UPCOMING EVENT: TOYOTA SERIES - 2020 - Lake Norman

The good doctor

The good doctor
Joshua Vanderweide leads the Pro Division with a three-day total of 63 pounds, 2 ounces.

ESCANABA, Mich. - The fishermen that wanted a walleye chop finally got their wish and then some. A wild day three at the final Wal-Mart FLW Walleye Tour qualifier ended with Pete Harsh claiming the Land O'Lakes Angler of the Year title and Josh Vanderweide on top of the leaderboard.

Not even Dramamine could save some anglers as 20-foot boats popped around Lake Michigan in 20 mph winds like ping-pong balls. After a 30-minute rain/wind/lightning delay, the day-three weigh-in finally concluded at approximately 6:30 p.m.

While the waves were rolling and the weigh-in was wet, the fishing in the morning was fantastic for Vanderweide, the pro leader. The Grand Rapids, Mich., dentist had four fish hooked up on his first pass and was completely done fishing at 9:30 a.m.

"They were right where we left them yesterday," said the 27-year-old.

Vanderweide's two overs were 30 and 28 inches in length. Even more impressive is that his unders registered 22 3/4, 22 and 21 1/2.

Pro Thomas Vanderweide holds up a Bays de Noc walleye he caught on day three."That's about a perfect day on Bays de Noc and we did it all by 9:30. I knew we weren't going to top that so we eased our way in."

Vanderweide was sharing his primary area with his father Thomas, who finished the tournament in 15th place. While the younger Vanderweide caught his first five-fish limit of the tournament today, Thomas caught 20 walleyes, but they were all overs. Per Michigan law, anglers can weigh only two fish over 23 inches.

"For me, the slots and the overs were in the same place so that makes it pretty easy," said the younger Vanderweide. "I would have liked to have dad make the top 10. With two boats out there it's easier to reconnect with the fish. Still, everything seems to be stacking up right but you never want to be too overconfident."

With only 10 boats fishing tomorrow's finals, the young pro was willing to publicly state that he is fishing Big Bay with spinners trolled at 1 mph in the bottom half of the water column.

"It's nothing special with the presentation; it's the location."

After accumulating 63 pounds, 2 ounces over three days, Vanderweide has a 5-pound lead heading into the finals.

"We actually had four on and there were other competitors driving past us to their spots. After we got those slot fish early I said to my partner that we've got a chance to have the perfect day on Bays de Noc."

Schilling retains second

Despite catching a limit weighing 20 pounds, 12 ounces, Chad Schilling simply maintained second place in the Pro Division and he even lost ground in terms of accumulated weight. His opening-round total Pro Chad Schilling and co-angler Jimmy Cox hold up their day-three catch. was 58 pounds, 1 ounce.

"Those five are all we caught today," said the Akaska, S.D., pro. "We never missed a bite. Everybody was catching fish around us, it was ridiculous."

For Schilling to overtake Vanderweide tomorrow, he said he'll need to get his slot fish quicker. He never reached his big-fish spot today because of the slow bite and because the high winds made long runs difficult.

"I'm excited to see what I can come up with tomorrow - it should be fun."

With Jimmy Cox as his co-angler partner, Schilling pulled spinners in the middle of the water column.

"When the water was deep, we slow it down and when the water is shallow we speed it up. I pulled cranks during practice and only caught sheepshead so it's been nothing but crawlers."

After randomly drawing Cox on day three, Schilling and the Bono, Ark., co-angler will be reunited on day four as the No. 2 seeds from their respective divisions.

Chief third

Kim Papineau proved once again that he knows Bays de Noc like the back of his hand. On the critical Pro Kim Papineau and co-angler James Weiss hold up their two overs from day three. third day, the local pro caught two giant overs that weighed 19 pounds, 1 ounce, bringing his total weight to 53 pounds, 14 ounces.

"I wanted 24 pounds today but we couldn't get the slots," said the Escanaba, Mich., resident. "I had a double at 9:30 this morning and then I spent the rest of the day looking for slots. It was really rough out there, we're all lucky to be in safe."

