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Skarlis leads National Guard FLW Walleye Tour Championship event on Missouri River

BISMARCK, N.D. - Tommy Skarlis of Waukon, Iowa, and co-angler Daniel Leach of Linwood, Mich., caught five walleyes weighing 21 pounds, 1 ounce Friday to take the lead on day two of the National Guard FLW Walleye Tour Championship on the Missouri River. Skarlis' two-day catch of 10 walleyes weighing 40-14 gives him a 3-pound, 5-ounce lead over his closest competitor in an event featuring the top 40 pros and 40 co-anglers from the 2011 FLW Walleye Tour season. Pros are fishing for a top award of up to $70,000 and Co-anglers are vying for up to $12,000.

"I was so blessed today to catch what I did," said Skarlis, who is looking for his second championship title, the first coming in 2008 on the Missouri River. "I caught seven walleyes in the spot where everyone was fishing and only saw five or six other walleyes caught there. We were fishing boat to boat bumping trolling motors, I think I might need to see a chiropractor when this is all over."

"The hole was good while it lasted, but I'm pretty sure the area has dried up," Skarlis went on to say. "I am pretty fired-up to go fishing tomorrow though. I have a couple of other secondary spots that I checked out today and there are walleye there. The fish are hungry; this is a phenomenal and exciting bite.

"I am using superline, Spiderline and Berkley Fireline and you can just feel the fish as soon as they bite. It feels like they are going to knock the St. Croix rod right out of my hand. For the most part I am jigging and rigging Gulp! and PowerBait. Right now I have narrowed down my colors which is key to my catch. I have been catching fish in a multitude of depths; anywhere from 6 to 30 feet. I have done a little trolling but not much."

Second place Keith Kavajecz summed up the honey hole that over 20 boats were fishing in the first two days of the tournament best when he said, "I saw more boats in one area than fish caught, that is never a good thing."

According to several of the leaders the warm weather and falling water have not impacted their fishing so far. They believe that the walleye are hungry and primed to be caught.

Rounding out the top 10 pros after day two on the Missouri River are:

2nd: Keith Kavajecz, Kaukauna, Wis., 10 walleyes, 37-9
3rd: EverStart pro Dan Stier, Mina, S.D., nine walleyes, 36-11
4th: National Guard pro Bill Shimota, Lonsdale, Minn., 10 walleyes, 35-3
5th: David Andersen, Amery, Wis., 10 walleyes, 35-2
6th: Kevin Carstensen, Merrill, Wis., 10 walleyes, 34-4
7th: Tom Kemos, Oconomowoc, Wis., 10 walleyes, 34-0
8th: Walmart pro Dean Arnoldussen, Appleton, Wis., 10 walleyes, 33-8
9th: OFF! pro Chris Gilman, Chisago City, Minn., 10 walleyes, 32-6
10th: Perry Good, Minnetrista, Minn., nine walleyes, 32-3

The remaining top 20 pros who will fish again on Saturday are:

11th: National Guard pro Mark Courts, Harris, Minn., 10 walleyes, 30-4
12th: Chase Parsons, Brillion, Wis., 10 walleyes, 30-1
13th: Tom Keenan, Hatley, Wis., 10 walleyes, 30-0
14th: Richard Zachowski, Milwaukee, Wis., 10 walleyes, 29-3
15th: Ryan Jirik, Rhinelander, Wis., 10 walleyes, 29-2
16th: AMP/Diet Mtn. Dew pro John Balla, Bartlett, Ill., 10 walleyes, 28-4
17th: Lynn Jurrens, Watertown, S.D., nine walleyes, 28-2
18th: Gary Maher, Menoken, N.D., 10 walleyes, 27-14
19th: David Kolb, Rockford, Mich., 10 walleyes, 27-10
20th: Chevy pro Jason Przekurat, Stevens Point, Wis., 10 walleyes, 27-7

Todd Dankert of Anoka, Minn., leads the Co-angler Division with 10 walleyes weighing 41-10 followed by Don Shepard of Lowell, Mich., in second place with 10 walleyes weighing 41-3.

"As a co-angler it is really the luck of the draw," said Dankert. "I have fished with two of my fishing idols and tomorrow I get to fish with another one of my idols, Tommy Skarlis. I couldn't have asked for better draws and at a championship...this is amazing."

Rounding out the top 10 co-anglers are:

3rd: Tim Depooter, Rock Island, Ill., 10 walleyes, 39-15
4th: John Mickish, White Bear Lake, Minn., ninw walleyes, 37-12
5th: Tyrone Larson, Amherst, Wis., 10 walleyes, 34-5
6th: Dave Smith, Saint Joseph, Minn., 10 walleyes, 33-15
7th: Lance Bainville, Mounds View, Minn., 10 walleyes, 32-4
8th: John Solek, Indianapolis, Ind., 10 walleyes, 32-1
9th: Jimmy Cox, Bono, Ark., 10 walleyes, 31-7
10th: Dave Barrett, Mosinee, Wis., nine walleyes, 31-3

The remaining top 20 co-anglers who will fish Saturday are:

11th: Jim Milewsky, Bondurant, Iowa, 10 walleyes, 30-11
12th: Cal Van Cleve, Wilmot, S.D., 10 walleyes, 29-6
13th: Brian Boelter, Colgate, Wis., nine walleyes, 27-5
14th: Tom Filar, West Bend, Wis., 10 walleyes, 27-1
15th: Allan Frevert, Pocahontas, Iowa, 10 walleyes, 27-0
16th: Darrell Martin, Forest Lake, Minn., nine walleyes, 26-12
17th: Edward Piekutowski, Moorhead, Minn., nine walleyes, 26-5
18th: David Dedecker, Orion, Ill., 10 walleyes, 25-14
19th: Daniel Leach, Linwood, Mich., seven walleyes, 25-8
20th: Greg Oppegard, West St. Paul, Minn., 10 walleyes, 25-4

Overall there were 174 walleyes weighing 507 pounds, 11 ounces caught by 40 boats Friday. The catch included 25 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 each morning. Weigh-ins will be held at the Bismarck Civic Center located at 315 S. 5th St. in Bismarck beginning at 5 p.m.

All 40 pro and co-anglers fished the first two days of competition. Saturday the field is cut to the top-20 pro and co-anglers. A co-angler champion will be crowned at the end of Saturday's weigh-in. On Sunday only the top-10 pros will fish for the title.

Fans will be treated to the FLW Outdoors Expo at the Bismarck Civic Center, on Saturday and Sunday Sept. 24 and 25 from 1 to 5 p.m. prior to weigh-ins. The Expo includes Ranger boat simulators, free seminars, the opportunity to interact with professional anglers, enjoy interactive games, activities and giveaways provided by sponsors, and learn more about the sport of fishing and other outdoor activities. The first 300 kids 14 and under on Sunday will receive a free Zebco rod and reel combo compliments of 103.3 US Country. All activities are free and open to the public.

This week's catch will be donated to Trinity Lutheran Church, the Boy Scouts of America, House of Prayer youth and Spirit of Life Church.

Coverage of the FLW Walleye Tour Championship will be broadcast in high-definition (HD) on VERSUS. "FLW Outdoors" and will air Nov. 13 from 1 to 2 p.m. ET. "FLW Outdoors," hosted by Chip Leer, is broadcast to more than 500 million households worldwide.

For complete details and updated information visit FLWOutdoors.com/mc. 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  2011-09-22-missouri-river 

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