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Hiller clinches second championship win

Hiller clinches second championship win
Co-angler champion Matt Hiller holds up his check for winning the 2010 FLW Walleye Tour Championship on Leech Lake.

WALKER, Minn. - In 2005, Matt Hiller won the FLW Walleye Tour Championship on the Mississippi River as a rookie. Half a decade later, he pinned down his second championship victory on northern Minnesota's Leech Lake.

On day one of the 2010 championship, Hiller drew pro Kevin Merrill and the two worked the Kabekona area for a 16-pound, 5-ounce limit. On day two, Hiller drew Don Loch and the two ventured out to the main lake, returning with an 8-pound, 2-ounce stringer. On day three, Hiller drew 2009 Angler of the Year Chris Gilman, who opted to fish both Walker Bay and the main lake. But their Walker Bay experience was brief to say the least.

"By the time I was ready to fish, Chris was already hooked up with an over," Hiller explained.

Tournament rules restrict anglers to four fish each of the final two days, only one of which can be in excess of 26 inches. With that over in the box, Gilman and Hiller left Walker Bay and searched for unders.

"After we moved I caught the first under right away. At that point, we were thinking it was going to be a pretty short day but then the bite really slowed down. We put our last fish in the livewell at 1 p.m."

The end result was a 9-pound, 4-ounce limit that pushed Hiller's total weight to 33 pounds, 11 ounces.

Co-angler champion Matt Hiller displays his trophy after winning the 2010 FLW Walleye Tour Championship."Being 8 pounds out of it this morning, I did not expect to win, even knowing that Chris is a great angler. Eight pounds is just a lot to overcome, especially with only being able to weigh four fish."

Hiller earned $5,000 plus another $1,523 of optional pot money for the win. He also became the first co-angler to win two championships. But he said it's not about the money or accolades.

"I do this to have fun. I traveled all year with Paul Meleen and I learned a lot. That's what it's all about."

Martin second

Coming in second for the co-anglers was Darrell Martin of Forest Lake, Minn. Martin started the day in sixth and rose four places on the strength of a 10-pound, 9-ounce catch. He finished the tournament with a three-day weight of 31 pounds, 13 ounces.

Martin fished with pro Paul Meleen on day four and the two rigged and jigged all over the main lake. The wind was brutal, but the long runs paid off as Martin earned a purse of $1,500 plus an additional $548 in optional pot money.

This was Martin's 10th top-10 finish in five years on the Walleye Tour.

Anderson third, Van Cleve fourth

Fishing with pro Terry Filkins on day three, Jason Anderson of West Fargo, N.D., caught 6 pounds, 13 ounces to push his total weight to 31 pounds, 11 ounces. Anderson earned a check worth $2,518 ($1,000 Ranger Cup + $518 optional pot). The third-year co-angler did his part by catching two keepers in the afternoon while rigging in the Kabekona area.

Day-two leader Cal Van Cleve of Wilmot, S.D., fell fourth places after failing to register a keeper Friday. Van Cleve, who won the Western Division season opener on the Mississippi River, finished the championship with 28 pounds, 11 ounces. For his efforts, Van Cleve earned a check worth $2,107. Of that $2,107, $750 came from Ranger Cup contingencies and another $457 came from the optional pot.

Severson fifth

Fifth place went to co-angler Peggy Severson of Fort Pierre, S.D. Severson drew National Guard pro Mark Courts on day three and the two fished shallow wind-blown areas with jigs. They caught a 6-pound, 1-ounce limit, which gave Severson a three-day total of 28 pounds, 11 ounces (Van Cleve owned tiebreaker).

Severson earned $1,300 ($500 from Ranger Cup) for her fifth FLW Outdoors top-10 finish.

Rounding out the top 10 co-angler finalists at the FLW Walleye Tour Championship on Leech Lake:

6th: Todd Dankert of Anoka, Minn., 27-1, $650
7th: Ted Kaminski of Saint Anthony, Minn., 26-0, $500 + $396 optional pot
8th: Larry Oleson of Wisconsin Rapids, Wis., 22-6, $350 + $335 optional pot
9th: Kyle Schuchard of Essex, Ontario, 21-6, $300 + $305 optional pot
10th: Bryan Bayerkohler of Eagan, Minn., 18-15, $250

Tags: brett-carlson  co-angler-headline  2010-09-22-leech-lake 

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