UPCOMING EVENT: T-H Marine BFL - 2019 - Potomac River

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

Graves wins National Guard FLW Walleye Tour event on Lake Erie

Graves wins National Guard FLW Walleye Tour event on Lake Erie
Lake Erie National Guard FLW Walleye Tour event winner Jeff Graves was planning on fishing as a co-angler until his friends coaxed him into entering as a pro. Good thing he listened.

PORT CLINTON, Ohio - Pro Jeff Graves of Chagrin Falls, Ohio, and co-angler Ed Szymczak of Osceola, Ind., caught five walleyes weighing 34 pounds, 13 ounces to win the National Guard FLW Walleye Tour tournament on Lake Erie. Graves had a three-day catch of 15 walleyes weighing 117-6. He won by 1 pound, 1 ounce over his closest competitor. Graves took home $50,000 for his efforts.

"This is fabulous; it's a dream come true," Graves said. "I just wanted to get close in a tournament and I can't believe I got close in this one.

"I was quite worried today," Graves added. "Day one and day two I pulled over 40 pounds both days and I knew I didn't have 40 today. I thought we had about 32 pounds and we would be a little shy of Tom (Keenan) ... I knew it was going to be a close match."

Graves said he and Keenan began the day fishing the same area but Keenan quickly got his limit and left. Graves said his last keeper didn't come until about 11:30 a.m.

"I knew Keenan was hunting and culling," Graves said. "We had to do a lot of work to catch that fifth fish."

Graves said he caught the majority of his seven keepers Saturday on Reef Runner 800 Series deep-diving crankbaits.

"Those baits basically brought it home for us today," Graves said.

Graves said weather did play a role in his fishing Saturday. A fog lingered on Erie most of the day, but Graves said when the sun came out the fish turned on.

"It was an interesting day of fishing," Graves said.

Rounding out the top 10 pros are:

2nd: Tom Keenan, Hatley, Wis., 15 walleyes, 116-5, $22,500
3rd: Danny Steffens, Oxford, Wis., 14 walleyes, 106-5, $11,000
4th: AMP Energy/Diet Mountain Dew pro John Balla, Bartlett, Ill., 15 walleyes, 98-11, $11,500
5th: Shawn Ritchie, Spencer, Ohio, 14 walleyes, 94-8, $7,000
6th: Scott Geitgey, Canton, Ohio, 14 walleyes, 94-4, $6,000
7th: Mark Brumbaugh, Arcanum, Ohio, 15 walleyes, 91-5, $5,000
8th: Keith Kavajecz, Kaukauna, Wis., 12 walleyes, 81-5, $4,000
9th: Jeff Vereeke, Grand Rapids, Mich., 14 walleyes, 80-6, $4,500
10th: Mark Gwizdala, Kawkawlin, Mich., 10 walleyes, 66-9, $4,000

Szymczak earned the victory in the Co-angler Division and took home $6,000. His three-day weight totaled 98 pounds, 9 ounces.

Rounding out the top 10 co-anglers are:

2nd: Daniel Leach, Linwood, Mich., 15 walleyes, 97-9, $3,000
3rd: Todd Rairigh, Sheffield Lake, Ohio, 14 walleyes, 93-6, $1,800
4th: Tim Depooter, Rock Island, Ill., 13 walleyes, 91-4, $1,200
5th: John Spiegel, Appleton, Wis., 12 walleyes, 88-4, $1,000
6th: Mike Taylor, Midland, Mich., 12 walleyes, 87-12, $900
7th: Jim Milewsky, Bondurant, Iowa, 14 walleyes, 86-8, $800
8th: Tyrone Larson, Amherst, Wis., 13 walleyes, 76-13, $700
9th: Mike Bentz, Brookville, Ind., 11 walleyes, 68-9, $600
10th: Dale Janota, Gillette, Wyo., nine walleyes, 61-13, $500

Overall there were 42 walleyes weighing 270 pounds, 8 ounces caught by 10 boats Saturday. The catch included seven five-walleye limits.

In Walleye Tour competition, pro and co-anglers are also competing for valuable points in the hope of qualifying for a shot at the 2011 National Guard FLW Walleye Tour Championship held on the Missouri River in Bismarck, N.D., Sept. 22-25. Anglers are also vying for the coveted Angler of the Year title, which earns them a place in the 2012 Walleye Tour Championship, as well as $10,000 for the pro and $2,500 for the co-angler.

The National Guard FLW Walleye Tour on Leech Lake will be the next tournament and will be held June 9-11 in Walker, Minn. The event will be hosted by the Northern Lights Casino and boats will launch from Walker City Park in Walker. For a complete schedule, visit FLWOutdoors.com .

For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow the Walleye Tour on Facebook at Facebook.com/FLWWalleyeTour and on Twitter at Twitter.com/FLWOutdoors.

About FLW Outdoors

FLW Outdoors is the best in fishing, on and off the water. Anglers worldwide can compete for millions over the course of 191 tournaments in 2011. FLW Outdoors has taken fishing mainstream with the world's richest fantasy sports game, FLW Fantasy Fishing presented by Straight Talk, where competitors can play for free as well as sign up for Player's Advantage to gain an edge. For more information about FLW Outdoors and FLW Fantasy Fishing, visit FLWOutdoors.com or FantasyFishing.com.

Tags: press-release  2011-05-12-lake-erie 

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