UPCOMING EVENT: TACKLE WAREHOUSE PRO CIRCUIT - 2020 - Harris Chain of Lakes

Kavajecz’s big-fish blitz

Kavajecz’s big-fish blitz
Mercury pro Keith Kavajecz of Kaukauna, Wis., brought in five walleyes weighing 26 pounds, 12 ounces Thursday to lead day one of the National Guard FLW Walleye Tour Championship on the Missouri River.

BISMARCK, N.D. - He may be a first-year FLW Walleye Tour pro, but make no mistake - Keith Kavajecz is far from a rookie. The Freshwater Fishing Hall of Famer from Kaukauna, Wis., took a commanding lead on day one of the National Guard FLW Walleye Tour Championship on the Missouri River with five walleyes weighing a staggering 26 pounds, 12 ounces.

The Mercury pro - fresh off a runner-up finish in August at the Walleye Tour event on Lake Oahe - will carry a 5-pound, 6-ounce lead into day two. Though he said he didn't think he would catch such a big bag today, he has confidence that his sweet spot about 25 miles downriver from the takeoff site at Hazelton Campground and Access Area will replenish Friday.

"I do believe I can do it again," he said. "I just kind of went river fishing."

Kavajecz's biggest problem could be fishing pressure. He said he was fishing near about 15 other boats Thursday, but the herd thinned to about eight boats or so later in the day. Part of the glut likely includes some of his pro practice partners and fellow Wisconsinites like walleye legend Gary Parsons (Kavajecz's father-in-law, currently 13th), Chase Parsons (Gary's son and Lake Oahe champion, currently ninth) and Tom Kemos (currently 11th).

"It's close quarters ... but they are real civil guys in there," he said, adding that one of the things he believes he is doing differently is holding tight when his Lowrance HDS 10 shows fish on the sharp break that drops from about 10 to 30 feet of water. "One of the important keys is I watch my electronics really closely for moving fish. I'm basically sitting in an area ... I stay on them."

Not only is the honeyhole crowded with anglers, but so is the water column. Kavajecz said the walleyes are aggressive when they do bite, but so are the "tons of white bass" he has to weed through to fill his livewell with marble eyes.

Kavajecz reported catching his fish by vertically jigging Berkley Gulp Minnows (not live bait).

Gilman switches up for second
OFF! pro Chris Gilman of Chisago City, Minn., placed second on day two of the FLW Walleye Tour Championship with five walleyes weighing 21 pounds, 6 ounces.
OFF! pro Chris Gilman of Chisago City, Minn., is off to a good start defending his 2010 FLW Walleye Tour Championship title with a five-walleye limit worth 21-6. However, he had to leave behind the area that was so productive for Kavejecz and others to make his move on day one.

"I fished there until 11 o'clock, but I left there with one fish," he said. "Then I put a whole lot of miles on the boat running upriver."

Clearly the move was the right choice for Gilman, also a former FLW Walleye Tour Angler of the Year.

"I've been doing a lot of things ... vertically jigging in that sweet spot where Kavajecz is," he said, "and trolling crankbaits in shallow water."

Most of Gilman's weigh fish today came from cranking in depths of 6 to 8 feet.

Stier settles in at third

Just 2 ounces behind Gilman with five walleyes weighing 21-4 is Dan Stier of Mina, S.D. He said he was fishing near Kavajecz downriver.

"There were eight to 10 of us in one little area - a break," said the EverStart pro, who recently won a regional event in the area. "You've got to capitalize when you get bites. You have to pay close attention to your electronics."

Stier reported catching his walleyes in 16 to 23 feet of water, fishing vertically with a jig and smelt-based plastics, letting it "hit bottom and then ripping it up." He said he worked up and down the break, adjusting quickly when a wave of walleyes would swim through, coming from the backs of bays.

Fourth is Good
4th place: Mercury pro Perry Good of Minnetrista, Minn., and co-angler Dave Barrett of Mosinee, Wis., five walleyes, 20-2.
Pro Perry Good of Minnetrista, Minn., weighed a five-walleye limit for 20-2 and fourth place on day one.

"We had nice days and bad days ... we had that little hurricane that blew through," the Mercury pro said of his practice on the Missouri River. "Today was a good day - we didn't lose any fish."

Good said he was fishing "right next to" Kavajecz on an "inside turn with some rocks on it" about 24 miles downriver from the takeoff site. He was vertically jigging with Trigger X soft baits, primarily white in color, on VMC hooks, chartreuse and green.

Skarlis fifth
5th: Evinrude pro Tommy Skarlis of Waukon, Iowa, and co-angler Don Shepard of Lowell, Mich., five walleyes, 19-13.
Evinrude pro Tommy Skarlis held the fifth-place position after day one with five walleyes weighing 19-13.

Like Gilman, The Waukon, Iowa, angler is a past FLW Walleye Tour Championship winner. Skarlis earned the title on the Missouri River here at Bismarck, N.D., in 2008, so there's little doubt he will be one to watch as championship action continues this week.

