UPCOMING EVENT: PHOENIX BASS FISHING LEAGUE - 2020 - Lake Lanier

Neu overcomes day-one wind on Lake Winnebago

Neu overcomes day-one wind on Lake Winnebago
Leading the field after day one of the Walmart FLW Walleye Tour tournament of Lake WInnebago is Pat Neu of Forestville, WIs. with 17 pounds, 9 ounces.

OSHKOSH, Wis. - Normally the wind is a walleye fisherman's friend. But when it blows at 25 mph, that friendship becomes strained.

So the wind didn't make any friends among the field of 96 pros and as many co-anglers who went forth on Lake Winnebago on day one of this Walmart FLW Walleye Tour tournament. Many teams struggled to land a decent weight. Just 40 of 96 weighed a limit, and only 10 pounds was needed to make the top 20.

Yet the weights at the top of the leaderboard are what most experts said it would take to win here. Leading the charge is Pat Neu of Forestville, Wis., with 17 pounds, 9 ounces.

Windy days aren't unusual on Winnebago. Had the wind been from the east or west, it wouldn't have been an issue. But Winnebago is shaped like an oval in a north-south alignment, and Wednesday's winds were blowing from the south, creating 3-footers on the main lake, where much of the field is fishing.

Many prefish patterns fell apart. Seldom have as many pros stepped onstage at a weigh-in andIn just his second FLW Tour event, Brian Deffner of Eland, Wis. is in second place with 16 pounds, 1 ounce. admitted they have absolutely no idea what's going on out there.

"Today was a scramble, and I'm not much of a scrambler," said Joe Okada of Fitchburg, Wis., who's 23rd with 9 pounds, 11 ounces.

"During the prefish I caught 15 pounds one day," said Kevin Larkins of Greenwood, Neb. "Today I caught 1 pound, 5 ounces." (Which left him in 92nd place.)

"It'll be a four-day tournament for sure," said Tom Keenan of Hatley, Wis., who's 12th with 11 pounds, 2 ounces.

Those comments, along with the old standby "You can't win on the first day, but you sure can lose," Rick Olson of Mina, S.D. is in third place with 15 pounds, 13 ounces.serve as a good summary of day one for most.

But not Neu. The Forestville, Wis., pro has improved his standing at each tour stop this season, going from 90th at Lake Erie to 56th at Lake Pepin to 29th at Leech Lake. Now he appears ready to make an even bigger jump. He's one of few who said he's confident his game plan will prevail over the next three days.

"It couldn't have gone any better," Neu said of his day-one outing. "I found these fish two days ago, and they were there today. Conditions are set up for some pretty good fishing over the next several days."

Neu said the mud bite isn't going and that everybody is wind-dependent. The only clue he offered as to what he's doing is when he said that normally the wind-swept shore is best, but that's not necessarily the case here.

When asked what it will take to win, Neu said, "Fifty-six pounds, plus or minus 2."

Deffner blows into second

Another angler who's mostly avoiding the wrath of the wind is Brian Deffner, who said his second-place weight of 16 pounds, 1 ounce wasn't caught in the middle of the lake, but that it was still tough fishing where he was. HeScott Steil of RIchmond, Minn. is in fifth place with 13 pounds. also said he's doing something "goofy, not traditional," but declined to elaborate.

"It's been working all week," Deffner said. "I have three or four spots and checked them all, but the only place we caught them was on our No. 1 spot."

Among the high five

Scott Steil, who's fifth with 13 pounds, said he got just six bites today, and he wasn't afraid to say how he caught them: trolling.

"I'm from Minnesota, so I'm a live-bait fisherman," Steil said. "But I've been doing this for six years, and a lot of tournaments are won by trolling. You have to be good at it."

Alone among the top five, Steil took an 8-ounce penalty for bringing a dead fish to the scales. Had that fish received its full weight, he would be in at least fourth place.

Ahead of Steil in fourth place is Tom Hoinacki of Waupun, Wis., who last fished an FLW event when the tour stopped here in 2002. Today he brought 13 pounds, 3 ounces to the scales.

Some unexpected sinkers

Further down in the pack, current Land O'Lakes Angler of the Year leader Ted Takasaki is 66th with 4 pounds, 14 ounces. Dan Stier, who won last month's FLW Walleye Tour event on Leech Lake, is 83rd with 2 pounds, 10 ounces. Eric Palmquist, an Oshkosh resident who lives as close to the lake as anybody in the field, is 92nd with 1 pound, 5 ounces.

It's been that kind of tournament so far.

Wednesday's top 10 pros

1. Pat Neu, Forestville, Wis., 17-9
2. Brian Deffner, Eland, Wis., 16-1
3. Rick Olson, Mina, S.D., 15-13
4. Tom Hoinacki, Waupun, Wis., 13-3
5. Scott Steil, Richmond, Minn., 13-0
6. Matthew Jacobson, Weyauwega, Wis., 12-11
7. Brad Davis, Jackson, Wis., 12-7
8. Jeff Nuechterlein, Fremont, Wis., 11-9
9. Jimmy Hughes, Oshkosh, Wis., 11-8
10. Robert Crow, Patterson, Wash., 11-5

Wednesday's top 10 co-anglers

1. James Muntean, Maplewood, Minn., 17-9
2. Del Ringling, Valley, Neb., 16-1
3. Robert Brunz, Madison Lake, Minn., 15-13
4. Bill Buboltz, Ham Lake, Minn., 13-3
5. Donald Doran, Sun Prairie, Wis., 13-0
6. Korey Sprengel, Beaver Dam, Wis., 12-11
7. Karl Sprengel, Beaver Dam, Wis., 12-7
8. Craig Cayemberg, Valders, Wis., 11-9
9. David Anderson, Sauk Rapids, Minn., 11-8
10. William Drake, Horace, N.D., 11-5

Tags: vince-meyer  headline-story  2009-07-15-lake-winnebago-oshkosh-wi 

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