UPCOMING EVENT: FLW Pro Circuit - 2020 - Sam Rayburn Reservoir

Vandemark leads Walmart FLW Walleye Tour event on Lake Erie

Vandemark leads Walmart FLW Walleye Tour event on Lake Erie
Steve Vandemark of Linwood, Mich. and his co-angler, Marty Barski of Crystal Lake, Ill., trolled their way to a leading weight of 36 pounds, 6 ounces on Day 1 of the 2009 Walmart FLW Walleye Tour season opener on Lake Erie.

PORT CLINTON, Ohio - Pro Steve Vandemark of Linwood, Mich., and co-angler Marty Barski of Crystal Lake, Ill., caught five walleyes weighing 36 pounds, 6 ounces to lead the Walmart FLW Walleye Tour season opener on Lake Erie in Port Clinton, Ohio. The pair now holds a 5-pound, 13-ounce lead over their closest rivals in the nationally televised tournament that features anglers from 25 states fishing for top awards of $100,000 in the Pro Division and $20,000 in the Co-angler Division.

The cancellation of Wednesday's competition due to high winds in the area forced many anglers to reassess their game plan in an event that would have originally been determined by the heaviest four-day catch. With one less day on the water, every ounce was critical Thursday.

"I feel really good about bringing this weight in," said Vandemark, who has amassed more than $150,000 in career earnings with FLW Outdoors. "This is Lake Erie and I really didn't think this would make the top-10. In years past 40 pounds was the mark to beat but I wasn't sure after the northeast wind. Things out on the lake are pretty stirred up."

Vandemark said the key to finding fish is locating clean water. He remained tight-lipped on the exact technique he used to catch his quality limit but did say that he was trolling.

"We almost left a spot around 10 this morning and right before we did we caught a 10-pounder," Vandemark said. "We stayed in that area the rest of the day and caught three fish within the last 45 minutes.

"I plan to go out tomorrow and head to the same spot. I think that we will see some 40-pound bags tomorrow. The fishing on Lake Erie is phenomenal and it is only going to get better over the next few days."

Rounding out the top five pros and co-anglers are Alan Szoke of Grosse Ile, Mich. and Trevor Sacksteder of Columbus, Ohio (five walleyes, 30-9); Rick Franklin of Bemidji, Minn. and Dave Holte of Rapid City, S.D. (five walleyes, 29-13); Scott Woodward of Glendive, Mont. and Kenny Henexson of Thornton, Colo. (four walleyes, 29-13); and Pat Byle of Colgate, Wis. and Chip Adams of Stafford, Va. (five walleyes, 28-3).

Pros and co-anglers are randomly paired each day and fish for a combined boat weight. Pros compete against other pros, and co-anglers compete against other co-anglers. The full field competes during the shortened two-day opening round for one of 10 final-round slots based on their two-day accumulated weight. Weights carry over to day three, with winners determined by the heaviest three-day weight.

Overall there were 282 walleyes weighing 1,371 pounds, 1 ounce caught by 104 boats Thursday. The catch included 20 five-walleye limits.

Nor' Easter Club, located at 2801 Nor' Easter Cove Rd. in Port Clinton, will host daily takeoffs each morning at 7 a.m. Friday's weigh-in will be held at Waterworks Park beginning at 4 p.m. Saturday's final weigh-in will be held at the Walmart store located at 2826 E. Harbor Rd. in Port Clinton beginning at 4 p.m. The community is invited to attend daily takeoffs and weigh-ins, which are free and open to the public.

Every angler who receives weight credit in a tournament earns points, with 150 points awarded to the winner, 149 to second, 148 for third, and so on. These points determine Land O'Lakes Angler of the Year standings. The top 50 pros and 50 co-anglers in the standings will advance to the FLW Walleye Tour Championship in Bismarck, N.D., Sept. 30-Oct. 3 for a shot at top awards of $150,000 and $20,000, respectively. The prestigious championship, hosted by the Bismarck-Mandan Convention and Visitors Bureau, will also feature boater and co-angler points champions from each of four Walmart FLW Walleye League divisions. The no-entry-fee FLW Walleye Tour Championship is the most lucrative event in professional walleye angling, with cash awards for the entire field.

Coverage of the FLW Walleye Tour, hosted by the City of Port Clinton and the Ottawa County Visitors Bureau, will be broadcast in high-definition (HD) on VERSUS, the network which brings anglers the best fishing programming on television featuring the most-trusted authorities on the water. The Emmy-nominated "FLW Outdoors," will air May 24 from 12:30 to 1:30 ET. "FLW Outdoors," hosted by Jason Harper, is broadcast to approximately 500 million households worldwide, including internationally through agreements with WFN (World Fishing Network) and Matchroom Sport to such countries as Canada, Germany, China, South Africa, Australia, Malaysia, Russia, Hungary and the United Kingdom, making it the most widely distributed weekly outdoor-sports television show in the world.

FLW Outdoors, named after Forrest L. Wood, the legendary founder of Ranger Boats, is the largest fishing tournament organization in the world. FLW Outdoors also is taking fishing mainstream with FLW Fantasy Fishing, offering the largest awards possible in the history of fantasy sports, $10 million in cash and prizes. Sign up for Player's Advantage for only $10 to get your edge and win.

For more information about FLW Outdoors and its tournaments, call (270) 252-1000. For more information about FLW Fantasy Fishing and Player's Advantage, visit FantasyFishing.com.

Tags: press-release  2009-04-15-lake-erie-port-clinton-oh 

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