The In-Fisherman Professional Walleye Trail has announced its 2004 tournament field and the Brainerd lakes area is well represented.
Returning to the field after a one-year absence are Merrifield's Gary Roach, Charlie Johnson and Bill Grunewald. Roach will fish the East division, Johnson all six tournaments and Grunewald will fish the West division. Also fishing the West division this year are Aitkin's Brent Gutzman, Baxter's Jeff Sterriker, Nisswa's Rich Boggs and Pequot Lakes' Bob Hanson. Joining Johnson at all six events will be Brainerd's Perry Good and East Gull Lake's Ted Takasaki.
From over by Mille Lacs comes Steve Fellegy, returning to the tour after a two-year absence, and Paul Meleen, who took last year off.
The PWT bills this year's lineup as "the most elite group of pro walleye anglers ever assembled." The field includes 54 past winners, 12 of the past 14 winners of Angler of the Year, 18 of the top 20 all-time money winners, 11 of the past 14 Optima Top Gun winners and 12 of the past 14 Mercury Championship winners.
Tournaments are scheduled for Wisconsin, South Dakota, Minnesota, Arkansas, Ohio and Michigan. The Minnesota tournament is June 2-4 on Cass Lake.
Heading the field this year are Bill Ortiz, 2003 Angler of the Year, and Dan Plautz, last season's Mercury Championship winner. Five Canadians are on the tour and the western states of California, Montana, Wyoming, Washington and Colorado are represented. Eastern anglers hail from New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio, and the traditional "Walleye Belt" states of North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois and Michigan are well represented.
At each tournament, the pros share their tackle, gear and boats with their amateur partners, who fish with a different pro each day. Amateurs may fish one or more events.
Entries are now being accepted at PWT headquarters. Entry blanks are on the PWT web site: professionalwalleyetrail.com, or call (218) 824-2542.
The PWT limits each tournament field to 120 boats, and the top 40 pros and amateurs win cash and/or merchandise.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.