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Rough and tough conditions at the Crown Battery, Sharpnack Direct, Lake Erie Walleye Trail (LEWT) season opener hosted by Magee East Marina and Campground.

The sold-out field of 60 two-person teams headed out under cloudy skies and a 15 knot northwest wind on Saturday morning. “I heard from many anglers who reported a very poor pre-fishing period in the days leading up to the tournament,” said LEWT Tournament Director Jeff Lash. “The lake has been pummeled by front after front passing through accompanied by high winds, and the entire reef complex is very muddy. It is going to be an extreme challenge to put together a good basket under these conditions.”

Fortunately, the wind died down well before noon, and the father/son team of Gary & Nicholas Zart took the win and $3300 with two large walleye weighing in at 18.51 pounds. Second place and $1760 went to Randy Eyre and Corey Miller with five fish at 17.68 pounds. William Gaines and James Eberle grabbed the third spot worth $1350 with three fish weighing 15.12 pounds

The first place Big Fish cash award of $680 went to father/son team of Mark & Mike Simon for landing the largest fish of the tournament weighing in at 10.04 pounds. It was the first tournament ever for both of them, and they also cashed a check for eighth place! Gary and Nicholas Zart added to their big payday recording the second largest walleye caught weighing 9.94 pounds, worth $460.

Long time LEWT supporter Sharpnack Direct in Willard Ohio offers a cash prize to the highest finishing LEWT angler at each event who owns a vehicle purchased from Sharpnack. Randy Eyre won the $150 cash award.

Medina Plating sponsors our Early Bird contingency that goes to the top finishing team that entered all four events before the Early Bird deadline. Eyre and Miller continued their collection of top awards by winning this $150 prize.

Big thanks to Eric Hirzel & Ted Thomas, and their friendly staff at “Magee East” for once again being a fantastic host. We had a great crowd at the weigh-in, and the new stage was fantastic.

The wide majority of LEWT anglers donated their walleye catch, which will be cleaned by Lake Fish in Sandusky. These filets are donated to the Victory Temple Soup Kitchen in Sandusky who uses this resource to feed people in the community who need assistance.

The remaining 2017 LEWT schedule is as follows:
April 29 – Lakeside - Lakevue Marina “Hi-Way Bait, Tackle and Lodging LEWT” (sold out)
May 20 – Sandusky – City Ramp “Ole Pete Memorial LEWT”
June 2&3 –Huron- City Ramp – “Erie Outfitters LEWT Championship”

The Western Basin Sportfishing Association (WBSA) is a social based club for anglers that fish in the Western and Central Basins of Lake Erie and its tributaries. The WBSA operates the popular LEWT tournament series on Lake Erie. Membership is open to anyone interested in fishing, no matter their location or skill level. Our goal is to present information in a manner that will help sustain and improve fishing in one of the greatest inland sport fisheries in the world. Scientific information, fishing techniques, locations and presentations are presented at our meetings by expert and knowledgeable speakers and tournament anglers from our group. These anglers are very open with techniques, and will help any member that is trying to learn new methods.

For a complete list of the tournament results, or for more information about the LEWT please visit www.wbsa.us You can also find us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/wbsalewt

Please support our 2017 LEWT sponsors: Crown Battery Systems, Sharpnack Direct in Willard, Medina Plating, Magee East Campground and Marina, Ranger Boats, Waldo Peppers Restaurant, Smooth Moves, Worldwide Marine Underwriters, Reef Runner Lures, Vic’s Sports Center, Erie Outfitters, Rednek Outfitters, Hi-Way Bait Tackle and Lodging, and Domka Outdoors
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