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Feldner fools five clones

Feldner fools five clones
Pro Jason Feldner (left) and co-angler David DeDecker hold up part of their 17-pound, 15-ounce stringer.

DEVILS LAKE, N.D. - In many ways, Devils Lake is a much different fishery from the last time the FLW Walleye Tour visited in 2007. The water is higher, more turbid and some of the best trees have been shattered from ice shifting during North Dakota's frigid winters. But in other ways, Devils is the same limit-producing walleye factory that it always has been.

Of the 62 pros entered in the Western Division finale, exactly 39 of them brought five-fish limits to the scale Thursday. That's an impressive number for July, especially considering the entire Winnebago event saw a total of five limits. But the huge stringers disappeared. Instead of 24- and 26-pound sacks ruling the day, 16 and 17 are now king.

The biggest stringer registered 17-15 and was caught by local guide Jason Feldner. The Minnewaukan, N.D., native was incredibly tight-lipped about his presentation, allowing only that he employed night crawlers. He's fishing to win, just as he did at the PWT qualifier on Devils back in 2006.

"It was a phenomenal day," said Feldner, who is competing in his first Walleye Tour event. "Everything just clicked right for us, we caught our fish in the right order - we had a 19 1/2 incher first then came the 19 3/4 and I knew it was going to be a good day. Four of our eight fish (Anglers are allowed to keep eight and weigh their best five. Culling is not permitted.) came in the first 15 minutes. They were suicidal today; we must have caught almost 50 walleyes."

Feldner has a milk run of eight spots that take an hour each to fish. But because the bite was so strong early, he only visited two of them.

"It feels good to be leading, but I'd rather be in second. That's just how I'm wired mentally."

Shortly before noon, the winds picked up considerably from the south. Feldner said that the blustery weather didn't bother him, but he'd prefer that it be calm.

"The only thing I'm confused about is not getting a really big fish. My biggest today was just over 22 inches and in practice we'd get one over 24 everyday. I don't get why the big one didn't show up with the great bite we had."

Sand second

With five fish weighing 17 pounds, 12 ounces, pro Troy Sand had a banner day on Devils. But amazingly, those were the only five bites he received.

"With the water rising, it's so much harder to get the bigger fish, and that's what we're after," said Sand. "Today we basically did two things, we pitched cranks and we used jigs and plastics in the weeds. We started on the far east side of the lake and then we went to the far west side. Altogether I'd say we put 60 miles on the boat."

Sand prefers to fish shallow water and that's working for him in this tournament as well. Walleye fans may remember the Portland, N.D., resident won the 2006 Walleye Tour event on Devils. But this year he doesn't appear as confident.

"I'm just happy I caught five. Two of those five came from my co-angler; that was huge. The bite better Cabelapick up for me tomorrow."

McQuoid third

In third place is Isle, Minn., native Kevin McQuoid. After a successful practice, McQuoid caught five walleyes weighing 16 pounds, 15 ounces.

"It's a great start and Devils Lake is just an awesome place to fish," said McQuoid, whose brother Aaron runs a guide service on the lake. "I bet we caught 40 weigh fish; it was just one after another. And having them come in the right order makes all the difference in the world."

Typically McQuoid likes to tie off on the trees and work slip corks with leeches. In fact, the Cabela's pro has several top-10 finishes doing exactly that. But that's no longer the winning deal. Not in late-July anyway.

"We're pulling spinners right along the edge of the weeds."


Geffre, Larson round out top five

In fourth place was Pierre, S.D., fisherman Rick Geffre, who caught a limit that weighed 16 pounds, 3 ounces. Behind him was local pro Scott Larson, who managed 15 pounds, 14 ounces.

Geffre's day got off to a terrible start as the breaker switch on his boat malfunctioned. He returned to Woodland Resort, got some help from the service crew and was back on the water in under an hour.

"Once we got to our spot the bite was on," Geffre said. "It was better today than I thought it was going to be. Even after the breakdown, we were still done fishing at noon."

Larson too was pleased with this performance.

"With the way the bite was, 15 pounds was our goal - so we're happy with that," he said.

Rest of the best

Rounding out the top 10 pros on day one on Devils Lake:

7th: Dave Randash of Dilworth, Minn., five walleyes, 15-8
8th: Chad Schilling of Akaska, S.D., five walleyes, 14-13
9th: Mark Courts of Harris, Minn., five walleyes, 14-1
10th: Paul Meleen of Isle, Minn., five walleyes, 14-0
10th: Edward Piekutowski, of Moorhead, Minn., five walleyes, 14-0

DeDecker takes co-angler lead

Orion, Ill., resident Dave DeDecker has been fishing the Walleye Tour for five years. But he's never experienced a bite like he did on day one of the Devils qualifier.

"It was fabulous," said DeDecker. "I've never thrown away so many 19- and 20-inch fish in my life. Every fish we weighed was a good one."

Rest of the best

Rounding out the top five co-anglers on day one on Devils Lake:

2nd: Don Karlgaard of East Gull Lake, Minn., five walleyes, 17-12
3rd: William Drake of Horace, N.D., five walleyes, 16-15
4th: Ted Kaminski of Saint Anthony, Minn., five walleyes, 16-3
5th: Doug Weidenhammer of Ham Lake, Minn., five walleyes, 15-14

Day two of FLW Walleye Tour competition on Devils Lake begins as the field of takes off from Woodland Resort located at 1012 Woodland Dr. in Devils Lake. Friday's weigh in will also be held at Woodland, beginning at 3 p.m.

Tags: brett-carlson  headline-story  2010-07-29-devils-lake 

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