I’ve been out of the office and out of town for a few days so I’m behind schedule on this news, but pro angler Chris Gilman took home the top prize in the Cabela’s National Walleye Tour Championship event that wrapped up Saturday on Devils Lake.
The championship, which began Thursday, paired each of the 82 pros with a different amateur co-angler each day; only the top 10 anglers in each division after the first two days qualified to fish Saturday.
Gilman, Chisago City, Minn., brought a three-day total of 55.91 pounds of walleyes to the scales to win the pro angler category. In a news release, Gilman said he started the final day of competition on a rock hump in east Devils Lake but quickly moved after catching only smaller fish. He and his co-angler partner, Jason Converse of Arlington, S.D., then moved to a “secluded spot” and filled their limit of fish by 8:30 a.m. while vertical jigging.
They then headed back to tournament headquarters at Grahams Island State Park to wait for the weigh-in. Each pro/co-angler paring could weigh in five walleyes each day.
Gilman’s first-place prize package, including bonuses for participating in various sponsor bonus programs, was worth more than $90,000.
Converse, who finished with 52.58 pounds, won $6,000 for placing first in the co-angler division.
Gilman’s win was by the narrowest of margins, besting second-place pro Joshua Vanderweide of Jenison, Mich., by only .05 pounds. Vanderweide weighed in 55.86 pounds to place second and earn $55,300 in prize and bonus money.
Rounding out the top five in the pro division were:
Third: Danny Plautz Jr., Lake Mills, Wis., 55.41 pounds.
Fourth: Matthew Taylor, Devils Lake, 54.14 pounds.
Fifth: Gil Mollet, Jefferson, S.D., 53.02 pounds.
Finishing behind Converse in the co-angler top five were:
Second: Chris Stokich, Rochester, Minn., 52.55 pounds.
Third: Bob Luellen, Grand Ledge, Mich., 52.45 pounds.
Fourth: Craig Jameson, Somerset, Wis., 50.58 pounds.
Fifth: Chad Balka, Schererville, Ind., 50.46 pounds.
Brian “Bro” Brosdahl of Max, Minn., who was featured in the Herald’s Sunday Outdoors section previewing the championship, had a pretty good tournament, as well. Brosdahl placed 18th to earn $5,000 in prize and bonus money.
I spent a day pre-fishing with Brosdahl last Monday, and we had a great day fishing a current area in Pelican Lake. Considering the level of competition, anyone who finishes in the top 20 in a tournament like this can hold their head high as far as I’m concerned. Way to go, Bro!