UPCOMING EVENT: YETI College Fishing - 2019 - Sam Rayburn Reservoir

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

Shootout at Peoria Flats under dark skies

Finalists endured a one-hour rain delay Saturday during the National Guard FLW Walleye Tour event on Lake Oahe.

PIERRE, S.D. - There seems to be little question the final National Guard FLW Walleye Tour event of the 2011 regular season will be decided near Peoria Flats - that's where most if not all of the 10 boats carrying finalists were headed this morning after taking off from Spring Creek. It will be a treetop battle Saturday for the best walleyes Lake Oahe has to offer and lucrative tournament purses for the winners.

To add to the nerves of the finalists competing today, inclement weather finally moved into central South Dakota, causing a one-hour rain delay. That means each angler will have one less hour to sack the best limit he or she can muster, which can be tough in a tournament where the early bite has been important. (A pro and co-angler fishing from the same boat share weight for that day and may keep eight walleyes, weighing their best five, all of which must measure longer than 14 inches, but only two of which can measure over 20 inches; upgrading is not allowed, so a decision on whether to keep a walleye must be made right when it is caught.)

Currently leading the Pro Division is Chase Parsons of Brillion, Wis. - with a two-day catch of 10 walleyes weighing 39 pounds, 11 ounces - and at the forefront of the Co-angler Division is Christopher Hanson of New Hope, Minn., with 10 walleyes weighing 34-13. Parsons began the final day at 8 a.m. with a scant 15-ounce lead over his uncle Keith Kavajecz of Kaukauna, Wis., and Hanson held a 1-pound, 9-ounce lead over Gary Kafka of Pierre, S.D., on the co-angler side.

The remaining 10 pros and as many co-anglers had to outfish 103 other competitors within their class over the first two days of this three-day tourney to have a shot at the top prizes: up to $63,000 in the Pro Division and up to $10,500 in the Co-angler Division if qualified for sponsor contingencies (the winning pro is guaranteed at least a $50,000 payout, and the winning co-angler is guaranteed at least $6,000).

They are also competing for valuable points in the hope of qualifying for the 2011 National Guard FLW Walleye Tour Championship held on the Missouri River in Bismarck, N.D., Sept. 22-25.

"It doesn't matter," Parsons said when asked about how the weather might affect his pattern. "I'm not worried about the wind at all."

Parsons said his pattern is pinned to "the area and, more importantly, the presentation."

Right behind Chase Parsons is his uncle and fellow walleye pro Keith Kavajecz, who readied his rods before takeoff on Lake Oahe."We're trolling through the trees, not over them," he said, "and it's not crankbaits."

Much of the field has been trolling crankbaits over submerged treetops; Parsons said his bait choices are different and that he is "trolling a little bit faster than everyone else." It is likely that Kavajecz, Parson's uncle and travel partner, is fishing similarly, so the next in line to challenge the subtleties of that pattern is pro Darrell Peters of Slayton, Minn., who led the pros on day one.

"Southeast wind is my best wind for the final day, so this should be the best day of the event for me," Peters said. "It's the same (wind) conditions I had Thursday when I had that 21-pound-plus sack, so it'd be nice to throw 20 pounds up today.

"Yesterday killed me because I didn't get the slot fish I'd been getting all week," Peters continues. "Hopefully today I'll get three 19 ¾-inch fish. I'm pretty confident we'll bag a few overs."

The winning patterns and presentations will be revealed when the pro and co-angler champions are crowned at today's final weigh-in, taking place at 4 p.m. at Walmart.

Tournament details

Saturday's final weigh-in will be held at the Walmart located at 1730 N. Garfield in Pierre beginning at 4 p.m. Prior to the final weigh-in, FLW Outdoors, in conjunction with the NPAA, will host a free Family Fishing Clinic, where children can receive free rod and reels plus other great giveaways. Fans will have the opportunity to interact with professional anglers, ride a Ranger boat simulator, enjoy interactive games and activities, and learn more about the sport of fishing. All activities are free and open to the public.

This week's tournament is hosted by the Pierre Area Chamber of Commerce.

For complete tournament details and updated information regarding associated events, visit Walleye Tour at Lake Oahe home.

On the Web

Today's weigh-in will be broadcast over the Intenet via http://www.flwoutdoors.com/flwlive.cfm?type=bass FLW Live. Show time begins at 4 p.m. CDT.

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.

Saturday's conditions

Sunrise: 6:58 a.m.
Temperature at takeoff: 63 degrees
Expected high temperature: 86 degrees
Water temperature at the ramp: 79 degrees
Wind: E at 11 mph
Maximum humidity: 86 percent
Day's outlook: scattered thunderstorms this morning, then partly cloudy during the afternoon hours; winds ESE at 15 to 25 mph; chance of rain 50 percent

Tags: patrick-baker  morning-story  2011-08-25-lake-oahe 

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