Rest of the best

Rounding out the top 10 pros after day one of the National Guard FLW Walleye Tour Championship on the Missouri River:

6th: Richard Zachowski of Milwaukee, Wis., five walleyes, 17 pounds, 14 ounces
7th: Walmart pro Dean Arnoldussen of Appleton, Wis., five walleyes, 17-13
7th: National Guard pro Bill Shimota of Lonsdale, Minn., five walleyes, 17-13
9th: Chase Parsons of Brillion, Wis., five walleyes, 17-9
10th: Kevin Carstensen of Merrill, Wis., five walleyes, 16-3

Mickish on top in Co-angler Division
Co-angler John Mickish of White Bear Lake, Minn., brought in five walleyes weighing 26 pounds, 12 ounces Thursday to lead day one of the National Guard FLW Walleye Tour Championship on the Missouri River.
Third-year FLW Walleye Tour co-angler John Mickish of White Bear Lake, Minn., fished with Kavejecz on day one to secure his spot atop his division with a weight of 26 pounds, 12 ounces. He will also carry a 5-pound, 6-ounce lead into day two.

Mickish is already on a course to have the best year of his FLW fishing career, having finished the season ranked 19th in the Co-angler Division. If he makes the top-20 cut tomorrow, it will be the first time he has fished in the finals in an FLW Outdoors event.

Rest of the best

Rounding out the top 10 co-anglers after day one of the National Guard FLW Walleye Tour Championship on the Missouri River:

2nd: Todd Dankert of Anoka, Minn., five walleyes, 21 pounds, 6 ounces
3rd: Tim Depooter of Rock Island, Ill., five walleyes, 21-4
4th: Dave Barrett of Mosinee, Wis., five walleyes, 20-2
5th: Don Shepard of Lowell, Mich., five walleyes, 19-13
6th: Jimmy Cox of Bono, Ark., five walleyes, 17-14
7th: Lance Bainville of Mounds View, Minn., five walleyes, 17-13
7th: Brian Boelter of Colgate, Wis., five walleyes, 17-13
9th: Craig Cayemberg of Valders, Wis., five walleyes, 17-9
10th: Tyrone Larson of Amherst, Wis., five walleyes, 16-3

Overall there were 184 walleyes weighing 525 pounds, 15 ounces caught by the pros and co-anglers fishing in the 40-boat championship field Thursday. The catch included 33 five-walleye limits.

Anglers will take off from Hazelton Camp Ground and Access Area located 31 miles southeast of Bismarck on Highway 1804 at 8 a.m. Friday for the second day of championship action. The day-two weigh-in will be held at the Bismarck Civic Center located at 315 S. 5th St. in Bismarck beginning at 5 p.m.

Tags: patrick-baker  headline-story  2011-09-22-missouri-river 

Fitzgerald Finishes Strong at St. Johns

Fitzgerald Finishes Strong at St. Johns

Trevor Fitzgerald of Belleview, Fla., moved ahead one spot in the standings on the final day of competition at the St. Johns River to earn his first Toyota Series victory. His three-day catch of 57 pounds, 12 ounces earned him the win by a 6-pound margin. READ MORE »

St. Johns River Midday Update – Day 3

St. Johns River Midday Update – Day 3

Day two of the Toyota Series Southern Division opener on the St. Johns River brought more fish, bigger fish and eight bags over 20 pounds – a marked improvement over what we saw on day one. Day three could go either direction, though, as a small cold front overnight left behind bluebird skies and abundant sunshine today. READ MORE »

Top 5 Patterns from the St. Johns River – Day 2

Top 5 Patterns from the St. Johns River – Day 2

It’s been a question of when, not if: When is the first big wave of spawners going to move up on the St. Johns River? That question may have been answered on day two of the Toyota Series Southern Division opener, as more and more anglers brought big fish across the weigh-in stage, with many of the bass coming from beds or shallow cover where fish are staging to make their big move. READ MORE »

Big Day Puts Blair Ahead at St. Johns

Big Day Puts Blair Ahead at St. Johns

Jason Blair caught 22 pounds, 3 ounces – the biggest limit of the tournament so far – to take over the lead at the Toyota Series Southern Division season opener on the St. Johns River. The West Palm Beach, Fla., pro has a two-day total of 39-15 and a 1-pound, 11-ounce lead over yesterday’s leader, Trevor Fitzgerald. READ MORE »

St. Johns River Midday Update – Day 2

St. Johns River Midday Update – Day 2

After a warm but windy day to start the Toyota Series Southern Division opener on the St. Johns River, day two brought lower temperatures, rain and a shifting wind that blew right up the chute early this morning. READ MORE »

Top 5 Patterns from the St. Johns River – Day 1

Top 5 Patterns from the St. Johns River – Day 1

The St. Johns River is fishing tough, and while weights were down across the board on day one of the Toyota Series Southern Division opener, the top five found a way to get the job done with some impressive stringers of big Florida bass. READ MORE »

Fitzgerald in Front on St. Johns

Fitzgerald in Front on St. Johns

Trevor Fitzgerald of Belleview, Fla., took the lead on day one of the Toyota Series Southern Division opener at the St. Johns River with a five-bass limit that weighed 21 pounds, 2 ounces. Fitzgerald has previously won a Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine event on the St. Johns and is in contention to make his 12th top-10 finish with FLW. READ MORE »

