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

Status quo doesn't hold at Lake Winnebago

Status quo doesn't hold at Lake Winnebago
The heaviest day two bag at the Walmart FLW Walleye Tour tournament on Lake Winnebago was weighed by Tom Brunz of Madison Lake, Minn. at 15 pounds, 8 ounces.

OSHKOSH, Wis. - Thursday's walleye fishing lesson, brought to you on day two of the Walmart FLW Walleye Tour tournament on Lake Winnebago: Never take anything for granted.

Pat Neu won't. The day-one leader is seventh after day two. Scott Steil fell from fifth to 38th and Matthew Jacobson from sixth to 45th.

Meet the new leader: Nuechterlein

Jeff Nuechterlein, who started day two in eighth place, is now in first. The Fremont, Wis., pro did it with a day-two weight of 14 pounds, 15 ounces, the second-heaviest sack of the day, and now has 26 pounds, 8 ounces total. Tom Brunz of Madison Lake, Minn., jumped from 50th to ninth with a box weighing 15 pounds, 8 ounces, the heaviest of the day among all anglers.

To make sure we didn't completely lose our bearings, James Muntean of Maplewood, Minn., has held on to the lead in the Co-angler Division with a two-day weight of 28 pounds, which is 1 pound, 8 ounces heavier than the leading weight in the Pro Division.

There was significant movement all across the board on day two, as another windy day had pros and co-anglers alike doing the Lake Winnebago shuffle. Nobody's spot is dialed in. Just 53 of 105 boats brought a five-fish limit to the scales. Everybody's running everywhere, despite a chop that has loosened the screws on more than one boat. After two days of this, everyone hopes that day three brings calmer weather.

The top four spots in the Pro Division all are held by anglers who call Winnebago home water. In addition to Nuechterlein, who lives 20 minutes away, there's Jimmy Hughes of Oshkosh in second with Jimmy Hughes of Oskosh, Wis. moved into second place on day two with a five-fish limit weighing 14 pounds, 11 ounces, bringing his two-day total to 26 pounds, 3 ounces.26 pounds, 3 ounces, Tom Hoinacki of Waupun in third with 26 pounds, 2 ounces and Brian Deffner of Eland in fourth with 25 pounds. It's evident the locals have pulled down the brims of their caps and gone to work.

"This is Winnebago; there's always waves out there," said Nuechterlein, who's fishing his first tour event. "I put out the drift socks, got my speed where I wanted it and plugged away."

Nuechterlein said he didn't have a fish until 10 a.m. He moved to a spot where, during practice, he had found a few nice fish. They were there again today. He caught seven, including a 26-incher that ranks with the biggest walleyes caught so far.

"It almost swam into the drift sock twice," said Nuechterlien, who, like many in the field, is trolling. "My co-angler did a nice job of dunking his rod under the water to keep the fish under the sock."

The 36-year-old pro won a Walmart FLW Walleye League tournament on Winnebago as a co-angler in 2005. Friday he'll be shooting for a top-10 berth and a chance to add a title as a pro.

"It can be done," Nuechterlein said. "The wind will be right for the area I'm fishing."

Hughes takes over second

When asked who is the favorite to win this tournament, Nuechterlein said, "Jimmy Hughes, no doubt. It would almost be a bigger thrill for me to say I beat Jimmy Hughes than to say I won a FLW tournament."

That's the respect Hughes has among his peers in the Fox River Valley, where you can't swing a 3-foot jig stick without hitting a good angler.

Last year's overall Walleye League champion started the tournament with a box weighing 11 pounds, 8 ounces, good for ninth place. Thursday he added 14 pounds, 11 ounces and moved from ninth to second with a two-day total of 26 pounds, 3 ounces.

"If I can somehow manage to squeeze out a limit tomorrow," Hughes said, "I'm so looking forward to fishing against the top 10. It's taken me a while to learn how to win. I've got so many second-place plaques it makes me sick. That league win taught me how to win. Hopefully I can make it happen here."

Hughes said he isn't concerned if others are doing well or struggling, he just concentrates on his own game. Thus he didn't know that most other pros fared poorly today.

Hoinacki holds his own in third

Another local pro who doesn't need an introduction is Tom Hoinacki, who has fished the Walleye League since its inception and who's had good success in local tournaments. Thursday he moved from fourth to third with a bag weighing 12 pounds, 15 ounces. With a two-day weight of 26 pounds, 2 ounces, he appears to have a strategy that will serve to the end.

"But how do you know?" said Hoinacki, perhaps out of caution not to jinx himself. "Today I had to find different spots. I didn't have a fish until 11, so I'm glad I caught what I did."

Deffner clings to fourth despite a tough day

Among the top 10, Brian Deffner had one of the toughest days, bringing 8 pounds, 15 ounces to the scales. But he dropped only two places from day one and appears to be in good shape to make the top 10.A good crowd turned out at Pioneer Point Marina to watch the day two weigh-in. All weigh-ins are free to the public.

"My No. 1 spot didn't go at all," Deffner said. "Yesterday we had all our fish by 9:30. Today I was still without a fish at 10:30. But I have a good plan for tomorrow."

His two-day combined weight is 25 pounds.

Fifth-place Olson struggles

On day one Rick Olson had five fish in the box by 8:30 a.m. On Thursday he didn't have five until 2 p.m.

"It was tough," he said. "We had to move around a lot. But I expected to have a day like this. Hopefully, tomorrow I'll get a kicker."

Olson said he "toured the lake" Thursday, running as far upriver as Poygan and Butte des Mortes lakes, where he caught some 18-inchers. He said he saw just two other tournament boats in those lakes.

Best of the rest

6. Robert Crow, Patterson, Wash., 24-11
7. Patrick Neu, Forestville, Wis., 24-3
8. Bill Shimota, Lonsdale, Minn., 23-7
9. Tom Brunz, Madison Lake, Minn., 22-8
10. Kevin McQuoid, Isle, Minn., 22-1

Top 10 co-anglers

1. James Muntean, Maplewood, Minn., 28-0
2. Del Ringling, Valley, Neb., 27-7
3. Donald Doran, Sun Prairie, Wis., 25-14
4. David Anderson, Sauk Rapids, Minn., 25-2
5. Robert Brunz, Madison Lake, Minn., 25-1
6. Richard Dobbs, Woodridge, Ill., 23-5
7. Korey Sprengel, Beaver Dam, Wis., 22-12
8. Don Cozzie, Orland Park, Ill., 22-10
9. Larry Oleson, Wisconsin Rapids, Wis., 22-9
10. Justin Steinke, Birnamwood, Wis., 22-5

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

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