UPCOMING EVENT: TOYOTA SERIES - 2020 - Dale Hollow Lake

McQuoid finds second home on Lake Winnebago

McQuoid finds second home on Lake Winnebago
Kevin McQuoid (left) picked up his second career FLW Walleye Tour with an impressive come-from-behing victory on day four. His first tour win came on Devils Lake in 2001.

OSHKOSH, Wis. - If Lake Winnebago has a mirror image in Minnesota, it's Lake Mille Lacs. Both are roughly the same size, have near-shore rock reefs, mud flats in the middle and sand flats on the north shore.

So perhaps it's no surprise that the winner of the 2009 Walmart FLW Walleye Tour tournament on Lake Winnebago is a pro who learned how to fish walleyes on Mille Lacs.

Kevin McQuoid, whose family operated a resort on Mille Lacs for many years, brought 50 pounds, 5 ounces of Winnebago walleyes to the scales over four days to win the fourth and final qualifying tournament of the '09 season and a check for $70,667. He did it by putting to good use the knowledge he accumulated on Mille Lacs since he was a boy.

"The nice thing about both lakes," McQuoid said, "is you can be so diverse. If you want to fish rocks, weeds or go open-water trolling with spinners or crankbaits, there are so many ways to fish them. Working to your strengths is the key."

McQuoid's strength at this tournament was to combine trolling and casting crankbaits, specifically the No. 5 Shad Rap, which turned out to be the bait of the tournament. Everybody in the top 10 - with the exception of second-place Tom Hoinacki, who opted to troll crawler harnesses - used the No. 5 Shad Rap at some point.

McQuoid caught a bigger sack each succeeding day of the tournament with the exception of day four. He started with 10 pounds, 7 ounces on day one, had 11-10 on day two and 14-9 on day three. He went out in third place Saturday morning and leaped over Hoinacki and Jimmy Hughes with a five-fish limit weighing 13-11. Hoinacki weighed 9-5 and dropped to second while Hughes had 10-11 and fell to sixth.

"The fun thing about this one is we put a game plan together and it worked for four days," McQuoid said. "That doesn't happen too often."

That game plan consisted of trolling No. 5 Shad Raps behind planer boards on the north sand in the mornings, which accounted for one good weigh fish each day. Then McQuoid worked the west shore from the river north by casting the Rap over weedbeds in 5 to 7 feet of water. While many anglers moved deeper as the day progressed, he went shallower, working in as little as 4 feet. His best Rap colors were fire-tiger, perch, white perch, black and gold. Today perch was best, he said.

"My back is toast right now from casting those little baits as far as I could and as fast as I could," McQuoid said. "To have a good crew of co-anglers who could stand in the back of the boat and do the same thing, well, that really played a big part in this win."

Key to his presentation was the precise speed of the retrieve so the baits wouldn't dive too deep. Even so, after every half-dozen casts he had to clean his hooks of weeds. To try long-lining over those same beds would have led to too many snarled lures.

This is McQuoid's second career victory on the FLW Walleye Tour. He prevailed on Devils Lake in 2001 and has four top-10s. He finished the season 28th in the overall points standings and will be among the field of 54 anglers who will travel to the Missouri River in North Dakota for the FLW Walleye Tour Championship in September.

"I really wanted to get that second win," he said. "I dropped two fish this morning, and I was worried. They were both good ones. But it turned out perfect."

McQuoid might have caught more fish over the course of the tournament than any other angler. Except for day one, he said he caught about 15 fish every day. Many pros didn't catch that many over the entire tournament.

"Funny thing is I've always struggled on this lake," he said. "It's really kicked my butt. This year I took a different approach. I got beat on the mud so many times it was time to get away from it. So this year I went to casting crankbaits over the tops of weeds, just the way I like to fish."

Playing to your strengths is possible on Lake Winnebago, and McQuoid played this tournament very well.

