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

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

Carstensen climbs to first

Carstensen climbs to first
Pro leader Kevin Carstensen holds up his two biggest fish from day two on Leech Lake.

WALKER, Minn. - Kevin Carstensen has been fishing tournaments on Leech Lake in northern Minnesota for several years. But admittedly, Leech hasn't been his favorite lake as the style of fishing required doesn't suit his angling preferences. Instead of fighting the tried-and-true tactics, Carstensen finally decided to accept them this year. And now he's learning to love Leech Lake.

After catching 13-5 on day one and 15-11 today, Carstensen leads the National Guard FLW Walleye Tour event with an opening-round weight of 29 pounds even. With an improved bite Friday, Carstensen was one of several anglers to greatly improve his weight.

"We crushed; we were done at 10 a.m.," said the Merrill, Wis., native. "I have two primary spots and today I flip-flopped the order. I went to my shallow-water spot first and it worked out great. I found out in practice that I was giving too much thought to my fishing and I needed to keep it simple."

Carstensen explained that his two primary areas hold a mix of both unders and overs, a luxury in a tournament with an 18- to 26-inch slot limit. One area is deep, the other shallow.

"The area I fished today is unbelievable. I actually found this spot last year at the championship," Carstensen added. "I don't even think the locals know about it. Both my co-anglers have been shocked by how fast and furious it fishes. When I first got there both of them thought I was crazy. Neither one of them thought we would catch a fish there but you can catch small fish all day long, it is so much fun. It will be my first stop tomorrow."

On both spots, Carstensen uses the same techniques - rigging with live bait (leeches, chubs, rainbows).

"I've got a whole bait shop in my boat. But in my shallow-water spot, they are really feeding on crayfish. And as a result, the unders are fat. These 17s weigh more than the 17s elsewhere on the lake."

This is Carstensen's first Tour top-10 and he'll begin tomorrow with just over a 2-pound lead. That means decisions on what to keep and what to throw back will be difficult.

"This feels really good. I came into this tournament hoping to get two overs. I've already got three so I'm ahead of the game. If I get one more over and some slots tomorrow I think that will be enough, but you never know."

Second-place pro Bill Shimota holds up his biggest walleye from day two on Leech Lake.Shimota surges to second

Bill Shimota rose from eighth place to second place on the strength of a 15-pound, 14-ounce stringer. The National Guard pro finished the opening round with 27 pounds, 11 ounces. Shimota claimed his first Tour win approximately one year ago on Pool 3 of the Mississippi River.

"We got our first over in the first 15 minutes and our second one two hours later," he explained. "So I had basically five hours to fish for small ones but I struggled. At the end of the day I had to go to a tiny-fish spot to scrounge out a limit."

Shimota said he rigs with chubs and leeches in Walker Bay for his overs. For his unders, he rigs with night crawlers or trolls with spinners and crawlers. In total, he caught 12 fish Friday, six of which were of legal length.

"The spinner bite is something a little different and it's been good for the smaller fish. You're just able to cover water with them so much faster."

Tomorrow the Lonsdale, Minn., resident plans to spend considerable time targeting overs.

"I'm gonna go for big fish. I'm gonna need at least one for sure. You've got to go for the win when you can."

Courts limits, slips to third

National Guard pro Mark Courts sits in third place with a two-day total of 26 pounds, 13 ounces.In third place is fellow National Guard pro Mark Courts of Harris, Minn. Courts managed a limit Friday that included an over and pushed his cumulative weight to 26 pounds, 13 ounces.

"The over was my second fish and it came at around 9:30 this morning," he said. "I stayed on my primary area today until 1:30 p.m. or so. When I left, I had four in the box and at 2:10 p.m. I caught my last slot fish and then came in."

Courts said he caught roughly 30 walleyes total and isn't worried his spot is running dry. He says it replenishes because of the shiner spawn, which is triggered by the impending full moon. When baitfish spawn in shallow water, walleyes quickly follow for an easy meal.