St. Johns River Midday Update – Day 1

St. Johns River Midday Update – Day 1

As expected, the St. Johns River is still fishing pretty tough in the Toyota Series Southern Division opener, which kicked off this morning. The St. Johns holds plenty of good fish, but she’s not all that willing to give them up. READ MORE »

Littich Nets Big O Title

Littich Nets Big O Title

Boater Thomas Littich of Cape Coral, Florida, brought a five-bass limit to the scale Saturday weighing 23 pounds, 14 ounces to win the 2020 Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine event at Lake Okeechobee in Clewiston, Florida. For his victory, Littich earned a total of $7,220, including a $2,500 FLW PHOENIX BONUS contingency award. READ MORE »

Dover Wins on Keowee

Dover Wins on Keowee

Boater Randy Dover of Buford, Georgia, brought five to the scale Saturday totaling 15 pounds, 10 ounces to win the 2020 Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine event at Lake Keowee in Seneca, South Carolina. For his victory, Dover earned a total of $5,627. READ MORE »

Robinson Slings a Blade on Martin

Robinson Slings a Blade on Martin

Boater Dusty Robinson of Eclectic, Alabama, brought a five-bass limit to the scale Saturday weighing 13 pounds, 4 ounces to win the 2020 Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine event at Lake Martin in Alexander City, Alabama. For his victory, Robinson earned a total of $5,686, including a $1,000 Mercury contingency award. READ MORE »

Bethel Wins on Seminole

Bethel Wins on Seminole

The Bethel University duo of Brad Ableman of Latham, New York, and Wilson Smith of Southaven, Mississippi, won the Abu Garcia College Fishing presented by YETI event at Lake Seminole Friday with a five-bass limit weighing 19 pounds, 1 ounce. READ MORE »

South Forsyth Wins on Seminole

South Forsyth Wins on Seminole

The South Forsyth High School duo of Brett Morlanne and Michael Landernaeu, both of Cumming, Georgia, brought four bass to the scale Saturday weighing 12 pounds, 5 ounces to win the 2020 FLW High School Fishing presented by Favorite Fishing Lake Seminole Open. READ MORE »

Johnson Gets No. 1 on Lanier

Johnson Gets No. 1 on Lanier

Boater Jason Johnson of Dawsonville, Georgia, brought a five-bass limit to the scale Saturday weighing 19 pounds, 1 ounce to win the 2020 Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine at Lake Lanier in Gainesville, Georgia. For his victory, Johnson earned a total of $13,596, including the lucrative $7,000 FLW PHOENIX Bonus contingency award. The victory was the first win of Johnson’s FLW career. READ MORE »

Huff Wins it on Toledo

Huff Wins it on Toledo

Cody Huff has had a heck of a run these last few weeks on Toledo Bend. It started when he and Dakota Pierce of Bethel University won the Bassmaster College Series event last week. This week, Huff went solo and loaded up a 61-pound, 11-ounce total for a $35,395  payday in the opening event of the Toyota Series Southwestern Division. READ MORE »

Top 5 Patterns from Toledo Bend – Day 2

Top 5 Patterns from Toledo Bend – Day 2

Cody Huff has been red hot on Toledo Bend for the last week and with one more day to go it’s his tournament to lose. That being said, there is a laundry list of local pros looking to take full advantage of any slip he may have in the final round of the Toyota Series Southwestern Division season opener. READ MORE »

Huff Hauls Ahead at Toledo Bend 

Huff Hauls Ahead at Toledo Bend 

Cody Huff appears to be unstoppable on Toledo Bend. Last week, the Bethel University angler won the Bassmaster College Series event on Toledo with his partner Dakota Peirce. This week, he's weighed 43 pounds, 12 ounces through two days and appears to be cruising toward the win in the first Toyota Series Southwestern Division event of the year. READ MORE »

Top 5 Patterns from Toledo Bend – Day 1

Top 5 Patterns from Toledo Bend – Day 1

Everyone knew this tournament wouldn’t be the slugfest Toledo Bend is known for, but that didn’t stop the top pros from assembling some decent catches on day one of the Toyota Series Southwestern Division opener. READ MORE »

Johnston In Front at Toledo Bend

Johnston In Front at Toledo Bend

Toledo Bend isn't fishing like its normal self at the moment, but the lake still kicked out some solid bags to start the Toyota Series Southwestern Division season opener. Leading the pack after day one is Stephen Johnston of Hemphill, Texas, who set the pace with a 23-pound, 8-ounce limit thanks to the help of a 10-7 kicker. Behind him are several locals waiting to make their move, with the rest of the top five all within nearly 4 pounds of Johnston. READ MORE »

Swindle Wins on Guntersville

Swindle Wins on Guntersville

Boater James Swindle of Parrish, Alabama, brought a five-bass limit to the scale Saturday weighing 20 pounds, 7 ounces to top 223 boats and win the 2020 Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine at Lake Guntersville in Scottsville, Alabama. Swindle earned $6,000 for his victory.  READ MORE »