PIERRE, S.D. — Local pro Gerrick McComsey predicted a trollfest and that prophecy came full circle on day four of the Wal-Mart FLW Walleye Tour Championship. Richard Nascak led after three days, but Scott Allar had just placed a solid four-walleye limit on the scale. Before a raucous Pierre area crowd, the title was up for grabs until Nascak lugged out a 7-pound kicker.
That 7-pound monster anchored a four-fish limit weighing 10 pounds, 10 ounces. While the tournament was in doubt until the last fish, Nascak’s final round total of 28 pounds bested Allar by nearly 8 pounds.
In winning the FLW Walleye Tour Championship on Lake Oahe, Nascak claimed $150,000 – the largest payday for a no-entry-fee championship in the history of walleye fishing.
The Mississippi River guide from Winona, Minn., savored his championship triumph.
“This is incredible,” Nascak said. “This is by far the greatest achievement of my career. The weight was really lifted off my shoulders when the big fish came. I’m just happy. When you think about it, yesterday was the day I needed the big bag and I got it.”
Nascak’s steady pattern of catching a limit each day continued on day four. Even though the finalists were restricted to two lines, Nascak still finished early. In fact, he never fished past 11:30 a.m. during each of the four days of competition.
Nascak caught his fish by contour trolling a giant flat located about five miles south of the Highway 212 bridge. His baits of choice on the final day were Rapala Glass Shad Raps pulled on leadcore with a new FireLine Crystal leader. Nascak said the new Fireline looks just like monofilament. Each of the first three days, he also mixed in Reef Runners. In fact, the slot fish liked the Shad Raps better while the Reef Runners tricked the big fish. Planer boards also played a role in his success, although he didn’t use them Saturday with only two lines allowed.
“I think I was fishing a little deeper than the other guys,” said Nascak, who shared water with Allar, Tom Brunz and Scott Steil. “I had nearly all my line out so I could skim the bottom at about 40 to 42 feet.”
Bridesmaid again for Allar
After yet another stellar performance, Allar finished the championship in second. Second place is no stranger to Allar as he finished runner up to pro Jeff Ryan earlier this year on his home water of the Mississippi River near Red Wing, Minn. Allar also finished second at the 2003 FLW Walleye Tour Championship on the Mighty Miss.
“At about noon, I crossed over into Stove Creek,” said the Welch, Minn., pro.
There he picked up two fish to fill out his limit and maintain second place. His key bait was the No. 5 Berkley Frenzy Flicker Shad. Allar said it looked just like a rainbow smelt. In contrast to Nascak, Allar was trolling along breaklines in about 30 feet of water.
“When I went out today, I told myself I was going to box everything I caught. The plan was to fish for second and hope for first.”
Allar’s final-round weight was 20 pounds, 6 ounces, which earned him a check for $75,000. For the record, his career earnings now sit at just over $275,000. While he’s due for a victory, that milestone might not be too far off. The 2007 FLW Walleye Tour returns to his home water May 2-5.
Brunz rises to third
Fishing within sight of Nascak and Allar, Brunz stayed focused with the task at hand and boated a four-fish limit of his own Saturday. Those four walleyes weighed 8 pounds, 13 ounces bringing his two-day total to 17 pounds, 14 ounces. The Madison Lake, Minn., pro finished in third place and cashed a check for $40,000.
“It’s been a wonderful experience,” said Brunz. “I’ve been at this a long time and this very well could be the peak of my career. I’ve gotten beat by a couple of really good guys. I don’t feel bad at all.”
Finishing in fourth place was Kevin McQuoid of Isle, Minn. McQuoid caught four walleyes Saturday, bringing his final-round total to 17 pounds, 3 ounces. He was one of only four pros to catch a limit each day.
McQuoid’s pattern was to target migrating fish by trolling crankbaits with leadcore and Fireline. His fourth-place finish earned him $25,000.
Rick Olson of Mina, S.D., earned $14,500 and finished in fifth place with a final-round weight of 16 pounds, 12 ounces. On the first two days of the tournament, Olson braved 100-mile trips to the Moreau River near Mobridge, S.D.
“I gave two co-anglers the ride of their life,” said the 2001 Angler of the Year. “As it turned out we had a lot of wind.”
Those long runs left Olson with only two hours of fishing time. When the winds increased for the final round, he switched to an area near the Cheyenne River. There he targeted walleyes in 12 feet of water.
Rest of the best
Rounding out the top 10 pro finalists at the FLW Walleye Tour Championship on Lake Oahe:
6th: Steil of Richmond, Minn., 12-15, $14,700
7th: Dustin Kjelden of Brookings, S.D., 10-8, $13,700
8th: Richard Franklin of Bemidji, Minn., 8-2, $6,000
9th: Gerrick McComsey of Fort Pierre, S.D., 8-2, $11,700
10th: Troy Morris of Bismarck, N.D., 5-15, $10,700