"I'm not using chubs. I'm using mainly shiners, and some crawlers and leeches. I'm really praying the sun stays hidden tomorrow. When it's cloudy, my bite is much better."

Despite Courts' impressive walleye track record, he's never won on the FLW Walleye Tour. That could change with a big bag tomorrow.

"Each one of those overs make a big difference."

Courts then paused and turned his thoughts to tomorrow.

"I think I'm going to need two overs to win."

Olson up to fourth
Rick Olson and Boyd Strissel caught a five-fish limit Friday weighing 16 pounds, 13 ounces.
In fourth place is Mina, S.D., fisherman Rick Olson, who caught a limit weighing 16 pounds, 13 ounces to push his total weight to 24 pounds, 2 ounces.

"Yesterday I fished for slots first and was done in a half hour," said Olson. "When I tried to get my overs, I only caught pike.

"Today I started on the big ones. I gave it an hour and got one big one. Then I went and got my slots. Then I got my other big one at 1 p.m. and I was done. I couldn't upgrade my slots or my overs."

Olson said he plans to start on overs tomorrow simply because they bite better early.

"I feel like I can get my slots at anytime."

Olson's big-fish strategy is to rig with creek chubs in Walker Bay. For his slots, he has a shallow, main-lake weed bed.

"When I'm fishing for slots I use a bottom bouncer and Slow Death rig.

Kemos fifth

Tom Kemos of Oconomowoc, Wis., managed a limit worth 12 pounds Friday. Combine that with his 11-4 on day one and Kemos sits in fifth with 23 pounds, 4 ounces.

Rest of the best

Rounding out the top 10 pros on day two on Leech Lake:

6th: Paul Meleen of Isle, Minn., 21-10
7th: Mark Christianson of Walker, Minn., 21-0
8th: David Bjorkman of Fargo, N.D., 20-11
9th: Scott Larson of Mayville, N.D., 20-11
10th: Eric Olson of Red Wing, Minn., 20-7

Wegleitner assumes co-angler lead

Pro Mark Christianson and co-angler Alan Wegleitner caught a 14-pound, 8-ounce limit Friday.Alan Wegleitner of Somerset, Wis., rose to first place in the Co-angler Division after catching a five-fish limit Friday weighing 14 pounds, 8 ounces. Combined with his day-one weight of 11-14, Wegleitner's total stands at 26 pounds, 6 ounces. On day one, he drew pro Tom Keenan and today he fished with Christianson, the local Leech Lake guide.

"We caught a nice slot fish first, and then the 28-inch fish came second," said the co-angler leader. "That was a great start and we pretty much caught fish all day."
Christianson and Wegleitner used night crawlers and fished in 15 to 20 feet of water today. Christianson caught the big one, but Wegleitner caught several of the fish under 18 inches.

Wegleitner fishes Leech often, but this is his first Walleye Tour event. His friend has a cabin on the lake so he figured he'd put his experience to use. However, he never dreamt he'd be leading with one day of competition left.

Rest of the best

Rounding out the top 10 co-anglers on day two on Leech Lake:

2nd: Kurt Zins of Nicollet, Minn., 25-12
3rd: Tim Depooter of Rock Island, Ill., 24-7
4th: Boyd Strissel of Billings, Mont., 24-6
5th: Randal Sterr of Oconomowo, Wis., 23-9
6th: Edward Piekutowski of Mororhead, Minn., 23-8
7th: Tyrone Larson of Amherst, Wis., 23-6
8th: James Stigen of Elk River, Minn., 22-13
9th: Dan Soehren of New Ulm, Minn., 21-1
10th: Dan Meisner of Merrill, Wis., 20-13

The final day of FLW Walleye Tour competition on Leech Lake begins as the top 10 pros and top 10 co-anglers take off from Walker City Park at 7 a.m. Central time Saturday.

Tags: brett-carlson  headline-story  2011-06-09-leech-lake 

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