Ohio Teams Take Big Walleyes at Lake Erie By Steve Weisman Gander Mountain GNWC Publicity Director Big 'eyes, topped off by an 11.98 pounder, were the norm at Sunday's Lake Erie tournament on the Ohio Region of the Gander Mountain Grand National Walleye Cup (GNWC). Taking first place and a check for $1000 was the team of Todd Kunk from St. Henry, OH and Adam Harlamert from Cold Water, OH with five fish weighing 27.18 pounds. Dan Rourke from Howell, MI and Mark Martino from Brighton, MI captured second and a check for $500 with a five walleyes weight of 26.16 pounds. Cashing the $430 third place check was the team of Dennis Allen from Bowmansville, NY and Phil Wilson from Hudsonville, MI with a weight of 23.80 pounds. The Berkley Trilene Big Fish Award of $400 in Berkley products went to John Clark from Dayton, OH and Marc Colwell from Springfield, OH with the 11.98 pounder. "What a walleye!" exclaimed Gander Mountain GNWC Tournament Director Gary Bowman. "It was a real trophy. After two tournaments where we battled the weather, the teams deserved this type of tournament. We had big fish, no high waves and a great place to have the tournament weigh-in." Key presentation for the top three teams came in the form of pulling crawler harnesses. However, the speed varied with the top two teams trolling over 1.4 mph, while the third place team slowed their presentation down below 1 mph. Kunk and Harlamert headed to the Middle Island area north of Kelly's Island. They used either bottom bouncers to keep their bait near the bottom or snap weights to trigger walleyes up off the bottom. Chartreuse blades worked best. "Todd and Adam really impressed me with their efforts today," said Bowman. "They are young, aggressive and one of our up and coming teams." Rourke and Martino ran to Pelee Island and worked 18-20' of water on the west side of the island. They used Dipsy Divers and purple spinners. Rourke noted, "We caught over 30 fish and had a wonderful day on the water." Allen and Wilson worked their rigs under 1 mph and used a Guide's Plus in-line weight that matched the color of their crawler harness. They fished the southeast end of Kelly's Island in 18-30' of water. It took a different presentation to catch the 11.98 pounder. Clark and Colwell pulled gold and red Reef Runners. Clark was excited about the fish but said, "We lost one that was as big or maybe a little larger than the one we weighed." The "Yo So Close" award of a Yo Net folding net valued at $80 went to the team that placed just out of the money. They include: Jim Keys and Phil Ross in 6th place; Gary Schiller and Rick Winkelman in 7th place; Ronnie Rhodes and Chris Woods in 8th place. The team of Dan Johnson and Roger Combs was the winner of the Gander Mountain "Need More Stuff" drawing of $200 for a Gander Mountain Shopping Spree. A series of special awards came from David Calhoun, owner of Boat Boys, the official Ohio Regional Skeeter Boats sponsor. The top placing teams receive Skeeter Boats certificates toward the purchase of a new Skeeter boat or toward accessories. Bowman's final thoughts centered on the help the GNWC staff received from Bob and Susan Hanko, owners of Cranberry Creek Marina. "Those two were wonderful hosts. I can't say enough about the help Bob, Susan and their crew gave us. Plus the facilities were first class." For complete results, check out the Gander Mountain GNWC website at www.walleyecup.com. After three tournaments, the team of Mike Defibaugh and Tom Defibaugh from Bellefontaine, OH continue to lead the race for the Ohio Region Team of the Year. The Ohio teams now head to Berlin on Sunday, June 6 where they take their final shot at a berth in the Ohio Gander Mountain GNWC Regional Championships July 10-11 at Mosquito Creek. Anglers interested in signing up for the final qualifier or simply wanting more information on the GNWC circuit can call 1-800-890-FISH (3474), or they can email the GNWC at email@example.com. Title Sponsor for the GNWC is Gander Mountain with other major national sponsors including Skeeter Boats, Yamaha Outboards, the Sportsman Channel, Berkley, Aqua Innovations, YoNet Folding Nets by AMFYOYO, VIB"E" Lure Company, TowTector Shield and UpNorthOutdoors.com. The Ohio Regional Skeeter Boats sponsor is Boat Boys out of Newark, OH.