Published April 2, 2007
The team of Jeff Munson from Coon Valley, WI and Thomas Oldenburg from Stoddard, WI took home the $1800 first place check at the I.O.W.A. Team Walleye Tournament Trail opener on the Mississippi River at Lansing on Sunday, April 1.
Their four-fish weight of 9.36 pounds gave them the victory. Second place and a check for $1080 went to the team of Jerry Boardman from Desoto, WI and Gary Schriener from Rock Falls, IL with a three-fish weight of 7.13 pounds.
David Smithburg, from Libertyville, IA and Greg Lowenberg from Fairfield, IA took the third place check of $790 with a three-fish weight of 6.58 pounds.
This is a great fishery, said Dean Higgins, I.O.W.A. Executive Director, but the combination of high water, rain and wind really affected things. Its a credit to these teams to catch the fish they did under these conditions.
Several other special awards were also awarded at the tournament. The winners also earned the Smooth Moves Seat Mounts Award of two $100 certificates towards a Smooth Move Seat.
The Berkley Big Fish Award of two IM7 Graphite Berkley Tactix rods and two Mitchell Avocet Gold Series reels went to the team of Scott and Mike Peterson from Ogden, IA with a 3.66-pound walleye.
The team of Mike and Doug Rodwell from Oskaloosa, IA won the $100 gift certificate for taking the Cabelas Family Team award for the highest placing family team. They finished in fourth place with a three-fish weight of 6 pounds even.
The Net Your Cash Award of $100 from StowMaster Net went to Smithburg and Lowenberg as the highest placing team using a StowMaster net.
The Need Macks Lure Award of two $100 Macks Lure certificates went to the team of Jack Davis from Mason City, IA and Ole Peterson from Prairie du Chien WI.
Munson and Oldenburg found their success south of Victory, pulling #7 Jointed Rapalas behind three-way rigs. We started the morning pitching jigs, but then switched to three-way rigs, said Oldenburg. The key to the presentation was slow, slow, slow.
We always pulled into the current, and at times we werent even moving. We just let the current work the bait, added Oldenburg.
This became especially effective when they could hover right over structure or a hump. Knowing the bite would be a tough one, the first fish, a 3 pounder, helped ease the pressure. We took our biggest fish on the first troll and two more on the second troll, said Oldenburg.
The runner up and third place teams caught their fish using jigs. Boardman and Schriener worked their 3/8-ounce jigs in 12-14 feet of water along the current lines. Boardman said, We had two within the first 45 minutes, and then we lost two big ones. Finally, we caught the third keeper about 12:30.
Boardman noted that the bite had been tough all spring, and Sunday was no different.
Smithburg and Lowenberg pitched their jigs toward shore and then bounced them back. We used 1/2 ounce jigs tipped with plastic ring worms, said Smithburg. They put their kicker in gear to handle about 90 percent of the current and then used their front troller to keep the bow of the boat straight. Smithburg added, We knew it was a morning bite. By 9 oclock, we had three fish, then lost another one about 9:30, and it was over.
In looking back at the first tournament, Munson and Oldenburg noted the respect shown by the field of competitors. We trolled along the area where some other teams were pitching jigs up toward shore, said Oldenburg. Our plan was to make our troll and then go around the other teams. When the teams saw we were catching fish, they actually moved out of the road for us as we made our trolling run.
With one tournament now over, the I.O.W.A. teams begin making plans for the second tournament, which will be at Storm Lake on Sunday, April 22. “Tough as it was, Im proud of our teams. I look for a great qualifier at Storm Lake. It has an excellent walleye population,” added Higgins.
All of the latest news on the I.O.W.A. circuit can be found at the I.O.W.A. website (www.walleyepromotions.com). Anglers interested in learning more about the I.O.W.A circuit can call (515) 571-1085 or they can email the I.O.W.A. staff at [email protected].
Corporate sponsors for the 2007 I.O.W.A Team Walleye Tournament Trail include Lund, Mercury Outboards, ShoreLand’r Trailers, Algona Marine and Sport, MinnKota, Humminbird, Berkley, Cabela’s, Mack’s Lure, Smooth Move Seat Mounts, StowMaster, Hooters and Farm & City Insurance Services of Forest City.