with confidence after catching a single walleye in three competition days on Bays de Noc last year. But this year is a different story. After catching 15 pounds, 12 ounces on day one, Harsh improved his catch to 17-1 on day two.

"I've just got to keep getting my two overs," said Mr. Tiller. "If AOY happens I'll take it. It's been a long season. We've had equipment malfunctions and days that didn't go so well, but here we are. Somebody is going to have to beat me to get it because I'm planning on bringing in two today."

Harsh thought he only had two keepers yesterday when it was time to head back. When he reeled in his boards he discovered he'd been dragging a pound and a half walleye.

Ted Takasaki needs a big day three to claim the Angler of the Year title."We were dragging that fish for who knows how long. We only got three bites yesterday and we were happy to get them. People think I'm an expert at this, but the difference between being an expert and an idiot out here is two bites."

The two anglers with the best shot at catching Harsh are Ted Takasaki and Scott Steil. Takasaki has a 20-point lead on Harsh, but he currently sits in 64th place with 9 pounds, 6 ounces. Steil has a 1-point lead on Harsh and is in 53rd place. It would take at least a 20-pound day but Steil is still mathematically alive.

"I think I need 17-20 pounds today and it's definitely doable," said Takasaki. "I'm fishing close to where Pat Byle is and that tells you about the quality of fish I'm around. The only thing I'm worried about is if today is a really good day for everyone. I screwed up going real conservative the first day but I'll get them today."

Outside of AOY, the story of the week might be pro Jeff Edwards, who didn't fish on day one because he needed to attend the funeral of his grandfather, who passed away July 18. With no sleep and no practice, Edwards caught three giant walleyes on day two that weighed 16 pounds, 10 ounces. Despite missing one of the two competition days, the Shoreview, Minn., pro is in 30th place.

Edwards came into the final qualifier 57th in the points race. If he puts another fish in the livewell today, Pro Jeff Edwards and co-angler Larry Behsman are ready for another day of competition on Bays de Noc.he'll likely be heading to Bismarck, N.D., for the no-entry-fee Walleye Tour Championship on the Missouri River.

"Myself and the rest of the family were shocked to see him at the funeral," said Edwards' cousin Jon Ballard. "What a selfless act by a quality young man."

The day-three weigh-in begins Friday at 3 p.m. Eastern time, when the field returns to Escanaba Harbor. Today's weigh-in marks the last chance for many anglers to qualify for the year-end championship.

Friday's conditions

Sunrise: 6:24 a.m.
Temperature at takeoff: 65 degrees
Expected high temperature: 80 degrees
Water temperature: 68-73 degrees
Wind: SSW at 13 mph
Maximum humidity: 71 percent
Day's outlook: scattered thunderstorms

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

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