BAY CITY, Mich. -- In-Fisherman Professional Walleye Trail pro Norb Wallock, Conover, Wis., claimed his first PWT title July 14 on Michigan's Saginaw Bay.
Fishing consistently all three days of the tournament, the 10-year pro won the $50,000 first prize in the Mideast Pro-Am with 15 walleyes weighing 83.84 pounds, a 5.5-pound average.
Wallock, who has five top 10 finishes on the PWT, was 2.3 pounds better than Keith Kavajecz, Kaukauna, Wis., who led after the first two days and took home $15,000 for 15 walleyes weighing 81.48 pounds. Third place and $10,000 went to Rick Olson, Mina, S.D., for 15 walleyes weighing 79.87 pounds.
The winning amateur, Bill Needles, Necedah, Wis., repeated his victory three weeks earlier at St. Mary's River, Mich. He is the first double PWT amateur winner. He won a $12,000 Lund boat with a Mercury outboard and an Eagle trailer at each tournament. His winning weight at Saginaw Bay was 82.79 pounds for 15 fish.
Local pros and their placement included Ted Takasaki, Brainerd, 26th, Gary Roach, Merrifield, 35th, Charlie Johnson, Merrifield, 76th, Scott Fairbairn, Walker, 80th, Bob Hanson, Pequot Lakes, 90th and Paul Meleen, Onamia, 101st.
Most anglers trolled with spinner/nightcrawler/snap weight/ bottom bouncer combinations. Crankbaits also were part of the equation. Anglers found walleyes throughout the inner bay.
Wallock used a Blue Fox Strobe spinner designed with business partner (and third place finisher) Olson. The spinner and beads are rigged on a small diameter wire with a single long-shank hook with bait-holding barbs. A nightcrawler is strung on the hook, and the slow-speed trolling rig is completed by adding a flasher spoon about 7-feet ahead of the spinner. An in-line 1-ounce weight completes the setup.
The top five pros from the Eastern Division (three PWT tournaments) qualified for the PWT Championship in September. They are Mark Gwizdala, Kawkawlin, Mich., first; Jay Janny, Eagle, Wis., second; Andy Kuffer, Fair Haven, Mich., third; Bill St. Peter, Bay City, Mich., fourth; and Jimmy Bell, Ham Lake, Minn., fifth. They will join 35 other pros in pursuit of the $100,000 championship purse.
The biggest fish weighed at Saginaw Bay was a 11.03-pounder, worth $2,500 to pro James Myszkewicz, Burlington, Wis. A total of 1,931 walleyes were weighed with an average of four pounds. Kavajecz and his amateur partner Steve Rush, Dallas, Tex., won the Storm Heavyweight award for their first day catch of 36.34 pounds. Mike Cerminaro, Muskegon, Mich., won $1,000 for advancing 97 places through the event as the Coleman Cool Under Pressure award winner.
Gary Parsons, Glidden, Wis., overcame a 15-pound deficit to take the In-Fisherman Angler of the Year lead by three pounds over Mike Gofron, Antioch, Ill. Gofron, who won the contest in 1999 and was runner-up in 1998, has led most of the year. Parsons is the only back-to-back Angler of the Year winner. The Energizer Rookie of the Year leader is Barry Walker, Big Springs, Neb. The PWT now moves on to Glasgow, Mont. for the final event in the Western Division Aug. 2-4 on Fort Peck Reservoir.
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