TOURNAMENT ANGLERS IMPRESSED BY LAKE ERIE'S TROPHY WALLEYES|
Six Professional Walleye Trail tournament records broken
PORT CLINTON, OH -- Top pro and amateur walleye anglers competing in the In-Fisherman Professional Walleye Trail (PWT) tournament held on Lake Erie
April 17-19 broke six tournament records, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife.
The 300 tournament anglers caught a total of 1,794 walleyes, weighing 7 tons. "The walleye bite was incredible and the best I've ever seen," said Jim Kalkofen, executive director of the tournament. "We definitely plan to return to Lake Erie in 2003 for our tenth competition there." Record after record fell during the three-day event as summer-like weather greeted tournament anglers. "Our walleye and yellow perch fisheries have been strong this spring, and weather permitting, we should have good fishing throughout the rest of the year," said Roger Knight, ODNR's Lake Erie Fisheries program administrator.
Pro winner Tommy Skarlis, of Walker, Minnesota, set a new record for the heaviest three-day catch, 15 walleye, weighing a combined 138.28 pounds. His catch broke the old record of 132.56 pounds for 18 walleyes set in 1992. The one-day record, 53.20 pounds, was set by pro Ted Takasaki of Brainerd, Minnesota. Takasaki's five fish beat the previous one-day weight record of 50.40 pounds (six fish) set in 1992 on Lake Erie.
Other tournament records included:
* Anglers landed 346 walleyes, each weighing more than 10 pounds, shattering the previous record of 35 fish in excess of 10 pounds set two years ago on Lake Erie. PWT anglers averaged a 10-pound walleye every fifth fish.
* The record for the average walleye weight in a tournament was also broken at 7.90 pounds per fish, beating the old record of 7.26 pounds per fish. The average fish weight for the top 25 pros was 8.45 to 9.22 pounds.
* The record for the number of 12-pound walleyes caught in a PWT tournament was easily broken at 21 fish. The previous record was six 12-pound walleyes.
* The number of most daily catches over 40 pounds was smashed with 150 daily catches topping the scales at over 40 pounds. The previous record, set on Lake Erie in 1992, was 55 catches over 40 pounds.> Kalkafen noted that female walleyes had spawned earlier in the week, otherwise these weights would have been even heavier. The largest fish weighed in at 14.27 pounds, but did not break the previous PWT tournament big fish record of 14.64. That catch dated from two years ago on Lake Erie. Fish caught during the tournament were donated to the Sea Gate Food Bank of Toledo, Veterans Home of Sandusky, Victory Temple Soup Kitchen of Sandusky, and Homeless Solutions of Mahoning Valley.
A total of nearly $250,000 in cash and merchandise was awarded to contestants in the PWT's inaugural tournament for the 2002 season. The tour visits six additional sites in Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, South Dakota and North Dakota this season.