Hoinacki settles for second

To go out with less than a 2-pound lead in any tournament is risky. Yet when Tom Hoinacki stepped onstage for the final weigh-in, he needed 10 pounds, 12 ounces to overtake McQuoid. That seemed veryTom Hoinacki of Waupun, Wis. went out as the day four leader but ended up second. possible, for the Waupun, Wis., pro had weighed bags right around 13 pounds over the first three days.

But rare is the pro who doesn't have one off day in a four-day tournament, and today was Hoinacki's off day. He brought 9 pounds, 5 ounces to the scales, his lowest weight of the event.

"We just couldn't get those 20-inchers today like we have all week," said Hoinacki, who, without contingency money, took home a check for $14,133. "But, hey, I just took second."

Hoinacki's best technique was to pull spinner rigs in shallow water. He was the only pro among the top 10 who didn't use the No. 5 Shad Rap.

Olson knocks on the door once again

One gets the impression that, had there been a fifth day in this tournament, Rick Olson might be driving home with the first-place trophy on the passenger seat of his truck.

Rick Olson finished third with 48 pounds, 7 ounces.The Mina, S.D., pro weighed the heaviest bag of day four - 13 pounds, 13 ounces - and moved from sixth place to third place, earning a check for $14,486. He had the third-heaviest box on day one at 15-13. His slip-up came on day two, when he weighed just 8-14. He finished with 48 pounds, 7 ounces.

Olson covered a lot of water, catching fish as deep as 20 feet and as shallow as 2 feet. All of his big fish came from a featureless mud flat about 50 yards in circumference.

"I don't know why they're holding there, but every time I went through my board went back, and often it was a good one," Olson said.

His best bait was the No. 5 Shad Rap in either purple, pink-and-white or blue-and-white. He caught the big walleye of the tournament, a 28-incher on day one. He finished the regular season 15th overall in the points standings.

Davis has his best tournament

Brad Davis has fished 11 FLW Walleye Tour events since 2005, and this was his best tournament so far. He used 47 pounds, 13 ounces of walleyes to take home a check for $9,187.

Davis got off to a great start today, boating three nice fish in the first 25 minutes. He added a 20-incher minutes later. It was 10 a.m.

"I'm thinking, `Yes, c'mon,'" Davis said. "We had four more hours to get that last nice weigh fish, and I'll be darned if we didn't get another decent bite the rest of the day."

Early in the day Davis released a walleye he thought was too small. He ended up weighing just four fish and is one of four pros in the top 10 who didn't weigh a limit each day. He figures he gave up about 1 1/2 pounds by releasing that fish.

"We were going for the win, and it didn't work out," he said. "Had we kept that fish, it would have been a little closer. But it wasn't enough to win, and I'm happy with this finish."

Davis' best bait was a Little Ripper in fried-chicken color. He finishes the regular season 17th in the overall points standings.

Gilman more than satisfied with fifth

If ever there was a pro who was more than happy to take fifth in a tournament, it's Chris Gilman. It was icing on the cake after he wrapped up the 2009 Land O'Lakes Angler of the Year title on the FLW Walleye Tour the day before.

Today Gilman pulled 12 pounds, 5 ounces, bringing his four-day weight to 47 pounds, 3 ounces, and he took home a check for $9,187.

But it was the trophy he received before the weigh-in started that nearly brought tears to the eyes of the 14-year pro from Chisago City, Minn., who fished some of his first tournaments right here on this lake.

"I'm so thankful ," Gilman said, "to have a family that supports me and sponsors that support me. Evinrude has been with me since '95. Minnkota, Lowrance, Rapala, the guys at Suffix - I can't wait to tell them what happened here. This is for them as much as for me."

Gilman finished the regular season with 554 points and winnings of $25,485.

Best of the rest

6. Jimmy Hughes, Oshkosh, Wis., 45 pounds, 12 ounces, $7,773
7. Robert Crow, Paterson, Wash., 43 pounds, 7 ounces, $7,067
8. Brian Deffner, Eland, Wis., 42 pounds, 13 ounces, $5,300
9. Patrick Neu, Forestville, Wis., 42 pounds, 3 ounces, $5,653
10. Bill Shimota, Lonsdale, Minn., 39 pounds, $4,947

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

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