The top 25 teams from the series hit the waters of Green Bay out of Menominee MI in search of 3 big Walleyes to bring to the scales. Cloudy skies and light winds greeted the anglers at takeoff, but by 11:00 Southeast winds had begun to rile up the bay. By 2:00 there were three foot waves rolling down the bay, making for a bumpy ride in for the anglers. Water temperatures throughout the bay ranged from the mid 60's to the south in the lower bay down to the upper 50's to the north of Menominee along the west shoreline.
The fishermen predicted a tough bite, with falling water temps, a week of the full moon phase, and a lack of wind in the morning being reasons the bite would be tough. Despite tough fishing predictions, a total of 33 fish were brought to the scales, with 8 teams catching their 3 fish limit.
Eric Balstad and Gary Gaveart brought 3 Walleyes in that weighed 20.26 pounds, which was enough to seal the deal and become the 2011 MWS Championship winners! The team received a $4000 check for the win as well as $500 from Lindahl LTD for running a Ranger Boat, $300 from Smooth Moves Seat Mounts for having their seat mounts, and will also get their entry fees for next years MWS Series paid for! Talk about having a good day!
The winners reported catching their tournament winning fish near Sturgeon Bay pulling Nightcrawler Harnesses near the bottom. Fine tuning their depth, lure color, and trolling speed were critical for catching their fish.
2011 MWS Team of the Year Steve Slabe and Lance Busse brought 19.46 pounds of Walleyes to the scales, which was good enough for second place and $2200. The team caught their fish along the west shore near the launch on a combination of crankbaits and nightcrawler harnesses in 15-25 fow.
Third place went to the Husband/Wife Team of the Year Ron and Vickie Goldapske. The team weighed 3 fish for 17.72 pounds, which resulted in an $1800 check. The team found their fish north of the launch along the west shore as well.
Scott Rohloff and Mike Wright made a big run to the south, despite running the smallest boat in the tournament, and it paid off. The team weighed 3 fish for 13.52 pounds which was good for fourth place and a check for $1400.
Rounding out the top 5 was Jim Leanna and Gordon Rabetski, the team weighed 3 fish for 13.34 pounds and narrowly missed fourth place. Their effort still earned them $1000 and a top five finish against some of the best anglers in the region.
The Midwest Walleyes Series wouldn't be possible without their great sponsors. Mercury Marine, Ranger Boats, Motorguide, and Mills Fleet Farm were major sponsors. The Reel Shot, Smooth Moves Seat Mounts, and Lindahl LTD. were tournament sponsors this season. Big Eye Custom Lures, Drop N Stay, Anglers Pride, Envision Ink, Intruder, Jack's Jigs, Marine General, and MW Marine were supporting sponsors.
WalleyeFirst Media did a great job with the Media coverage for each event and was made possible by The Reel Shot, which is much appreciated by all the anglers and their families and friends!
Ron and Vickie Goldapske were presented with the Richard "Hack" Hackbarth Memorial Award, which is given out each year in honor of Hack.
Next years tournament dates have not yet been set, but TFM Promotions hopes to have the schedule out soon.
More images from the event can be found here. MWS Championship Images