Chief Papineau said it took him nearly two hours to travel 18 miles to his slot-fish area. Once he finally arrived, there were too many boats to effectively present his baits.

"I'm trolling crankbaits at 2 mph and most people are trolling spinners at 1 mph. I just couldn't maneuver around and fish the way I wanted to. I know I'm going to do better tomorrow with fewer boats."

Keenan rises to fourth

Rising one spot to fourth was Hatley, Wis., pro Tom Keenan. After bringing in 12 pounds, 14 ounces on After three days of competition, Chevy pro Tom Keenan is in fourth place.day two, Keenan improved to 17 pounds, 8 ounces on day three. Ironically, it was the first day he didn't register a five-fish limit but he did get the big bites he was craving.

"That first over hit the floor and I almost started crying," said the Chevy pro, who finished the opening round with 50 pounds, 14 ounces. "I'm a little concerned about the conditions, the wind and rain pushed the algae into my water. I'm going to have to find an algae-free spot."

Tomorrow Keenan gets to fish with fourth-place co-angler Heath Fremstad, his travel partner and good friend.

"Tomorrow I think I'm fishing for third but that's OK."

Byle fifth

Falling to fifth place was day-two leader Pat Byle, who managed only a single walleye weighing 4 pounds, 10 ounces. Byle's three-day total was 44 pounds, 8 ounces.

"We had six bites but just couldn't them in the boat," said the Colgate, Wis., pro. "We're in the right area."

Harsh claims AOY

With a second consecutive top-10 finish, Pete Harsh won the Land OEast Gull Lake, Minn., pro Ted Takasaki came guns blazing after him, but in the end it wasn't enough as Pete Harsh won the 2008 Land O'Lakes Angler of the Year award on the FLW Walleye Tour. Since Harsh made the top-10 cutoff, an official announcement will come tomorrow at the conclusion of the event.

But since Takasaki finished in 34th place and the worst Harsh can do is 10th, the race is over for practical purposes. Takasaki entered the tournament with 421 points and Harsh began with 401 points.

Rest of the best

Rounding out the top 10 pros, who will be fishing on day four at Bays de Noc:

6th: Lynn Hanisko of Escanaba, Mich., 42-5
7th: Harsh of Sauk Centre, Minn., 41-7
8th: Nick Heelein of Genoa City, Wis., 39-3
9th: John Gillman of Freeland, Mich., 38-12
10th: Rick Franklin of Bemidji, Minn., 38-5

Miller maintains large lead

Jerry Miller of Lowell, Ind., leads the Co-angler Division with 14 walleyes weighing 59 pounds even. On day three, he caught five walleyes that weighed 19 pounds, 1 ounce while fishing with Prilosec pro David Kolb.

"It's all about being a team on the water," Miller said. "I had the opportunity this week to fish with three great guys and we worked hard each day. Everybody I have drawn has known what they are doing. Pro Tony Renner and co-angler Chuck Jones caught 21 pounds, 10 ounces Friday.They've all had a great game plan and they don't waste any time.

"Words don't even describe how I feel right now. To make the cut is a dream come true."

Rounding out the top five co-anglers are Cox of Bono, Ark. (11 walleyes, 50-05), Chuck Jones of Michigan City, Ind. (eight walleyes, 44-04), Fremstad of Mondovi, Wis. (11 walleyes, 43-04) and Scott Peterson of Escanaba (10 walleyes, 42-10).

Rounding out the top 10 co-anglers, who will fish on day four at Bays de Noc:

6th: David Kerzee of Westerville, Ohio, 42-7
7th: David Lillge of Kaukauna, Wis., 42-0
8th: Dennis Buechel of Fond du Lac, Wis., 40-14
9th: Fred Gordon of Willmar, Minn., 37-3
10th: Kim Knudson of Glendive, Mont., 36-6

The final day of FLW Walleye Tour competition on Bays de Noc begins as the top 10 pros and 10 co-anglers take off from Escanaba Harbor at 6:30 a.m. Eastern time Saturday. The final weigh-in, which is free and open to the public, will take place at 4:30 p.m. at the Wal-Mart store located at 601 North Lincoln Road in Escanaba.

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

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